Tracey Cheetham Pt. 3 (on motherhood and politics)

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What are your thoughts on the Cameron/Clegg government?

I think that both saw an opportunity for power – Clegg in particular – and this was nothing to do with doing good or helping the British people. The Liberal Democrats under Clegg, actually reduced their mandate in the House of Commons, losing seats in the General Election. They currently hold less than 9% of parliamentary seats, yet control more than 20% of the Cabinet.

During the election campaign, the Lib Dems were enormously critical of Conservative policies, were against large-scale cuts and were juxtaposed to the Tories in many of the major policy areas. For example, just two weeks before the election, Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather absolutely rubbished the Tory education plans. Now she is Minister for Education and responsible for implementing them.

The whole coalition, or ConDem as it is being called, is a lesson in how potent a sniff of power can be and how much some people will sacrifice their principles in order to achieve it.

In conjunction with the last interview section, have you ever spent time in a country with a socialist leader?

I have lived in one for the past 13 years. πŸ˜‰ I know that many would argue against Tony Blair and Gordon Brown being described as Socialists, but the fact remains that they were behind the implementation of some of the most socialist legislation being passed, that the UK has ever seen.

I have been to many countries that were socialist-led at the time of my visit, including Sweden, Portugal, France, Germany, Ecuador, and many others…

What tenets of socialism attract you to that political ideology?

It is a simple belief in one of the most basic tenets: FROM each according to their abilities TO each, according to their needs. I believe that everyone should contribute towards society and that there are many ways that it is possible to do so.

Where have you seen socialism work especially well?

In the UK, where the National Minimum wage helped not only those with a lower skills set but also did so much to improve equality, as it was mostly women who benefitted from this legislation. The NHS is a socialist
achievement that truly has benefitted everyone, I can’t get past that, it is one of, if not THE, greatest ever socialist achievement. Socialism is about rights, the right to education and the right to healthcare are two of the basic socialist gifts.

In Venezuela and Zimbabwe, two socialist countries, inflation is out of control. This does not hurt the rich but devastates the poor. Would you agree that hyperinflation which causes hunger, high unemployment and
extreme poverty for generations, should be classified a human rights abuse? If not, why not?

There are many more non-socialist countries in which hyperinflation has blighted the economy. In fact, the world’s current economic problems are not derived from socialism, but from problems within a capitalist system. Having visited Zimbabwe, (and having friends who live in a township outside Harare)
I feel incredible sadness for the problems the people face. I also have total admiration for the pride, resourcefulness and the welcoming nature that the people demonstrate.

I think that denying your people basic human rights, whether that be food, sanitation or healthcare is an abuse, whatever the reason. But to deliberately decimate the main industry of your country and create economic problems that lead to extreme poverty and famine, is unforgivable and again returns to the
point about putting power before any kind of principle, but in a much more extreme way.

Can you explain the following statement on socialism Margaret Thatcher made on 5 February, 1976? “The problem with socialism is that eventually, governments run out of other people’s money.”

Margaret Thatcher destroyed the economy of huge areas of the UK, including that in which I live, Yorkshire. The reasons for bringing economic destruction, poverty and the sort of devastation that transcends
generations, was to enable the rich to pay less tax and a lack of understanding of basic economics. She wanted to cut welfare, but through her economic policy made more than three-million people unemployed, this had the net effect of increasing the welfare bill.

I would trust nothing Margaret Thatcher said, especially not about socialism.

If workers need a fair wage in Britain, how many pounds per hour should workers get paid at a minimum? What would be fair?

I support Ed Miliband’s campaign for a Living Wage. This calls for a minimum of Β£7.14 per hour.

Why would you limit that wage to the amount you just suggested? Why not make it five pounds more? Why not ten or twenty pounds more per hour?

There has to some balance between what is affordable and what constitutes an acceptable standard of living. The living wage is a starting point, it gives us a benchmark.

How would you see socialist governments better handling the economic difficulties that are currently rattling Europe?

It is not possible for a government to cut its way out of recession, nor can it spend its way out, but a government can work its way out. Jobs are the most important part of the economy and protecting the workforce will benefit the whole economy, with a knock-on effect to other areas.

Where can you trace your socialist roots? Go back as far as you can possibly go. Give our readers a history lesson. : )

Unfortunately it will be a very short lesson! My Dad is a True Conservative and always has been. I am an enormous disappointment to him πŸ˜‰ Even he admits that the NHS is better under Labour though!

    Tracey on Motherhood

What is the absolute best part of being a mom?

It is the thing that defines me more than any other. My opinions, hopes and dreams all changed when I gave birth. I adore my children but the best part by far, is the cuddles!

With your busy schedule with school and work, do you get to spend much time with your children?

As much as I possibly can. I am lucky in that I have been able to make choices that enabled me to spend more time with them. I took time out to be around more during their early years and now they are a little older and at school, my rule is that when I get home, (usually around the same time that they do) until they go to bed, I am Mom first and foremost. They and my husband Tim, take priority over everything in my life, no matter what. Weekends are precious family time and I resent things getting in the way of this.

In what areas do you think most mothers feel they fail their children?

Time. Even though I am lucky in being able to spend quite a lot of time with my children, I understand that many mothers are not so fortunate. One of the main problems is that women are made to feel like failures if they are not the best at everything they do, whether it is at work or at home. You don’t have to be the best, you just have to be good enough. Children are better off with a happy Mom, not one who is spreading herself so thinly, trying to please everyone and ending up making herself miserable.

From the above question, what steps are you taking to make sure you succeed where some mothers fail?

I withdrew from the rat-race and career that I had in the telecommunications
industry, it was a conscious decision that I was incredibly lucky to be able
to make. I returned to education and although this meant that I had to
attend university and work part-time, the long-term goal of more time at
home, was always the aim. I have just completed my teacher training and this
was the original aim of my studying.

Since you won your battle with cancer, do you count every new day with
your children as a blessing?

I do not feel confident enough yet to say I won that battle, I still have a little way to go. I think my confidence will increase as more time passes, but it is hard to trust my body again. When I was diagnosed, I played squash two or three times a week, badminton twice a week, swam twice a week and did
yoga. While I was so fit and healthy, my body was hiding a secret that could have killed me. That takes some getting past. I certainly have a much greater appreciation of my children and husband, who was absolutely amazing during my illness (and still is!). I am also more aware of my own mortality and this means that I feel incredibly blessed every single day.

Do you have a way to show thanks to whomever you think your blessings derive from?

I hope my husband knows how much I appreciate him and how he shouldered the responsibility of taking care of me and our children throughout my illness. I am so thankful that he was around for us all!

Do your kids help you stay young?

Definitely. My Mom used to say the same thing about me, but she was 44 when I was born! I love playing and being silly with the children.

What would you do if your kids, when they grew older, began listening to extremely loud hard core techno music in the house?

If that is the worst they do, I will consider myself very lucky indeed! πŸ˜‰

    In Conclusion

What’s your favorite color?

Being so indecisive about so many things, I have different favourite colours depending on my mood. Yellow, pink and red are top though.

What are your career goals?

I would like to be a good teacher.

Speaking of goals, who is favorite football team and footballer?

I am an Aston Villa fan. The footballer I was most impressed when watching him play “live” was David Ginola.

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