My guess is that few (more likely, none) of the present Cabinet – has had personal, direct responsibility for the totally unaided care of a small child, let alone two or more small children, for 24+ hours, non-stop.
If I’m wrong, I stand willingly corrected – the Comment box below is yours to tell me – but I think it unlikely that any of the senior politicians making national policy and resource decisions about early years provision – and specifically how these will hit Sure Start Children’s Centres – truly knows, or genuinely wants to know, the real implications of what they’re doing here.
And I am pretty sure, more specifically, that by choice they don’t have a clue about the probable impacts of clawing back this provision. Certainly none of the ConDem Cabinet – with just four women and, apparently, 18 (multi-)millionaires – knows what it’s like to struggle for years, caring for small children often alone on a low income.
Of course, the advice is out there, from dozens of well-respected sources; but no-one with the power to change things is learning from it.
To learn, you have to be willing to listen, and to listen you need to perceive the problem; but there’s scant evidence that this is happening.
So services such as Sure Start and Children’s Centres are for the chop across the country, with the facile and deeply unthought-through reasoning that only the most needy should have them.
It is the children of the coming generation who will pay for this wilfully ill-informed decision by a collection of people who know, so they claim, a lot about finance – but very little about the realities for many of every day family life.