Monday, 26 April 2010

NOT in a vaccum.

So, in a bid to inform myself a bit more on the various candidates standing here in Folkestone, I wrote to them all asking a series of questions on issues that I personally find concerning these included:

  • Home Ed and compulsory registration.
  • Lone parents and the coercian of such parents into work when their children are still very young.
  • EYFS in general, and pertaining specifically to childminders.
  • Green issues and animal welfare
  • Demonisation of young people - here in Folkstone there is an initiative in which young people in group of 2 or more are dispersed!!!!  I am incredulous that this is even legal!
So far, I've now had 3 responses.

The Lib Dem candidate is a local lady, who is passionate about the area, and in the main I quite liked her responses.  I was however, very disappointed that she supports compulsory registration for child protection reasons, and seemed to be implying that Home Ed children lack the ability to "manage" situations with people they do not get on with.  I have responded, and using this week alone, as an example of the children and other people we mix with; today for instance, birthday party of one of the Home Ed lads.  Tomorrow, swimming and then back to Sarah's for tea.  Thursday Brockhill Park - add in the toddler groups, kids Rye plays with on the beach and in parks - or sometimes not when they run off because they dont' want to play with him... well, I think he's getting a pretty good grounding in how to "manage" difficult situations.  I find it bizzarre this assumption that home ed kids live in a vaccum.

I also challenged her view that registration is necessary for child protection reasons.  I believe my response was along the lines of; "please clarify how registration will prevent adults hell bent on abusing children?"  Being in school does not necessarily protect children from abusive adults, so I really do fail to see how a registration scheme will do this for home ed kids..... noting too, that the Badman Report did not find any supportive evidence of abuse being rife in the community - indeed he even asked the Select Committee for more time to try to dig up more evidence.

I also had a response from the UK Independent Party.  I don't really know a lot about this party - except they focus on immigration as apparently being the root of all our ills.  I wasn't overly impressed, the candidate zoned in to my queries about lone parents and made a few wrong assumptions; and tried the "I am kindred, I am a lone parent too", stance.  Along with a plea for votes because otherwise the party will disappear.  Hmm, not compelling reasons for me to vote for them.

And the third response is from the Green Party Candidate.  I am pleasantly suprised.  While brief, she was succint and further clarified after a second email to her, that the Green Party does support Home Education and this is specifically mentioned in their manifesto.  I had had looked last night but not seen this, shall have to read it again when I'm not so tired.  I liked her response to my concerns on the demonisation of young people - naturally, as expected, her response to green issues was fab.  Support of lone parents, belief that EYFS is too intrusive and so forth.. and talk of a citizen income for parents raising children.  Where the money for this will come from, I have no idea.... it's just nice to read something a bit different, and oh, how lovely would it be to have a party in power that isn't just another shade of the main two.

Occurs to me a hung parliament could potentially give the Green Party quite a lot of power, should they receive a fair few seats, as the 3 main parties vied to get the votes they needed for various policies etc.  So, after pretty much deciding Lib Dems were the best of a bad bunch... I am seriously considering voting Green; and it does appear to be a party that most reflects my own beliefs on issues.  I have voted Green before, but only in local elections, never in a General.

As for the home ed issue, well, yes of course, it is very, very dear to me - but so are other issues too, and while I did seriously consider voting Tory at one point, now the election is nearly upon us, I simply cannot, the Tories are appalling on lone parents, they want to scrap the Sure Start scheme, which frankly, is fab; sure there are niggles - but on the whole, those centres offer valuable support.

It is all so darn complicated, ain't it.

Edited to add:  I've just been nodded in the direction of the section on Home Ed in the Green Party Manifesto.... sigh, they clearly support registration and seem to be going down the route of dictating how we should educate our children, which could make unschooling very difficult indeed.  Damn - I refuse to be a single issue voter; but at the same time, I don't want to shoot myself and other unschoolers in the foot by voting for a party that potentially will make it near on impossible for us continue in such a vein.


Becky said...

Hi Joxy

Great Post! I have joined the Green Party recently and fully intend to get involved, as their Home Ed stance appears to be from a basis of ignorance - I have followed the responses from the Green Party over the last year and initially they just didn't know and it seems they are bandwagon-jumping.

On *everything* else I think they are fantastic, and so with being informed by some Home Ed parents I believe they would also become fantastic on this issue - I just don't believe this of the other parties, sadly.

Well done on writing to candidates, I have but had no response....


Helen said...

Very interesting post. It is really difficult to decide who to vote for. Writing to candidates and seeing what they have to say on issues we find important is a must in order to make an informed decision.