Friday, 11 August 2017

Jane's Blog August 2017

Jane and Sadia, two of our Commissioners will be blogging each month, sharing their thoughts, experiences and what it means to be a Poverty Truth Commissioner.  

In the seventh of the series, Jane shares her thoughts on children, childhood and the Working Group on Cuts and Assessments.

It’s funny the things that stick from childhood.
My family moved around a lot when I was young, from Blantyre in Malawi to Carnoustie to Solihull to Aberdeen.
I remember one primary school very clearly.
Each morning we were given a text from the bible.  Just a few words.
And the one I remember most clearly is,
‘Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven’.
Or as it’s sometimes written now,
‘Let the little children come to me, and stop keeping them away, because the kingdom from heaven belongs to people like these’ 
It is the most magical text.
Children as the most important people, no matter what else is going on.
It’s been much in my mind as we have been working out what to focus on in our group looking at Cuts and Assessments.
Outside the commission, I have a  friend, who I’ve just got to know recently.
She has 4 children.  She was married but her husband left. 
The youngest two are twin boys, one fully healthy and enjoying every aspect of life as he reaches 16.
The other has serious learning difficulties with physical problems too.
My friend is full of fun with a great sparkle and an enthusiasm for every day of life.
A while back, she  mentioned that she tends to go to bed early.
Why, I asked?
Her son with learning difficulties never sleeps for more than an hour.  He never has.  
Only it’s better now that he isn’t crying when he wakes.
And that was the first of how I learnt quite how challenging her life is.
Our group has decided to focus on children and young people, in particular the impact of cuts on Child Tax Credits and on children with special needs as they move to adult services.
I am so glad to be part of this group.
The late MP Tam Dalyell was always forthright in his views.
When a journalist colleague turned up at Tam’s house to record an interview,
Tam walked straight over to my colleague’s car.  There was a baby seat in the back.
‘Ah! Said Tam.  ‘Children! Children! Children are the salt of the earth!’