Is Gord on to a winner with this?

Is Gord on to a winner with this?

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    Or could more flexible working just alienate the childless?

Generally the most reliable guide to what the Brown political machine is up to is in The Mole column in the First Post online magazine. And yesterday while everybody was talking about how the leaders performed “The Mole” was reporting that the plans to extend flexible working for people with children was what would “grab the headlines in the morning.”

Certainly the idea has caught the attention of the Times and the Guardian – both of which lead on it this morning. No doubt the Number 10 spin machine was working hard yesterday afternoon trying to get the papers to make this their lead point.

Politics is all about finding dividing lines and this is where Brown is a master. For more flexible working for parents could be a tricky one for the Tories to handle because, inevitably, it will make things more difficult for employers.

The Mail is covering this aspect of the speech with a claim by the Tories that this is another policy that has been “nicked” from them.

There is a political danger in pursuing flexible working – those without kids can feel that they are being discriminated against and this can often cause serious tensions in work places.

In my job one of the biggest managerial challenges in recent years has been dealing with those without children who can often feel very angry that they are made to re-arrange their working lives to fit in with colleagues who have families. The comment “nobody made them have children” is something you hear often and with some passion.

So how is all this going to shape up? Hopefully we’ll get some weekend polls.

Mike Smithson

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