Thoughts on today

I have not been to a polling station today to cast my vote as we have postal votes due to (pre-Sqk) usually being away on first Thursday in May. But as those of you on Twitter know I am a support of Remain in Europe although I will acknowledge there are things about the EU I want to see change. However from a personal perspective I would not be where I am today without EU research funding and also free movement across Europe. Nor would I probably have a permanent job. I also know local companies are planning their move to Europe if the vote is remain as they cannot see how they can survive otherwise. The leave campaign want free trade but the only way to get that (within Europe) is (based on Norway & Switzerland) to obey 75% of regulations and to allow free movement with no say on those regulations. Indeed Norway (and other countries who get money from research budget) have to contribute to the EU budget…

I voted before the events in Birstall a week ago – a place 7 miles (by road) from where I currently sit. Last week’s killing of Jo Cox hit me hard – firstly she was an MP I had heard speak on local radio and whose views chimed with mine. Secondly there are a number of similarities between us – northern girls from schools with grammar in their name but not selective who went to Cambridge a year apart; she was only 8 months older than me and her elder child is a very simialr age to Sqk. Emphasises the fragility of life. I have to wander if without the hatred stirred up among (small) parts of the Leave campaign would she still be with us. The fact her killer is being tried under terrorist protocols points to what the authorities believe. An hour ago people held hands in Birstall at the time she was attacked last week – and last night we had the moving tribute to her on what should have been her birthday.

All I can hope is once the result is announced – and I hope it is the one I want – that we can heal the divisions this nasty referendum campaign has stirred up. Like Suddenly Mummy  I live in a place with a diverse mixture that has a population formed on immigration where race relations have been an issue in the past. Round here I am not looking forward to the reaction no matter what the result.


Yesterday after sorting out a few things at work I got back to my office at work to discover the news that Gareth Marr has passed away. It has surprised me how much the loss of a man who I met three times in total – and heard speak twice has affected me. I was teary-eyed at the news – and in tears talking about it with T last night. I really do feel like I have lost a friend – and as the many tributes on twitter have shown so do so many of us in the adoption community.

I first met Gareth at the Adoption UK conference in November 2014 although we’d been corresponding on Twitter before then about adoption and education. Education has always been something I have a passion about due to growing up as the daughter of a teacher and now bothe the sister of a teacher and working in higher education myself. I am former school governor with special interest in PP and Gareth and I connected discussing the #adoptionschooltrain.

Every time I met him he was always well turned out with his trademark hat and that deep voice. When he talked you listened. Having met him in Birmingham when I heard he would be up to speak at the Yorkshire & Humber Adoption Consortium educaiton conference in May 2015 I immeidately invite dhim to speak to the local Adoption UK support group. We even got Ralph berry – a Bradford councillor with an interest in education and social services to come along. It is an evening that will live long in my memory and one that empowered a lot of us to go and talk to our schools. He certainly inspried me – my one regret is that T never had a the chance I had to engage with him.

When the education white paper came out earlier in this year and I realised that finally it would be recognised that our children in education terms have very similar outcomes to those in care (KS2 pass rate: 49% previously in care; 46% in care compared to 75% average nationally) I thought immediately how please Gareth would be. It was a bright spot for me in what has been a pretty horrible few months – little things with Sqk and major things with my work that I will blog about another time.

Now as I said on twitter yesterday we need to ensure that his legacy lives on.