16/03/15 Cleggers plays pop…or Nick Clegg offers the earth…again

I’m sure I’m not the only person who remembers the statement from our deputy Prime Minister shortly after he’d got his feet under his desk in the cabinet.
A statement that came months after he’d given the country hope – a hope that someone who spoke for us – someone who was one of us – now stalked the corridors of power on behalf of us. 
A statement that came shortly after he realised that the road ahead was going to be harder than he’d originally thought.
A statement that left me cold. 

‘You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.’

Mario Cuomo

Which, to my mind means, you can promise any old bollocks when you’re not in power and then blame the system for your inability to make those promises come true.

Do you stop making promises? 

Or do you work harder to realise them?

Is it your goal to simply to stay in power? Or do you believe that only by staying in power will your ethical and philosophical hopes and dreams come true? 

Sure, a few of your principles will take a hit…but you’ve got a career…a family to feed…

So, what are we to believe when, tomorrow, we’ll hear that the government will fulfill the promises made by Mr Clegg across a variety of media platforms…

A promise that is as artful as it is potentially deceitful. 

‘You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.’

By making this promise now, just a couple of months short of the election, he’s doing both. 

The promise?

Lordy, I nearly forgot. 

He has promised that

‘Mental health services in England will receive £1.25bn in next week’s Budget,’

According to the BBC, our man of the people, for the people said,
Media caption“It’s an institutionalised form of cruelty the way we allow vulnerable children with mental health problems to…have to fend for themselves”
These sound like the words of someone who’s had nothing to do with governing the country for the past 5 years.
The words of someone who wasn’t the leader of the party to whom Norman Lamb, Minister of State at the department of health, aka the bloke responsible for mental health provision – or lack thereof, pledges allegiance. 
Sadly though, he WAS in power. 
He was there, making a noise about the lack of parity between mental health services and physical health services. He declared righteous indignation at the disparity where folk with physical illnesses are guaranteed a waiting time of 18 weeks between diagnosis and the start of treatment, and where folk with mental health problems have no such promise. 
Today there are people who are being diagnosed with severe mental health problems but are offered NO treatment because of this unbalanced system. 
He was part of a government that squeezed the poor and vulnerable in the vice of austerity until, each year, a thousand more of us took our own lives through the loss of hope, the loss of a meaningful future.
During the term of this government, thirty thousand of our fellow citizens have taken their own lives.
Have we invaded that particular country? 
During these years, where operation Yewtree and the Saville Enquiry, along with other public investigations into  sexual abuse, mental health services have been systematically decimated across the UK. 
Thousands of mental health nurse jobs have vanished while hundreds of millions of pounds have been cut from health and local authority mental health budgets.
We live in a weird world where the punishment of of offenders is given more time and valuable resources than the support of the abused. 
Nowhere is this obscene incongruence seen more than in our own justice system. 
Since 1993, the prison population in England and Wales has almost doubled, breaking through the almost inconceivable figure of 86 thousand.
70 percent of whom have one or more diagnosed mental health problems. 
Almost a quarter of all adult prisoners were in some manner of care as children. 
Almost 40 percent of all prisoners under 21 had been in care as children. 
The price of a year’s incarceration has dropped from around £40 thousand a year to £36 thousand – a drop that means that these vulnerable – yes, vulnerable people aren’t given valuable time to talk to a professional. 
Look here for more on that 
Even with the new economy prisons, this is a cost of £1.5 billion each and every year. 

Money that could be used to care is being used to punish instead. 
So, tomorrow, when Mr Osbourne tells us about this promised land for people with mental health problems – one that we can almost touch, just over the horizon of the general election – take some time to think.
Is he campaigning in poetry or…? 
How have we fared under this particular flavour of prose?
Yes, you’re right, it’s time for some balance…
Looking at the labour party’s policies on mental health…


Well, if this is an example of them campaigning in poetry, we’re all fucked.
Yes, I’m angry. No, I don’t have an answer.
Unless mental ill health is treated with the respect it deserves and is prioritised accordingly, things won’t change in any meaningful way. 
We need public will and desire to make a real difference. 
And that, ultimately, is what it boils down to.
If you want things to change, it starts with you. 
Walk a mile
Chris
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This entry was posted in economy, fostering, government, hospitality, inequality, kindness, mental health, social work and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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