Tuesday, 2 December 2014

What to look out for in the Autumn Statement

The Autumn Statement being announced tomorrow, 3 December 2014, should be of interest to women for the following reasons: 

1. Women are the biggest group in society who use public services and cuts to these services affect us all in many ways e.g Sure Start centres, state funded childcare, women's charities providing advice and support to victims of domestic abuse.

2. The UK does not rank in the world's top 20 countries on global gender equality. The UK is at number 26 and falls behind Rwanda and Nicaragua. The ranking was based on criteria such as female labour force participation and wage equality, estimated earned income, educational attainment, health and political empowerment.

3. According to the Fawcett Society , women make up two-thirds of those in low paid work and 1 out of 4 women are now in low paid jobs as opposed to 1 in 7 men; and since 2010 79% of cuts enacted have come from women's pockets.

4. Unison who represents workers in public services has found that over 60% of women who use local leisure centres, parks facilities and open spaces said that services had got worse, and many were worried about their own or their family’s safety when using them. £82m has been cut from children’s centre
budgets in the past three years and 285 children’s centres have merged or closed since 2010. In 2010 there were 2,885 council-funded community centres – now there are only 2,726 – a loss of 159 centres in four years. 13% of funding has been cut from leisure centre budgets. As a result of the cuts, over a third of
women felt more cut off from their community, 28% felt more cut off from finding a job and 12% felt more cut off from their families.As a result of council cuts, a third of women said that they were using services less or had stopped going local altogether, because of rising costs, shorter opening hours and poor facilities. Over one million street lights are now switched off or dimmed for a set period overnight across Great Britain.
85% of women said that too little street lighting would affect how safe they felt at night and 70% said it would affect how often they travelled.

5. According to Gingerbread 39% of single parents are stuck in low pay, 67% of working single parents say that managing their finances is a constant struggle at best and single parents are expected to lose 0.5% of their income by the end of the next Parliament.

The Double Speak of the Modern World

In Western worlds when we speak about boat trips we mean this

In other parts of the world a boat trip means this

In Western worlds food means this 

In other parts of the world it means this 

UN World Food Programme to suspend food aid to 1.7 million Syrian refugees

Syrian children

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Saturday, 15 November 2014

An Alternative Awareness Chart #julienblanc

I do apologise for the 'SmartDraw' background and the fact that it is quite hard to read. 

Friday, 14 November 2014

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

'The Great Education Panic'

'The Great Education Panic' is a chapter in a book called 'Broke:How to Survive the Middle-Class Crisis' written by David Boyle.  I bought the book and read it because I was hosting a political evening in my home at which David Boyle was to be the guest speaker. The least I could do, I thought, was to accord some respect by being familiar with his writing. 

The pleasure, as it turned out, was all mine because the book was an eye-opener and a fantastic validator of the panics and worries that I feel and undergo. I am not the only one who worries about surviving the crisis which, in my case, is about a stagnant public sector wage and the education system and a myriad of other things. 

David Boyle talks about how the education system presents itself as giving you a choice of schools to choose from. My 15 year old daughter is doing her GCSE next year and we are in the midst of looking at sixth-form colleges and have discovered that our choices are limited for a number of reasons: Catchment area, selection procedures don't guarantee a place and the range of subjects offered may not be what your child wants to study. 

Choice! David Boyle states this succintly: "The emergence of a "choice" between state schools was bound to bamboozle the middle classes and their carefully calibrated arrangements to finesse the system. First, catchment areas began to disappear. One of the drivers of the great education panic is that parents still believe that schools have meaningful fixed catchment areas, but the reality they discover is that-where they exist at all-many of these tend to breathe in and out according to how many places there are...'

Broke: How to Survive the Middle Class CrisisI want my daughter to do better than me and her future starts now with her GCSEs.  I bought into the middle class dream of thinking that a good education is a great enabler for one's offspring to enter a good university and, eventually, to get a great paying job. Not anymore. Look around you. The majority of job creation is happening in the lower paid sectors such as the care industry and in retail. I know graduates who are working as waitresses. This is backed up by a report written by Oxford University on the decline in professional jobs. 

Midde class professional and managerial jobs are shrinking. Dr John Goldthorpe, a co-author of the study and Oxford sociologist, said: 
“For the first time in a long time, we have got a generation coming through education and into the jobs market whose chances of social advancement are not better than their parents, they are worse.”

If education is a strait jacketed experience and the link between a good education and a good job is broken then where does that leave our children? 

In the chapter titled: "The strange case of the disappearing professionals' David Boyle writes about the days when you 'could go to university and aspire to be ...professionals and be paid enough for a comfortable life and live out your days with status and job satisfaction"  as being bygone days. He is right. 

If this is the future for the middle classes then what about the working classes?  'The Great Education Panic' is growing more panicky, I reckon.