Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Child’s Play

Yesterday morning, whilst slurping on my first cuppa and straining on the blog, I was dimly aware of some claptrap about childcare being discussed on BBC Radio 4. My ears pricked up when I heard somebody say that you shouldn’t get assistance with childcare (income support, or some other such nanny state, socialist bribe) unless your household income fell below £72,000 per annum. It’s a small miracle my tea remained un-spat. Firstly, why seventy TWO thousand? There must be a department employed specifically to come up with oddly random numbers for this kind of announcement. And secondly, £72k is a king’s ransom for the vast majority of households in Britain.

Now, I’ve never been interested in the subject of childcare, largely because I don’t much care about children; nasty sticky, smelly things they are. But my interest was then taken to a whole new level - the décor was safe because by now I had put the tea cup down - when the same voice informed me and the other listener that such assistance is given for some households with an income of up to £300,000 p.a. My gob has rarely been so smacked. At £150k the top rate of income tax applies and only 1% of the population earn such sums, yet a couple each earning just below that level can, apparently, claim public subsidy for looking after their brats. Sorry, but this is just taking the piss.

Later in the the day even more urine was appropriated as various couples told their tales of childcare costing more than their mortgage and the bizarre juggling with careers and part-time work and whether it’s stay-at-home daddy or stay-at-home mummy and all that other latter day bullshit where everybody seems to have lost their mind and forgotten the rules: Rule number one – you breed ‘em, you feed ‘em. Rule number two – you should have thought about the working arrangements before you pupped up. Your kids, your responsibility and I heartily begrudge you every single penny of state funding that you steal for your progeny.

And then it turns out that the childcare industry has gone mental, with costs escalating because of the evolution of ridiculous, unnecessary and downright stupid regulations. Qualifications, for fuck’s sake? What qualifications do you need to mind a few rug rats for a few hours? Childcare used to be an in-the-community, ad-hoc thing with a few mums making pin money for looking after their neighbours’ shit machines, but now? Now, by all accounts it has become (like nursing and burger-flipping and colouring-in) a graduate ‘profession’ where certification takes the place of competence and perfectly able and dedicated people – the right people – can’t be employed at reasonable wages because the right boxes haven’t been ticked.

So now you have the situation where people are going to work and in some cases paying even more than they earn by doing so in order for strangers to bring up their children. Come on, that is sheer lunacy. It wouldn’t be an issue if we were talking of a few high-flying career women not wanting to step off their meteoric rise to the top but not having the space for a live-in nanny. Or if we were considering the odd circumstances that a small number of people find themselves in due to a quirk of the system. But no, this stuff is mainstream madness and has become an electoral pledge issue. I can only conclude it is down to some form of mass delusional insanity.

Feed me now or dis gon’ get real ugly.

Because I have to ask you why you do it? Why did you even have kids in the first place if you didn't intend and have the means to raise them yourself? It strikes me there is little logic behind the decision, given that it even was a decision and not some foolhardy accident of promiscuity. You risk illness and even death in pregnancy, your world focus shifts way out of all sense, you develop unhealthy obsessions with the health of your offspring and the texture of their ordure and you suddenly lose the ability to hold a normal conversation. In return for your devotion they cost you a fortune which they will never repay, but worse; they could turn out to be delinquents, or criminals… or politicians. And then when you get old and frail you fear they might suffocate you as you sleep in order to get their inheritance, or else put you in a home. Honestly, children are evil, why would anybody take the risk? 


  1. Before I had my two, ( after which I stayed at home and looked after them myself whilst the HG went out and HGed ) I worked at a private Nursery. Bear in mind this was twenty years ago, a morning session cost £40 and an afternoon session til 6pm was £55. All day was £95. No discount. Us ( fully qualified after going to college full time for two years and doing proper work experience and needing 5 proper O lev

  2. els to even get an interview ) were paid less than the minimum wage. I am pretty sure it's not much different now. Except now, the student child are workers we see at work these days are the ones who have no hope in hell of getting a proper job. Indeed, some of late have been kids who I know because I had them in my 'special' group because they didn't know their number bonds to ten at the age of ten etc ....

    Anyway, that aside, I worked in the baby room for a while and was astounded at how people would drop off 6 week old babies at 8am and return at 6pm to get them! Why have them???
    I'm glad they did though, because it was a job for me! Which I loved! I was good at! But so so poorly paid! Think I might leave my job and be a childminder - heard its a gold mine!!!

  3. Babies are a way for feckless unmarried teenage mothers to jump to the top of the housing list, rent-free to them; then more babies = more benefits.

  4. I agree - if nothing else, such moves ultimately penalise those parents (like Mrs B and me, goddammit!) who decided that they'd just have to live with the consequences of not being able to work in quite the ways they'd previously done after having a child rather than expect other people to subsidise us to outsource being parents to some random third parties. The more you normalise and subsidise huge amounts of reliance on childcare the more difficult you make it for those parents who would quite like to look after their own children and fit work around it.