I write provocative and thoughtful prose, addressing profound issues with an authentic voice.


British values, human values

Posted on June 26th, by Harriet in A Brush With The Law. No Comments

The head of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, has said that schools must do more to promote ‘British values.’

Curious as to what British values might be, beyond tea, politeness and weathering the weather, I checked up on what the Department for Education had said.

Government advice published in November 2014 defines an understanding of British values as follows:

• an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the
democratic process;

• an appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their wellbeing and safety;

• an understanding that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary, and that while some public bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account through Parliament, others such as the courts maintain independence;

• an understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law;

• an acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour; and

• an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination.

This list has been widely summarised as:

Democracy
The Rule of Law
Individual liberty
Mutual respect for … Read More »

Why we don’t need International Men’s Day

Posted on March 8th, by Harriet in A Brush With The Law. No Comments

There have been a few comments on social media suggesting we need a day to celebrate men, amid all the IWD posts.

I have absolutely nothing against men.

Nothing.

In fact, I have a 21 year-old one who lives in my house, eats my food, spends my money and whose wellbeing, happiness and future are more important to me than my own.

But we still need feminism and we need every opportunity, such as IWD, to talk and educate about women’s rights.

Feminism is not about blaming or hating men. Both women and men are responsible for maintaining inequality through unconscious bias, unquestioning acceptance of patriarchal assumptions and failing to speak out when we do notice unfairness. I hold my hands up; I live in this society and although I try to be aware, and I care passionately about supporting change, I am sure that every day I say and do (or fail to say and do) things that maintain the status quo.

So just to make it clear, I have nothing against men. Their rights as human beings are important and in fact I spend a lot of my working life defending them.

Also there are some issues (not going into them today but I … Read More »

Business – what we can learn from large organisations

Posted on February 14th, by Harriet in Uncategorized. No Comments

Like many women of a certain age, I run a business. Mine is the smallest kind as I am a freelancer. I have only myself to manage. Well, that’s the theory, but sometimes it seems like a lot more!

I haven’t always worked for myself. I’ve been employed in the public sector, by a large manufacturing company, by commercial enterprises of all sizes and by several law firms. I also used to run a training company with several employees.

This is what I noticed when I moved from a large organisation to doing all the jobs myself. I was used to going to meetings, often hundreds of miles away, representing my department, Logistics, while other individuals represented theirs, such as Marketing, Purchasing, Sales etc. We would negotiate, sometimes even argue (politely) because we all had slightly different agendas. The factories wanted lots of materials ordered, whereas a ‘just in time’ model meant we were trying to keep stocks as low as possible. Purchasing wanted the new packaging ordered, but Marketing weren’t ready with the graphics. Eventually we would reach a compromise and almost all the time the result was the best thing for the company.

When I started doing all the jobs, the … Read More »