I have developed ninja style skills with the Dyson, my weapon of choice. I stalk my flat silently and with deathly stealth. My prey remain unaware of their impending demise until they are vacuumed into their prison. The prey that I stalk? Flies, a seasonal distraction for those that live so close to the sea.
I have now honed my skills to the point that I can watch the fly as it’s wings are drawn towards the cleaner. Balancing the gap just right allows the victim to cling on until the pulling air annoys it too much. When they release their grip on the surface they realise too late the power of the air stream. The decision over direction of flight is not theirs to make, it’s mine. In a blink they are transported to the enclosed environment of the dust bin.
As you can tell flies are an emotive subject in my flat, often driving me to distraction. But flies are part of a bigger tableaux of nature and it would seem wise not to forget that. On Sunday morning I was busy sorting domestic chores and wandering around the flat. As I left the living room I stopped and did a double take, something had caught my eye. There, standing on my sofa, was a sea gull.
I reversed slowly into the room wondering what the etiquette for such a situation is. I dismissed the Dyson as an inadequate defence to a full grown bird and started to ponder alternatives. The thought of scaring the thing was equally quickly dismissed, make no mistake I have seen the fire power of these beasts. I am certainly no Dr Dolittle but I am pretty sure that we shared a similar chain of thought. I looked at the bird and wondered why it was there and I think the bird was trying to answer the same question.
After what seemed a few minutes, but was probably only tens of seconds, the bird realised it’s error and departed. As a house ‘guest’ it was not impolite, leaving just a couple of feathers behind. Was this some angry big brother of the flying world? Had it come to warn me that my campaign against its smaller cousin had not gone unnoticed? Perhaps but I doubt it, after all birds and the like are in Mother Nature’s domain not the spiteful Ms Nature.
Please don’t worry I am not turning into a politician, to be honest I couldn’t cope with the expense claims. I know I wrote about over population recently but this story has a different source, honest. One of the government’s smoke and mirror tactics to tackle unemployment is apprenticeships. I have ranted before over how these are not apprenticeships; they are a rebirth of the old youth training scheme. I won’t say too much more about these modern abortions of a great idea other than to say that I can call a fiat uno a sports car, it doesn’t make it so.
Apparently by taking children out of college and placing them in work base training we will reduce unemployment. That would probably be great if they were apprentice marine engineers or electronics designers but they are offering apprenticeships in customer service and ‘health and beauty’. While little Tracy is filing nails for £20 a day she can now be considered to be in an apprenticeship so everyone is happy. Well according to that great social barometer FaceBook that is not the case.
There is apparently another issue with this clever relocation of statistics. When your child leaves school, now at 18, and enters an apprenticeship they leave full-time education. This simple description is ‘worth’ money to the resident parent. Whilst a child is in full-time education the parent with whom they reside is able to claim welfare, when they leave fulltime education this ceases. So we are met with outcry from mothers because their ‘income’ will be reduced if their child decides on an apprenticeship rather than a college course. My first concern with this is that the term ‘income’ seems to have become interchangeable with the term ‘earnings’. You cannot ‘earn’ welfare it is simply impossible, you can earn wages and you may have earned a pension. You can, very easily, earn a punch in the face but you cannot earn welfare payments. The money that the state gives you because you have children is not a reward for your fertility.
It is a simple change of meaning but the consequences are huge. When Tracy needs a new car she simply needs to pop down to the local late night bar and secure the appropriate investment. More disturbing is that in the last few weeks I have seen responses that say “they will just have to live with their dads”. What does this tell our children, that they are actually part of an investment portfolio? So while their stock value is good they stay with mum generating income but when the market turns and their ‘value’ drops they are pushed out to dad. How far will this commercialism of children go, will we see the ability to trade children on the stock exchange in the future. Like the financial crash will we see broken women at soup kitchens muttering “I was leveraged in 6-year-old blonde when the market turned” The publishers will have to add a line to Whitney Houston’s ‘Children are our future’ warning that the value of children can go down as well as up.
Buying a house or shares are commercial transactions that can be profitable. Having children can bring a great deal to your life but it is not supposed to be commercially profitable. Just because it is the one area of production that the country is still operating in does not make it profitable. It will be interesting in years to come when children are engaged in the growth industry of counselling and are asking dad ‘if you loved me why were you not there’. Perhaps the answer of ‘it was only while you were profitable for mummy’ will explain a lot….
Note from the lawyers: The author speaks only from experience and observation; in no way does he infer that this is always the case. Some cases may be better or worse than this and the author makes no guarantee that you relationship will perform in line with expectations.