Posted Wednesday, 30 September 2009 at 12:13
How can anyone who hasn't been there understand what it is like to be a sixteen year old child, alone, with a baby to care for and a home to run?
The repost for this question from the women on our street in Liverpool would have been, 'if you’re old enough to get pregnant your tough enough to face the consequences'.
Only, life isn't like that really is it? I don't have enough fingers and toes on which to list the friends and relatives who are single mums.
Some of these were incarcerated into one of Liverpool’s many 'unmarried mothers homes', the majority of which were run by nuns.
The others’ offspring were kindly taken in and assimilated into an extended family structure.
But for the most part, the majority struggled and faced the remainder of their young lives on benefits, slippinginto a life devoid of hope or aspiration and often went on to have a number of partners and children.
This cycle continues and today gathers momentum as the teenage pregnancy rates continue to rise ever more alarmingly.
I liked what Gordon Brown had to say, but of course, many of us know he's said the same thing wrapped up in different words twice before - and we are still waiting.
I like the idea that we can introduce a structure that will capture 16 and 17 year old girls and teach them parenting skills, help them to acquire the knowledge which will enable them to run a home, manage a budget, cook meals, feed and nurture a baby and learn to value and respect themselves. A structure that will show them a pathway back to independence and, most importantly, assist them in becoming aware of the importance of preventing pregnancy and making empowered decisions which will benefit their lives and future. And of course the life of their young baby.
Maybe that can happen in a shared housing scheme?
The cause and effect of teenage pregnancy is complex and multi layered.
Some of the answers are unpopular and involve speaking the unspeakable.
Some are obvious and practical, however, they all need to be taken and introduced together as one holistic approach in order to have an effect which will benefit society and the young girls themselves.
And let's hear it for the boys too. Girls don't become pregnant all by themselves. Any scheme should pay equal attention to the boys; they must be made to face up to the cause and effect of their actions also.
The sad fact is that we all know, and we have the two previous announcements to prove it, that Labour won't deliver or make even the slightest impact into the area of teenage pregnancy and its associated problems. Its own political ideology prevents it even addressing some of the tougher decisions and without them, there can be no impact.
In fact, it could be said that Labour’s policy to provide sex education to children as young as five will far outweigh any benefits, in terms of shared housing for pregnant teenagers, as the rate of pregnancy is surely set to rise.
And anyway, what kind of government is it that thinks it’s right to provide lessons to13 year old girls on how to place a condom on a banana and not realise that the subliminal message is 'now go and try that yourself'? And then has the audacity to announce a policy to deal with the consequences?
I can't criticise the sentiment but I can hope that we get rid of this government as soon as possible so that some intellect and common sense can be applied to this issue. Maybe then we will see a policy announced one day by David Cameron that we can believe in and know will make a real difference to the young girls who, at the moment, are home alone wondering what on earth has happened to them.
Marr, how low can you go?
Posted Monday, 28 September 2009 at 09:35
Twitter came alive during the Marr interview yesterday. Comments focused on Marr's line of questioning around Brown's health, his eye sight and any dependence he may have on medication.
From entirely my own perspective, British TV journalism hit the gutter yesterday, as Marr took a broadcast interview into a place usually inhabited by red top newspapers.
If Gordon Brown were blind, we would notice. Is it a crime to have poor eyesight?
Do we believe that, as three out of five people suffer with mental health problems/depression at some stage during their life, those people should be excluded from holding high office forever?
I use my blog frequently to criticise this Government and indeed Brown himself.
However, regardless of the political differences parties and politicians have between each other and regardless of how desperate we Conservatives are to expose Labours failings, remove them from office and get behind the wheel ourselves, I cannot believe there is one Conservative MP, who, if sat in Marr's place, would have asked those questions.
Brown looked extremely uncomfortable. It was obvious that his personal private territory was being invaded. I, and I'm sure many others, felt equally discomforted by watching.
There was so much substance Marr could have attacked. Labours record is seriously wanting
Gordon Brown's stewardship both as Chancellor and PM provides no end of mistakes and decisions to take issue with, not least GB's handling of the economy.
Attacking the man in such a personal way, and not at all professionally, took journalism to a new low and eroded what respect is left within society for politicians. It moved us one step further along the road of a society concerned more with image and gossip than substance and fact. It was a very significant and sad moment.
Love, love me, do
Posted Friday, 25 September 2009 at 14:21
Sorry, I can’t help myself. The fact that John Bercow has called for an end to the ‘12 week MPs holiday’ demonstrates that for him, that is exactly what it was!
I, and many other MPs have been hard back at work since the beginning of September. He must be joking if he thinks that anyone who gives a jot about their constituency can take twelve weeks off.
I am all for Parliament returning in September but it will mean that the time I spend on constituency issues will be dramatically reduced.
This announcement is nothing more than playing to the media gallery.
Just a reminder for everyone in my patch that the public ‘Westminster Forum’ meeting is taking place at Marston Vale Forest Centre, tomorrow September 26th 2009 from 2pm to 4pm.
The agenda is as follows.
Chairman Mid-Bedfordshire Conservative Association
- Opening Speech and introduction
Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council
- Position of Central Bedfordshire Council towards new development in Mid Bedfordshire
Nadine Dorries MP
- Current status of development and tourism projects in Mid Bedfordshire
- Aims of this meeting
Q & A Open to Floor
Led by Cllr Andy Rayment
How Great Thou Art
Posted Wednesday, 23 September 2009 at 20:59
I have tweeted this today, however, I want to blog it also, and even though I just know it will give all those left wing pro-choice on -line activists who have become almost obsessed with my position on abortion, life and everything the opportunity to say ha! We told you so.
I did a spot on the Jeremy Vine show today (he has the nicest politest researchers) and later in my car, I tuned in to hear the things people had to say about life and in true JV show form, everything.
The Bishop of Liverpool was on and I have to be totally honest, even though we have a mutual friend he really hasn’t always been my favourite Bishop - often coming across as slightly too political and not speaking out on matters Christan which are in fact political. It amazes me how quiet the Bishop's are on the big questions such as abortion, assisted dying etc.
During the show, he spoke of the welcome people experience when they return to a C of E church after having been away for a while, as the Cof E are having some sort of ‘give everyone a hug’ week this week. Apparently, not everyone is happy with how they are welcomed into C of E churches and this is an attempt to address this.
The Baptists do that 52/52 by the way, the welcome is a big part of Baptist worship.
He then said the following, which made me, as someone who has felt very much distant from the established church of late, think.
“When you walk into a church for the first time or after a time away, God is saying to you - I have been waiting for this moment for all of your life” and the Bishop made me think, how great thou art.
Posted Wednesday, 23 September 2009 at 12:59
I remember my former mother in law well who always told us how much of a burden she was to us.
She was nothing of the kind. We all loved her so much that we would have done anything for her and she knew it. It never stopped her from saying it though!
I can’t help thinking today of all those people who as a result of illness or age feel more vulnerable today than they did yesterday. Those who have always felt a burden will as a result of today’s ruling may now feel obliged to think the un-thinkable. To consider whether or not they should remove the burden from those they love.
Any change to the law with regard to assisted suicide should be made by law makers in Parliament, not by Kier Starmer.
No law changes in a dramatic way overnight. Steps are usually taken one at a time. This step takes us closer to the day when the next of kin may not be a loved one, it may be the state. The decision then may not may be taken on a basis of whether anyone benefits financially but on one of cost to the state.
David Cameron is absolutely right. Any change in this law makes the society within which we live a far more dangerous place.
Posted Wednesday, 23 September 2009 at 11:48
About to appear on Jeremy Vine show re asissted suicide. Will blog more when full details of new ruling available.
Posted Monday, 21 September 2009 at 17:34
It was disappointing how little coverage the UK media gave to the brave opponents of Ahmadinejad who took to the streets of Tehran last week, fully aware that they would be risking life and limb to do so.
It is surprising to many, who believe that all of Iran has been politically in tune with Ahmadinejad, to know that 70% of Iran's population is under the age of thirty. They do not want to live under the rule of Isamist oppression, they want to wear our clothes, but more importantly they want to be able to choose to do so.
A country with a young population, rigged elections and no democracy is bound to be a recipe for a reaction and uprising.
Ahmadinejad has said very loud and clear that he wants Israel wiped off the face of the earth. Only last week he denied the reality of the Holocaust.
Iran is very close indeed to having nuclear weapons which would reach Israel.
Can Israel live with this fact and what should the world do?
Iran has moved from a position of solid Islamist control to one where regime collapse is beginning to look inevitable.
The uprising of the Green Wave movement was not suppressed. It didn't last just a few days as the cynics thought, despite the torture, rapes, beatings and deaths. The bravery and determination of those fighting for the freedom of their country and the right to live in a democracy appears to be solid and is gathering support.
The uprising is undermining and distracting what has been the status quo in Iran. They are telling the world that Iran is not free and ultimately they will rock the regime and bring about the change required. But will it happen quickly enough? Will they divert war?
Do the leaders of the Green Wave movement know that, by Iran becoming nuclear ready linked with the ranting of Ahmadinejad, their Islamist leader may be putting the country at risk and in danger?
Those who take to the streets in Iran need our support. They need the West to speak up and loudly on their behalf.
They need America and Britain to voice its disgust at Ahmadinejad attending the talks with the 5 UN Security Council members and Germany on October 1st.
We need to embolden, with our moral support and resources, the Green Wave movement and help them in any way we can. Internal turmoil within Iran is the best hope to solve the impending Iranian nuclear crisis, short of war.
No one wants to see an ancient Persia with its people and history in danger. However, no sensible person wants to see the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty broken after 40 years, or a bomb in Ahmadinejad's hands.
It may be that sanctions are necessary, it may also be that these will be coupled with air strikes of critical installations.
We are nearer and nearer to such a reality each day.
It is a terrifying unedifying thought and one that could be avoided if those within Iran who wish to topple the regime were given more support from outside.
It’s time for Obama, Brown and other European nations to realise how little time there is and instead of ministers pontificating, as they are doing in the UK, maybe they could just show a fraction of the courage the young people in Iran have and decide where we go from here
What Gordon Says and What Gordon Does
Posted Wednesday, 16 September 2009 at 11:21
I’m amazed by the amount of media coverage my ‘get your hands off my heels’ position has attracted in today’s press. This in The Independent, The Times, The Sun and The Daily Mail.
I feel like a lone voice speaking out for every woman who is either short, fashionable, or just likes to look sexy every now and then. Even the Queen Mother refused to give them up. Did her killer heels kill her off? No, quite.
Don’t worry girls. I will not give up on this. The unions will not have their way and defeminise us into a short, sensible shoe wearing sexless gender.
Of course the most important issue at yesterday’s conference was Gordon’s massive U-turn in terms of what he says. This video by Tim Montgomerie is brilliant.
However, what Gordon does and what he says are two entirely different things. What he does is what the unions want him to do and what he says is what the pollsters tell him the people want to hear.
TUC - She wears diamonds…..
Posted Tuesday, 15 September 2009 at 13:07
Well, I have just been attacked, twice from the TUC platform.
In the first attack, the article I wrote with Karen Brady in the Sun was referred to. I have been told that apparently, the motion mover said that Karen and I and the Sun newspaper in which we wrote, should be collectively ashamed.
If that wasn’t enough; the seconder linked me with the Daily Mail and said she doubted that I had ever worked a ten hour shift in heels. Wrong. I frequently work 16.
I applaud the society of Chiropodists for pointing out to me the dangers of this; however, having done so I now respectfully ask them to leave it me and every other high heel wearing woman in the land to decide whether or not we wear high heels in the workplace..
I've said it all before; I object to any attempt by the TUC to bring me down to size. Men have the killer instinct, we have the killer heels. If you want to know how that works, try taking them of us.
I thought I would post a picture of my last two work shoe purchases. My Christian Louboutin’s and a lovely pair with a faux diamond on the sole which reminded me of the Paul Simon song.
She wears diamonds on the soles of her shoes.
Posted Monday, 14 September 2009 at 13:41
I can't help feeling sorry for Gordon Brown.
The only weapon at his disposal is words. Words which will hang in the air and will eventually be shot down by expectation.
Words like careful, reasonable and cautious: the siblings of Prudence.
His problem is that Mandleson is better with words. He also can't and won't deliver, but it won't really matter. No-one expects him to, it’s not his job.
Gordon met the Union bosses, the people who fund both the Labour party and its general election campaign, and 'bent over backwards' as one union boss reports, to re-assure them that their members jobs are safe.
Well, he has to doesn't he? If Gordon Brown cuts back on public spending and members jobs are lost, that's fewer members of the unions, fewer subscriptions, less money for the unions and less money to fund Labour.
So, Gordon Brown sits there, uncomfortably, somewhere between a rock and a hard place, beer in hand, sandwich on lap knowing there is nothing he can do; he can only say.
He can't fight an election without union money and so he can never action public sector cuts. Unions need the public sector to remain intact and bloated to keep membership high and the coffers full.
Public spending is the very life blood of Labour. Public spending pays the salaries of the union bosses. Public spending is probably paying for the TUC conference this week.
But the voters want public spending cut.
Gordon can't go to the voters without the unions and he can't go to the voters with what they want.
So he gathers together a few words. Words which will create a smoke screen of caution and restraint and with a bit of luck will dupe the public into thinking that he will do just what his words will say he will.
Words which won't upset the union bosses, because they know that's all they are, words which will be forgotten the day after a general election and Mandy will do an even better job. He is just so much more convincing. The perceived faux acrimony between him and Gordon, making his words more genuine and daring.
But we've been here before. last time Labour destroyed the economy following an extended period in office.
These are the words Gordon needs: Cut public spending and then lower taxes. As revenue receipts increase cut taxes further.
Let people earn and spend and SME's grow and supply.
Keep the state small and the people big.
Those words are a knife straight into Labours purse. As with everything in this life, just follow the money, it always pays the piper.
Posted Thursday, 10 September 2009 at 21:55
Has the world gone mad?
The Daily Mail ran this story today which I quoted on about the new UN guidelines regarding sex education which recommend that children as young as five should be taught about masturbation. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1212274/Children-young-learn-masturbation-abortion-new-UN-guidelines.html#ixzz0Qjoy1LPx
Children of five need to be taught how to share, socialise, cope with school, and deal with being away from home and all the things that come with the big wide world when they move from the relative safety of home and nursery to school.
They need to be taught how to read, add up, save the planet, ride a three wheeler, spit on a grazed knee, climb a tree and care for a sibling and a pet, at the same time.
They do not need to have the innocent world a five year old inhabits invaded by someone teaching them the ‘what’ of masturbation?
Needless to say I’ve done my fair share of quotes and interviews on this today but of all the initiatives I have heard of in terms of sex education, this one depresses me the most as it is so lacking in any understanding with regard to the life of a five year old child.
Posted Tuesday, 8 September 2009 at 11:14
Without any interview process having taken place, and at a reported salary of £107,000, the Speaker has appointed Tim Hames, formerly of the Times, as his media adviser.
In this day and age of 24/7 aggressive media, it’s probably a wise move, however, is Tim Hames working directly for the Speaker or for Parliament?
Is he there to be an advocate for Parliament and assist the media in their understanding of process and events, or is the £107,000 simply to protect the Speaker Bercow’s back? I’m sure the media await full details of the job description in this new age of transparency.
Sam Coates, resident at the Times, was on BBC 3 Counties radio this morning discussing the position.
He claimed to be a very good friend and colleague of Tim’s and justified the salary by claiming on air that ‘Tim was a lot smarter than most MPs and therefore deserved to be paid more’.
Really? Do we now justify the level of remuneration those working within Parliament are paid from the public purse on the basis of IQ? And on what evidence is Sam Coates making this assumption?
He then went on to say that most MPs weren’t fit to be members of a pub quiz team. Extraordinary.
I’m sure Tim Hames is a really nice man and will do a good job and indeed, as with the majority of people who work within parliament, will do his best. However, he may wish to begin by finding himself a new spin doctor because the one he deployed this morning will have won him no friends in Parliament amongst MPs.
Anyway, it’s always nice to know how the lobby correspondents regard us.
Save Election Night
Posted Monday, 7 September 2009 at 16:14
Posted Friday, 4 September 2009 at 12:37
I’m Twittering because someone has been impersonating me. I thought the only person to be me, is me and so I had better join in.
I did attack Twitter initially and for that I do eat humble pie, however, you will never know when the milk in my fridge is out of date or I've run out of tea bags, of that you can be sure.:)
A rock and a hard place
Posted Friday, 4 September 2009 at 09:57
This morning, I listened to Nigel Farage being interviewed on BBC 3C radio which covers the Buckingham constituency.
Nigel, raised the issue of expenses and when pressed gave the impression of absolute modesty in personification. He implied that he was flying economy on Monday morning and that all he drew was a modest staffing budget. He even threw the figure of £40 into the discussion, again, strongly implying that we were all listening to the words of a frugal man.
I was reminded instantly of the last time I heard him being interviewed on the Today programme around June. The interviewer then asked him was it true that he had drawn a million pounds in expenses. Nigel replied that a million was a gross under exaggeration and that it had in fact been much, much more than that. He then went on to almost brag about how much he had himself drawn down since he became an MEP. He was of course highlighting another area of EU waste.
I could hardly believe this morning that I was listening to the same man.
At 8.30 I then flicked to Radio 4 and heard him being interviewed again by the same interviewer as in June. Not a mention of the claims he made in what was probably the last time she interviewed him.
So is Radio 4 going to give him an easy ride?
Everyone knows how I feel about the pro-Euro, Labour party supporting Speaker, who was elected by the Labour party to - in the words of one of their own whips - “stick it to the Conservatives”.
I am about as Euro sceptic as it gets. I firmly believe that if David Cameron were to announce an intention to all but withdraw from the EU, it would have a huge impact on the Irish vote and the Conservative party would virtually wipe the electoral board clean at the next election.
However, what is far more important than anything else is the need for all politicians to retain integrity.
Someone will expose the June interview and make comparisons with the interview given on 3CR this morning. That won’t be a good day for anyone involved in politics.
I have no doubt that Nigel presents a real threat to John Bercow and it is sad to see that once again another tradition is lost - that of the Speaker being un-challenged. However, now that Nigel has thrown his hat into the ring I am sure others will too. Nigel may think he has a strong chance of defeating a 13,000 majority, however, the only real challenge could come from a strong independent Conservative candidate and if that day arrives, Nigel, who this morning displayed almost no local knowledge or interest, may regret his decision to challenge the Speaker .
Posted Wednesday, 2 September 2009 at 12:48
There was a strange reversal of roles in my house this morning as my youngest daughter opened my bedroom door and said “shh, don’t make any noise I’m doing a radio interview”.
For a second I was very confused as I lay there and thought ‘excuse me? That’s my line?’ And then it dawned on me, this was about poo girl.
My youngest is freshly returned from Leeds festival.
Actually, not so freshly.
Identification of mine was a tad tricky as the returnees fell off the coach. It took two baths with a vigorous full body exfoliation in-between in order for me to find her underneath the grime. Up until that point I could have been bathing any old teenager.
A family supper followed the prolonged bath routine. Family suppers in my house are very noisy with everyone talking at once. I’m sure there’s Italian blood in there somewhere. It’s all about the survival of the loudest.
I had cause to admonish my daughter at the table following her announcement that she hadn’t washed and had worn the same bra for five nights and days.
“Yuck” shrieked everyone, “enough” said I.
I had no idea what was to follow as to be fair, an ‘enough’ from me means almost nothing. If I want a positive reaction it has to be more like ‘I will confiscate your hair extensions for a week’ loudly.
Sensing she had sufficiently primed the shock factor element of the supper conversation my baby girl launched into the most exciting part of her festival, having witnessed the poo girl event.
According to her radio interview this morning there is now a poo girl facebook.
poo girl (as she is now know) took her handbag to the loo, which 70,000 people had used the previous day – which is in effect a wooden plank perched over a pit – and dropped her handbag into the pit. She then decided to go in after it.
The poor girl had only her legs sticking out and had to be removed by firemen who hosed her down and she was then taken to hospital by ambulance.
The rumour circulating is that she nearly died. My daughter put this right on the radio this morning by confirming that poo girl did in fact return to and enjoy the rest of the festival holding on tightly to her handbag.
In the words of Cass, total dedication.
I wonder if she went back to the loo?
What's in a name?
Posted Tuesday, 1 September 2009 at 11:21
Yesterday was a work day for me. A function to attend mid morning and then the rest of the day peppered with interviews regarding the new law about to come into effect with allows lesbian couples to name who they wish on the birth certificate of a child they may have conceived and given birth to via fertility treatment.
A child with two mothers, neither of whom may have any DNA connection with the child.
The evidence to prove that the traditional family structure, of mum, dad and children is the one which works best for a strong society is overwhelming.
I support civil partnership. I voted for it and I think it is fantastic that gay couples can be afforded the legal protection they were once denied and lived without. I also believe that those relationships deserved the protection, status and emotional support and comfort all marriages benefit from and enjoy.
However, when it comes to the nurturing and rearing of a child, that is a decision that has to be selfless.
The legislation about to come into effect delivers the message that the family unit which has underpinned a functioning society for thousands of years is de-valued in the eyes of the government.
It goes hand in hand with the fact that couples today are financially better off apart than married.
Labour’s policies have deliberately set out to undermine the bedrock of a stable society.
There is no evidence that lesbian couples stay together longer than heterosexual couples.
No evidence to show they make better parents and no evidence to show that if a baby is born to a couple to whom neither parent may have any blood connection whatsoever, that the child, whose birth certificate contains the name of both of those people, will have any legal protection in the future.
Kids need dads. They need female and male nurturing and protecting role models.
We have many kinds of family today. I'm a single mum. We have families which consist of step-parents and children and lots of people working hard to make their new families work.
Behind all of that, until this week was the strong and legal requirement issued by government that a birth certificate required the names of a child’s mother and father, a man and a woman.
The removal of this requirement is just another fatal Labour government blow on the family structure and all it represents.