Musings

How do we keep our daughters safe, but not controlled?

Five man today appear in court, charged with the rape and murder of a still unnamed medical student on a bus in Delhi at the end of last year. I know I am not alone in continuing to feel haunted by the deep sadism, and even deeper sadnesses, of the Delhi case.. It feels like an act from another moral or temporal world which in many ways it is.
At the same time, there is an uneasy sense of fear and familiarity,

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‘Any chance of some proposals fit for the 21st century?’

Below – a post I have written on the Local Schools Network today on the implications of Gove’s new O-level style proposals:

What with the GCSE regrading fiasco and the row over the selling off of state school sports fields, Michael Gove clearly needed a quick political fix – and some positive publicity – this autumn. And he has got it – if from all the wrong people.
Meanwhile, the nation’s hard-working pupils – many of them now embarking on GCSE courses that the government has more or less officially rubbished – deserve far more than these ill-thought-through changes,

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Of smacking and schools; a story of odd class alliances in British politics.

How depressing that the debate on smacking children, like that of a woman’s right to choose and sex education ( which never seems to go away ) has reared its head once more. I was astonished, and somewhat appalled, to hear a discussion on the Today programme recently about whether poor children were becoming too ‘dependent’ on breakfast clubs. Jill Kirby, a commentator on Conservative Home, argued that schools should find out why families were not providing breakfast for their children and if so,

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What Hannah Arendt called thinking…

I have just come across this thoughtful essay from the New Statesman, published in the late summer, by Margaret Heffernan. It makes many important points – but I particularly love its last paragraph. It touches on so many aspects of human life and behaviour I find most interesting – in particular the things we deliberately don’t see about ourselves and others.

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Rozsika Parker

I was sad to hear of the premature death of Rozsika Parker, the writer and psychotherapist, author of the important feminist book, ‘Torn in two: the experience of maternal ambivalence’ published by Virago. I first spied Rosie when I was a rather serious young student revising for my finals and swimming very early every morning in the local swimming pool. There was Rosie, across the lanes from me, gliding back and forth, as graceful as a swan,

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Better late than never: the great Theodore Dreiser

Below, a piece I wrote about eighteen months ago, for an ongoing series on normblog and which I never put up on my own site.
So here it is:
It is not always easy to write about a favourite book or even to understand why some works are so much more meaningful to us than others. But with Jennie Gerhardt, Theodore Dreiser’s second and intensely tragic novel, I am acutely aware of how much of the book’s power is,

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Something to believe in…

….or is it? Am I being too optimistic in my latest post– more of a note – in Public Finance? You tell me. But the Labour manifesto, as drafted by Ed Miliband, and much discussed, even derided, in recent weeks, seems to contain some very good things.
Now if only there had been more about housing…not to mention a promise to abolish Trident… a pledge to break down the crippling divisions within our school system…..a pledge to withdraw from Afghanistan….

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The Mother Load

I really liked this piece in today’s Observer. Too many mothers deal with their own insecurities/competitiveness by focussing on the all too human failings of others. But mothers also need each other, particularly in the early years when it is all so bewildering and overwhelming. Motherhood unites, but it also divides, women or the competitive/ consumer/ schooling /achievement driven kind does. And it’s actually very sad.
I read this piece soon after listening to Emma Thompson on Desert Island Discs.

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In treatment

Nowadays, I mostly watch TV for current affairs: News at Ten, Newsnight, Question Time and the occasional political documentary. If I miss something, I can spend ages trying to load up my – slow broadband – computer to watch it again, not always successfully: for instance, quite a few people have told me how great the BBC series on Women was, particularly the Libbers episode. I am hoping to load that onto my computer screen soon.

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