Diary of a busy practitioner, juggling work and family somewhere in England

One of my mottos in life is ‘say something, or don’t say something’. Deep, I know. What I mean is that you should tell HR you aren’t happy with your pay rise or don’t say anything at all. Tell the person in charge of IT it is a load of rubbish or don’t say anything at all. Tell your husband he forgot to put the dishwasher on last night and this has made your morning harder, or just forget it. Do not – and this is the important bit – give him the silent treatment all day or go around telling everyone that your firm gives rubbish pay rises and that you will probably be looking for a new job.


In the past few weeks, I have made the decision a few times not to say anything – specifically to general election campaigners. To the Tory MP who put a hateful, negative, dishonest leaflet about Labour through my door. To the various ageing tattooed Reform UK town centre leaflet distributors. Because I’m not going to change their minds, am I? Not in the 30 seconds of free time I have to grab a sandwich at lunchtime between getting (still essential after five years) pillow spray for Deceptively Angelic Looking Child 1 (DALC1), cakes for the office because I forgot it was my birthday, making a doctor’s appointment, booking some holiday clubs and so on and so on.

I would be better off doing something positive to make a difference myself, like buying a Big Issue or putting a tin of beans in the food bank collection when I buy my sandwich. That is more effective than wasting my breath.

I said this to ‘them indoors’ over dinner. ‘Why don’t you be an MP, Mum?’ DALC1 asked. I have actually thought about getting into politics from time to time, mainly because I’m a carbon copy of Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope (pictured). I want to make a difference. I want to ‘say something’. In my forties, I’m still the kid who not only puts her hand up to answer every question but who tries to put it up higher than everyone else’s so I get seen by the teacher first.

Leslie Knope

Source: Shutterstock

And you know on The X Factor when contestants say ‘I’m not doing it for me, I’m doing it for my kids’, I actually want to do it for my kids.

But reality has got me down and I nearly, rather flippantly, answered ‘I would, but female MPs get shot’. I decided that at 11 years old she wasn’t quite ready for that information.

Breaking it down a bit more, though, what does the job have to recommend it? Not to put too fine a point on it, having been a hard-working and successful solicitor for many years, it wouldn’t be the pay. Maybe the expenses, but not the pay. I’d get more as an NQ at a London firm.

Unlike getting a recording contract from Simon Cowell, I think it is very likely to have a detrimental impact on my kids. First, there would be the sheer embarrassment factor. Second, I would be away from home more and we would be much more likely to run out of pillow spray. Third, there are the death threats. In my current job, I get no death threats. Like, ever. Why would I change that?

Of course, the advent of ‘online debate’ over the last decade or two has caused many of these problems. Nuance is dead. Cancel culture is rife, but seems to take a scattergun approach. Everyone has a platform. And people hate women – women with big personalities, women with strong views – a lot more than they hate men.

It is not all new, though. Incoming female MPs and staff being warned not to be in a room alone with certain men within Westminster – presumably that’s been going on for aeons. It has to be rotten to the core, does it not, for someone who has had the honour of being elected by voters to sit in the most important room in the country, surrounded by others who have had the same honour, to then watch porn on their phone? And we talk about young people acting ‘entitled’.

I don’t like being negative, I don’t like the scaremongering or the constant talk of our country going to pot. I will vote, despite living in a safe seat, because women jumped in front of racehorses so that I could. By the time you read this, there will be an election result and possibly a mood shift. But if I’m disengaged and find the likelihood of real change unlikely, how must the averagely interested person feel?


Some facts and identities have been altered in the above article