My first thoughts are not “Will income tax rise?” “Will they fix the pot hole in my road?” “Will they bring back fox hunting?” (All major concerns on the doorstep I gather). No. My first thoughts are “What will that do to School Funding?” “Should I delay that TLR?” “Perhaps that boiler could last another year…”
Education changes so quickly and so seemingly on whim, that it is sometimes difficult to keep up. There is also so much smoke-and-mirrors that it is difficult to see what is really going on. Take the Grammar School issue. Is the point to really discuss a reintroduction of Grammar Schools or is that a diversion tactic so the media don’t talk about the woeful underfunding of schools?
I’d like the media to talk about the fact that my school has to pay 26.5% employers pension contribution on top of support staff costs which equals about £144,000 per year and will continue to rise over the next 3 years. (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge paying pension contributions but the fact that that it is not funded really bugs me!!) Anyway, pensions aren’t interesting news or vote winners on the doorstep.
So, in education terms, what is a vote winner?
The Academy drive was a cross party initiative which is now set in, so that won’t be an issue. Grammar Schools? Unlikely to be a vote winner in the authorities that haven’t got any grammars, swept away in a drive by a 1960’s Labour government. (I know that Mrs T is widely blamed for this but by the time she became Education Secretary the wheels were in such motion that she was unable to brake). What about “A good education for all”? (Duh!) or “Increased funding for schools”? Yes! “Where is the money coming from?” (the astute resident-that-bothers-to-answer-the-door asks) Umm…not sure, taxes? (replies the vague canvasser)
It seems to me that, whatever happens on June 8, I will need to continue to find ways of managing a shockingly inadequate budget, but I intend to continue to shout as loudly as I can, especially as now my local MP and chosen political party will at least be listening…for a month.
And, what’s my politics?
I’m not a lover of the Conservatives, and I’m not a fan of Ms May, she always sounds so much that she is Try-inG To PuT Her PuB-LiCK SPeaK-inG Train-inG in-To PRaC-Tice, and put as much inflection into her voice as she can, that she forgets to actually sound genuine. Labour has never really been my thing (as much as my Manchester based son and his family try to convert me) so I will be going for Lib Dem. John Cleese once said that if everyone who wanted to vote Lib Dem actually did, then they would win by a landslide.
So, in my opinion, this is the time to nail colours to the mast, show that we are a people who care for our planet…our elderly…our children’s future…our health…our fellow man (whatever their nationality), and not just that pot hole in the road outside our house.
PS Whoever you plan to vote for – make sure you are registered! http://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote