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Epilogue

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 March 2022

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Summary

The actor, producer and former children’s TV presenter Floella Benjamin, now Baroness Benjamin OBE of Beckenham, rises to speak in the House of Lords, where she is a member for the Liberal Democratic Party. The Baroness, familiar to everyone of a certain age from her time on Playschool, the BBC’s iconic daily programme for pre-schoolers in the 1970s and 1980s, asks Lord Nash, a junior Education Minister in the new Conservative government, about nutrition in schools. She is rewarded with the promise of a new ‘national obesity framework’ by the end of the year and a meeting with the Minister to discuss what it should contain.

It is a mark of the very different world we now inhabit compared with the one of 2007 – when the Play Strategy was announced with a £225 million flourish by Ed Balls in the House of Commons – that this brief exchange about school food between two minor politicians in the upper chamber may represent the best opportunity for progressing policy for play in England over the course of the new Parliament. The general election of 7 May 2015 not only saw Ed Balls’s Labour party spectacularly fail to return to government in the face of an unexpected Conservative majority, but he himself lose his seat in Parliament altogether. If the result was widely regarded as a shock, this was nowhere more true than within the play movement, where there was a reasonable hope – if not quite an expectation – that our strongest political champion of recent years, far from leaving politics altogether, as he has subsequently announced, would be the new Chancellor of the Exchequer and might be persuaded to resurrect his vision for a child-friendly public realm supported by a long-term strategic government policy for play.

It was not to be. The leading party of a coalition government that, as CRAE (2015) asserts, ‘undermined children’s rights under Article 31 by abandoning a ten-year national play strategy (and) […] breaking a public commitment to develop an alternative cabinet-led approach to play policy’, now had a mandate to pursue its low-tax, low-intervention vision of a minimalist state unencumbered by centrist partners. Children’s play is unlikely to feature in its plans. Unless…

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Policy for Play
Responding to Children's Forgotten Right
, pp. 157 - 162
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2015

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  • Epilogue
  • Adrian Voce
  • Foreword by Roger Hart
  • Book: Policy for Play
  • Online publication: 08 March 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.46692/9781447319436.020
Available formats
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Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Epilogue
  • Adrian Voce
  • Foreword by Roger Hart
  • Book: Policy for Play
  • Online publication: 08 March 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.46692/9781447319436.020
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Epilogue
  • Adrian Voce
  • Foreword by Roger Hart
  • Book: Policy for Play
  • Online publication: 08 March 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.46692/9781447319436.020
Available formats
×