Why I pushed aside my shyness to go out canvassing

I have been very open about how anxiety enveloped me for two years, restricting my everyday life. At most, I would be able to go and walk my dog at the park five minutes from my house with my mum – I would never go out alone and I would have multiple panic attacks in the day, multiple panic attacks at night. I’ve always been politically aware, growing up with strong working-class roots and parents who are left-wing, but I guess I always automatically thought “that’s the Conservative leader, we don’t like them” and “that’s the labour leader, we like them” when the news would be on. As I have grown older, it’s been the staggering difficulties I’ve faced as a direct result of austerity that have made me into an activist. I joined the Labour Party last year once the NHS mental health services had told me I didn’t meet criteria, during the midst of the new, extreme GCSEs in a school in one of the worst funded areas for schools in the country – it was a catalyst for me joining.

When I first joined twitter in September, I was still struggling really badly with anxiety and panic attacks. It hasn’t been until around January 2019 that I’ve gradually been able to go out and do things again, still in moderation, but slowly I was getting there. Around February, I saw Dawn Smith, one of the local Labour candidates for the Worthing Borough Council Elections like and retweet some of my posts – like most of my likes and retweets, everything gets bundled together so I don’t see a lot but it was the locality of her profile that caught my eye. I followed her but for a short period I felt too shy to reach out and say that I lived locally. It was a group chat I was a part of – named ‘young comrades’ at the time, where I was encouraged to go along to Dawn’s campaign launch. My friends Hardeep, Frank and Ryan, who I had only spoken to online, were going so I took the plunge and arranged to go, knowing I would regret it if I didn’t go to an event that was only five minutes away from me. The night before, I did feel wobbly and slightly sick because it was the unknown and it could have gone two ways – i would have a panic attack and would retreat back to my house for the next six months, or it would bring the best of me out. I am so glad that it was the latter. The first piece of advice I ever got about internet safety was never meet people online but there I was, with people that treated me as if I was instantly family. Every single person that came to the campaign launch made me feel welcome and loved – I knew I had no reason to feel nervous around any of them.

For the first session, I shadowed East Worthing and Shoreham’s Parliamentary Candidate Lavinia O’Connor, feeling too nervous to run a board on my own. The next few weeks, I ran the board (taking data from the voters) and found myself itching to say something from behind the gate. It was the fifth session where I started door knocking and the first time was on a notoriously bad road, where I was told to fuck off (I’ve honestly never been told to fuck off more times than when I’ve been out canvassing) and got dozens of doors slammed in my face. I was too scared to challenge anyone so I would scuttle away and feel disheartened that nobody would listen to me.

The team around me made me want to carry on – I believed in the candidate so much that I wanted to try harder than just let people shout at me or verbally abuse me. So, with every door knock my heart beat slowed a bit more, my legs didn’t tremble as much and I would say a bit more. There are three conversations that I had with people on the doorstep that will stay with me for a while and have proved to me why I do this

• My first ever Labour promise was from a lifelong Liberal Democrat voter. I spoke to him for a while and told him about my experiences with mental health services – he also had anxiety and expressed frustration with the lack of services. I said “I’m really not good with public speaking but I’m doing this because I want change, because I don’t want people to go through what I’ve gone through” and I could see him thinking about what I said. Before I left, he told me “it’s really impressive that you’re here now after going through that”. I thought of him when I looked at the sheepish pile of Lib Dem ballots and hoped he had voted for Labour like he had promised. He’s the first conversation that really stayed with me.

• On the evening of polling day, I knocked on a single dad’s door and he answered it with his young daughter who was in her pyjamas. He jokingly said that he would vote labour if I would help her with her homework – so on the doorstep, I helped this ten year old girl with what seemed like an impossible piece of homework, that I hope I managed to help her with from my hazy memories of GCSE physics. The dad went on to tell me that she went to private school and we spoke for a while. He asked me if I got paid – I replied “no, I do it because I believe in it so much” and he looked towards his coat and said “I’ll go down to the polling station”.

• I knocked on the door of an elderly lady and originally I thought she wasn’t too pleased to see me. I wrongly get apprehensive when elderly people come to the door. She was very vulnerable and frail. she said to me “I’ve never voted for you but you come here with so much passion and I’m getting to an age where I’ve realised they don’t want me. I have no social care and there’s no retirement homes for me to go to. So this time I will vote labour.” I got a bit emotional after that visit because I just looked into the eyes of a lady that couldn’t afford support but was so vulnerable. I wanted to go back to her and make it all better for her. A woman that has worked all of her life but has been damaged by the DWP so horrifically

These three conversations have really stayed with me from the campaign. To think I’ve been able to have these conversations with people when I couldn’t even buy something from a shop six months ago is something that has taken a lot of time for me to try and get to, but it’s something I think is a responsibility for me. As I’ve spoken to more and more people, I realise how I’m becoming firmer and not letting people dictate my opinions. This is a favourite quote of mine if I am feeling particularly anxious or sensitive

“Well behaved women rarely make history” – Rose Parks

I have never felt so sick than on the morning of the count – I wanted our candidate Dawn to get in so badly because I thought she was the perfect embodiment of change for our community. The count itself was an incredible experience that I really enjoyed – watching democracy in action was both exciting and scary. I was counting the ballots put in the Labour tray, seeing how much they were piling up, up and up, way past the Conservative pile. Most interestingly, I looked at spoiled ballot papers and helped decide if they should be disqualified from the count. Seeing the press say that these local elections are reflective of how much people want brexit is very true. 90% of these spoilt ballot papers were ‘Brexit party’, ‘deliver the will of the people’, ‘liars’, ‘traitors’ etc (and the other 10% were drawings of cocks). I never saw the purpose of spoiling a ballot paper before as I never realised it would be shown and people would have to read it – it has only confirmed my views of brexit and how dangerous it will be if we do not deliver it.

By far the best experience of the whole campaign was the moment five Labour councillors were elected for Worthing borough council, taking us from 0 – 10 councillors in the space of ten years. I cried euphorically because it meant everything to me. My feet were covered in blisters, my knuckles were grazed from killer letterboxes and doorknocking and I felt emotionally exhausted but that moment meant everything to me. I had been a tiny part of an election success and I was so proud of everybody that had participated. We are a group of true, passionate socialists that want a better future. My local Labour Party is a family and we all love each other so much.

I would take one or two beta blockers before going out canvassing and I’d sometimes feel the feeling of a panic attack arise but what made me push on was the comradery of those around me and the thought of not wanting anyone to suffer like I did. I will keep doing it, mo matter how anxious I am or how many tablets I need to take to get me out there. I am fighting for change and no one will stop me.

Thank yous

These are the people who have helped me so much, so I thought I would write a few words to them.

Dawn – For believing in me so much and being the reason why I got out and starting door knocking. Also for keeping me in check when I got the giggles and/or started being dirty minded. You have taught me so much and have made me into a feistier and stronger person.

Chelley – For being the most amazing mentor and helping me learn the ropes of everything and for always looking out for me. My best moments on the campaign have been with you and Dawn (especially the porch and panda incident). You are such a gift and asset to the party, we are all very lucky to get to campaign with you.

Margaret – I adore you so much Margaret because I think you are a bloody brillant woman. You understood my nervousness from the beginning and helped me grow in confidence by being a great role model in how you speak to people and your determination. Also thank you to Phil, who always made sure I was never on my own when going to a door and being a great photographer!

Michael – For taking a potentially poisoned chip from a Tory with me and noting down the number plate in case we all died. On a more serious note, I think you are a truly amazing socialist and member of the party – thank you for being one of the people who always drive me around everywhere!

Hardeep – SUPER CAMPAIGNER. What a legend you are and thank you for helping me on my first ever canvassing session. You are one of the reasons why I am still canvassing today.

Pat – Another woman who I am simply in awe of. You taught me how to fearlessly convert a kipper to labour and gave me the gentle push I needed to start canvassing myself. Also many thanks for cooking us so much food at the labour hall the other week!

Debs – One of my many Labour mums, who always looks out for me and helps me all the time. Thank you for being such a selfless woman Debs and for being someone I can always trust.

Livs – Literally the most amazing woman, who will be our MP very soon. She is a perfect example of a strong role model for me to look up to – she takes no nonsense from anyone being stupid or rude and is someone who has made me feel so welcome in our family.

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I’m ready to stand up against male harassment

55f3db7d2212e608a5783683bbca33e0This year’s International Women’s Day was different for me – it was the first year that I have had an audience to share my experiences. I wanted to highlight the gender inequalities that many so flippantly dismiss, yet so many women feel trapped by, enveloped in this cocoon of shame that echoes the norms that have been regurgitated from hundreds of years in history. I shared a personal thread to commemorate the day, hoping in some ways that it would be therapeutic for myself but mainly to open the conversation on harassment, bullying and sexual objectification of young women.  We may be in a place where women are enfranchised and pluralised but we are in a place where 1 in 5 women are raped or sexually assaulted before the age of 18, where 200 million girls have undergone FGM, where approximately 15 million adolescent girls (aged 15 to 19) worldwide have experienced forced sex at some point in their life, where 71% of human trafficking victims are girls – 3 in 4 of these used for sexual exploitation -and where 1 in 2 murders against women were from intimate relationships, compared to a 1 in 20 statistic for men. We haven’t achieved equality and we are very far from it.

If you thought of teenage girls, what would you think? Over-emotional, dramatic, silly, bitchy, ditzy, dumb, bossy, obsessive normally build up the teenage girl archetype. We think of girls sat in a room full of posters of male celebrities, crying over bands, giggling over boys in school corridor. ‘Teenage girl’ doesn’t necessarily conjure up a bright, intelligent girl image, who will most likely perform a lot better than her male peers, and neither does it make you think of many of the teenage girls who are making a stand in society. Greta Thunberg, the sixteen year old climate change activist who has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and Emma Gonzalez, the brave nineteen year old who stood up to challenge American gun laws after her best friend was killed in a school shooting, are both amazing women challenging this mould that society believes every teenager has to fit in. Ultimately, I think the most worrying symptoms of female oppression stem from the environments created in our schools – it is the stock character of a teenage girl, that makes it acceptable to scrutinise and belittle everything she does.

I started secondary school when I was in Year 8. My local schools used to operate differently and were split into four years of first, middle and high school, so I remained in a primary school setting during Year 7.  Prior to starting secondary school, I adored school, had good friends and loved learning. When my parents went to the open evening to meet my form tutor, they immediately warned me that the boys in my form were particularly boisterous and loud. My twelve year old self was extremely shy and I didn’t put myself out there to socialise – I liked having familiar friends and familiar faces around me. I was put in a form with a small minority of girls, none of which I knew from my previous school, and a very intimidating group of boys. I knew very quickly that I was not comfortable in the setting I was in. It’s pretty safe to say that our form never bonded with one another and that we lacked that close ‘family’ feel that many other teenagers reminisce from their school days. Every single girl was hassled by this huge group of boys and I remember us all being kept behind after a drama class once; our teacher told us “Girls, why are you letting this happen? Why are you letting these boys do this to you?”. It was a male teacher and I guess he never understood how intimidating it was for a normal girl to stand up to a large group of boys.

I think a lot of girls experience this kind of taunting from boys when they are teenagers. It isn’t unusual. Scientifically, girls normally start puberty before boys and it can be quite embarrassing in a lot of circumstances. I was a girl who developed before anyone else.  I had my growth spurt (although, short lived -I am still only five foot) before most, I developed boobs definitely before a lot of girls my age and the tight PE tops that we had to wear were definitely not designed with adolescent girls in mind – it meant I had comments about my small body and out of proportion chest from boys pretty much as soon as it started. One particularly vivid memory was from when I was in Year 7 and a rumour spread round that I “wore a bra”. Of course, I wore a bra, as I’m sure a lot of eleven and twelve year old girls did. One thing that strikes me looking back, was how many girls joined in, scoffing at the fact that someone was wearing a bra when they were almost certainly wearing one too – it was frowned upon because the boys had made it into a joke. Nobody wanted to admit that they were growing boobs, growing hair and that their bodies were changing. When you enter a secondary school environment being self-conscious, it doesn’t bode well with those who are brewing with excitement for a bit of entertainment.  I was very shy and the group of boys I mentioned earlier immediately latched onto it. They knew I had insecurities and they mocked it. What started off as a bit of laddish banter turned into persistent harassment that has affected my mental health to this day.

The first time I felt one of the boys reach over and stroke my leg, I felt the urge to slap him, but having seen him in an aggressive fight the week before, I chose to sit and purse my lips. He would show me photos of pornographic Instagram posts and ask if I would ever look as nice as that – seeing photos of attractive, skinny women when you’re thirteen and self conscious makes you hate every inch of your body. I want to scream at my younger self but when you’re persistently exposed to it, you really start believing everything they say.

When I did not comply to become some sexual object, the rumours started and it turned particularly nasty. I was frigid, I would be a virgin forever, I was too ugly and too fat. It became aggressive quickly – I had a whole tray of scissors thrown at my head, I was told I would have my face smashed in. I would sit with teachers in fear for them to make empty promises. After the nastiest case where I had a threat made to me during the lesson prior to lunch, I was scared that I would be beaten up and I was promised that he would be moved away – after spending my whole break in the girls toilets, I went back to my form to have him standing there. No action was ever taken – I was told that it was just banter or that I had to be more tolerant. It was always my fault, so when it came to being told that I would be raped in my sleep, I never actually told anyone. I got graphic descriptions of how they would rape me and how they would view my body – this wasn’t just a one off incident, it was persistent. There was one incident that was really bad – I have typed it out a few times but I’m deciding to publish it, even though I feel embarrassed just pressing the keyboard. One boy masturbated in front of me and showed me his semen on his hands, trying to push it up into my face to show me. I think I realised by this point that something was wrong with him and my mum actually wrote to the school, as my parents had done countless of times, explaining what had happened. I had actually felt too embarrassed to go into details about it with my family and I revealed it rather flippantly as if it was funny.  Even though I didn’t say everything that happened out of embarrassment, I’m glad my mum saw through it enough to tell the school. However, the reception wasn’t great and as he was punished for it, he decided to inform everyone that I had got him put in isolation after I “spyed on him and watched him masturbate” and I was made the laughing stock of the whole year group. I was made out to be some weird pervert and I could never look the teacher that dealt with that case in the eye again, just out of pure embarrassment for the way she made me feel.

The reality of the whole experience with being harassed by a group of boys was that when they were removed from the school, I relied on beta blockers to get me through to the end of Year 11. I still struggle in large, open spaces as it is reminiscent to me of school fields where I had PE lessons, and also train stations, shopping centres and hospitals that resemble the horrible, bleak corridors of my secondary school. When I began to like a boy for the first time, I couldn’t stop thinking about the experiences I had. I likened every affection from a boy to what had happened for all those years and I hope that one day, I will be able to put it aside to love a man as much I want to.

When I started at a new college, I had counselling and I spoke about this for the first time. People knew it had happened and my secondary school but they never actually had the resources to fix it. It feels strange that I can sit in a classroom comfortably and laugh now – it felt like a weird dream that I could be happy in a classroom a few years ago. There shouldn’t be young girls out there being sexualised as if it’s normal – we don’t need to make women stronger, we were a spark that has now ignited. We need to make society more tolerant and a less hostile environment for women. No more dismissal, no more refusal to listen.  I have found a power within me and a voice that I am ready to use.

I am ready to fight against male harassment and violence against women.

 

 

Privatisation has snatched the gift of music from thousands of working-class children

14E3C1F0-48F8-4945-A5B1-0945F07BC399Up until the age of eight, I grew up with a Labour government in power. I was born towards the end of Tony Blair’s stay in Downing Street and have hazy memories of life before the savage austerity that has dominated my adolescence. The thing that I remember so proudly from the Labour governments was when I picked up a cello for the first time in 2008 when I was six years old. I don’t come from a generation of classical musicians, like the many other children surrounding me, I was an ordinary working-class girl getting to play this instrument. There is no doubt that I have struggled with my musical journey, often feeling alienated by the very rich families, where classical music had been instilled in their veins for many generations but from an early age, i have felt incredibly connected to music and it is this passion that I believe shouldn’t be taken away from a child because of the amount of money they have.

I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment when my music service was privatised but it became suddenly apparent that the higher fees had pushed away my friends from state schools, leaving me in a sea of private school children – something that knocked my confidence profusely. I previously had a shared lesson with a girl and I remember it suddenly being stopped. “She’s been moved to a private school” they told me, so I moved to have a lesson with a girl that was three grades below me. It’s this kind of state school apartheid that dominates the new, privatised music system.  There have been times when I want to give up being a classical musician because the elitism has become so prominent. Music should be an accessible human right for all.

Knowing how much music, specifically classical music, has helped me by instilling discipline from an orchestral setting, having a good ear and bringing out the creative side in me, I looked at the figures behind the significance of music in young people. Learning a musical instrument from a young age improves patience, motor skills arithmetic abilities and hand-eye coordination. This is because music stimulates the same part of the brain used for reading, writing and maths. Cognitive development in those who were learning a musical instrument are at a faster rate than those who were not. It is also been scientifically proven that playing a musical instrument lowers blood pressure and heart rate, making the experience to be very relaxing. The first time I played in an orchestra, there were 70 children. Last year, there was 9.  The fact that so many of my peers are missing out on these experiences and life lessons upsets me – not because it’s due to a lack of interest but because of a lack of funding.

Studies suggest that learning an instrument from an early age can improve memory and this is a particularly significant reason as to why we should be allowing every student to have the opportunity to play an instrument. When I sat the reformed GCSEs last year, I found myself constantly just memorising facts. The British exam system is made up of memory testing and it just shows more educational inequality in refusing the majority of state school children the right to learn an instrument. The new English Baccalaureate (EBacc) singles out academic students to force them on a path that might not suit them – I, myself, was picked out to do Gove’s EBacc and I clung to my precious music GCSE, which thankfully my school still allowed me to do. In other schools and certainly from what I’ve heard happening in my school now, music has been completely ruled out for EBacc students to replace them with history, geography, languages and computer sciences. The University of Sussex reported that already there has been a 10% drop in those taking GCSE music in the eighteen months of the new style GCSE and a 32% drop in A-Level music. Unfortunately, the statistics get worse and worse. In 2013, the percentage of schools offering compulsory music lessons at KS3 was 84%. Post austerity and it’s 47.5%, meaning over half the children in UK state schools no longer have access to free music education. 

The teaching fellow who ran this study from the University of Sussex, Duncan Makrill, said this: “Music’s place in the secondary curriculum continues to be precariously balanced or disappearing in a significant number of schools. Without a change to require a balanced curriculum in all schools, we are in danger of music education becoming, in many cases, the preserve of those who can pay.” The head of the Royal College of Music also voiced his concerns over the rapid decline of musical funding in state schools, with Andrew Lloyd Webber declaring it “a national scandal”. Having seen first hand the eeriness of a privatised music centre and empty music classrooms full of smashed drum-kits and broken keyboards, I know the stories in the newspapers to be more than true. 

It is in the past couple of years, having struggled with uncontrollable anxiety, that I have found a connection and love for classical music that most my age would scoff at. It may be surprising to hear that me, a proud socialist and Corbyn supporter, listens to Elgar, Bizet, Djorvak and Chopin whilst typing out my tweets, but I listen to classical music to keep me calm through almost every second of the day. It is the labour governments that I thank for it and a passion for music that keeps me going through the dark days of budget cuts and austerity.  I am very fortunate that my family has paid for my lessons and encouraged me to carry on when I have felt like I couldn’t continue but I know that I shouldn’t have to feel lucky – music should be free and it should be accessible for every child. 

I hope in a few years that everyone will have the gift of music – the many not the few. 

Children’s mental health week: wellbeing in schools is a national crisis

B51713C8-AB18-4A71-B377-4E46E1975B83This week marks Children’s Mental Health Week and having suffered from anxiety since I was fourteen, I know first hand the reality of the mental health crisis in schools. To commemorate this week, the government health secretary Matt Hancock announced a trial in rolling out mindfulness and breathing exercises to combat the increasing levels of mental health problems in British schools. Whilst I welcome this idea, the problems are far more deep-rooted. In 2017, the first of Michael Gove’s educational reforms were rolled out, creating benefits for private school students and intense mental strain on state school children. The 9-1 GCSE had to be taken by all students who weren’t in private education and resembled AS/ A Level difficulty. All coursework was removed, so exams were completely linear and we had to take up to thirty two hour exams in the space of three or four weeks. For someone at the time who was having panic attacks six times a day, sitting this amount of exams was exhausting both mentally and physically; I can safely say I have never been so ill in my life.

I had already showed signs of being anxious when I was younger and the first visible signs came in Year 9 after experiencing some bullying. The issue with bullying is that the quietest are often targeted, the ones who sit silently at the back, the ones who never get the teacher’s attention because they are overshadowed by the louder children and the ones who are too nervous to ask for help. In large schools, the nervous and quiet are forgotten and this is where anxiety and depression manifests. As per usual in this kind of situation, the bullies are often addressed, moved classes or punished but the real issues to the victim are not tackled, leaving a permanent stain on that person’s memory of their school life. Consequently, for me, it has lead to this deep hatred of a secondary school environment and anger for the teachers who really did nothing wrong. This is my first issue with mental health in schools – victims are not heard enough.

Having had these experiences of anxiety during my first years of secondary school, it came as no surprise that I was pushed to my limit when the huge burden of these new GCSEs were landed on my shoulders. Three months in and I had my first panic attack, a terrifying sensation of being lightheaded and woozy yet hypersensitive all at once. With a quick google search, i convinced myself I was dying – we hadn’t learnt about anxiety or mental health at school so my perceptions of a panic attack were not being able to breathe and blowing into a paper bag rapidly. A form of crippling lightheadedness from generalised anxiety took over my school life from that moment on as I begged teachers to not make me go out and do PE, where I would feel ready to faint at any second. You can’t help but see the disapproving looks from teachers, the eye rolls and the disruption to other students. I started struggling badly the week before the May half-term in Year 10, coincidently the same time my first ever GCSE mocks were about to begin. I was an experiment for the government. I had lines of French verb conjugations, key changes in Killer Queen, Beethoven’s recapitulation, Dickensian quotes, Shakespearean quotes, the quadratic formula, the cosine rule, the American civil rights movement, the Vietnam war, history of British crime and punishment, the Cold War, hundreds of science equations from microscopic calculation formulas to organic chemistry, poems from Wordsworth, Shelley, Heaney, Blake, Wilfred Owen, all crammed in every corner of my brain. I wanted to explode, and I did in a way.

Once the mocks had finished, teachers looked at me questioningly as to why I was still having panic attacks. At one point, I couldn’t brave the school corridors, so would leave the class five minutes before the to bell. Coming back from the holidays, a teacher asked me “is it really still going on?” as if I had a switch to control how I was feeling. I felt embarrassed with people looking at me all the time and teachers always asking questions, yet still I ploughed through the endless revision sessions and homework. Instead of any mental health initiatives, we were forced to take formal exams at any opportunity, coming in on INSET days for them to cram as much practise as possible into us. By Year 11, I suffered with disassociation and felt unreal all the time, a result of being so stressed for so long.

The reality of my time at school was often heaving in the toilets before exams, almost passing out coming up the stairs because the idea of stepping in the building filled me with dread. I felt alone but the reality is that there is approximately 8 children per classroom suffering from a diagnosable mental health condition. The NSPCC reported that there were 19,000 admissions of self harm in hospitals during 2016 – there is a pattern: you can’t raise the expectations of education to insane levels of difficulty, cut education budgets and mental health services and expect children to cope.

I spoke to a friend of mine to show that I’m not the only one who has suffered from the diabolical state of children’s mental health. She wrote this to share on this post:

“My generations mental health is declining and the adults still won’t address the elephant in the room: school stress and the constant expectations of achieving academic excellence.

In year 11, my 15 year old self revised endlessly for 6 hours a day over 4 months to achieve the grades that my school expected of me, all As (7s) and A*s (8/9s).

Even though I achieved those grades and made my school proud, after each revision session I’d feel lifeless and worn out, if on some days I had not achieved the 6 hour time that I had set for myself I would break down and think of myself as a ‘failure’, when I had revised obsessively and not achieved the top grades in mocks instead of hearing warm words of ‘you’ve improved from last time’ I’d be left with the common debasement of ‘your exams are around the corner and you’ve only made a little bit of progress’.

And so I worked like a machine, night and day, insomnia became second nature as I worked through the night and sleep was no more a thing that restored energy but was replaced with coffee instead.

It’s important to note that I had lost 2 peers during the course of year 11 to depression, yet my school carried on with pressuring us to achieve our maximum potential, so, to the parents out there wondering what they can do for their children: be there for them, be proud of what they’ve achieved already-that’s all it takes.”

We are from different parts of the U.K, having met through twitter. This is a problem that should be tackled by the government immediately. No more redundancies of school counsellors, no more 50,000 CAMHS rejections, no more pressuring children for the sake of a league table, no more non- existent mental education, no more stigma.

So I wouldn’t say breathing exercises are the answer to everything, Mr Hancock.