At the TPA we often come across council schemes and initiatives that lead us to question the judgement of the staff and elected members involved, and then there are days like today when we come across a council project so truly crackpot that we’re left wondering whether those involved have completely lost their minds. Enter Dorset County Council’s self-penned ‘The Promise’, a musical ode to 20 years of The Convention on the Rights of a Child. That’s right.
If that already strikes you as pretty odd, brace yourself, it just gets weirder. The accompanying video appeals to our conscience by flashing emotive images of children – some disabled, some in poverty, some presumably pupils at local schools – interspersed with footage of what appears to be...hang on...members and staff of the council singing along?! Oh yes. Even Chief Executive David Jenkins makes a disembodied appearance, his floating head mouthing the toe-curling lyrics to this bizarre dirge. It’s good to know he’s filling this time with productive activities like this whilst taking home an impressive salary of £170,000pa!
If you didn’t already feel a mixture of confusion and sickness watching a decidedly awkward council choir (some of whom appear to be mid-meeting...or lunch) dribble out cringe-worthy sentiments about their “arms wrapping around a child of the world (again and again and again)”, and telling us how we must “care and love in our journey through life the child that lies deep in us all” (?!) then you will do when jazzy – well, in the 1990s maybe – graphics float in from various angles, reminding us of articles from the convention. It is, in short, deeply patronising. Or at least it would be if we could ascertain who on earth it’s actually aimed at.
Dorset County Council clearly think that singing (and from the looks of their website, dire promotional video) makes the world a better place but unfortunately we can’t help but feel the world is a poorer, and more tuneless, place thanks to this frankly horrendous effort. Putting their musical credentials aside though, we’re paying these people’s salaries to work, not warble. As the Purbeck Gazette article asks – how much did this little doozy cost? Shouldn’t these staff have been working on the things that matter to the people of Dorset? Why didn’t any of these wooden, coerced looking council staff/members question this madness?
The video was sent over to us by a Dorset-based TPA supporter who, quite rightly, asked whether this was an acceptable use of time and resources. The short answer is, surely, NO. If Dorset County Council were intending to polish their halos with this one, they well and truly missed the mark. If they want to look good they should do some real work, and devote less time to strange initiatives designed to prove to us all that they really like children.