Wednesday 12 May 2010


I hate hung parliaments. Bloody nuisance of a thing. I remember well Tasmania in 1989, I was sitting in the Tasmanian Industrial Commission taking notes on a hearing when the scandal broke, bribery and corruption trying to get a Labour candidate to cross the floor.

I'll have to hang my flag out, I am not a Tory. I am not a Laborite either. I dunno what I am. Like religion, there doesn't seem to be any political group that completely gets me. All the polls I did said I should be voting Green. It doesn't really get Green up in this part of the North, maybe I should run next time.

But this time, with our interesting Tory/Lib Dem combo, I am worried. Now I am a mother I am reliant on a lot more services than I ever have been. The NHS, SureStart, tax credits and child benefit. It's a scary feeling. I really feel I shouldn't have to work, I should receive a tiny bit of support to help me stay at home and look after my own child rather than stick him in nursery for someone else to raise him.

I need my SureStart centre. SureStart, admittedly has lost the plot somewhat from what it was intended to do, and yes, it could do with a bit of a restructure and refocus. But to dismantle the current system and tender it out to charity just seems really scary to me.

When Joseph finally came home from hospital I had a few weeks of neonatal outreach visits, then it all stopped. I wasn't meant to take Joseph out where he could mix with other children. I had no family, my husband was only entitled to basic paternity leave, which he had exhausted. I was all along.

SureStart probably saved me. I have no doubt that at some point I would have ended up a psychiatric inpatient. Our beautiful SureStart worker, Sam, helped me to pick myself up, get help, get treatment and become a parent, instead of a victim. It took a lot to end my pity party and start focussing on the future.

Under the Tory plan it would be highly unlikely that I and many families like ours, would be entitled to any help. We are not on the breadline, on benefits, drug addicts.......we are families, and becoming more and more socially isolated.

If it goes, at least I can say I fought.

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