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2024 UK General Election

New beginnings, new hope?

The votes are in and the UK has a new Government. After 14 years of Conservative rule we have an unprecedentedly large Labour majority in the House of Commons and some of the smaller parties with increased numbers of seats leaving the Tories firmly in the political shade.


“So, what has this to do with a Substack about trauma?”, I hear you ask. Well quite a lot actually. In my book, “Coping with Trauma”, I describe how people who have experienced significant trauma in their lives often struggle to function in the world of education and work.  When you are stuck in survival mode, just trying to get through the day without further abuses, it’s often impossible to focus on things that may pull you out of poverty and ill-health.  


As an example, in the UK, care leavers are often placed in unsupported accommodation from age 18 and are expected to make a life for themselves with no family, inadequate housing, no protection from criminal gangs, and meagre benefit payments or low paid work.  These are people who have been abandoned and often faced abuses throughout their childhood, meaning that they may have struggled to make the best of the education that was offered to them, thus limiting their options for well paid work.  Similarly disabled people, those with chronic health conditions and those with mental health difficulties face adversity every day, and are discriminated against in the workplace.  There are many other reasons why people might be facing adversity that makes it difficult to access work or education and these people may rely on state support to survive.


As I state in Coping with Trauma, “[s]adly, in the UK since 2010, over successive Tory [Conservative] Governments, we have seen punitive cuts to all forms of welfare and mental health support, meaning that these people are being further traumatised by an unforgiving social environment, where there is a lack of compassion or support emanating from the heart of government throughout society.” (p50). This includes the almost complete removal of the Sure Start programme - a network of grass roots family support services across the more deprived districts of the UK which was set up in 1998 by the then Labour Government. After the Tories came to power in 2010, funding was cut and the majority of Sure Start Centres were closed. A recent Institute for Fiscal Studies report shows greatly improved educational success in children from disadvantaged backgrounds who had access to Sure Start services in their early years.


The increased inequality we see across the country, the cost of living crisis and the failure of the state to mitigate the impact of any of this on the poorest in the UK, is a testament to the utter failure of the last 14 years of Tory Government to improve social conditions for most of the UK population. Again, I address this in Coping with Trauma when I say, “[t]his needs to be understood at a societal level, so that social policy can be aimed at giving people the practical and financial support they need to ensure their safety and stability before they can put things in place to begin to escape poverty, heal their trauma and lead healthy, productive, satisfying lives. At a societal level, you can’t force people out of poverty by heaping more trauma on them in the form of benefit cuts, unaffordable housing and a lack of social care support. All that does is trap people in poverty and inertia, desperately fighting to feed their children, or their addiction, but with no spare resources to progress in their lives.” (P79)


So, there’s a new dawn, a new Government is in Westminster, what can we hope for now?  I hope that we will see a return to a more compassionate society. I hope that where people need support, it will be available. I would like to see things like Sure Start revived. I would like to see renewed investment in social care services and the NHS, so that the devastatingly long waiting lists and long waits for urgent care are addressed. I would like to see meaningful investment in mental health services so that people can access the help that will really benefit them. There are many more things I hope will happen under this new Government, but I know it can’t all come at once. As a closing thought, I would like to see a Government where the emphasis is on rebuilding our nation, rather than lining the pockets of the wealthy and filling their offshore tax free coffers.  


YW



Bringing quality trauma therapy to the world through delivering therapy, clinical supervision, teaching and training.

Understand and overcome trauma with my self-help book Coping with Trauma. Drawing as much on my own personal as well as professional experience of trauma to help those struggling with  trauma and those helping and guiding them. 


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