Standing Up For Carers
I very rarely lose my temper and I only avoided it by walking out of a meeting today.
I attended an Adult Social Care Decision Day, whereby the Conservative cabinet member gets to make a decision on the future of Orchard Close, a Care home based at Hayling Island, (mainly for adults with learning difficulties).
The home provides respite care for family members across Hampshire who spend most of their lives looking after them.
Just consider this, I am invited to attend as Spokesman for the opposition.
As such, I am representing hundreds of thousands of people in Hampshire.
As I take my seat, the Tory Cabinet Member, Cllr Liz Fairhurst, who is Chairing the meeting, tells me that she is going to exercise her right to deny me the chance to ask a question or make any statement.
She added that she had already made her mind up to accept an officers recommendation to delay the decision about closure of the home until Autumn
I sit through five deputations from carers who are very strongly opposed to closure and represent 96% of those responding to the HCC consultation who feel the same way.
The point of having a Decision Day, is that you listen to people who attend and then make your mind up.
I checked if legally, she was allowed to silence me.
I then questioned whether it was morally right to deny me the chance to speak at all.
She wouldn’t allow me to do so.
I am afraid that I walked out.
If I am unable to say anything, what is the point of being there?
How can it be an authentic decision making process if you have made up your mind beforehand and aren’t even prepared to listen to alternative views?
The Carers who attended the meeting expressed upset and a strong sense of being let down by Hampshire County Council.
I know how they feel.
At least I was able to walk out of the room. Carers don’t often have that option.
A very bad day for democracy.
It’s rare for the shortcomings of our so called “democratic systems” to be so obviously exposed.