December 8, 2013

All in it together?

Filed under: Uncategorized — madaxeman @ 10:57 pm

My partner works 20 hours per week as a teaching assistant, and I’m bloody proud of her. It is, despite what Michael Gove might tell you, a skilled job, and it takes a certain kind of person to do it… What kind of person do I hear you ask?
Well, the first thing that sets my partner apart from the rest of the population is the simple willingness to spend twenty hours each week in the company of a primary school class. Think that’s easy? Well, remember how pissed you can get with just a couple of kids in the house? Well, double it, then double that, double it again, and then again… Now you’re at 32 kids…
But it’s a school though, right? It’s all primary colours, smiles and learning? Well, not quite… In the couple of years we have been together, my partner has returned having been kicked (no action taken), had a penetrating wound when a child threw scissors at her (no action taken, and she still has the scars), and having been punched. She doesn’t spend all day sat on her arse either – even when she was six months pregnant they still sent her out onto the school field for half days at a time… She has a degree in Childcare and Early Years Development, has the patience and dedication of a saint, and quite frankly I couldn’t do her job.
Something else it takes, and this is truly scandalous, is the willingness to accept a mere £8,000 in return for her efforts. This being, in our modern society, what teaching your child and 30 or so of their friends to read and write is worth these days…
It’s a bit of a bum deal, isn’t it?
Members of Parliament in the House of Commons have just been awarded an 11% payrise, which is nice – for them. These are the people who decide how  to implement cuts to public services, like education.
Of all MPs, my personal loathing sits most comfortably with Nadine Dorries (Mid Bedfordshire). I’ve had a beef with her before (check previous posts) – but in the Register of Members Interests she recently declared having received over £18,000 for twelve hours work producing a newspaper column. In other words, in a morning, she earned than my partner does all year.
My partner doesn’t receive subsidised food, free accommodation, travel expenses or a cushy little subsidised bar at work. So, the next time an MP utters the phrase “we’re all in this together”, I’ll ask you not to judge me too harshly if I dispense a bit of a slapping…


  1. No one is forcing your partner to do the job she does. If she thinks the job is underpaid why doesn’t she get another job?

    Comment by Rob — January 18, 2014 @ 10:31 am | Reply

  2. With respect, you’re missing the point – it’s not about my partner… If my partner (who has higher qualifications than I do) were to get another job, someone else would still need to do her current job, and that someone else would still be working there arses off in demanding job all year for very little monetary reward, whilst others receive thousands for a morning’s “work”…

    Again – we are NOT all in this together. Any claim that we are, frankly, is patronising…

    Comment by madaxeman — January 19, 2014 @ 10:01 am | Reply

    • Yes it would be someone else – but again this someone else would take on the job knowing the salary. If no one suitably qualified was prepared to do the job then wages would need to increase.

      Also anyone earning £8000 pays no income tax. The tax system is very redistributive – higher earners subsidise the lower paid to a huge extent. The top 1% of earners pay around 28% of income tax.

      Comment by Rob — January 19, 2014 @ 11:05 am | Reply

      • My partner is actually vastly over qualified for her role, but again, this isn’t about my partner… It’s about the sheer hypocrisy of people earning several thousand pounds in a day having the temerity to utter “We’re all in this together…”.

        We’re not – get over it. I would actually have more respect for a politician who was prepared to be open and honest on this point.

        As to the tax argument, you’re right in that the personal allowance means that my partner won’t have to pay income tax. Still, saying “We’ll not take £20 off you because we won’t give you the £100 you deserve” is hardly a compelling argument.

        What my partner does pay however, and this is truly scandalous, is for all sorts of materials for the kids in her class. Schools sometimes can’t even replace felt pens! I wouldn’t like to have to guess what she pays out on this each week, but I would be surprised if it averages at less than £10…

        Compare that attitude to the attitude of our expense grabbing / inventing MPs…

        Comment by madaxeman — January 20, 2014 @ 12:50 pm

  3. You clearly either don’t understand or have chosen to ignore my argument.

    The first part of your original post complains about how underpaid teaching assistants are. You consider your partner to be vastly over qualified for the role. So again, why is she or any other teaching assistants choosing to do the job?

    You think teaching assistants deserve an extra £100 (presumably per week?). On what basis do you think this? The market clearly disagrees.

    I certainly don’t believe MP’s are over paid. I wouldn’t do their jobs for the money they get.

    Comment by Rob — January 22, 2014 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

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