Thursday, 8 April 2010

We can all make childcare an election topic

The elections have been called, and already I can no longer bear to listen to the radio on my long drive to work. You're looking at an individual highly interested in politics, who has a well grounded belief in the democratic process, the importance of elections. Yet the pre-election time, as for many I suspect, is driving me insane.

Take this newspaper style leaflet that our work-local Labour candidate produced. Real stories of real people. More real stories of real people on the radio, saying something of all politicians being the same and how they won't vote because of that. Then the so accused politicians either mouthing what they think is the voice of the people or telling us how impossible their relevant opponent is.

Boooring. In fact, annoying.

To make things worse, I'm sure immigration will be made an election topic and a whole load of rubbish will be thrown at us uninformed or informed non-voters yet again. Bleurgh.

And then, oh blessed be this day, I read something that made sense. Shame it didn't come from a politician or candidate, but hey, no worries, candidates can actually sign up to it! Imagine, no work for them, just read, be convinced and make it part of your policy calls. Easy.

The Daycare Trust have published an election manifesto of kinds, a childcare charter. It's short enough, plain English, and manages to put into easily understandable words what I've been trying to get straight in my head for a long time indeed. A must read. Go and have a look, honestly. It makes so much sense and there's not a comma I don't agree with. It has clear asks, and makes a strong case why childcare is such an important issue, one that could help reduce child poverty and social inequalities significantly, at a relatively low cost which would pay itself back at least 7 fold in years to come.

It's good of this charter to exist, but its existence won't change the world. So the Daycare Trust is asking you (yes, you!) to contact your local candidates and ask them to sign up to the charter and make it an election topic. I'd much rather have childcare as an election topic than immigration. It would do my ageing heart an awful lot of good. The Daycare Trust is also very nice to us potential/future/willing campaigners by giving us all the tools needed to contact our candidates - a model letter, model questions, an opportunity to join the force and all that.

I'm on board. Are you?

PS in other news: tonight (Thursday 8th April) the second series of How the Other Half Live will be shown on Channel 4 at 9pm. I'm sure the episode will have me in two minds again but there's no doubt that it manages to bring issues around inequalities in the UK to your living room in a very digestible and entertaining format.



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