Saturday, 10 December 2011

Fears for the future

Sophie and I
 A few of you will know about my daughter Sophie who was born on 12th May 2010 at the same time as the Coalition. With the birth of both there was a feeling of hope and an exciting new future.

Now... Now a feeling of dread has set in as a wary parent I eye the future.

Education and Social Mobility

One of the Coalition (especially Lib Dem) aim is to try and level the playing field so that Children can progress to any level of society no matter what their background.
This is as it should be, we're not in the Nineteenth Century and everyone us equal and should be judged by ability not on background or ability to pay.
The Pupil Premium will help many children from poorer backgrounds into preschools and in the early stages, building a brighter chance for later on.
The early years are so important and you need to get the foundations just right. The stereotype of the Chatham Girl goes back to at least the 90's where a now defunct website catalogued the Gold Argos clown wearing "Proto-chavs". This stereotype continues and when ever I am in the High Street or walking home and see these groups of teenage girls smoking, littering, drinking etc I shudder fearing that in time that could be my little girl. This is one of the reasons that my wife and I are not doing what so many parents end up doing - leaving vasts amount of basic parenting up to the Schools.
It is not the up to Schools to teach Sophie not to litter, to be courteous, how to talk and behave. In fact we will also be teaching her to read and at least write her own name before she goes to Primary school. At eighteen months she can almost count to ten... She doesn't know what it means but if you say "One" she'll do the rest with you.
A lack of money though and the state of Medway as an area means that Sophie will be going to an "Adequate" school where really we would like an "exceptional" school to best help develop her mind and educate her. As we don't have money though, we'll also be helping her at home. Between Sam and I we have a good base of general knowledge and a huge library of books to help her and we will help her with her homework and learning.

Money and the deficit.

One of the big things, and everyone is watching it is the deficit. I'm a low grade civil servant/public sector worker who sits under the £21,000 pay freeze but in a job that will see a 1% pay rise over the next few years whilst my bills etc will raise by at least 5% which in real terms is a 4%  loss for me and my family.
Also there is the pension problem which will see me paying more into a pension (if the PCS figures are to be believed) and getting less back, on top of working until I am older.

Also, as I work in a section of the Department of Culture and Sport at a Museum, I am so far down the list of necessary staff it is unbelievable. The old adage of rather save money on hospitals than museums is absolutely true. Managers and office functionaries always seem to save their jobs but I'm in a bracket that always suffers the pitfalls of redundancies, out sourcing or running on bare bones so I'm hardly secure in my post at the moment. There is a constant worry that management may decide one day that I am superfluous or come up with a better way of running things that doesn't involve many of us any more. To be fair they themselves have to look at cuts from Government and the declining numbers of people coming through the doors, spending money in the shop or making donations.

My big fear is interest rates. Due to my beloved Grandfather passing away I inherited half of his house and so I have a small mortgage (having paid my sister off) and between Sam and I we manage to live comfortably and put a small amount away for Sophie's future and for household repairs and replacements - such as the lack of central heating and double glazing. If Interest rates were to rise by more than 3% though we will be in trouble as we won't be able to keep up the payments. At the moment all is well but only time will tell.

They say Money isn't everything... They obviously have it as it isn't important until you don't have any.

Jobs and family

The job market is looking bleak, not just because of the economic situation but in general. There was a time when university degrees were far and few between - now they are prolific and every job has graduates applying for it. I work with a guy who has a good degree from Oxford and he works security.
The degrees that are truly worth something are the Vocational degrees like Teaching, medicine, Law etc... You can then go into a job in your field. If you have a general degree like History (as I have) you are able to go into any position in any company. That's if we can afford to send Sophie to University in the first place.

I'm finding that work is eating up so much of my time that I am running out of it and not seeing my family at all, not just my wife but also my Mum and Granddad. I know that I should make more time but when I'm out of the house for 13 hours a day and do 7 day shift patterns it is difficult. I worry that in the future when Sophie is in her 20's or 30's I will see her as much as I see my Mum and that will be far and few between just because to make enough money to stay afloat she will have to work more, as will I.

May be I'm being pessimistic, may be everything is going to be different. Maybe little Sophie and any future siblings will have amazing lives and all life will be all the opportunities that they deserve. All I can do is hope and do the best I can, as any parent does.
I want her to have an amazing life and opportunities and to succeed where I have failed in life, but so much is beyond my control that I am concerned. It is one of the reasons I dabble in local and watch national politics as so much that is decided at Gun Wharf and Westminster that then affects our lives and we may not even get a say.

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