Austerity

Dora and I were listening to BBC 6Music on the radio yesterday morning. The news came on and said something about David Cameron.

‘He takes photos,’ said Dora, with confidence.

‘Umm,’ I said. ‘I’m not sure if he does.’

‘He does,’ she said. ‘David Camera. He takes photos.’

‘Ah. I see what’s happening here. No. David Cameron. That’s his name.’

‘Oh. Who is he?’

I bit back my first response, because I’m trying really hard not to indoctrinate my daughter.

‘He used to run the country,’ I said.

(It’s worth noting that Dora doesn’t really understand what countries are. I mean, she’s five. As we drive around on our daily business, for example between Burneside and Windermere, Dora will gaze out of the window and periodically ask, say, in Ings, ‘Which country are we in now?’)

‘Oh,’ said Dora. ‘And what’s aus-ter-it-y?’

‘Hum. Well. It’s the idea that if you take money away from things that need it, you can save that money.’

‘What sort of things?’

‘Okay. Like the hospital that Mummy was in. Or your school. Or my college. David Cameron took money away from those things and tried to save it for the country, though it hasn’t really worked.’

Dora ignored the last bit. She was frowning. ‘Does your college not have enough money?’

‘No, not really. We’re always worried about having enough to last the year.’

Still frowning, she jumped down from the table and ran into the living room. After a minute of clattering, she ran back to the kitchen, and with great care, placed a €0.05c coin in the palm of my hand. She had raided her piggy bank of ragtag pfennigs, drachma, centimes. These are her treasures.

‘There you go, Daddy,’ she said. The frown had gone, replaced with the clean clear peace of someone who has righted an obvious wrong. ‘Take this to the college. I don’t want it any more. Now you have enough money.’

‘Oh, sweetpea. That’s kind of you. That’s really kind.’

She nodded—yup, job done—and went upstairs.

I don’t have an ending for this story. Dora went for her shower, yelling about it being a hairwash day, and I finished my coffee, rinsed the mugs, did the recycling. But I am thinking about that Confucius quote:

If your plan is for one year, plant rice. 

If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.

If your plan is for one hundred years, educate your children. 

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