Thursday, December 02, 2004

A Better World?

In the foreword to The Rough Guide to a Better World (and How You Can Make a Difference), Bob Geldof states:

"I said back in the 80s that to die of want in a world of surplus was not only intellectually absurd but equally morally repulsive. That still pertains. We will always have those doing better than others. That’s normal and good for them. What we don’t always have to have is rules, language, laws, treaties and ideas with inbuilt bias towards our successful selves to their cost. That’s not right and it need not be so. The cost of our success must not be misery of others. Indeed it has been shown over and over that it is clearly to our benefit to have healthy, free, educated partners."
That seems to sum it up quite nicely.

For your free copy of the booklet, head to your local post-office, or if like me that’s easier said than done, you can get an electronic copy on-line here. It’s good stuff.

I’m quite impressed that the Department for International Development has funded this. It may not be a searing indictment of government policy, but it doesn’t entirely pull the political punch either.

This could be the second thing this week to restore a little bit of my faith in the Blair government (and trust me it’s way down right now). If nothing else it makes me realise how much worse a Howard adminstration would undoubtedly be.

The second thing? Well, I may not want babies myself (indeed if I’m honest I probably may not want anyone to have babies!), but accepting that some people do (and it is I accept, kind of necessary for the prolongation of the human race, though whether that in itself is a good idea is a whole other matter!), I certainly think we need to make it possible for people to do so properly and as a society ensure that people aren’t discriminated against in the workplace as a result.

So three cheers for Gordon Brown’s proposal to up maternity leave and improve child friendly polices. It’s a start at least.

Of course it’ll still be a long while before employers really get their heads around being family friendly as my male colleague currently trying to negotiate a move to part-time work to accommodate child care is finding out. Attitudes like “you can’t have a client facing role” seem so intransigent – especially when your primary client is far ahead in this game and a good proportion of their staff work part-time themselves. It’s funny but somehow we seem to be able to manage the concept that Susan doesn’t work Friday and Fred only works 10am – 3pm.

It’s not rocket science…

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