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.