Monday 16 November 2015

It's all about the money.

It's all about the money. Or is it?

You see, I've always been a grey, sit on the fence kind of person. That's the reason why I've never been any good at politics or writing contentious blog posts; even now, in my 40s, I couldn't tell you for sure which way I am going to vote. Some look on that as a weakness, and it may be true that if the country was full of people like me we'd never have any leaders, or progress anything at a decent speed. I like to look on it as a strength though; I'm a good listener and I can see both sides of most stories. This means any decisions or judgements I make tend to be rational and backed up with good reason and common sense. Unless everything else is getting on top of me and I make spur of the moment calls... see what I mean about that fence?!

Anyhow I've been trying not to laugh and cry of late at the news of David Cameron's letters to Oxfordshire County Council which have been published (I mean, seriously, had he forgotten everything gets onto the internet these days?!); read the full story via George Monbiot at the Guardian. In a nutshell, David Cameron was expressing his horror at cuts to local services on behalf of one of his constituents, seemingly unaware that it is his Government who is driving these cuts from above.

Everybody must be aware of these cuts; they are far reaching and affect both the able and the disabled in different ways. There is never enough money; if there was then in my mind every child would be given a suitable education, one which realises each child's potential and not one which appears to be a sausage factory, testing and squeezing all along until only the elite are left to pop out of the end. All children would be welcome, regardless of their abilities, and it would be acknowledged that new Super Schools are not the way forward as there are children who are unable to cope with such a large environment. I've talked about how we feel that will affect our girl in a previous post here. In this BBC article, we are told that secondary school numbers are due to peak in the next few years. Where is the planning, the forward thinking? In our county there appear to be no detailed records kept on every child diagnosed with a disability, and no database joining up Education, Health and Social care information. How is anyone supposed to plan without that kind of information?

Having just attended the CDC (Council for Disabled Children) conference where the forthcoming Spending Review was mentioned by representatives of the Department for Education in almost hushed voices, I do feel that a sense of foreboding has been passed on to me; after all, who would hold their hand up and say they are happy to see cuts applied which will affect them directly? If cuts are necessary though, where would you take the money from?

Last night I had a nightmare in which I swam past someone who was being drowned; a parent holding their child's head under water. It followed on with me being attacked in my own car and I screamed so loud that I woke my husband up. Were those subconscious thoughts directly linked to me being at that CDC conference yesterday, an event I attended as part of my role on the Herts Parent Carers Involvement board, where I was representing the views of not only our family with a disabled child, but hundreds of families of disabled children in this county? Signs of stress maybe, at the thought of what's to come.

Is it years of money being spent in the wrong places which we are now making up for? Is it a huge increase in population which has just not been planned for properly? Any other number of reasons? One thing is for sure, we can't change what has happened in the past. And sadly, unless you are one of those leaders up there, you can't change exactly what is going to happen to the country as a whole. Well, you can, by voting the 'right' way... but who has that crystal ball and knows which way is right? Which politician has worked out the numbers properly and fairly, and which one is not lying about it? Do you trust any of them? Some people seem to think they could be doing a better job - but then they aren't putting themselves forward or persuading people to vote for them, so the truth is that they aren't doing a better job right now.

Education is where I would like to see more money spent... but then there are other areas which other people consider more important, such as spending on the elderly, the health service, the roads, the transport system, animals... The list is endless, and everyone has different priorities. Is the real answer just that better decisions could and should be made, regardless of money? Does change for the better always cost? Does it always boil down to money? What do you think?

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