My first blooding in the Terf Wars

When I moved to Glasgow 12 years ago, I joined two groups which were to have a profound effect on my political outlook. And set me on a course that culminated recently in 6 solid months of stress,  my first intimate experience of a political split and my first proper blooding in the Terf wars.   The first was a very small, trans inclusive feminist group. It was in this group that I coined the ridiculous  phrase "are now or have been a woman" in an attempt to find a form of words which would allow us to  keep a very nice young woman who identified as non binary and kick out two sexist blokes who err… also identified as non binary.  If you know anything about contemporary trans politics you will instantly see that this tack was offensive  to all parties but, hey, my heart was in the right place. I was trying to be inclusive.  The two non binary blokes…..I later talked to a member of the group about them in private. She felt that at least one of them was simply "trolling&qu

School Choices Part 2

Since this post a lot of things happened. Jimmy got properly diagnosed with Autism. We celebrated at a  specific Indonesian Cafe that does plain noodles the exact way he likes them.  Also, there was a pandemic. I kept a diary the whole time. I didn't post it here because everyone was going  through the same thing and I thought it would be boring. I have some kind of plan to cross reference it  against Dominic Cummings' select committee evidence and finally work out what the fuck was going on. Like everyone else, I home schooled the kids. For Kirsty it was a nightmare. For Jimmy it was..... his best life.  We didn't send him back.  So now I have one home educated kid and one kid in school. Its interesting.  The thing about the Gaelic school that I didn't grasp at the time.  Everyone else is tutoring.  The class is moving at the pace of a tutored child. If you knew from the start that you planned to heavily tutor your kid that school would be a rational choice. They won&

School Choices

We chose our house, 7 years ago, partly on the areas potential for class struggle. Because we are that  ridiculous and left wing. Part of what informed that decision was my husbands involvement in a campaign to save a number of  primary schools across the city, in which residents of the scheme had been particularly militant.  The school was lost but, almost as a consolation prize, the building was repurposed as a  community centre which now hosts a youth club, gym, free computers, welfare rights advice and a  food bank. It has become central to the life and survival of the community. We moved in and we were not wrong to do so. We're all very happy here. Plus the residents  association has recently affiliated to Living Rent. Five years later, of course, I had to register the eldest child at school and noticed, as if for the first time, that there wasn't one to send him to. I had become the only middle class mother in the world to deliberately move to an area be

Watching Mumsnet, Watching Britains Largest Family

I have a love hate relationship with Mumsnet. It’s always fascinating to me as the epicentre of a particular kind of engaged, intensive form of mothering with a particular focus on education. On Mumsnet I have seen posters ask “Doesn’t everyone teach their kids to read before they start school? Surely that just part of good parenting.”   I’ve seen long threads on the subject of what exactly constitutes “social capital” and how they can be sure to impart it. (Trips to the opera were mentioned.). I’ve seen debates on various types of secondary schools conducted from the starting point that everyone’s child would easily get into grammar school. No doubt because of the work already invested in “talking and reading to them when they were little” It’s a part of a particular kind of parenting which originates in the middle class. The basic strategy being to have fewer children and to invest more heavily in them in the hopes that they can become high earners and replicate the privi