Here's a little update from me:
Number of square knitted = 5
Number of words of novel written = 3934
Number of courses started = 1
Number of jobs volunteered for = 1
Number of cakes eaten = 1
So, my blanket is erm...still in development. Think of it as the Serenity sequel, it's much loved but not quite in production. Likewise, my novel has had some words added to it, but I'm so unfocused with it. I'm liking the story though, but it's unfolding as I write, I haven't got a plan as such.
I started my Open University course, which has eaten in to my daily time, as will my impending 6 hours a week at the CAB.
Life as mum is becoming a little more understood by me, although my plans to go to a childminder are temporarily on hold as there has been a bereavement, another reminder of how short life is and how we should direct ourselves towards what moves us rather than just the mundane.
I'm incredibly lucky to have this time with my daughter but what it has highlighted to me is the way in which, as a society, we treat child rearing and how judgemental we are towards others. It is also interesting to see how our basic internal fairness button is being manipulated by politics.
The rhetoric of the scrounger or the feckless or the undeserving poor is not new, but during the recent recession it is prevalent not only in politics but in the media and on the lips of many. In times of contraction there's less, so what's available to us all is scrutinised as we all fight that basic urge of not being left with the least amount of potatoes on the plate. The plight of the disabled on disability allowance and other benefits has affected me hugely, I have always felt that part of what made Britain great was an inbuilt fairness (oh how my step-dad would laugh at me for that). That those who are truly unable would be looked after by the state is something I've always believed to be right. Personally, I have never felt annoyed by paying tax, I've not always agreed with how the government has spent my money or they way in which they have arranged their finances but the principle of tax is sound to me, I live in a society, society needs certain basic needs met, I pay for those with taxes. Sign me up.
The way in which the coalition has chosen to look at the welfare costs in the country and the way in which it has played its cards has truly astounded me. It is not so much the fact that the Tories would hide behind the spin of benefits being out of control or that some people are lazy, it's the fact that the liberal democrats have said nothing whilst they've gotten on with it. They let them get away with spinning the lie that the way to fix the deficit would be to focus on welfare.
Now let me get this straight, I strongly dislike fraudsters. Cowardly arsehats. As a nation we can not stand the unfairness of it. We stand in queues nicely, we are polite, we do not grumble at the rain and in turn we expect everyone else to behave in the same way. They don't of course, but that's humanity. It does not and should not mean that this feeling should be directed towards the vulnerable, that the fact that a small percentage of people claim incorrectly should not mean that we close our ears to the reaction of those having to go through the work capacity assessment.
I am certain that their are some people currently on disability benefits that would love to work and with support in travelling to work, or at work, or flexibility in work patterns would be able to change from these benefits to part and part. However, that should not mean that all people are tested in one way, using one set of questions, by a non specialist in that particular person's illness. It is abhorrent to me those with mental illness are not dealt with differently. It is baffling to me why a medical reports from specialists are being ignored.
All for the sake of some bad apples, a whole section of society now feels shunned, overlooked and persecuted. I strongly reject the way in which this has been handled. Basically, to me it really does seem to be a matter of principle for the Tories, rather than economics and they have twisted and manipulated and fanned the flames of jealousy and fear to push these changed through.
This takes me back to another section of society that have always been judged. Mothers. The choice of when to have a baby, probably the biggest choice a woman ever makes. I really wish that as a society we understand that if we are to continue being a country that it's our babies that will take it forward. If we do not support this activity over and above huge profits then our communities cease to exist. Now, I know that not all woman want children, top choice. I know many others that want to and can not or have effectively chosen not to due to economics you may say so what, this has always been the case. I also know many who have chosen to have children without finances or relationships being solid and they are vilified.
Society places a judgemental barrier to this activity, it says you can only do this if....you are in a committed relationship, you have savings or the wage so that you do not rely on the state, like it's something not connected to our biology and psyche. However, if there is one activity that SHOULD be supported by government it should be child rearing. It should be respected. But it isn't and we treat some mothers with disdain, we watch them struggle (for it was never intended to be a two person job let along a one person job) and then we say it's their punishment for not doing it the way in which society says.
Instead of guns, armies and nuclear submarines we should be spending money on supporting any woman, married or not, financially able or not, to raise a child. Radical much? You betcha. Not so much a Dad's Army as a Mother's.
With all of that off my chest I feel a little lighter. I'm not sure if you feel any better though! I apologise for the rant. I've been delving into the local politics of Torfaen and it's a little heartbreaking.
Wish me luck in changing that!