A MUSIC video made for Dorset County Council has been scorned as “truly crackpot” by the Taxpayers’ Alliance.
It shows the singing of a song called The Promise, written by the former Burton Bradstock School headteacher David Powell, now Dorset’s principal primary inspector.
The Promise was made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Or, in Dorset County Council’s own words, it “was created to support the development of Right’s [sic] Respecting Schools in Dorset and the move towards Right’s [sic] Respecting Communities”.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance doesn’t pick up on the aberrant apostrophes, but it’s scathing about everything else.
The Promise is described by Fiona McEvoy as “a council project so truly crackpot that we’re left wondering whether those involved have completely lost their minds…
“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!”
Mr Jenkins does, rather startingly, pop up briefly in the video at 3.24.
The Promise is also described by Mark Wallace on the website Conservative Home as “a sickly-sweet happy-clappy song… truly cringeworthy.”
Who on earth is it aimed at, asks the Taxpayers Alliance?
Well, it was, according to the Conservative-controlled Dorset County Council, supposed to mark the beginning of “an exciting new approach to providing children’s services in Dorset.”
The Promise is the herald of schools’ rights culture spreading into Dorset’s towns and communities, especially around Bridport.
That’s the theory. Dorset County Council cabinet member for children’s services Toni Coombs said she was “blown away“.
One final point for now: according to the County Council, The Promise is performed by “staff from Dorset’s Children’s Services, The Children’s Trust Board, Dorset Headteachers, the wider County Council and others, along with children from the Dorchester Area Schools Partnership.”
Update at 11.40am: Dorset County Council is preparing a statement in response to people’s sudden burst of interest in The Promise, so we’ll have to wait to see what it cost. But I hear, in the meantime, that David Powell wrote the song in his spare time. He’s always been very musical – a friend of Billy Bragg, if I remember right; anyway, I don’t think he was paid for it. He did it because he’s committed to the cause.
Updated 6.05pm: Here is Dorset County Council’s response, which came earlier this afternoon (when I was up Golden Cap, so its publication has been delayed, for which I apologise).
Key fact: it cost £450.
“The Promise video was made in November 2009 to highlight the commitment of Dorset County Council to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and bring the work we are doing on children’s rights in our schools and communities into focus.
“The video was also made to celebrate Dorset schools involvement in UNICEF UK’s Rights Respecting School Award.
“The Promise song was written and recorded by one of our principal inspectors in his spare time and the musicians, who play and sing with him, also gave up their own time to the project.
“The time spent by county council staff appearing in the video was freely and generously donated, during lunchtimes, breaks, and evenings. Pupils were also involved in the recording of the song.
“The video was played and the song performed to hundreds of parents and pupils at a special concert in Dorchester on 4 February to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the UNCRC. Pupils from across Dorset sang songs that they had written about children’s rights.
“The filming and editing of the video was carried out by staff at our Dorset Centre for Education Technology (DCET), a traded service funded by its work for external customers. Their services were also donated to the project for free, but it is estimated that the cost of staff time involved in producing the video, and distributing a DVD of pupils performing their own songs at the concert, amounted to £450.”