The occasions in my life where I have felt properly political are few and far between. I don’t say this with any particular sense of pride; I spent my teenage years arguing with my mum about the topics being discussed during Question Time on a Thursday night, and I usually ended up feeling like I’d lost the debate. I was full of left-leaning idealism, she was fully conversant with the hard facts of full-time-working and single-parenting, and subscribed (understandably perhaps) to the economic hard-line of Thatcherism. I think this experience left me feeling like I would never be well-informed enough to make a pertinent political observation about anything.
In the intervening years I haven’t tended to be a systematic reader of the broadsheet press, and I don’t watch Newsnight at 10.30 every evening. I get myself up to speed for election season, but my politics homework would probably be marked ‘could do better’. But this week? I am informed, up to speed, on the pulse, nailing it, on the money….. And this makes me happy, cheerful, inspired even. What’s more, I find myself digitally surrounded by other such enlightened people and savouring the sense of ethical correctness that comes from knowing you’re fighting on the right side, battling for a just cause.
Opposing Liz Truss’ proposed changes to the ratios for childcare is my, no, our, cause. I know about this stuff because I have spent ten years visiting childminders, pre-schools and day nurseries week in, week out. I know about it because I chair the committee of a hard-pressed but brilliant rural pre-school. I know about it because I have two small children that I want to be with all the time, but the need to earn takes me away from them, and puts them into the care of another for part of every week.
My heart is warmed right through by the passion, commitment and eloquence of those around me blogging, writing, tweeting, petitioning and out-and-out campaigning against the Ministry’s misinformed agenda. While I wish Ms Truss wasn’t thrusting such nonsense under our noses, I’m thrilled to be part of a democratic movement that has evidence and common sense on its side. With a good wind, we’ll be on the shores of Reason in no time.