I'm getting up on my soapbox again after hearing about Derek Conway, the Conservative MP, and his sons. I know that it's natural to want to help your children through University - I did it for both of mine - but surely not at the cost of the poor old taxpayer? I earned the money to help my kids - and I rented out Son's bedroom to pay for his rent at Uni. It wasn't easy money. I know we don't have Grants any more, but that doesn't mean that anyone in a position of power and influence can just help themselves, does it? What makes me angry is that both my children (in common with thousands of others)have come away from their brush with Higher Education owing large sums of money to the Student Loan Company!! And they have interest added on for every year that loan remains unpaid. OK, fine. But why should Derek Conway's sons not only be given a handsome income for simply being his sons, but they have also come away from the experience completely debt-free. This makes me very angry indeed. Especially since my Son has been told - contrary to what he was led to believe originally - that his Student Debt does indeed affect both his credit rating and what he might be allowed to borrow on a mortgage. Once again, it's one rule for them and another for us. And it's not enough for Mr Conway to apologize to all his mates at the House of Commons - his boys should be saddled with that borrowing along with the rest of us. After all, they have been given money they weren't entitled to. They should be made to understand that that kind of money doesn't grow on trees. It has to be hard-earned by most of us. And their father should have known better in the first place. It's not fair that we should all be paying for their years at University while they piss off without owing a penny, thinking that it's easy pickings. The end result is that they are benefitting from privilege. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Bloody politicians.
Today I went to see Daughter and Grandson for the first time since they moved. They have rented a nice little end of terrace in a village near Dorking. It's cosy and they seem to have settled in well. Grandson was not exactly over the moon when I arrived, but I think that's because he wasn't expecting to see me again! I think he believed that they had gone a long way away - and I suppose it is in his terms. We drove into Dorking to buy him some new shoes, and to look at a new Nursery School for him. This turned out to be a really good experience. The school is bright and has lots of space, and they have a nice outside playground. Grandson met lots of other children and seemed very happy - I think he has really missed Nursery over the last month. Anyway, Daughter registered him and they are going back for an Open Day on Saturday (which is also Chinese New Year). They can take him from next week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, which is what he used to do here. I hope the little darling will be happy there.
Looking on my Sitemeter, I saw that my latest reader, early this morning, was from a dot in the middle of the Pacific Ocean: Pearl City, Hawaii! What a wonderfully romantic name. My geography is terrible, so I was moved to get the atlas out and look it up. There, in the middle of the impossibly blue sea were these tiny islands, little specks in all that space. I then spent a glorious hour finding most of my other far-flung readers: a couple of friends in Canada and one on the edge of Hudson Bay, one in Israel, one from India, another from Buenos Aires and several nearer to home, in France. The relief maps in my Atlas make it all look so real - what a wonderful world it is..