The other week I attended the East Sussex County Council meeting with the debate on the future of our County Music Service generated by the twelve and a half thousand strong petition, launched because of the expressed intention to close the schools’ instrumental tuition from September 2019.
What a farce!
The county council, along with so many public bodies, is facing swingeing cuts to funding in this time of austerity.
As a result, so many of our familiar services are being lost.
The library service is one victim.
Children’s services are under threat, the very section of our community we should be protecting as they are our future.
We are in danger of failing the next generation who will be left without the resources of intellect and knowledge that are vital for the proper functioning of society.
Music is close to my heart, and has enormous benefits which equip our young people with skills transferable to so many aspects of living.
To cut off music is to destroy something which is at the heart of our humanity and expresses something from deep within our being.
So the council debated.
The decision was confirmed to close the instrumental tuition provided by County, albeit to look at possible ‘sustainable’ alternatives but which risk denying access to music by those on the fringes and who would most benefit.
The currently running flawed public consultation, fails to give those who care an appropriate voice and was not even raised.
Some councillors made good strong arguments, but what was significant was the division clearly along the stereotypical fault lines of party politics.
As a Christian I regret any decision made based on party policy that denies conscience and integrity.
So when it came to the vote the leading party held sway and amendments were lost and the original motion to carry through the intended closure was passed.
It isn’t over as there are a lot of skirmishes to be fought along the way but the feeling that party lines took precedence over intelligent decision making was sadly in evidence.
What a sorry world!