Wednesday, 27 February 2013


Withenay's Wednesday Word - a series about words and their meanings. 
Sometimes the word is chosen because I like it, sometimes because it is unusual, sometimes because I have heard or read it in the previous week; often because that is just where the dictionary took me. Together we can expand our vocabulary, inch by inch (or maybe letter by letter). Your challenge is to invent a sentence in the comments box that includes it.

to darken, to obscure (a verb)
from Latin ob towards and audire to hear

"I can assure you that the spending going into schools to support pupils with SEN in 2013-4 is in excess of £19m as it was in the year 2012-3."

So states the letter I received a couple of weeks ago from the Council setting out its justification for the allocation of funding for children with Special Educational Needs in the next financial year. It is a mastery in the art of obfuscation.

Let me explain. It purports to reassure me that they are spending the same amount on SEN next year but, as I pointed out to my husband, both £50m and £25m are in excess of £19m: nevertheless the cut would be crippling. Now I doubt the actual figures are anywhere near as dramatic as my example, but the letter does not make it clear to the reader that the rearrangement of the education budget will result in a drastic loss of funding to my daughter's primary school - in fact, to the tune of about 10% overall - primarily due to a reduction in SEN funds.

Politicians are experts in obfuscating, hiding the truth behind gestures, words and flannel. I listen to The Today programme on Radio 4 most mornings and laugh inwardly when they are taken apart by impressive journalistic interrogation. (Sometimes, I have to be honest, it makes me squirm and I'm shouting at the interviewer to leave the poor person alone... but that is rare!) Political agenda require that a message is put across, even if it is an obscure slant on the real story.

But can there ever be a justification for hiding the truth?


Carol Hedges said...

Local education authorities are past masters in the art of the oblique, the obscure and the obfuscatory. Nuff said. Hahaha.

Catharine Withenay said...

Carol, I've read your posts about planning applications and the like - it is just such a headache. For me, the problem is that my daughter has SEN, so a cut in funding affects her personally as well as her school. Headaches all round.

Carol Hedges said...

I can relate to this totally. My best friend and campainger has a delightful Downs child - they have had to take Herts CC to a tribunal TWICE to get her extra hours. ***** keep cutting it. Seen what they go through. It's as if these burocrats don't CARE that a child's future is at stake. And it's so short sighted, Rosy needs as much help NOW, before she hits the teenage years, when it will be too late. So yes, I understand!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...