Monday, 24 January 2011

The Mumsnet Mafia

Two interesting articles with a similar parenting themes have appeared over the weekend. Bagehot in the Economist examines the phenomenon that all three of the party leaders, plus many of their significant advisers, all have children aged 9 or under. This is partly because they are all younger than their predecessors, generally in their early 40s, and have chosen to have their children later. All have committed to spend quality time with their families, and Bagehot asks how else they might be affected.
"The Tory party of ten years ago was slow to grasp the importance of social policies," he writes. "For today’s leadership, children are the “ultimate nudge”, he says, a reference to the Cameron camp’s zeal for “nudging” people into changing behaviour. At its simplest, parenthood exposes even the affluent middle classes to public services, from hospitals to day-care centres or libraries."

Meanwhile The Guardian has an interview with Justine Roberts, the founder of the Mumsnet parenting website. This site has attracted a huge amount of political attention and media interest, as its forthright contributors are seen as having considerable influence on political opinion, particularly with the current obsesssion with the "Squeezed middle" group. Gordon Brown's refusal to reveal his favourite biscuit in an online interview caused a brief controversy in 2009, but more recent issues, such as criticism of the recent EastEnders baby-swap plot, and the Riven Vincent case, show that the site's influence is continuing to grow. What's your opinion?

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