Last night, I made two appearances on Sky News to discuss the upcoming headlines. It featured very relaxed but lively conversation which spanned a whole range of news items.
One of the headlines we discussed was the government’s plan to produce a breakdown of where every individual’s tax money goes. It seems to me that this is simply a way to inflame people. It could cause people to become more welcoming to the idea of making cuts to things like welfare.
This raised alarm bells for me. As regular readers of the blog will know, one of the most devastating cuts this government has introduced has been the near abolition of legal aid.
I brought up a story that caught my eye last week. Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division, made his views known about legal aid while he oversaw the case of two parents who were fighting to prevent the adoption of their child. He said it was “unthinkable” that they should have to face such a vital part of their lives, the possibility of losing a child, without any sort of legal representation.
This is just the latest case where a lack of legal aid is confounding to legal professionals. Sadly, it is not an isolated incident. Earlier this year, another judge lamented the lack of legal aid for a mother with hearing and speech difficulties who could not read or write. If these are the kinds of people who are ineligible for help at the moment, I shudder to think how many would be left out in the cold if any further cuts were made.
In my other appearance, we discussed a range of topics including the beautiful display of poppies at the Tower of London to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. My grandfather fought in that awful conflict and was lucky enough to come home. There were millions of young people who were not so fortunate.
The sea of poppies mirrors a sea of blood, which is exactly what that war was. Appropriately, even with an enormous crowd and dreadful weather, the atmosphere was one of reverence and contemplation. It was truly remarkable, and a fitting tribute to all those we lost.
We also briefly touched upon the news the GPs may start to screen middle-aged people for dementia. This is not the first time dementia has been in the spotlight recently, which is why advice about how to proceed is paramount.
It is always a pleasure to be invited onto Sky News and this time was no exception.