I will admit I am personally not pregnant! My wife is though! We are expecting our little lady at the end of July, at which point we will have had a new election that theoretically should create the government for the first five years of her life. To put that into perspective, she will be in reception at primary school the next time we vote in a general election. In my mind, this weighs heavily on me because whilst I have voted either selfishly or ideologically in the past, I have not had to vote effectively for one of my family member’s future before!
A little bit of an overstatement you may suggest and you may well be right but it is well documented that early schooling, day care and the first few years of a child’s life are hugely important in shaping who they are. For my wife and me, the next election could produce more day care freebies, it could change how much tax we pay, and it could affect (if UKIP were to come to be part of the government) whether or not grammar schools are to be reintroduced.
All of the above issues may sound trivial in their own way but they all have a huge impact on planning, budgeting, housing prices, and most importantly on the bigger picture ideas you need to have in mind when thinking about returning from maternity leave or, as may be the case, when I become a stay at home dad.
With this in mind, I feel that this is the first time ever that I will be voting and really having to think about the true nature of what policies could be implemented and how this will affect my whole family and our parental ideas and aspirations. One example of this is the Conservatives’ talk of raising the higher earning tax rate to £50,000, which would slightly ease our concerns about me being a stay at home dad in a financial sense.
On the other hand, Labour are talking about 25 hours a week of free child care (up from 15) which could mean that I could return to work sooner without being “punished” for doing so by paying all my wages on nursery fees.
While there are not huge differences between the majority of the parties, these small but significant policy differences seem to be likely to play a role in what will transpire for my wife, me and our little lady over a very important period of our lives. For this reason I feel that the conundrum of who to vote for may not be solved just yet!