Sunday, April 18, 2010

How women think

J.K. Rowling: The single mother's manifesto

I keep having flashbacks to 1997, and not merely because of the most memorable election result in recent times. In January that year, I was a single parent with a four-year-old daughter, teaching part-time but living mainly on benefits, in a rented flat. Eleven months later, I was a published author who had secured a lucrative publishing deal in the US, and bought my first ever property: a three-bedroom house with a garden.

Posted by devo @ 12:28 AM (2307 views)
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12 thoughts on “How women think

  • tenant super says:

    A few points I agree with JK on such as the marriage tax thing is pointless cosmetics whether or not you think it is morally right.

    A few points I disagree on …

    It isn’t so much the affordability of child-care but the quality. It is a profession that the government has encouraged young, poorly educated women to go into under the misapprehension that feeding, changing and keeping a baby physically safe is all that matters while mothers go off to work to contribute to paying ever higher mortgages to their masters.

    She seems to have been upset about the attuitude towards her a benefit recipient single mother. I used to be in the slag off single-mums brigade and I don’t really support the welfare state but now if I think ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’ … after all, nobody ever thanks you for not claiming tax credits and so on… and that’s the only way you’ll ever see any return for your taxes. If I am ever in that situation, quite frankly, I wouldn’t care one jot what all the “outraged of Tonbridge Wells, Once Great Britain” write about people like me in their daily mail comments.

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  • given the choice, most mothers would rather stay at home with their children, than work

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  • tenant super says:

    And the only way of an average earner doing that (mostly) without struggling financially is to work the 16 hours required to get tax credits, renting and living apart from your partner. You’ll get your wage, tax credits at 61% and housing benefit… result!

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  • tenant super says:

    Oh and childcare costs at 80% for the 16 hours you do work.

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  • Djano Rhinestone says:

    An excellent article from “JK”. The discussion of patriotism at the end is unanswerable for the Tory party.

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  • Reluctant Heretic says:

    One of the reasons why I am so angry about the HPI syndrome is that good, hard-working, honest, uncomplaining single-mothers like my friend are paying the mortgages of landlords while scraping by themselves. My friend left her husband because he wanted to her to be part of a harem of women he could call upon for sexual favours, not that he was much material good to her anyway. She doesn’t get her rent paid, she gets a small discount on the £675 which is paid mostly out of her wages as a manager in a national store. She is brillant at her job but can’t take a promotion because he refuses to pull his weight with the children; he has them occasionally when it suits them and doesn’t pay any maintenance. She works like a dog just scrapes by and is also studying in her ‘free time’ to improve her job prospects. I know that there are some wonderful men out there who are taken for a ride by their partners/wives – but in my personal experience I have seen many more examples of women in a lose-lose situation. How do you discriminate between the genuine victims and the ones working the system I suppose is the real issue?

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  • Yes, J K Rowling (in it)’s rags-to-riches sob story is not all it seems.

    In short, its much like Richard Branson’s “rags-to-riches” story – not so much rags but more “reasonably-well-off-to-riches”. J K Rowling (in it) split up with her Portuguese celebrity husband and started studying for a PGCE back in the UK where she rented a (heated) flat in a rather nice bit of Edinburgh.

    Yes, she lived off benefits, but was also well supported by her decidedly middle class educated parents.

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  • clockslinger says:

    I’d like to remind readers of this site that the John Redwood mentioned in Ms Rowlings article is the same John Redwood that some nasty little Tory activist (pretending to be a well intentioned but obviously extremely misguided “contributor”) asked you all to write to assuring you that said Redwood “takes your concerns on HPI serously”! Just so as you know…
    With the election coming up and Dave n Spotty getting desperate there will be a lot more of this kind of thing no doubt.

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  • For a contrary point of view, consider this recent article:

    Telegraph: A Government that doesn’t know where babies come from

    There is a lot of fuss about the “nanny state”: the imposition of ever-increasing rules and regulations, supposedly for our own good. But there’s much less anxiety about an equally disturbing phenomenon: the growth of the “daddy state”, in which the Government tries to arrange the tax and benefit system so that fathers are, in economic terms, unnecessary.

    In creating incentives for single parenthood, the daddy state is doing exactly the opposite of what sensible public policy should: instead of alleviating a serious social problem, it is making it much worse.

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  • John Redwood has his faults but at least offers an alternative to the bland almost indistinguishable message coming from Messr’s Brown , Clegg and Cameron which all lead to national bankruptcy .

    Most of us cannot appreciate what life is like for someone in completely different social circumstances . As for MP’s in Westminster , how many have even the slightest appreciation idea what it is like for anyone in the outside world ?

    I bet the back benchers number less than 50 and the number of cabinet/shadow cabinet members could be counted on one hand of a boxing glove .

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  • tenant super says:

    It is tricky. If the state supports widows or those who have been abandoned by the father of their child, an inevitable side-effect is this “daddy state”. I can’t see us returning to the days of forced adoption for unmarried mothers.

    The welfare reform bill which became law last November now makes naming the father on the birth cert mandatory and perhaps the only way of resolving this is to increase mandatory maintenance and assess the benefit and tax credit entitlement on the income of both parents regardless of whether they live together. This too is extremely problematic … if a man leaves his partner and has another family, the result could be increased poverty for both his former partner and child and his new family.

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