The government should not be in the business of making choices for us about how to raise our family. David Davis MP is right about it squeezing the life out of aspiration. In our case, what he says speaks volumes to our souls. What next of our British Dream? Well, probably, we will take my husband’s talents and family-centered hard graft to his company’s offices abroad.
My husband often makes me laugh when he refers to us as a “unit”. Life feels like one long battle some days. Fending off bills, which fly in out of nowhere or stretching his earnings to cover what we refer to as a Long London Month (commute, cost of living). We became a unit when we got married. To start a family we pooled our resources with one focus and purpose in mind. We put our own individual ambitions to one side. He grinds his hairline to the dust working 80-hour weeks. I do my best to keep a boisterous toddler on the go from dawn till dusk. Worrying about the family budget is a full-time job.
I often look back and wonder at the choices we made. My husband arrived in this country with zero English and had just under a £1000 in his pocket, which had taken him years to save. The objective was a few months stay in London to earn English and improve his job prospects back home. Fast forward a little, his English now perfect, we are married and he takes a job on £5 an hour in a bar at night, using the days to pass tests and secure accreditations.
Years then roll by as he carved out some stability and a decent stable career, the purpose of which was always and only ever to support his family. It almost cost us our marriage such were the hours and the travel involved. It certainly dented our chances of having a bigger family. But in many ways what he accomplished represents a British Dream. The business of dreams and building them is not exclusive to America. He proves that here in the UK it is possible to make something of yourself from humble beginnings, even hailing from a working class background in São Paulo where poverty nudges every aspect of life. He came here and without claiming a penny off the State, made something of himself.
Our British Dream exists in spite of governments not because of them. Successive governments have enjoyed reaching into our pockets and hitting us at every turn for improving our circumstances. My husband has taken on bigger and more responsibilities at work, pushing himself harder with relatively small advances in his take-home pay after the government has handsomely rewarded itself for his effort.
The government doesn’t consider us a “unit”, of course. It looks at us both individually for tax revenue and punishes us for wanting a family. Unless we both get up and go to work and slot our kids into care we are making a “lifestyle choice” which is not in keeping with what the government wants from us. It is sad for us and it is sad for Britain.