Too Many Bairns

Tuesday October 30th 2018

Christine Grahame

Christine Graham MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View.

Too Many Bairns

Under the dreadful and callous Tory Universal Credit system, benefits will only account for two children, if you have more then to claim a woman has to prove the child is as a result of rape. Yes you heard it here. 2018 and Dickensian Britain is alive and well.

Now you would have thought no-one could possibly defend this but step forward Michelle Ballantyne MSP, Tory spokesperson for social security and her take is that if you, according Ms Ballantyne limit your family according your means then if you are poor you shouldn’t expect the state to support more than two.

This does not take account that to be on benefits is rarely if ever a choice. Folk can be thrown into benefits for a whole range of reasons: divorce, death of a partner, job loss, illness such as cancer. Never mind, if you find yourself in that position and you happen to have more than two children, unless you’ve been raped, tough.

By the way, Ms Ballantyne is well-heeled, has six children and has claimed Tax Credits and Child Benefit.

Foodbanks are overstretched because of the impact of Universal Credit but never mind she is patron of a Penicuik Foodbank so that’s alright then.

Better news, Disability Confident

I spoke at the inaugural meeting at Newbattle Abbey College of Disability Confident which aims to bring “disabled” folk into the workforce with employers taking the lead.

Mind you I baulk at the term “disability” because I don’t know any perfect people. That said Heather Anderson the DWP Disability Employment Advisor and employers such as Melville Housing and Ikea explained how easy it can be to take on someone. They told us how small changes can make the difference: having ground level access, a magnified screen might be all it takes.

One blind lad also with hearing impairment was taken round Ikea, which of course has much that would give Health & Safety concern: pallets, trolleys and so on but surprised everyone when reaching the candle area by identifying every scent in the candle range. Of course! But who would have thought of that without the walk around.


Whatever happened to tumshies and sooty faces? Halloween is upon is with shelves bulging with customized clothes, scary torches, even Halloween crackers. As for the tumshie, it is cast aside for the ubiquitous pumpkin even mega pumpkins. Does anyone still dook for aiples? Do children know the word “dook”? I am on a mission to bring back the Scottish Halloween which I fear is doomed to failure.

Tesco, Newtongrange & Gorebridge Library Surgeries

These are all up and running again after the school break and you can find details on my web-site.

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