Broken

A long and winding road if you can find it.

You kind of assume that your country is geared up to support its young people. That they matter. Well they should matter and countries should be geared up. But this is Britain, where support and mental health services have been under funded and in recent times cut back. Britain which has a Government that wants to return to ‘good old Victorian values’. Britain where children are only seen in terms of future economic value. In Britain where support is frowned upon by those in charge. In Britain where children taking time off in the immediate aftermath of a significant bereavement is described by the Government as ‘extended holidays’.

In 2016 Hawklad lost his granny and mum within 6 weeks of each other. A traumatic experience for anyone but for an 8 year old with Aspergers, it’s an emotional maelstrom. But here’s the thing. Sadly he won’t be the only child in this position. But where’s the support. Schools are not set up to cope. In Hawklads case the school cared but where clueless. The specialised education services in the area had been effectively closed down to meet savings targets. I approached his Doctor who just referred to child mental health services. He warned that they had a backlog of cases. That was all the Doctor did. Hawklad was already on the waiting list for Aspergers support.

That was it for over a year. No support. Left up to me, someone who was struggling already. How do you start to help someone when you are broken.

Finally we got to see the Child Mental Health Team. They worked on anxiety issues but no bereavement counselling, no Aspergers support. Luckily his dedicated worker was wonderful and she did try but it was not her area of expertise.

Fast forward to 2021 and Hawklad still has not had any bereavement counselling. Taking a wider view. He had some help with a physiotherapist but that was cut. He started speech therapy but that service was cut. He has had a few months of Aspergers related support but the specialist retired and was not replaced. He has had no dyslexia support. He does get some support for anxiety but that is patchy.

AND he is one of the lucky ones in Britain….

It has to be better than this for all our children. THEY ARE NOT JUST ECONOMIC RESOURCES. It won’t change here under this Government, it will only get worse. BRITAIN is BROKEN when it can’t care for its children.

England

It’s no secret that I have fallen out of love with my country. I don’t like what it is becoming. I don’t like the way it’s run. I don’t like the corruption. The inequalities. The new values we are supposed to sign up to. I hate the xenophobic outlook. I constantly seem to be at odds with a sizeable portion of my fellow citizens.

But is it just me .

Dad if we win the lottery can we leave England.”

Why?

England is going down hill. It has been for years. It’s becoming ugly. I’m European but I’m not now allowed to be. I didn’t get a say in that. The country has no future the way it’s going. It’s stuck in the past. Our leaders are racist, law breaking clowns as corrupt as any in our history. I’m ashamed to call myself English now.

I can’t disagree with you sadly. Where might you want to move to.

Switzerland. If they won’t have us then Germany or France or Italy or . I would go to Canada, or America or New Zealand. Anywhere apart from here.

Hard work

Apparently I was wrong yesterday. My inner Lefty took hold and clouded my vision. I made an inappropriate attack on politicians who benefit from expensive and exclusive private education while refusing to properly fund pupils in the rest of the education system. I wasn’t the only person to get annoyed at that thought. But we were slapped down by the Eton educated Prime Minister. Children enjoy exclusive education because their parents work hard.

Many do. Can’t argue with that. But then you turn the argument around and what does that mean to a poor child in a poor school. It means that they should blame their parents for not working hard enough……

Clearly I’ve let my son down by not working hard enough…. That explains the gaps in his education.

I should really follow the example of our illustrious leader. Travelling 200 miles in a private jet to attend a summit of world leaders where he says he wants to talk climate change. Clearly getting a readily available and environmentally friendly train is not working hard enough for him. Treating himself to £13000 worth of gourmet food during the lockdown while refusing to give our poorest children free school meals when they need it the most is clearly hard work. Getting a rich friend to pay £200000 for a designer makeover on his flat while cutting 40% of the overseas aid budget is real grafting

Hard work people. That’s all it takes.

Views

What a difference a different view of something makes. Even just a few paces. Same pole but seen from the other side, just a few seconds later.

I worry quite a bit about the state of the UK’s school system. I don’t like it’s direction over recent times. A Government increasingly wanting to control what is taught and how it’s taught. Modern day Thought Police….

The last year of our school at home project has really highlighted that to me. Most lessons are about force feeding facts. The pupils are just expected to learn those facts parrot fashion. They are told what to look at, which books to read, which facts to absorb. What to believe and what not to believe. Pupils are expected to fit into a mould. So little scope to develop free thinking. Few chances to take the time to look at subjects from different directions. No scope to develop their own views and interests.

It really shouldn’t be like this. The irony. We live in a so called free society where our children are not free to think for themselves.

Test subjects

As of last Monday the Government withdraw the instructions relating to wearing masks in schools. Masks are now not recommended for use in classrooms and communal areas. But they are still required in school buses but masks are to be removed once the pupil enters school property. The official line is that schools are perfectly safe. This is contrary to the Government’s own scientific advice.

In unrelated news it has been revealed that the UK Government removed a page from this weeks Public Health Release which showed the extent to which new COVID variants are spreading at alarming rates in UK Schools. The draft report featured that data but the final approved version dropped that entire section. The official word is that data will be released at a later date. Some data was released late last night (very odd timing for Public Health) but with the key school data still missing.

So why the secrecy?

Is it because the data shows that the Governments own criteria for the ongoing easing of COVID restrictions have not been met.

OR

Is it because the Government is sticking to its original discredited Herd Immunity strategy. This time doing it by stealth and using our children as the test subjects.

This is all starting to feel like an X-Files story line coming true.

Slippery slope?

About 2 years ago I remember worrying about what would happen to my country if we were ever stupid enough to elect a narcissistic sociopath as Prime Minister. Our rules and checks are just not designed for that level of stress testing. They were designed for much different times, with mouth different moral codes.

Then we elected Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

We were clearly that STUPID……

Let’s just watch the freedoms drip away …….

I don’t want to write about this stuff. I really don’t. But every week I end up writing more and more about what is happening to my country…. It just keeps coming.

One of the most respected journalists in our country has wrote the following words…. “No 10 (Johnson) is trying to control the media, everyone in our democracy should be afraid”.

Today a member of Johnson’s Government was talking about museums. He said that the Government had the right to tell Museums what they can and can’t display in their exhibits…..

This is on top of exerting increased control over what schools and colleges can teach and what materials they can select from.

On top of putting friends in charge of the BBC, Johnson is increasingly positioning trusted supporters as heads of once independent watchdogs.

Yes there have been investigations into him and his government but here’s the problem. Most of these independent investigations have rules that mean that they report only to the Prime Minister. And guess what, Johnson has rejected their findings.

Our Government structures were never designed for someone like Johnson. Sadly my fears are playing out in front of my eyes.

Hindsight

According to the Government this morning it was impossible to forecast the emergence of the Indian COVID Variant in the UK. People should stop being ‘Captain Hindsight’. Which is odd as scientists, doctors, opposition parties, other Governments, some in the media and even the Governments own advisers were warning about it when the the variant first emerged in India in February. All calling for stricter border checks, more robust monitoring, even border restrictions until the vaccination programme was completed. But no. Nothing happened again. The horse bolts and then a big thing is made of Boris Johnson then partly closing the stable doors when it’s too late. The UK now has the second highest concentration of the Indian variant in the world now, second only to India.

The UK COVID border process has since the pandemic started been somewhere between nonexistent and a joke. I don’t understand why for this Government. A Government so quick to permanently remove free travel rights for its own citizens across Europe. A Government which is so quick to close borders to immigrants and refugees. So quick to deport any group deemed as ‘unwanted here’. Yet when it comes to a pandemic it is so set against border control. But what do you expect from a Government that has now decided to switch COVID public advice away from trained medics to outsourced call staff with no medical background.

But what does hindsight count for anyway. Maybe this scary fact. Currently at the height of worlds worst outbreak, in India the average COVID deaths per 100,000 stands at just below 20. In the UK , the average COVID related deaths per 100,000 stands at 191…..

What was the quote our Prime Minister is alleged to have said – let the bodies pile high…… Well he got his wish. All without hindsight.

wander

The perfect late Spring weather….

Perfect weather for getting stuck in a queue…

When you are stuck in a car waiting for any movement the mind tends to wander. Many questions.

What has happened to my country?

When did we become such an inwardly looking, uncaring, reactionary and thuggish country?

What type of twisted and broken country are we leaving for future generations?

What hope is there when a country becomes so utterly fractured?

Just how bad will things get for so many with Brexit going so badly wrong?

Why are so many voters happy to vote for a corrupt, inept, racist, lying, misogynistic clown?

Then the mind wandered to…..

Is it me. Is it me that is the outlier here?

If I don’t belong in my country anymore, what do I do, where do I go?

Then the traffic started to move. The hail kept coming down. The view out of the car windscreen started to change, sadly my view about my country didn’t…..

Get me.

I’ve just listened to the lead BBC Political Editor basically say that British voters are not interested in questions about the PM honesty. They don’t care if he is corrupt or not. To them it’s just tittle tattle. What they care about is that how he is delivering Brexit for them, how he is keeping them safe from Covid and how he is one of them.

Excuse the words ….. what utter #########. Clearly the Political Editor doesn’t speak for me….

That’s the thing in life. Something I’ve noticed as the years have passed. I haven’t found many who I feel get me. Who understand me. Who can speak for me. Even those who should be closest to me. Family, partner, many friends. Do they really get me. Why don’t they see how I see things. Do they really understand me. They might but is that more what they want to see or feel. Probably not. That’s just human nature. I’m probably exactly the same with most other people. It will be the same for all of us. If your lucky you might find at least one person who does get you. And to set the record straight that is most certainly not The Prime Minister or the BBC Political Editor……

Independent

Here’s an independent soul. A pain to catch in Pokemon Go this morning. Definitely independent.

When I managed public sector procurements and groups. Independent meant INDEPENDENT. If I broke those rules I would be sacked and if serious enough prosecuted. I knew a few people who ended up in prison for not being independent in public office.

The BBC has a management body that basically runs the company. Determines its approach to news. Is supposed to ensure it’s impartiality. For years that largely worked. That’s why BBC News was so valued internationally.

This week the Government appointed a new member to the BBC Board. A person who has worked for the ruling Conservative Party at a high level. He also happens to be the brother of the current Government Minister for Schools. Remember him, he was the one who said kids taking time off for bereavement were having ‘extended holidays’. He joins on the Independent BBC Board the Government appointed chairman of the BBC who has previously donated £400000 to the Conservative Party. He also joins another appointee who was a Conservative Party Counsellor.

Then on top of that the Government tried to put a very controversial Newspaper Friend in charge of the countries independent Media Regulator. That failed but there is always a way. The person put in charge was less controversial but is the wife of the former editor and political commentator of the biggest Conservative backing newspaper.

Independence……

A much missed quality these days here.