From Disraeli’s ‘One Nation’ Conservatism in the 19th century through to Harold Macmillan’s post-war housebuilding programme and Margaret Thatcher’s revival of the economy in the 20th century, the Conservative Party has a strong tradition of enabling social mobility.
People might say that I came from a classically disadvantaged background, like so many others, having been brought up by my mother in social housing in South London. Yet I was one of the few fortunate enough to get a good education and make my way in life. This should not be a one-off story; it should be commonplace. The circumstances of a child’s birth should not determine where they end up in life.
In among all the policy and pathways, it’s easy to forget the real reasons why children are in care. When a child is taken into care it’s not because there is some minor issue at home. They have often suffered unimaginable abuse, horrific neglect or unspeakable violence. Many have lived under conditions that are so appalling that the only option is to remove them for their own safety. Children in care have seen and experienced things that we cannot even start to imagine.
Our duty to vulnerable children
These children don’t choose their parents or their family circumstances. They don’t have a say in the physical or mental health of their parents. They can’t avert family tragedy or breakdown. They can’t avoid abuse or neglect. They have no choice as to whether they will end up in care.