Thoughts from Boris

Hello bloggers Sorry not to have been in touch for so long! Here's my THOUGHT FOR TODAY We are told the Tony Blair wants to suck up to working mothers by increasing paid maternity leave by a stonking 50 per cent -- to nine months. Never mind the extra burden this will place on the employers and taxpayers of Britain. There is another group of people who feel cheesed off, and indeed, the victims of discrimination. What about Bridget Jones? What about the 30-something singletons who have no children, and who may never have children? They are not only paying for all these arrangements in their taxes. They are being asked to keep the mums' places warm, while the mums go off and multiply, and then find that they may be pushed aside again when the mums come back. In other words the more you favour working mothers, the more you discriminate against those who, for better or worse, are competing against them in the employment market - such as working women who aren't mothers. What can we say to allay their irritation? As for the prospect of paid paternity leave - it fills me with gloom and dismay. It is likely to be very expensive for employers (and is likely to arouse resentments analogous to those just described), and it seems inhumane to fathers. In the course of four periods of paternity leave, I doubt if I have clocked up more than two weeks, in total, away from work. OK, maybe a bit more, but not much more. We are now faced with the prospect of all fathers being morally blackmailed to take huge periods off work, at the expense of their firms. I am sure that it will not in all cases be the best thing for the fathers, since they are likely to contract semi-homicidal cabin fever in the neo-natal environment of perfumed nappy sacks and inexplicable squalling. And it will not be the best thing for the children. All the evidence is that they need to be near their mothers, not their fathers. It is a fact of biology that, so far, only women breast feed. I can see nothing in this ghastly New Labour initiative but misery and expense. If fathers and mothers want to take more time off, that's fine; but let it not be at the expense of everyone else in their firm. I can't tell you how pleased I am to have said something bordering on the truly reactionary.

46 thoughts on “Thoughts from Boris”

  1. Praise be to Boris! A man who sees sense & tells it.

    As a determined “never-to-be-mother-or-shoot-me” I am (yet again) angry at the potential cost and emotion burden placed on us by the breeders. Surely THEY should be paying more tax for the privelege of inflicting us with their poorly behaved, loutish sproglets and all the associated costs of the next 21 (minimum) years?

    In the meantime, don’t worry, all the mothers affected can blame Mr Blair for the break-up of their relationships and see sense into voting Conservative!

  2. “All of us, whether we have children or not, have a real interest in making sure children are brought up well,” – Patricia Hewitt. By the same logic, is it not also important to everyone to see that sufficient doctors, engineers, scientists etc go to university, to provide for health and jobs for the future of this country? So can we expect Labour to kill off top-up fees? No, because students are an easy target.

  3. Boris posts again

    I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have said something bordering on the truly reactionary.

    Is Boris trying to get back in Michael Howard’s good books?

    Still, a lengthy and serious post from Boris which shows that he is at least trying to use …

  4. And of course what it says to those parents who don’t work, committing their all to bringing up children while a spouse supports the entire family. If you care about how children are being raised, the prospect of encouraging more part-time parenting appals.

  5. One of the best bits is that realisation that children need their mothers. While economics force more women to work when they have under 5s we put the future at risk.
    Women should always be the child rearers.
    Men don’t mind looking after children but unless in extraordinary circumstances they are not best suited unlike the females. My lovely wife says Ladies are even able to turn off the smell of their own kids poo so they can smile sweetly while cleaning up the poor wee lambs bum.

    The recent film Meet The Fockers (not as good as Meet the Parents by miles) have samething to say on that topic (brestfeeding) I think but whatever it was escaped me!!! Did you see it Boris ?

  6. Did you know, married people who have chosen not to have children exist! We exist, hello to all you politicians! We vote, too.

  7. Paternity leave? Have they gone stark raving bonkers?

    It was all I could do to get back to work to escape the nappies, the din and get back onto night shifts where I could turn in a decent bit of kip.

    And err… earn money for my family, obviously. Like Boris said.

  8. What a hero! Why can’t this man be Prime Minister instead of the current joker? Oh Boris, stand at the next Tory leadership election. Get them back in office and put the fun into politics!

  9. Amen, Boris.
    Most of my close female single friends live in squalid flats and have difficulty scraping up the rent. But If they popped out a sprog then thier worries would be over. Of course, they would probly lock the poor thing in a cupboard and try to carry on as normal. Why does the goverment not realise that not everyone wants or even *likes* kids?

  10. Oops. One of your weakest posts to date Boris. Try not to play to the gallery so much in future.

    What’s next? Why not bash OAP’s because they are subsisting at the expense of the young and economically active? What about students? The sick definitely benefit at the expense of the healthy?

    This is what society is about; there is an element of the common good and looking after those who need it. What goes around comes around: We may not all have children or need parental leave but we were all once children.

    As for your logic, it sounds like you have been spending too much time listening to his holiness Tony I. Since when was extending the (limited) right to paternity leave equivelent to “the prospect of all fathers being morally blackmailed to take huge periods off work, at the expense of their firms”? It’s like when we criticised Tony I for lying and he said we didn’t support democracy in Iraq: both arguments lack basic logic.

  11. It’s okay Boris. No right thinking mother would want to stay at home for a year. I couldn’t wait to get back to work after mine were born.

    No if I could have a year off now they’re at school that would be good. I could have lunch down the pub every day and get my nails done weekly..

  12. Instead of paternity leave, might it not be a better idea to have a paternity tax leave instead – i.e. 4 months or so of NO tax for the father? We give tax breaks to corporations investing in the UK, why not apply the same principle to bringing up children, rather than these complex paternity leave arrangements and these overwhelmingly complex “tax credit” schemes. It’s simple – NO tax for 4 months for the father, after he’s had a child. It would have to be in wedlock as well, to quite frankly, prevent abuse of the system. (one can imagine disreputable fathers going from woman to woman , making them pregnant in order to get tax free status – but if you enforce the only-in-wedlock idea, you’re re-enforcing the institution of marriage, a core conservative belief)

    Surely , that would be of more benefit – responsible parents would then decide themselves what to do with the extra disposible income. If they squander it, then that’s their fault. But , it does put responsibility back to the parents – rather than this paternity leave idea that doesnt give anyone any idea of the real economic costs.

    The tax-free oasis idea certainly sounds more attractive to myself anyway. Of course, richer folks would , by proportion of their income, gain more from such a scheme.

    But i cant see anyone on lower incomes objecting to that 4 month tax-free boost – it could make the world of difference to a child’s start in life – and there is less of the nanny state in the idea – it’s putting the responsibility back to parents – and I really think that the vast majority of parents will gladly take on that responsibility, if given it.

    I’m somewhat rattling on – adieu, and very good post Mr. Johnson!

  13. Talking of tax, the tax and childcare is very silly. When I had my boys I enrolled them in the on-site work nursery. Unfortunately it was full to brimming so I sent them to another one, owned by the same company. What I only realised later, was that my work could subsidise through tax and national insurance relief the work based nursery, but not the non work-based one (it has to be on the same site as your work apparently).
    This silly law meant that I was paying 25% more for my nursery fees than my co-workers, although the nurseries were all run by the same company.

    Madness. Over the course of the combined years that my boys have been there this has cost me several thousand pounds..

  14. I have three children, and I think this bribe for breeding voters is crass and stupid.

    Erm… mainly because our family suffers a curse that sees me out of work *every* *time* a new child arrives.

    (sighs)

    I should have bought some pegs.

    /stereotype

  15. I never thought I’d see the day that I’d agree with a Tory, but Boris is one of my favourite politicians anyway.

    Hear, hear.

    I’m another married female who chose not to have kids. I’m also self-employed so am entitled to nothing, nada, zero, zilch, of anything if I happen to fall ill, lose work, or (accidentally!) have kids. I still have to pay my taxes and NI, though. And ok, I get NHS treatment eventually and, if it isn’t totally bankrupt by then, I may get a basic pension. But it’s no wonder that I get annoyed when I see yet more handouts to people just cos they’ve got kids. I even know people who’ve had kids just to get said handouts as well as accommodation.

    I think it’s time the government started to reward the workers and those who don’t put a strain on our ever increasing welfare state. A friend of mine is a single working mother and she gets nothing either, apart from a percentage of her childcare.

  16. “What about the 30-something singletons who have no children, and who may never have children? They are not only paying for all these arrangements in their taxes.”

    Tough. Everybody has a duty to raise children. Currently we have a declining population, caused (in part) by the Bridgette Jones type yuppies.

  17. Monkey write:

    ‘”What about the 30-something singletons who have no children, and who may never have children? They are not only paying for all these arrangements in their taxes.”

    Tough. Everybody has a duty to raise children. Currently we have a declining population, caused (in part) by the Bridgette Jones type yuppies. ‘

    May be Monkey would like to have lived in Nazi Germany, or, Stalist Russia. After all that’s the kind of Neo-fascist crap he or she is preaching. This is the 21st century and this is the free world. Time to spank the Monkey and tell it to grow up. Of course that is if The Monkey has not yet gone to heaven.

  18. I think a declining population would be great. There are too many people in Britain already (and I’m not talking about asylum here) I can have a bigger house, there’ll be less cars on the roads, and more green spaces. Who wants more people?? Stop breeding everyone! In fact, we should limit families to two children per couple. Anyone who wants more is just silly.

  19. “I think a declining population would be great. There are too many people in Britain already (and I’m not talking about asylum here) I can have a bigger house, there’ll be less cars on the roads, and more green spaces”

    Great idea, hope you enjoy the impending pensions crisis and economic oblivion 😉

  20. Monkey – that’s why I said 2 kids each instead of 1 or none 🙂 You’re not seriously saying we should all have more are you?

  21. A blue rinser? Actually I’m 20. Although I do have some Victor Meldrew tendencies ;-p

    “Monkey – that’s why I said 2 kids each instead of 1 or none 🙂 You’re not seriously saying we should all have more are you?”

    Well, currently the birth-rate is around about 1.7. For the population to freeze (ie to neither grow nor shrink) the birth-rate must be 2.1.

    Birth rates have been shrinking all over Europe for the last 20 years. We are a dying continent. It would be no exaggeration to say that the long term viability of European civilisation is under threat.

    As things are going (based upon official demographic statistics) Indigenous Europeans will be outnumbered by North Africans before 2100. Some on the left will shrug their shoulders as if this is unimportant. ‘So what if European civilisation is invaded by Islamic civilisation?’

    Their naivety and short sightedness is breathtaking. It’s almost as if they actually want Enoch Powell’s vision to come true.

  22. Monkey, what kind of parents do you think people would be who had children, not because they liked or would otherwise have wanted children, but because it was their duty to the white race?

    Kids should be born only to people who want them, love them, and will do their best to care for them and bring them up to be responsible human beings. Otherwise we’re just creating more little psychopaths to kick in phone boxes and mug pensioners, whether the colour of said children’s skin pleases you or not!

  23. I respect your comments Monkey but sympathise with Lori – I would also understand it if there were any Catholic-type thinking in your views.

    I’m sure you’ll be a great Dad one day!

  24. Tim – I know what you’re saying. I was conceived in the sixties – does that count?

    Monkey – You sound like Ian Paisley. He’s been campaigning for years to get the ‘prods’ to breed more, as at the RC’s are out-breeding them. that means that their slender majority is under threat, and a United Ireland will be the ultimate conclusion.
    Still (in my opinion) not a reason to have more kids.
    Oh, and the North Africans may be ‘out-breeding’ us, but with HIV being endemic in that part of the world, I think it evens out because their death rates are horrendously higher too…

  25. Can I point out a simpler solution to this? If parents put the welfare of their children before their material greed. If one parent (father or mother, studies have shown it doesn’t matter) gives up work completely to look after their child(ren), it has been proven that that child does better at school, is less likely to be disruptive etc. There should be a 50% top tax rate, not for those earning

  26. I agree with Boris 100%. Once again TB is been very generous with my taxes. Parenthood is a life style choice and I fail to see why I have to subsidise it.

  27. Sorry folks, but i think you guys might have mis-read me – all i’m saying is give the parents a tax-break.

    You’re NOT subsidising them. Rather than you folks paying taxes to pay for nursery places, which is the case now, give the parents themselves a tax break and let THEM choose what to do. Let THEM then spend that tax break money or save it.

    Right now, YOUR tax money is being spent on BEHALF of the parents out there. I’m saying – dont do that – let the parents decide.

    And if you think thats a bad idea – we give tax breaks to corporatons all the time to encourage them to invest in our country. Why not apply the same principle to having children – after all, it’s those kids that’ll be paying for you in your old age. And all i’m saying is that its a limited tax break that replaces the “paternity leave” policy.

  28. “Can I point out a simpler solution to this? If parents put the welfare of their children before their material greed. If one parent (father or mother, studies have shown it doesn’t matter) gives up work completely to look after their child(ren), it has been proven that that child does better at school, is less likely to be disruptive etc. There should be a 50% top tax rate, not for those earning 100,000, but on both parents if neither of them is willing to give up work and put the child first.”

    Too complex – more inland revenue red tape and administration that will eventually turn out to cost more than the actual tax break.

    I work in I.T. – and the mantra is always – K.I.S.S – keep it simple stupid.

    Keep it simple. If you’re in wedlock and you’re a father and you’ve had a kid – 4 months tax break – maybe more.

    If you are a woman – tax free period too. Basically, you dissapear from the inland revenue and your boss doesnt have tons of paperwork.
    Its simple – proof of marriage, a reference from your local policeman (a la getting a passport), and your N.I. number – simple..

    As for the comments above about the English population decling being a good thing – i’m flabbergasted by such sentiments.

    Ireland had a population of 12 million in 1845, in 1960 it had 3 million – and we all know what a bed of roses that place was from 1840 to 1995ish.

    Don’t believe the England is “overcrowded” nonsense – there’s acres of land available – i see it everyday when i commute into work. And not to mention the fact that the likes of the Northern cities like Newcastle are actually SHRINKING… bit of a north/south imbalance there.

    Move Whitehall to York maybe and get the country re-united again,rather than this north-south divide.

  29. “after all, it’s those kids that’ll be paying for you in your old age.”

    Actually, Justin, I’m paying for my own old age. and I’m sure many others are too. My dad was one of the first generation to pay into NI, but he’s paying for his own old age too as his state pension, the one he’s contributed to for 50+ years, is taxed at the higher rate *because* he also has a separate pension, another that he’s paid into out of his wages that were already taxed.

    And yes, this country is overcrowded. Or are you saying we should build on all of this green land (when brown field sites are lying vacant and derelict) that may or may not have fault lines and mine shafts and rising water tables beneath it?

  30. I sincerely hope that everyone here has a retirement plan besides “let the government worry about it”! It’s not too late to research and save for your own retirement, folks. Don’t trust that future working stiffs will pay your way–the system may be entirely different (or even nonexistent) by then!

  31. Sorry to go off topic, but how about this?

    http://www.macworld.com/news/2005/03/02/kbebill/index.php?lsrc=mcrss-0305

    Well, thank you Tony Blair – it can’t have been Her Majesty’s own idea. Tony and Bill seem as thick as thieves – if you’ll pardon the expression.

    I cannot believe the *gall* of this one. DOJ investigation ring any bells?

    http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f3800/msjudgex.htm

    Halloween Papers mean nothing?

    http://www.opensource.org/halloween/

    Or the attempt to suborn Andy Tannebaum and get him to vilify Linus?

    http://rixstep.com/1/20050224,00.html

    And how about throwing dirty words, like “communist”, at the GNU, as Richard Stallman tells … a dislike for monopolies (and a willingness to make code publicly available and accountable to peer review) is about as communist as Adam Smith:

    http://news.com.com/Bill+Gates+and+other+communists/2010-1071_3-5576230.html

    Nice friends, Tony. Remind me to bring a sick bag.

    And to think that the sleaze around John Major’s government put me off the Tories.

  32. The arguement that we should pay (as a society) to bring up children is all fine and well, a very noble idea. However it is also quite fine and well to expect that everyone should endeavour to require as little government aid as possible, through appropriate planning/personal responsibility.

    I don’t propose the government do away with what (to me) is a wonderful benefit, but I understand that there is also a case to be heard that if such a policy was withdrawn (along with others of this type) a tax-cut could be made. With a tax-cut each employee makes a little more money and those wishing to have children could pre-plan and save from their own-wages (which is now slightly higher) for any such maternity or paternity leave they may wish to take.

    We do, as many point out, have a duty to help in the upbringing of the next generation, but there are more ways to do this than increased taxation and government expenditure. We can help by lower-tax levels allround and by less government intervention, we can help by better use of current taxation, more definied policies, policies that promote personal responsibility, that promote social-helping.

    Throwing money at a problem is not enough, we need to ensure we get value for money and service for our social-sacrifice, not endless amounts of handouts with little or no improvement to society.

  33. There are a number of points that are being overlooked. Firstly the provision of a long (9 months) maternity leave is better for the nation in the long term than shorter maternity leave. Why you may ask. Because for any kind of reasonable job, a company will lose money on employing a new member of staff for a short period, but over a longer period that person can be productive and a net benefit. This also gains by providing in-work experience for a guaranteed short period for people, improving the skill base of the nation and making it easier for employers to take tried and tested employees. It seems to work extremely well in Scandinavia.

    Secondly, it would be extremely helpful if couples (whether married or not) could be taxed jointly. In other words where the initial tax thresholds are transferable. This would allow a family where only one person was supporting the family to benefit by up to 1000 pounds a year. It would also benefit other couples where e.g.one partner is long term sick, or full time caring for elderly relatives (to those who begrudge tax breaks for families, I hope you aren’t expecting my children to pay for your pension or healthcare after your retirement).

    There are some really positive policies that could support the family, and allow a fairer distribution of taxation.

  34. Maybe new labour would care to institute some kind of aptitude test to ensure that only those with an NVQ in parenting skills and child care could breed? Perhaps this abrogation of what used to be ones personal choice and responsibility to the state is at the root of many of our social problems. Unless people are allowed to take control of their own lives, what incentive is there to simply grow up?

    As for the whole paternity leave / baby bond issue, it appears a rather sleazy vote grubbing measure. Cheap to the politicians but how much will the rest of us end up paying?

  35. Ah Boris, have you succumbed to the election warm up already?

    Normally a paragon of common sense you appear to have omitted the one vital benefit of minimising the financial impact of becoming a working mother:

    Working implies a willingness to contribute to our society therefore our society should create an environment which encourage contributors to produce more contributors.

    If we produce a society where environmental factors create a bias towards the production of a majority of non-contributors only chaos can ensue.

  36. I entirely agree with David Martin that taxing couples jointly would be very helpful for couples. Far better to loosen the tax burden than have everyone mendicants asking for Mr Brown or whoever else it is for a tax credit.

    Indeed there was an element of this enlightened approach to tax reliefs in the past. Melissa and Boris are I think too young to recall it but there used to be the Married Man’s Allownce which was transferrable between husbands and wives. I think dear old Nigel Lawson abolished it in one of his “modernising” budgets. I think it was in this same budget that he announced the end of dual mortage relief but with a six month delay. This latter announcement gave the 80s crazy property boom its last hurrah as couples rushed to take advantage of the six month window. The crash was soon to follow. Happy days-NOT.

  37. Come to that, what about the unfortunate self-employed, male or female? When my children were young I managed about three weeks helping out at home. Then the money started to dry up because no-one pays you for taking time off when you’re self-employed and I had to take the first work I was offered. Is Tony of the Fourth Form proposing to give sole traders some kind of tax break for having children? Because if he is I’m off to reverse the vasectomy…

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