LIKE so many issues, it takes too long for the country’s politicians to respond to legitimate issues raised by the very people that they purport to serve. Take education. The Yorkshire Post shone a light last Saturday on cuts to funding for children with special needs – and their day-to-day impact on the lives of individual families.
The Government’s reaction? Not even a reassurance that these misgivings will be taken seriously. Perhaps it will come when the National Association of Headteachers debates the issue. They, too, believe that pupils with special educational needs are being held back by cuts to one-to-one classroom support and so on.
Yet this culture of indifference is, in fact, dispiriting. Though there’s only so much Ministers can do in a single day, as Amber Rudd, the now former Home Secretary, has discovered to her cost, what are their policy aides – and Press officers who deal with media queries – doing? They don’t appear to be flagging up areas of concern.
Unlike previous eras when specific politicians oversaw a dedicated region and reported back to Ministers on the prevailing mood, or there were regional Government offices in place, the gulf between the powers-that-be in Whitehall – and the rest of the country – has never been greater.
As each party now debates the fallout from the local elections, perhaps they should look at this fractured relationship rather than scoring cheap points by reading out soundbites crafted by London-centric aides who don’t appear to appreciate the challenges now facing ordinary people in the real world on a daily basis.