NDCS election pledge a big success

Image courtesy of NDCS

Sad political geek that I am, I stayed up all night on Thursday to see the election results. If you think that’s bad, at the same time, I was ticking off the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) list of politicians who had signed the NDCS election pledge for deaf children to see who got elected on the night.

Now with the benefit of sleep, I’ve been checking the list and coming up with a definitive number of politicians elected who’ve committed to supporting deaf children. And the final total is…. drum roll… 223!

NDCS’s initial target was around 50, my expectations have turned out to be way off. It’s a fantastic result, and all down to the thousand supporters who contacted their local candidates. It’s genuinely very pleasing, especially as it includes some big-hitters like Nick Clegg, the leader of the Lib Dems, and the education spokespeople from Labour, Conservative and Lib Dems (Ed Balls, Michael Gove and David Laws).

Of course, it’s only a means to an end. Any MP can sign a pledge, but what they need to do is step up and take action to make deaf children matter. But what it does mean is that a third of all MPs have at least promised to support deaf children. At the time of writing, we may not actually have a new Government just yet, but we do at least have that to hold onto. NDCS will now be working hard to make sure they keep their promises over the coming years.

Thanks again to everyone who took part and supported this campaign; it’s much appreciated and will make a big difference.

PS If you want to see if your MP signed the pledge, check the NDCS list.


Who will make deaf children matter in the general election?

All the newspapers seem to be busy publicly endorsing political parties, so I guess it’s only fair and proper that this blog, as an equally important media outlet, advises you on who you should vote for tomorrow.

This blog therefore endorses the following party for the general election 2010….

Only joking! I would probably get carted off to jail or, worse, forbidden from ever going near the chocolate digestives at work ever again. Charities need to be politically impartial under the law, after all. In any event, I’m quite old-fashioned about voting and think everyone should decide individually and privately who they want to vote for, without nudges and winks from others.

Image courtesy of NDCS

However, if you are interested in what the parties say about deaf children, disability and special educational needs, then the National Deaf Children’s Society website has a very short summary of what the three main UK party manifestos have to say on this, which may help guide you.

You can also read the transcripts from the interviews that education spokespersons from each party did with deaf young people back in January.

Finally, you can also see whether the politicians in your area have promised to support deaf children if they are elected, by signing the National Deaf Children’s Society election pledge for deaf children.

The election promises to be very close and the next Government is likely to be making some difficult decisions on public spending cuts to come, so every vote will make a difference.

Happy voting!

Urgent! Time running out to contact your election candidates

Image courtsesy of NDCS

Well, in a week’s time, the UK will be going to the polls to decide who will form the next Government. It means that time is running out for you to help make deaf children matter during the election by asking your own local candidates to sign the National Deaf Children’s Society election pledge for deaf children.

And if you’ve already done it, now is good to remind them to sign it if they haven’t already. The NDCS pledge check page has a list of everyone who’s signed it thus far.

How to contact your local candidates? Click here, tell us where you live, click a few more times and bingo. NDCS works out who your candidates are and brings up a template message. Much easier to do than remembering to take off your microphone when having a private conversation about someone you’ve just met.

An update so far? Well, when I was first working on the pledge for NDCS, I thought maybe around 300 would sign it. 500 at a push. Well, so far, a whopping 839 have signed it. I’m amazed. The total includes 22 Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet Ministers, including the leads on education for each party. Over 120 Conservative candidates have signed it, even though the party traditionally tends not to sign election pledges. I’m doubly amazed.

Whilst this is fantastic, not all of these people will get elected to become MPs. Which is why it would be great to get the number up even higher in the next week to increase the chances of getting a good large bunch of MPs who know about deafness and are willing to take action to support deaf children. Given that deafness is a “invisible” disability and given the likelihood of big cuts to public spending, NDCS needs as much support as possible from MPs over the next five years.

So contact your local candidates now while they’re still running around the country desperate to get your vote.


Are we making deaf children matter in the general election?

Image courtesy of NDCS

Well, the National Deaf Children’s Society’s campaign to make deaf children matter at the general election has been live now for nearly 2 weeks. So how many candidates have signed the NDCS election pledge for deaf children so far?

A whopping 440. All this has come about because nearly 692 NDCS supporters have sent out 2023 emails to candidates between them. A really good start.

Notable signatories include Michael Gove, the shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families for the Conservatives and David Cameron’s right-hand man. Michael’s sister is deaf so it’s great that he’s bringing his own personal experience of deafness to the election campaign.

Sadiq Khan, Minister for Transport, is the first Cabinet Minister to sign the pledge. As he was my own MP in the last Parliament, I’m quite relieved I’ve managed to get my own local candidates on board.

And Norman Lamb, Shadow Secretary of State for Health for the Liberal Democrats has also lent his support, along with Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green party and many other Green candidates.

What’s been great about reading the comments from candidates who’ve signed the pledge is realising just how many have their own personal connection with deafness. Stephen Lloyd, Lib Dem candidate for Eastbourne, is hearing impaired himself. Others have a long history of working with children with special educational needs, like Pat Glass, Labour candidate for North West Durham. Many others are just keen to make sure that deafness isn’t an invisible disability in the next Parliament.

The full list of candidates who’ve signed the pledge can be found here, if you want to see who else is on it.

All of this is a great start, but there are still loads more candidates to sign up. Around 3000 more if my back of the envelope calculation is anything to go by. So it’s important that NDCS supporters keep writing in to their own local candidates. If you’ve already emailed, why not email again to remind them? After all, if you can’t stalk you own local candidates during an election period, when can you stalk them?

If you want to email your candidates, just pop along to this website. Only takes around 3 minutes. I did mine while I was waiting for the kettle to boil.

Have you had any interesting comments from your candidates? If so, please let us know and leave a comment below.

Vote for deaf children!

As Gordon Brown put it, it wasn’t exactly a very well-kept secret, but we now know for sure that a general election will be taking place on the 6th May.

So how can we make deaf children matter during the election? Well, you can email your local candidates in your area.

The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) has set up a “pledge for deaf children” and they want lots of local candidates to sign it to show their support. The website makes it quick and easy for you to email your candidates – as long as you know where you live, it can work out who your local candidates are.

The more candidates who sign it, the more likely we’ll have a large bunch of MPs in the next Parliament who know that supporting deaf children is really important. There’s a looming threat of spending cuts hanging over everything. But we also know deaf children are still under achieving at schools and are more likely to be bullied, abused and without a job when they grow up. So NDCS is going to need as much support as they can get.

I’ve just done it for my local candidates in south west London. There’s a hard fight going on to become MP for my seat so I’m hoping the local candidates will be keen to pay attention to my views on deafness if they hope to get my vote. Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve also done it for my previous address where I lived until very recently. Hee!

NDCS’s plans for the general election

Image courtesy of http://www.politics.co.uk

So what is the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) planning to do for the UK general election? My suggestion that we go all radical and throw custard over politicians or get a group of young deaf terrorists to kidnap the Queen, seem to have been quietly ignored. Instead, here are some details of NDCS’s plans:

1) Drafting a pledge and asking politicians to sign it to show their support for deaf children. And then getting NDCS supporters to lobby their local candidates about the pledge so that as many politicians sign it as possible. If the politicians get elected, NDCS will “remind” them of their promises to support deaf children.

2) Producing introductory briefing papers for politicians new to deafness, and also special information factsheets for every constituency. The idea is to make it local for all candidates so they can see why their support for deaf children is needed where they live.

3) Monitoring the manifestos to see what the political parties are promising on education, health, social care, etc. A group of young deaf people have already interrogated leading MPs from each party to ask about their future plans to support deaf children.

All of this stuff is going to be placed on NDCS’s web in a special election section.

What else do you reckon NDCS should be doing in the run-up to the general election?

PS NDCS does not advocate throwing custard over politicians or kidnapping the Queen.

Deaf question time for education politicians

Back in January, I mentioned that a tremendous trio of deaf students from Heston Community School in west London went to Westminster to interview MPs from each of the main political parties on on their parties’ approach to supporting deaf children to help parents of deaf children decide how to vote in the upcoming general election.

The interviews have now been published by the National Deaf Children’s Society and are available on their website.

There are a few similarities between the different parties. To be expected: no party is ever going to stand on a platform for less support for deaf children and more bullying. But it’s worth reading the interviews to tease out the slight differences in the party’s approaches.

The students – Karen, Kevin and Maynaka – were all excellent ambassadors for NDCS and their school. They even managed to tease out information about what the MPs will do to celebrate if they win the general election. Answers ranged from having a good sleep, having a curry, and playing some Lego!

Am very proud of the students!