You might have woken up like me to hear that:
Nearly half of all children in England are not reaching what teachers say is a good level of development by the age of five.
Which comes from data produced today by the London Health Observatory and the Marmot Review Team, which is a little wider than the headline. They also look at average life expectancy, the percentage of young people not in education, employment and training, and how many people are in receipt of means tested benefits too.
They break this down to local authority level and as you’ll see in the slides I’ve produced below Lewisham’s challenge in tackling health inequalities is substantial.
Just to note, the inequality within Lewisham (as measured by the indicators around inequality in life expectancy, inequality in disability-free life expectancy, and inequality in percentage in receipt of means-tested benefits) seems to be less of an issue than it is regionally or nationally.
The question will be whether the Public Health Service when it emerges in a few years time will be able to make progress on tackling these issues.
They will certainly find that some of the levers that have been there in the past may have disappeared. For example, the Education Bill that is currently going through Parliament removes the duty of schools to cooperate with the local authority; leaving up to schools to decide whether or not to do so.
Similarly, the impact of reducing the levels of funding for services that support the most vulnerable will without doubt make it difficult to have a positive effect on these figures.
If, like me, you like this sort of thing you can find more Allo Darlin here.
Quite a lot of the stuff that I read that critiques the government comes from a centre-left perspective and paints it as Tory led and highly radical. Here are a couple of examples.
I am increasingly struck by the strange similarities between the regime of Chairman Mao and that of Chairman Cameron.
Some of the coalition’s senior figures are conscious of this; some of them are even proud to draw the parallels between themselves and the author of TheLittle Red Book. In recent weeks, I have heard one important figure in the government talk of unleashing a “cultural revolution” in the public services and another hailing devolution of power away from the centre using Mao’s old slogan: “Let a thousand flowers bloom.”
The rhetoric from May to December was clear. The problem was the “top down” NHS bosses who were to be swept away over the next few years and replaced with empowered clinical commissioners and an economically regulated market place.
It’s an analysis that fits our conception of what this government is; a fire first ask questions later, mad axeman which is hoping that a period of ‘creative destruction’ will remake society.
I think that this is also a view that is shared by some members of the government – though perhaps not the mad axeman bit. After all they’re the ones talking about cultural revolution and saying that everything must change by 2015.
But it’s not the only view of what they are, and it seems to me that that sets some challenges for its opponents.