I watched the ‘Leaders Debate’ or rather, most of it. I thought Brown did better than I expected and Cameron worse. That may have been due to my expectations that Brown would be poor and Cameron would be polished. I expected Clegg to make quite a strong showing – it’s easier for the ‘third’ party.
My general political leanings are soft left. I am not a natural Conservative and honestly, can’t consider voting for them so of course, my bias will show but I don’t need to pretend to be neutral about this..
I was disappointed by the negativity about immigration to be honest. I think it is an easy target and by no means a source of as much concern as the ‘Daily Mail’ would like to have us believe. But I work between the Health Service and Social Care and know the impact and the very real impact a restriction on immigration would have on these services.
About the last point relating to care for the elderly, Cameron’s £8000 insurance against care fees on turning 65 – seems only to benefit the middle classes and protect their children’s inheritances. It does absolutely nothing to address the real funding crises in social care – not least because there is a massive move away from residential and nursing care for a start. Brown and Clegg both talked about some issue of consensus needing to be reached.
About carers, Cameron expressed the need for more respite but Clegg quantified carers getting ‘a week off’. We must have a much more generous system in our local authorities than the ones that Cameron and Clegg have been involved with. I can’t imagine one week being enough. To be honest, over the last 10 years of my practice, respite and carers services have increased a lot – that isn’t to say they couldn’t be better of course – look at Carers Allowance, for a start – but I think the government have a much better record on carers support than the previous Conservative government.
And honestly, I think Cameron overplayed some of the issues about direct payments a bit – firstly they are being phased out but also, while I as a social worker, might have to deal with onerous amounts of paperwork, the priority was always making it as straightforward as possible for the user/carer – through support networks in place to assist.
One other point, the emphasis on cancer treatment, I know it’s emotive, believe me, I know – I say this as someone who, in my mid-30s has lost both of my parents to cancer – but I am also very aware that there are other medical conditions and more general discussion about health that I would like to have heard. Nothing about dementia for example. That was a shame really.