I’m not normally a particularly vengeful human, though I admit there have been a couple of times recently when karma has bitten a bottom very sweetly. I admit that when Ed Balls lost his seat in the election this morning, I cheered. And then promptly burst into tears.
It was a miserable night for many of us, let’s be honest. And the shock of what had happened out of the blue took its toll. But in everything I anticipated it never really occurred to me Balls would lose his seat. And when he did it was the only bright spark in a long night of misery. I’m far from a political animal and I voted Green this time out of pure, disenfranchised frustration but I feel pretty sorry for both Clegg and Milliband and uncomfortably awkward about how the seats in general worked out. Our system is very broken and inertia and Britishness has stopped us fixing it when we had the chance.
But Balls, now with Balls it is personal.
Badman, Balls and Brown,
One short, one fat, one frowns,
They want to change the rules of home ed,
It really makes us growl.
So my children sung as they watched us and other home educators distracted from them for perhaps 2 years while we tried to defend ourselves from police being able to turn up at any time and interview our children without our accompaniment or having to have CRBs to be with them from 9-3pm. My children knew the depths of our concerns and I was terrified as were many home educators. Labour’s invasive determination to – along with the vile NSPCC – show us up as child abusers, knew no depths too deep. We couldn’t defend ourselves against “nothing to fear, nothing to hide”.
In the end – though I confess 3 weeks after Freddie’s death I was thinking of little more articulately than “GET BALLS AND BROWN OUT” I voted blue to be shot of them. The politics of home ed category will tell you more about it, though this article is probably the best of them.
It’s because of Balls that I didn’t dare get counseling for my home educated children in case it flagged them as in need. It is because of him that my desperate bereaved self went into meltdown when the (standard) letter arrived from CDOP (Child Death Overview Panel) to say we would be investigated to see if our child’s death raised at risk concerns for our other children. It is because of him I capitulated into sending them to school. And it is because of him that even though ideologically I am a Labour supporter, I had no one to vote for today, because I vowed not to vote Labour again until he was gone. He and Brown caused me to lose faith in politicians and be cynical about all government and I will never forgive them for it.
I’m gutted about today’s election result. There is more to me than cheering because one man lost his job and I’m not happy to see the Tories back in power. I want people to have a better deal than they are getting recently. Personally I’d have been okay with Labour in power tempered by Liberals too, though I understand that is not popular, given what has just happened to them. I’m not keen on carnage, not election day, not in the poorest and most struggling strata of society.
But I admit it, I cheered. Because Mr Balls, it is not okay to try to find evidence to prove that people are bad to their children just because you and your flunkies want an easy boxed ticked. It is not okay to persecute people. It is not okay to make it sound as if everyone is guilty until proven innocent just because they choose to dedicate their life to being with their children. That isn’t a bad thing you know, just because you don’t do it. Trust me, schools are not doing a better job, nor do they stop all children from being abused. And it is NOT okay for government to peer ever closer into citizens lives and try to sandpaper them all into identikit models, complete with a chip that reports back on them.
It occurs to me that if the figure bandied about back then is correct and there are 80,000 home educated children in the UK, that’s a lot of parents. And while I know it isn’t true of all home educators, many many many of us vowed not to vote Labour again until Balls and Brown were gone. By the time you count in the now adult children, 1 or 2 parents per family and maybe even some supportive aunts and grandparents, that’s a lot of votes.
Maybe, Mr Balls, they’d have won you the election. Just a thought.