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Why bringing children to work is a non-starter

PUBLISHED: 17:27 16 January 2012 | UPDATED: 09:12 15 February 2012

After listening to David Cameron's advice, I floated the idea of bringing my children to work on Wednesday when the teachers at their schools are on strike.

My initial suggestion was that I sent them to work in my place and had the day off myself – this seemed like a brilliant deal, because I have two children and there is only one of me, so presumably they could do twice as much work.

It was turned down flat: so much for the Big Society.

The prime minister told MPs in the Commons that the teachers’ industrial action was “the height of irresponsibility” and that union members would be inflicting “pain” on the people “who pay your wages”.

From the wings, simpering fembot Tory MP Louise Mensch suggested to Dave that people should take the fruit of their loins to work with them on Wednesday “to minimise disruption to their day”.

Minimise disruption? Since when has anything involving children “minimised disruption”? Children embody disruption – they exist to disrupt.

The only time they’re not being disruptive is when they’re asleep, and if Ms Mensch meant we should tranquilise kids before dragging them to the office, or the shop floor, or the sulphur mine, or the blast furnace, or the operating theatre, or the firing range, she should have made that clear.

“I think she makes an important point,” said Dave, “where it is safe to help people bring their children to work then I think organisations should do so.” He really shouldn’t encourage Mensch, who is clearly battling terrible addiction issues.

After years of writing dreadful novels that made me curse myself for being able to read, she has been completely unable to stop herself from giving relentless interviews to the press about dressing to please her husband, taking drugs as a feckless youth and maybe, or maybe not, having a facelift.

In between the relentless slough of publicity, she takes to Twitter to feed her habit and appears on game shows, where she fulfils the BBC’s commitment to having at least one bona-fide village idiot on screen at all times.

We should not judge her, we should help her.

I suggest a gag and a complete news black-out.

My second suggestion to the powers that be at the Evening News – that my junior entourage should accompany me to work on Wednesday – was met with a look of genuine horror, a nervous laugh and an emphatic “no”.

“We don’t want children coming into the office,” I was told, “what if they’re better than us? What if they agree to go to parish council meetings about dog mess for a packet of Match Attax and a bag of Rainbow Drops? What if they know better swear words?” All fair points, well made.

As it is, I have arranged to lend the children to a chimney sweep for the day, which I am sure would delight Mr Cameron – maybe he can massage the youth unemployment figures on Wednesday to show how many five to 16-year-olds are suddenly in work.

•This article was original published on November 28, 2011

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