So 5 May it is. And already much of the electorate is bored and
irritated by the whole thing. But those working in social care are
peculiarly exposed to a change of political climate, and this
general election seems particularly uncertain.
There seems little to choose between Labour and Conservatives. Yet
polls suggest voters who can’t bear to vote for Tony
“don’t-mention-the-war” Blair or Michael
“we’re-not-thinking-what-you’re-thinking” Howard will swing to the
Lib Dems. And to be fair, Charles Kennedy’s party has so far
steered an impressive course, seizing the moral high ground on a
range of issues and refusing to take cheap shots at easy targets
like asylum seekers and travellers.
But although there are many reasons to feel angry and let down by
Labour, most social care staff will recognise this government’s
commitment to tackling social injustice, poverty and exclusion.
True, its policies have too often been underresourced and poorly
thought-out. Others have been based on likeable ideals, only to be
undermined by woefully inadequate detail. But generally, this
government has behaved as if it believes in society, and in the
rights of the most vulnerable to be protected within it.
We must hope that, whatever happens on 5 May, this principle
continues to lie at the heart of government.