The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
Davids speech and the grey red haired girl
Posted Monday, 18 June 2007 at 11:21


David Cameron will make a speech today which will worry Gordon Brown.

There is one small paragraph which means more to me than the rest of the speech and in just a few words encapsulates the biggest failure of this Labour government.

“It is simply no use talking about opportunity for all unless we give every child in our country the secure start in life which comes from a stable loving home. We are far from that position in Britain today, and turning it around will be the greatest challenge - and I hope the greatest achievement - of the next Conservative Government”

On Saturday I had to visit Leicester - having missed my way I found myself completely lost on a huge estate. As I waited at a set of pedestrian lights, in the pouring rain, trying to make sense of the road signs ahead, I saw the girl, who had pressed the button that made me stop.

She can’t have been more than seventeen. She was wearing the obligatory addidas track suit bottoms and pushing a buggy with a small baby, whilst holding the hand of a toddler who was also wearing matching trackie bottoms; all three had red hair; I assumed both the children were hers.

Her demeanour and the expression on her face told that life no longer held any surprises, the best was probably past.

As she struggled over the crossing I wondered what on earth it was that possessed girls as young as this to have children.

I imagine we were on the dull grey estate where she had grown up, as she was still a mere child herself and I pondered how pregnancy may have transformed her previously dull grey life.

When you are pregnant you become special. Everyone wants to congratulate you; you have a ready made effortless topic of conversation. People don’t pass you by they talk to you. “When is it due?", "Do you want a boy or a girl?" "Is the morning sickness over?” and a hundred other discussions which strike up between mothers to be - of whatever age or background - and the rest of the female population,

You have an excuse to go to the doctors and a reason for him to be interested in you; you become the centre of the midwives attention; you have hospital appointments to attend; you have claim forms to fill in; and a reason for the housing association to offer you accommodation all of your own.

The hospital writes to you, they are interested in you - and letters addressed to you come through the letter box on a regular basis; they want you to have scans and blood tests and everyone wants the best for you, because you’re having a baby.

There are new shops to visit; things to buy; baby clothes to coo over; and everyone wants to coo over them with you. Being pregnant makes you the centre of attention and that is something this young girl may never have been before - having people notice who she was may have been addictive, this particular girl may have enjoyed it so much, that she did it twice.

The grey red haired girl crossed the road with stooped shoulders shielding her face against the rain and pushed the buggy into a block of soulless flats. She would have been about six years old when New Labour came to power.

Life may indeed no longer hold any surprises. Both pregnancies may have been the high points of her life; it may never get so good again.

Labours failure to inspire and elevate the people has been catastrophic. The social consequence enormous and as David will point out today, a huge challenge which he is prepared to both acknowledge and brave enough to take on.  He wants a better future for the baby in the buggy, we all do.

 

Is anyone else watching ‘Talk to Me’ on Sunday nights? Predictable and completely addictive! I hope they release a CD of the tracks they have played in the series. One track is driving me mad from last night’s episode and I can’t remember who or what it was! Can anyone help? Long wind instrument intro and then fades into song….very mellow? It’s not Snow Patrol…

The Lady in red.

 
 
 
said:
Responded: Monday, 18 June 2007
I'm sure the young lady would be very surprised to know that she was now featured in your blog!!!
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Monday, 18 June 2007
Talk to me tracks were: Snow Patrol : Somewhere a clock is ticking:Run:You're All I Have::Roberta Flack: First Time Ever I saw Your Face: Damien Rice 9 Crimes with Lisa Hannigan: the Feeling: Kettle's On.....at least that's what I've been told...Naughty substitute Best Man's Speech..hope you covered your ears!!!!!
 
 
Mike H said:
Responded: Monday, 18 June 2007
No time to comment on your blog except to say that it paints a vivid and accurate picture of one of the more depressing aspects of the UK today. DC is right in what he says, but he has a hell of a job on his hands to put this one right. I didn't watch Talk to Me (wife did and I now wish I had seen it). However as you're a busy girl... There's a website devoted to it here http://talktome.itv.com/ and there's a forum here http://community.itv.com/forumdisplay.php?f=161 where the majority of the questions are about the music! From the responses I've read (not all of them!), here's a list of what the songs might be:- Badly Drawn Boy, The Shining Kettle's On" by The Feeling Snow Patrol; Somewhere A Clock Is Ticking (trailer song) Snow Patrol; Run Snow Patrol; You're All I Have Roberta Flack; The First Time Ever I saw Your Face Damien Rice; 9 Crimes. Please don't recommend any CDs. I can't afford any more. ;-)
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Monday, 18 June 2007
Mike H:If Nadine won't, I will if you pre order the 2 Disc DVDs (4 part series) you will save a fiver and get super saver free delivery for ONLY £14.99 from that place that's named after the longest river in the world (no not the Nile the other one). DVD out on 9th July.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Monday, 18 June 2007
You do alot of thinking don't you. Most of us wouldn't even notice the girl on the side of the road. We wouldn't get lost on a dodgy housing estate either.
 
 
Not So Great Gatsby said:
Responded: Monday, 18 June 2007
How do you know that the kids were not her siblings? That would explain the red hair. She could have been forced to baby-sit while her parents work or visit a sick grandma. You would look sad if you were 17 and had to babysit for your younger siblings on a wet weekend in Leicester. That would have been too simple though - you need to patronise the working class so you can lord it over them an feel superior. By the way - learn to use the apostrophe!
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Monday, 18 June 2007
You are right. When you are pregnant everyone makes a fuss of you, it's a very exciting time.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Monday, 18 June 2007
Dave has taken on the impossible. Tony Blair wanted to do it and was full of the same good intentions in 1997. In ten years time things will be just the same.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Monday, 18 June 2007
Perhaps all young women should watch that other series Max Beesley was in,'Bodies', to put them off pregnancy. The graphic scenes in that are enough to put anyone off. But I suppose you, Nadine witnessed most of that as a nurse.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Monday, 18 June 2007
Not So Great Gadsby...Nadine's real name is Clare Voyant;-) It doesn't matter about the grammar!
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Monday, 18 June 2007
Note for Christmas Shopping List: Buy Nadine a decent Sat-Nav!
 
 
Mike H said:
Responded: Monday, 18 June 2007
Not So Great Gatsby may be right. Of course the girl could be their big sister who's been tasked with looking after the little ones for an hour or two. And, yes, maybe her demeanour spoke more about the fact that she was a bit cold, wet and fed-up that she wasn't with her friends, doing what teenagers do, and having fun. On the other hand, maybe she is a young mum who is in a loving, caring relationship with the children's father and leads a fulfilling life where she manages to combine motherhood with a rewarding and challenging career. Maybe the kids were playing up. Maybe she just happened to be having a bad day. Maybe Nadine looked at her and completely misunderstood her situation. Unfortunately, we all know that, on the balance of probabilities, Nadine's assumptions are quite likely to be correct. I'm glad that David Cameron wants to put the family at the centre of Conservative policies, but the cycle of low personal expectations, early motherhood and subsequent dependence on the state is one that will be very difficult to break. New Labour would probably suggest that the answer lies in yet more legislation, no doubt assisted by a dozen quangos and some meaningless targets to help them spin stories about how successful they've been. The reality is that it will take decades to change attitudes, to create an environment where a larger proportion of the population aspire to a better life than that of Nadine's grey red haired girl, and where there's a greater self-belief to make it all attainable.
 
 
Unixman said:
Responded: Monday, 18 June 2007
I was up at my local hospital today for a GTT - the sole male amongst all the pregmant women being tested for gestational diabeties. I say women but there was one kid there who couldn't have been more than 17. She was accompanied (to my slight surprise to be honest) by her boyfriend who seemed to be even younger. I earwigged on the conversation and it was pretty much as you described - the baby was viewed as an escape, a short term happiness but then what? Maybe I am being too cynical but I suspect the boy won't be around when the baby started mewling and pewking (I hope that I am wrong but I doubt it) The baby will then be pushed around the estates like you describe .....
 
 
Dave said:
Responded: Monday, 18 June 2007
Wow! Spooky or what! Forty years ago today, I stopped the car at a Zebra crossing, somewhere on the outskirts of Liverpool, to let this little blonde pigtailed girl,aged about ten,skip across.In the twenty or so seconds that passed, I too, had a vision of this girl's future map out before me,a somewhat brighter than your red haired's seemingly doomed destiny. This bright young thing,obviously from the nearby council estate, would grow up to be a member of parliament, part time Goddess and one day lead a nation, bringing hope to those in despair but mainly wealth and happiness to all those who served under her. Yeh, about as believable as your analysis.:-)
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Tuesday, 19 June 2007
And maybe this young lady was a devout Roman Catholic, a follower of Cardinal O'Brien's ideals of no sex education, no contraception and no abortions,endless motherhood until she drops.Alternatively,she could just have bought her lifetime ticket on the endless gravy train of Benefits.A recent case highlighted a mother who after living off benefits for a long period was told by the benefits agency to get a job.She protested to her local MP,where would she,with little experience or qualifications, obtain a job that would have to pay her considerably more than the weekly £532 she was receiving in Benefits (allowing for tax)? Perhaps you would have painted an entirely different picture of the redhead had the sun been shinning.What were you doing in Leicester? Hunting down the elusive Hewitt perhaps?
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Tuesday, 19 June 2007
I suppose you could always get a job in a fairground if Dave doesn't make you electable next time. "Madame Nadine,I can tell your fortune,destiny and history within twenty seconds of seeing you" Thank God it wasn't a gypsy or a Cardinal crossing the road.Could have been Pat Hewitt touring her constituency I suppose, but you probably woundn't have stopped for her, and she would need no analysing;-)
 
 
Carl Cross said:
Responded: Tuesday, 19 June 2007
Spot on Mike H. I agree with everything being said to put the family at the heart of what we do but you're right I think - it will be a hard slog. Plus you're right to say that on the balance of probabilities, the kids were the girl's children rather than her siblings. Either way, it's irrelevant and was simply a casual observation leading to Nadine's thoughts on why young girls become pregnant. I can't imagine Not So Great Gatsby is a real person. I thought that kind of outdated class warfare style of debate went out with the ark. Surely nobody's so dim as to still believe all that crap? Assuming you are so dim, perhaps you need a better awareness of Nadine's own background (and mine for that matter before you ask) before you attach the chip to your shoulder and wage class war. Pathetic. Plus you're a grammar nerd. Enough said.
 
 
rachel said:
Responded: Tuesday, 19 June 2007
According to the DfES stats we now have the lowest rate of teenage conceptions in 20 years, so a significant amount of young women have been spared teenage motherhood. Credit where it is due, please Nadine. However, more needs to be done to sort this out. I would be very pleased if the Conservatives would look at sexual health much more holistically - rather than banging on about abortion or their AIDS campaign in the 1980s all the time. Look at the contraceptive services in this country, they are a complete disgrace - no money so community clinics are rarely open, and the pill is the only option for many GPs as they don't have the skills to fit an IUD or an implant - yet investing in contraceptive services would STOP young women getting pregnant in the first place. It's hardly rocket science to work out that this is much more cost effective option than them needing to access either abortion OR maternity services (never mind the subsequent costs of raising children on state benefits). Naturally I think there should be much more sex education than a quick biology lesson by the unfortunate teacher who drew the short straw in the staffroom as well. More work should be done to teach young people about respecting each other, and themselves. Cause, not effect in other words. It's controversial, but I think it might just work.
 
 
Not So Great Gatsby said:
Responded: Tuesday, 19 June 2007
Carl Cross Nothing is worse than a working-class girl made good for lording it over her former social equals. It was not class war and I don't think MPs being able to write in English is too much to ask.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Wednesday, 20 June 2007
An inspired observation, which may not be 100% accurate but certainly makes the point. For me, its about poverty of opportunity - put more simply, the education system fails girls like this, as does the family, as do her peers, and her employers (potential or actual). The girl, and girls like her, have next to no chance of a life any different to that which Nadine has projected. That is an unpalletable truth and the fault of at least 15 years of failed policies from both New Lab and Old Con. Keep your wits about you Nadine and you'll be leader one day! Maybe it'll be different when someone is finally prepared to say it as it is.
 
 
Carl Cross said:
Responded: Wednesday, 20 June 2007
Not So Great Gatsby: Your comments reek of class war and chips on shoulders - hence your inability to comment without referring to 'working class', 'social equals', 'lording it over' etc etc ad nauseum. Nadine's comments are a fair reflection of the sad state of affairs in some of our bleaker estates. It was honest and frank - something I wish more politicians would try to be. As for the grammar obsession - try remembering that to be constantly blogging, often no doubt in a spare five minutes here or there, does not lend itself to intensive proof reading. Only a nerd would care.
 
 
Snafu said:
Responded: Friday, 22 June 2007
Blame the welfare state for her predicament. There would be a lot more social pressure to prevent teenage pregnancies if they became a burden to their families and did not jump queues for council housing. Pregnancy is a career option for many. If she can have a few more children she'll be in profit!
 
 
 
Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at: nadine.dorries.mp@parliament.uk
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

 
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