Category Archives: All together now

A personal take on Politics and the Big Society

Brexit Stereotypes – a creation of and justification for Brexit?

In January Theresa May came to Stoke on Trent to make a speech in a bid to gain support for her Brexit deal. She was hustled in and whisked out and was probably back in London before most of us could catch the bus home.

“To the government and the media the only thing that defines us is Brexit.”

She didn’t stay to look around. She didn’t speak to any but a carefully selected few. She didn’t visit a food bank or meet people whose jobs are at risk or who can’t afford a home. She didn’t walk around the town and see for herself the potholes in the roads, the boarded up shops and the homeless people. Continue reading

EU Referendum

In 1975 I voted for the first time. My first vote was to stay in the EEC. On 23rd June I shall vote to remain in the EU.

I feel European. I work for a large global corporation and in such an environment, being European, not British or English, matters. The people I work with are from all across the globe. Many I have not met, but I know their voices and have seen their photographs. We work together with trust and confidence just as we would if we were all in the same office. The cultural diversity, the different perspectives and variety of ideas makes working in a multi-national environment stimulating, educational and rewarding. I belong, I feel welcome, I feel part of a community. A global community. Continue reading

Small people in a big world – response to refugees

What the current refugee crisis shows me more than anything is that there are a lot of small people in a big world. On the one hand individuals and families fleeing from war and terror, reliant on their own wits, at the mercy of people smugglers and dependant on the hospitality (or not) of others. On the other hand the residents of safe countries,  some as in Germany and Iceland opening their homes in hospitality, others as in Britain either frustrated by a feeling of helplessness or  scared that offering refuge to the displaced will harm their own circumstances or even endanger their country. Continue reading

Unpaid overtime. How much am I subsidising my boss?

Sometime during the last couple of weeks I caught the end of an item on the radio which had covered the widening gap between paid and worked hours. In 2011 the UK Office of National Statistics published information showing that managers and senior officials worked an average of 7.6 hours per week more than they were paid for. It was more than any other group. The radio article said this gap was increasing. It made me think: how much am I subsidising my boss? Continue reading

Stand up for girls and women

Quote from Archbishop Desmond Tutu I just saw this Tweet quoting Desmond Tutu: “Boys, it is when you stand up for girls and women that you measure up as a man.” How brilliant. How true. All my life I have been lucky enough to be supported by men who have not been scared, worried or intimidated by the idea that women and girls in their lives might “do better” than them: whether winning at sport, earning more money or holding more senior positions. Continue reading

Grumpy Middle Aged Woman: I didn’t cause financial crisis

How old do you have to be to be a Grumpy Old Woman? 50? 60? 80? If I’m not old enough yet, I’ll settle for Grumpy Middle Aged Woman.  Yes, that will be it, simple arithmetic: young women 16-39, middle aged women 40-63 and old women 64-87; 88+ very old! OK, I admit it: I feel a lot older now than I did when I was 40 – mostly when I go running or to the gym where “getting old” is my excuse for not keeping up with the twenty-somethings. Continue reading

Cost of postgraduate courses a barrier to some professions

I see from an article in the Guardian that someone is suing St Hugh’s College Oxford for refusing him a place on a postgraduate course because, despite acquiring a professional career development loan to pay for the course, he can’t prove he already has what the college deems to be sufficient funds to support himself for the duration of the course. He is apparently arguing that this is selection on the basis of wealth and disproportionately discriminates against those without access to savings and capital in breach of their human rights. Continue reading

Up the down escalator

It was my birthday recently. Three years ago I was seven years from state pension age, now its ten! I feel like I’m running hard up the down escalator and even if I collapse I’ll have to keep struggling on up because although I took the precaution of income protection insurance it will stop in four years time. You see, twenty five plus years ago when I took it out I my crystal ball failed to predict the recent dramatic increase in pension ages and adjusting it now is very expensive. There was me thinking I could just pay the same premiums for a few more years. How naive. Silly me. Of course I’ll be a much higher risk and would only be paying the premium for 13 years not over the original 30 odd years. Off course! Obvious really. I hope I don’t need it, but I am left feeling cheated. After all I wont get what I thought I’d purchased: income protection in the years when I am likely to need it most. Continue reading

Twitter beginner

A new celebrity Twitter beginner: David Cameron joined twitter and #askDave became an instant attraction. His profile says the account is run by him and the @conservatives team. Who thinks he will manage it himself? I’m guessing he will get the edited highlights. At least I hope he wont have time to sit and read everything himself – he wouldn’t have time to do any other work. Or maybe that is the point. The Twitter using public think it would be better if he spent his time reading faintly humorous and sometimes crude tweets rather than run the country and think up policies. Continue reading