Thatcher and a Measles OutbreakThursday 11th of April 2013 | Category: Baby News | Written by: Leoarna Mathias
When Princess Diana died I found some aspects of the outpouring of grief a little, well, over- the-top. I found it easier to connect to any feelings of sadness when I thought about the event in its simplest terms, which for me, were, that two young people had lost their beloved mother. So when Carl and Mark Thatcher announced that their mother had died following a stroke during her sleep, again I thought, 'first and foremost, two children (albeit adults), have lost their mother'.
Thatcher the Mother?
The media painted a picture of Margaret Thatcher as a mother who lacked the essential qualities for good mothering. In the film of her life after her husband's death, starring Meryl Streep, she was portrayed as someone who didn't really connect to her children, and who put her political life before her family life. I was nine when she came to power, and as such, her politics and policies shaped my formative years. 'Maggie Thatcher, milk-snatcher' rolled around my head as I followed the news coverage of her demise yesterday. I shouted at Question Time during my teenage years, offended by her government's seeming failure to understand the plight of the ordinary man and woman on the street; I marched against the poll tax while at University - the only political rally I ever went on. But yesterday I read a blog that made me think about the woman underneath the headscarf, and I felt myself mellow a little.
Now the media is in overdrive discussing her legacy as we gear up for her state funeral next Wednesday. She did, undoubtedly, normalise the idea of a female rising to a position of great power, and she also aspired to making lasting change for the better. But you could also argue that the socio-economic landscape created during her time in office can still be seen to be operating now, and when seen through the lens of 'did she help British mums to do their important job?' the conclusion many are coming to is 'no, she did not'. And in this excellent piece by Jenni Murray (of Woman's Hour fame) she sums up how uninterested in women's issues Mrs. T really was.
Last week, The Independent summarised how the biggest losers in the economic shake up of the tax and benefit system are women. And Mothers at Home Matter, an organisation that promotes the value of the 'invisible' but important role many mothers do in our society has seen unprecedented interest in its work over the last few weeks. Many of the budget policy decisions made by George Osborne and Ian Duncan Smith in the last few weeks, have their root in the politics of Thatcherism, who, as a mother, must have understand the competing pressures of caring for young children and career progression. Despite this, many feel that the changes we have seen in recent weeks still aren't facilitating the choices mothers in the UK want to make for their children and themselves. I'm guessing the debate has a way to go.
Measles, MMR and Opinions!
As I write my blog this week the news bulletin during Steve Wright in the afternoon tells me that there are now over 600 cases of measles in South Wales. This epidemic, of what can be a very damaging illness to certain members of the community, brings to light once more the debate over immunisation. Now, I can hear all sides of the argument for and against vaccination. A mummy friends of mine, who is also a primary school teacher, has often voiced her exasperation to me about those who choose not to vaccinate, feeling they put her health at risk each time she was pregnant and in a classroom full of young children. Equally vociferously, and near to my home in Devon, is a community where vast numbers of children are not immunised; their parents would argue that they are very well informed about the risks of immunisation programmes and the unpalatable contents, (as they see it) such as Bovine fetal serum, of some vaccines.
Here at Mum Network we're in the business of providing you with reliable information about issues such as immunisation, so that you can decide for yourself the right course of action for your family. In the next couple of weeks we will be updating our sites to give your clear advice about vaccinations. What we would want to highlight right now, is how much the initial worries about a link between the MMR vaccine and an increase in the incidence of autism have now been discredited, to the point where the original author of the research has been struck off the General Medical Council. Nevertheless, we would encourage you to read around the topic, and take advice from your GP or your Health Visitor, to ensure that you understand what vaccination can do for your child.