This blog is about the local elections happening in some parts of England on 5th May. No, come back! I’ll try and make it interesting!
I normally pay little attention to the local elections, even though I’m a self-confessed political geek. This time, I’m making an exception because of the cuts that local councils are making to services for deaf children across England. These decisions were made by councillors now seeking re-election. The local election is the perfect opportunity to hold them to account and to remind them that their fate lies in my pen-wielding fingers [Insert *evil cackle* here].
As far as I can tell, the local elections are rarely exploited by campaigners like me. My guess is that many local councillors will be so unused to even being even noticed, they may be quite startled to be targeted and asked what they’re doing to protect and save services for deaf children. All local authorities are required to publish names and addresses of their candidates. So I’m calling on people to go to their council website, find out who’s standing in their area and get their local candidates to pledge to support deaf children where there are elections taking place in their hood.
One place where I’m taking a very close interest in Stoke on Trent, where swingeing cuts have been made to the education service for deaf children. With my National Deaf Children’s Society hat on, I have written to all the councillor candidates in the area asking them to sign a pledge to help deaf children. I’ve also been sending tips and guidance to parents on how to do the same. It will be interesting to see how it goes. Pledges have a bit of a bad rep at the moment (not naming names, but I’m sure Nick Clegg knows what I’m talking about) but, if anything, the hope is that no councillor after the 5th May will be ignorant about the need to save services for deaf children. And hopefully they will be looking nervously behind their shoulders to see what parents of deaf children think in the meantime.