Vote for care

Care is the glue that holds everything together and underpins our economy so it needs to be at the heart of the next government.

Dad holding child's foot

 

In general elections websites like workingmums.co.uk tend to promote articles about what any family-friendly policies might mean for parents. And that’s important. But in elections some people focus only on a narrow range of policies that will be good for them in the most immediate sense. Many of the problems Britain faces today, however, affect a whole array of areas and there are knock-on effects for all of us.  A society and economy that works for everyone, particularly the most vulnerable, is a common good.

You can’t boost employment, for instance, without addressing health or social care. You can’t focus on tax cuts today without thinking of what that means for public services tomorrow. You can’t build a future if you don’t invest in children and ensure they get the best possible start in life. You can’t think about free childcare if there are no staff to care for your children because caring is undervalued and UK demographic changes mean there will soon be more people leaving the workforce than coming into it.

You can’t consider demographic issues without thinking about how to make it more affordable for people to have children in the first place and without creating the basic security you need to start a family. You can’t talk about the cost of net zero without talking about the cost of not doing net zero. You can’t speak about investment in AI if your workforce doesn’t have the tools and encouragement to rethink their jobs and find the human value in what they do.

Some have termed the current period we are living through ‘a perma-crisis’. Since 2008 we have been through wave after wave of major shocks – from the recession, Brexit and Covid to the cost of living crisis. And there is no sign that things will calm down as we have the climate catastrophe looming, the rise of the far right across the Western world and major conflict involving multiple countries in several regions. In addition to that, we are in the middle of an AI whirlwind whose outcomes are unknown [the optimists would say that means there is all to play for…].

We are going to have to live with this turbulence and that means building a strong infrastructure and pulling together.  As the cast of High School the Musical so rightly sang, ‘we’re all in this together’. That means we need to look after each other, not throw each other under the bus, particularly when the road ahead is so bumpy. We need to put care at the centre of what we do because it is the glue that helps everything else function. As parents we know that. Care is at the heart of it all and without it everything else falls apart. In a world of increasing automation, we need to appreciate what makes us human. Without love and care, you can have all the wealth in the world, but nothing has any value. In the end, love is all that remains of us when we are gone, pulsating across time and space.



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