I wasn't going to do it. But then Alice posted and she was right - the silence in my blogging community about the election is deafening. I have to admit I have felt very exposed writing this post, and I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with me.
I first started getting hot under the collar after the announcement that the Conservatives would allow married people to transfer a portion of their unused tax allowance to their spouse. So if both Mr Coffee and I earned £10,000 each we wouldn't qualify. But if Mr Coffee earned £40,000 and I stayed at home we'd get an extra £150. Most families have to sit down and work out just how much more money a second wage will bring in, after childcare. The Conservative policy throws in £150 in favour of not going back to work, along with the threat of cutting the tax credits that help with childcare costs. I read recently this post with which I completely sympathise, regarding the lack of financial provision for stay at home parents. But we are who we are, and as a feminist I believe that my ability to work part-time - and to arrange that work so that I can pick my children up from school - is important. If there were just as many stay-at-home dads as stay-at-home mums, maybe I wouldn't be so cross. But that isn't the case.
The Conservatives, in opposition, voted against extended maternity leave, against paternity leave, against the right to request flexible working. These are modern, family-friendly policies which allow women to strike a balance and continue their careers - if they so wish - after having children.
When Eldest was diagnosed as having cerebral palsy I had just returned to work. I'd decided not to return to my old job - one with very fixed working hours - but to work in an organisation with a flexi-time system. There were many medical appointments, many missed days and made-up hours, and I believe that if I had returned to my old job I would simply have had to hand in my notice.
Now, as the parent of a disabled child, I have the right - along with my husband - to take up to 18 weeks' parental leave until her 18th birthday, changes made under a Labour government. Not that I expect David Cameron, for all his family experience, to do anything to help parents of disabled children, any more than I expected Margaret Thatcher to help women. (And what guarantee of special needs inclusion would we have in his proposed community-run schools? His insistence in a recent news story that "we will end the bias towards the inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream schools" has sent a massive chill down my spine. Because I have a very happy disabled child in a mainstream school and secondary school choices are not too far away.)
The £150 tax break is also ominously useless for single parents, and having been brought up by a single mother who held down three part-time jobs to support me as a child, I find that insulting. But anything I wished to say about the Conservative Party's views on single mothers has been far more eloquently said by the author JK Rowling in The Times, so there's no need for me to go over it again.
The last few years under Labour haven't been that groundbreaking. But my honest belief is that a lot was achieved in the first few years, and they can't keep endlessly pulling new rabbits out of hats just to make people gasp in amazement. David Cameron may look fluffy, but I really do fear the rabbits he's poised to pull out of that top hat he's got stashed under his podium. I really, really do.