Rejecting the First Aid Education Bill is a disgrace

On Friday 20th November, several Conservative MPs decided that the sound of their own voices was more important than making sure that all schoolchildren can look after their own health and the health of those around them. To put it another way, it was more important to Phillip Davis that this bill would fail than the idea that an 11 year old might be able to stop his classmate choking on their packed lunch, or spot the signs of a stroke in their grandma. How on Earth can a party which pretends to be supportive of ideas of self-help, independence and social responsibility even begin to consider such a stance of misanthropic apathy?

Because I was lucky enough to receive First Aid training at both of my secondary schools, I was able to look after my friends when they have either cut their scalps diving into a river, twisted an ankle, been glassed or had too much to drink. Admittedly, most of what I was taught tended to be common sense, and usually involved looking after things until help arrived, but in a crisis being able to rely on this training meant being able to behave with a level-head and help as much as possible before a paramedic could arrive. There’s often talk of a ‘Golden Hour’, the first after an accident, where you have the most chance of being able to help change the course of an emergency – in these situations first aiders are essential.

The Compulsory Emergency First Aid Education Bill, supported by St. John’s Ambulance, The British Red Cross and the British Heart Foundation, would have ensured that all school children were given the knowledge and training to look after some of the most common First Aid situations. Instead, because of the stuffy and retrograde ideology of a few middle aged men on a Friday afternoon, our schoolchildren will be deprived of these essential life skills.

For all their talk of independence and individual freedoms, Conservative movements do not want you to have autonomy over your body, and they show this when they push for legislating over women’s bodies, when they keep sex education stuck firmly in the 1940s, when they cut access to healthcare and hamstring our National Health Service. When we talk about the use of food banks going up, you have to bear in mind that it is not just adults who are struggling to put food on the table, it is their children who are going hungry also – we are talking about a government who would rather see children go hungry than question their political convictions.

You have to seriously question the legitimacy of a governing body when they decide to fly in the face of advice from three of the most relevant public health NGOs operating in the United Kingdom. You have to start deciding whether these people are fit to hold office when their arrogance and ideological fetishes are more important than the health and safety of our children, our brothers and sisters, our future.

On Friday 20th November, we were let down again by a ruling elite who are utterly detached from the world that they purport to represent. This group of foolish men have decided that the ultimate expression of freedom is to tear down every safety net and construct an idea of independence which is wholly synonymous with isolation and abandonment. Keep your dodgy, incoherent politics, keep your ape-like behaviour in the Houses of Commons, but for Christ’s sake keep it away from the kids.

 

Image: Greg Knapp

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