The result of the general election may be clear but the implications of the Conservative victory are not
A few final thoughts on the election if you’ll indulge me.
We spoke to Jo Swinson for the Lib Dems and Laura Pidcock from Labour over the course of the campaign. Both women, both parents of young children whose husbands could be described as equal parents, both genuinely behind the cause of fundamentally rethinking the world of work. Both lost.
That might be down to some sort of curse that we carry. Or, more likely and more worryingly, it could be a sign of how little profile the issues they champion receive. And maybe how low those issues rank among voters’ concerns. Stuff like normalising flexible working, increasing paternity leave, reforming Shared Parental Leave.
And the response from the Conservatives to our request for election information feeds in to those concerns. Rather than set up an interview they sent us through a statement that promoted their Brexit slogan and made only vague promises on family friendly policies.
It looks like it’s going to be up to us, a community of dads who believe in a better work life balance, to make sure the new government keeps us and our concerns in mind. It’ll be a Boris Johnson administration that is presented with the results of the consultation on extending paternity leave that closed last month. You can be sure we’ll be bothering them to make sure those responses aren’t left on the shelf or filed under ‘b’ for bin.
However, there are plenty of positives from the election.
For a start, if you’re a Tory, your side won!
More broadly for the first time in a decade we have a stable government. The markets have already signalled they welcome that. And if the markets are content the impact could be two fold. Firstly the worst of the potential economic impacts of Brexit may be avoided (and be in no doubt Brexit is bad for the economy). The better off families are the better.
Secondly, firms whose organisational bandwidth is no longer taken up entirely with Brexit planning can turn their attention to policies to attract talent – and that means flexible working, lengthy paternity leave and the like.
So the result of the election means that anyone hoping government would take the lead on improving things for working dads will be disappointed today. But they needn’t be disheartened. A Conservative government that is no longer hamstrung by single issue headbangers or coalition concerns will look to foster a healthy economy. That means private companies can lead on modelling and innovating new working conditions for dads. They’ll have to if they want to win the brightest and best of us.
So the path forward for ‘the dadgenda’ is clear. It’s up to all of us to clear that path and progress down it.