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Gove’s schoool cuts are madness, and Clegg’s Camerosexual support horrible

Posted on 6 July 2010 | 12:07am

I was surprised during the election that the parties did not get pushed harder to define what they meant by ‘frontline services.’

As the election fall-out continues, it would seem from Michael Gove yesterday that in relation to education, it means paying teachers and classroom assistants. If, however, they are operating in makeshift portakabins and crumbling infrastructure which remind us of the last time the Tories were in power, then tough … because their working environment is clearly not deemed to be part of the frontline.

I thought the Education Secretary looked nervous and faltering as he tried to justify the scrapping of the Building Schools for the Future programme yesterday. In one interview, he was blinking a couple of times every second, which suggested either he had something in his eyes, or he was feeling uncomfortable about what he had to say.

There we were, just a few weeks ago, and David Cameron was telling us that any minister who came asking for cuts to the frontline would be sent packing, and now here we are with the spending ministers begging to cut, helped along by Cleggalong who, as I tweeted last night, seems to be the original Camerosexual – the more David cuts, the more he hurts what Lib Dems fought and stnd for, the more Cleggo seems to like it and cry out for more.

I hear he got heckled opening a fete at a primary school in his Sheffield constituency the other day. There will be plenty more of that to come as he seeks to justify the unjustifiable. At least Gove had the honesty to blink and bluster last night. Clegg defends all this slash and burn stuff as a true believer.

But just step back for a minute. Building Schools for the Future … good thing or bad thing? Doesn’t take long to answer. And the real reason for the cuts has little to do with the claims made by Gove and Clegg – it is all about freeing up cash for the ludicrous Tory idea of free schools. Of course running down the buildings of existing schools will help this policy along – as the buildings crumble, parents will want a new ‘free school’, and will gang up, and instead of defending and fighting for the exsiting schools which need more support, toddle off to Dave, Michael and Nick and ask for the money to set up their own. It is ideology gone mad. At least the Tories have the ideology. For the Camerosexuals to go along with it defies any kind of belief.

We all know the deficit has to be dealt with. But it is now becoming an excuse for any act of madness that the Tories want to inflict upon us, with the Lib Dems as cover.

As Gove was axeing, I was at a very good conference in Gateshead, where ICT in schools was being discussed. Watch out for more cuts here. Becta, the agency responsible for overseeing a lot of the work in this area, has gone already. Curriculum speeches by Gove and schools minister Nick Gibb just do not mention ICT. The Rose Review recommendations on getting more ICT into primary schools have been ditched. Then, quietly, the government took £50m from the Harnessing Technology for the Future fund, and siphoned it off for the Free Schools programme.

None of these choices are inevitable. They are choices. They are not the kind of choices being made in India, China or Brazil, where governments with an eye on the future recognise that education, science and technology should not be at the front of the queue for cuts, but at the very back.

Still, we will have our free schools so called, our kids will be sitting in rows learning the names of Kings and Queens, and Dave, George and Michael will be so happy, while Cleggo will just be thanking them for the ride.

*** Buy Prelude to Power here at Amazon.

  • allan sayers

    The Tories need to create an uneducated future workforce to do the menial jobs. The people are getting too smart and the Tories will have no chance ever of re election if kids continue to get smarter. The fear factor they have introduced re the state of UK debt plus a bit less education would suit them just fine. As for Clegg he is turning into Camerons twin.

  • Chris lancashire

    Why, after 13 years of wonderful New Labour governance, are schools operating in portakabins? Not enough time? Because you certainly have had the money.

  • Mark Wright

    Election after election, decade after decade, the Lib Dems have been asking the voter to give them a chance by arguing that a vote for the Lib Dems is not a wasted one.

    This was cranked up more than ever at the 2010 election with Clegg’s ‘new style’ of politics mantra. A couple of good appearances during the debates and many people seemed willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    However, as we now know, many benefits are now being slashed.

    If an opportunity for electoral reform is missed all that will remain is the constant sight of Tea-boy Clegg (copyright Jeremy Clarkson) standing side by side with Cameron/Gove/Osbourne etc as school after school falls apart and job after job is squandered.

    “But what about electoral reform?”, I hear you say! Ha ha! Surely Clegg could have foreseen that his announcement would be completely overshadowed by Gove’s? I’ll bet David Cameron did! And if you can’t get traction on Day One of an announcement then forget it. By the time next May comes around with the country mired in the most vicious cuts programme for a generation ‘electoral reform’ will be the least of our concerns.

    The majority of Lib Dem supporters will then be wondering not whether the Lib Dems are in truly power but what they are in power ‘for’.

  • Trickie Dickie

    Gove’s is just not upto the job. His performance in the Commons yesterday was disgraceful. The face on Little Teather was a picture she is really not happy its obvious.
    Newsnight saw new approach from The BBC, The Tories are coming to the end of the rope very quickly. The habit of cutting off Labour guests to allow Tory ones to control the discussions has now ended.
    Balls is head and shoulders above Goves on every aspect of the schools brief. The BIG LIE the mess left behind is socialist incompetence is like the BIG Society a burnt out sound bite. Cameron will end up sacking Goves unless he can pick up his performances as he is now an embarrassment.

  • Nicky

    Gove’s body language was something to behold – some serious inner conflict going on there.

    Good comment by Paddy Quinn (on the previous page) about how Ed Balls argued very well against Gove on Newsnight. Gove was perpetuating the big lie that basically everything is the fault of the last government (oh, how they love that word ‘mess’). What exactly would the Tories have done about the global economic crisis? (Made it a lot worse is the short answer.) The fact that so many other countries have been facing the same problems and worse is evidence that the ConDems are taking the p*** and assuming the people are stupid.

    Gove kept swallowing hard as Ed made his points. He was evidently very uncomfortable.

  • sarah

    Gove, swallowing hard and looking uncomfortable??
    Not swallowing half as hard or looking half as uncomfortable as I feel as a teacher.
    I just want to cry about how bloody awful the whole thing is turning out to be.
    How stupid and trivial the hot air I used to blow about League Tables and SATS seems now.
    I don’t advocate violence, but I’d love to have a pop at Gove right now. And I’d win.

  • terry

    labour did make a mess. what planet are you guys living on.

    Blair and brown were in power but not in office.

    the deficit is 156 billion for one year.
    the deficfit in 1997 when the idiots got in was 20 billion for one year.

    the labour party should be on trial and prosecuted for incompentnce and murder( dr david kelly)

    Notice nothing today on good old adam boulton being cleared by the watchdog that complaints about the row on sky was unjustified.

    cant wait to see campbell and blair on trial for murder.

  • NickSmeggHead

    Cleggo’s Your Freedom website has lots of pro Fox hunting suggestions, yesterday I submitted my idea about charging £10Billion per hunt to solve so called national deficit. Today, it got removed.

    I left another one today, about using Wuwuzela in House of Commons during PM question time. 🙂

  • olli issakainen

    Douglas Adams wrote that the Earth is a place where mice do experiments on human beings! The Con-Lib government is now using Britons as guinea-pigs in order to find out whether their economic policy will lead to double-dip recession or depression.
    George Osborne has blamed Labour for his economic inheritance. This is standard political operating procedure and has little to do with the facts. But what is true is that the coalition is on a mission to dismantle the superstructure of the Brownite state in a way future governments will find difficult to reverse.
    David Blanchflower thinks that Britain faces now double-dip recession or even worse. Reckless Budget fails to stimulate growth. The Bank of England may be able to soften the blow by quantitative easing, but there is no room for interest-rate cuts.
    Budget was not driven by economics – it was driven by ideology. Recovery is now at risk. Consumer spending and employment will be down – there will be less demand.
    The basis for the Budget was crisis on the bond market. But there was no crisis! Markets were not panicking.
    Ben Bernanke has stated that this is not a time for spending cuts or tax rises as the economy is still in recession mode.
    About 57% of public sector workers belong to trade unions. TUC`s Brendan Barber has said that Budget is economically dangerous and socially divisive.
    Is Budget fair? Are we all in this together? The idea of equivalence in belt-tightening for rich and poor is, of course, nonsense. The net effect of Budget will hammer the poorest hardest.
    Mr Osborne has claimed that Budget is progressive, fair and unavoidable. It is none of this! IFS thinks it is regressive. And VAT is a regressive tax.
    George Osborne´s £40bn of fiscal tightening and £99bn of cuts is a Thatcherite Budget aimed at pleasing markets!
    Poorest depend on public services and benefits. Bank levy is small, and CGT rose only to 28% instead of 40%.
    Paul Krugman has said that there is no rationale for cutting so fast and deep. Roosevelt´s 1937 spending cuts prolonged the Great Depression.
    OBR has already lowered the growth forecast as a direct result of Budget. Barclays Wealth and Ernst & Young believe that government is underestimating the impact of this significant fiscal tightening.
    Because of the 25% departmental cuts parts of state will almost disappear. Labour would have fought hard to retain the welfare state.
    At the moment public sector accounts for 47% of British economy.
    Budget is a huge bet on growth. It is a strategic gamble based on guesswork. 20% VAT affects spending, retailing and manufacturing. It risks demand.
    Mr Osborne has put his faith in private sector in a classic manner of neo-Thatcherism. But there is little evidence that exports, consumer spending or private investment will create the growth needed.
    There was a solid case for a second stimulus but the predominantly Tory government decided to choose another route. Mr Osborne read too much Mail and Telegraph and listened too much the Tory Right.
    Budget is a failure. It fails to give positive message for growth.
    The state of economy is not Labour´s fault. 30 years of neoliberalism ruined it.
    Is Britain now on the way to ruin? If it is, it is not even travelling first class. Will George Osborne leave behind the most awful mess since the Visigoths sacked Rome in 410 AD?

  • BlairSupporter

    Is this Terry commenter for real? Can’t wait for WHAT? You and your old mate are now murderers it would seem as well as the rest of the junk, Alastair. FGS. No more evidence required that Gove should have stuck to his original Blairite principles on education. The country’s full of braindead. Way to go.

  • dana portsmouth

    Many thanks Alastair. It appears that you are among the few in Cameron’s Britain (so depressing even to spell it. Blair’s Britain sounds better, doesn’t it?)not to talk nonsense. The public deficit may have skyrocketed after the world banking system collapsed in 2008, but the Conservative government is using it more as an excuse to impose old Tory policies of cuts in the public services which had already wreaked havoc in the British economy in the past.
    Under New Labour, British schools and universities became so competitive the world over that were about to go ahead top American universities in the choice of prospective undergraduate students made.
    I don’t want to be too hard on the British, but until Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and people who worked with them in those wonderful 13 years in power are not given the credit they deserve for what they have done serving the country,it’s no surprise that Camerona and his lackey Clegg do what pleases them.
    With a wistful glance to those years I wish you and Labour the best of luck for the coming years.

  • s chapman

    As mentioned many times before the public sector is too big – not ideologically too big just TOO big and out of control.
    The sooner the axe comes down on the 1m plus jobs that new labour added to get votes, the better.Too much comfort in cushy jobs with ring-fenced,ridiculously generous,pensions that on average are worked just 25 yrs for !
    Ollie,below, ( the man who never fails to hit the wrong note in his blog )Ben Bernanke said ” unless we as a nation make a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility , in the long run , we will have neither financial stability nor healthy growth ” .Do you get it now ??
    Roll back the state and its shameful contribution to our countrys woeful debt and balance up with the private sector who actually work because they have too….roll on those P45s for those work-shy new labourites….cant wait!

  • Jacquie R

    There are so many indicators pointing towards it, one really has to ask if this government is DELIBERATELY leading us into a double dip recession for political ends.

    I would like to be wrong but am constantly reminded of Thatcher’s creation of massive unemployment for her political and economic agenda. Very successful she was too.

    Sir Alan Budd’s resignation from the OBR seems to have surprised people, and different theories are circulating about his motives. It’s hard, though, not to wonder if, along with so many leading economists, he questions the wisdom of the size of the proposed spending cuts.

    The Tories are on a massive mission to roll back the state and, as each week passes, their motives become more apparent. The weakest link are their coalition juniors, who must be relentlessly urged to defy their new masters.

    Emperor Nero Clegg is a lost cause and should be left alone to play with his voting systems. Well, let’s face it, if he doesn’t, his party will be completely erased from parliament. But there are plenty of other Lib Dem MPs who probably find the situation as horrendous as we do.

    By the way,Sarah, please also take a pop at Clegg. If it weren’t for him, Michael Gove might be sitting somewhere else right now.

  • Prideful

    You know, I’m astonished that you seem to be exhibiting such sour grapes following your appearance on Top Gear on Sunday. I thought you came across well and I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected, but you’ve rather made an arse of yourself in the aftermath. Of course the interview was edited – it’s television, that’s the way it works. No one should know better than you just how content can be presented in differing lights depending on the edit. I do think the claims of homophobia that are coming about in the light of all this are utterly ridiculous, however – I was at the recording last summer where Mr Clarkson interviewed Stephen Fry, and there was absolutely nothing to suggest homophobia (and the parts of that interview that weren’t fit to air absolutely back that up). I think there’s a tendency these days when people hear what they immediately interpret as a comment against a minority group, they don’t consider that it might be over-reaction born of positive discrimination. Honestly, as a queer person myself, I’m struggling to find the offence in ‘I reserve the right not to be bummed’. Actually, we all have that right – it’s the right not to be sexually assaulted, and it’s quite important. If a woman said she reserved the right for people not to have sex with her against her will, people wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. There is a name for being ‘bummed’ against one’s will – it’s rape. Just thought you should remember that.

  • Graham Jones

    It seems that Sir Alan Budd has decided to jump from the sinking OBR ship, before it hits the rocks on it’s maiden voyage. This is only a matter of weeks, after he wrote in his report on the economy, that the Labour government had a sensible and fully costed plan for recovery and deficit reduction; and we were then informed that tax reciepts were up, and borrowing was lower, meaning that cuts later would be less severe.
    Gideon would not have liked that! He would have made Sir Alan Budd walk the plank at some point, because Osbourne seems to think he’s untouchable, and is never at fault. Notice how it’s everyone but him taking the fire, for these hideous cuts that he’s forcing on the country. He has no mandate to impose these measures, and the Lib-dem’s in Westminster should remember that it wasn’t in their manifesto either; indeed they attacked the tories on this policy all through the election.
    Now the Lib-dems are trying to placate the public with a referendum on AV, while hiding the real agenda of fixing the boundaries in their’s and the torie’s favour.
    The last time these tactics were employed on British soil, it led to civil-rights marches and 40 years of terrorism.
    It’s the arrogance of these people that is breathtaking. They behave as if they are progressive, but their policies that have been cobbled together at the last minute, fly in the face of common sense.
    Private businesses who trade with the public sector, will be affected at some point, and forced to lay off people. Only then will begin to sink in who was telling the truth all along – the Labour party.

  • sarah

    Dear Jackie
    I feel it would be wrong for me to resort to physical violence towards Clegg. He has victim written all over him. He is like the nerdy wimpy spoilt brats at school who beat kids up for their dinner money on the say so of the really nasty ones. He has to look “cool” and he’s really pooping himself inside with fear about what the nasty big boys and girls in the gang might to do him if he does not comply.
    S Chapman though. Now then, that’s a different story. I SO want to have a pop at him. Although I do owe him an apology. My copper husband and my PT teacher’s combined salary cost taxpayers a grand total of £41,000 last year. I know the exact figure because I had to fill in my “claim” for child tax credit yesterday! I have no pigging idea why though….
    So sorry if we are too expensivefor you mate. But we are really only trying to help.

  • Richard

    When faced with losing your job and bankrupcy, Balls and you both agree that you should tell the builder to proceed with the extension you were planning! Der.

    The rest of us would fight to keep our home.

    Balls on TV tonight explaining that the pupils and teachers woul be disappointed not to get their promised new schools.

    Perhaps after 13 years of no new school under New Labour kids should be taught basic economics, a subject not understood by your ilk. The credit fuelled orgy of your making should be explained to them and they should get on and make the most of their education opportunioties as the rest of us did.

  • Theresa

    I hope Nick Begg pays for what he is doing to this country. I hold him completely responsible. Without him, Gideon and Camoron could not pass this massacre of a budget.

    Just remember, Begg.
    What goes around comes around. 😀

  • s chapman

    No doubt you do a good job,you and your husband…and i’m obviously exaggerating a bit…but compared to life outside working in the public sector you have some considerable plus points.
    A vast number of private sector workers will retire with bugger all apart from the state pension – which has been robbed by your new labourite friends…you have considerably more time off and a shorter working week….this is important.
    I’m guessiing you always vote Labour without even thinking like the rest of your public sector colleagues.
    I’m sure if you sat down took a deep breath and thought well yes we could do better here and there on efficiency etc, we could cut back on this/that , yes we are in debt up to our eye-balls,maybe we should think about the future of our country…come on be logical not vindictive and tribal like your master – AC

  • kathy

    We brought up four children mainly on one wage until my youngest started school and I got a part time job.The only allowance we received was Family allowance as it was called then. I find it amazing that people receive Tax Credits etc even though they have what seems to me a huge income. £40000 a year is a lot of money to me. We struggled sometimes but our children never went without and we even managed a caravan holiday each year. This was the days before credit cards became an extra income and people stopped saving for what they needed and spent someone else’s money to get it. I think the cause of all the problems today is this mindset, where people expect to have everything now. This not meant to be a criticism of anyone struggling to make ends meet, just a statement of fact. I find it hard to understand why anyone who runs up debts does not realise that they must be repaid and eventually you need to budget for the things in life that you want.I was brought up to work hard, pay your way and take responsiblilty for your life. Some people think the opposite, that the state should be responsible for them and their families. There does not seem a sense of pride anymore. Before the usual accusations of heartless and Tory activist come ( I am neither of these things). I am stating facts not criticising people in genuine need. Governments and people now see borrowing as the way to get what you want or need now. I think teaching our children to save and budget for future needs is the way forward. Banks are no longer throwing money at people and that can only be a good thing. People need to start thinking I can’t afford that right now and save towards getting it. People say this attitude started in the Thatcher years, possibly, but if banks did not throw money at people with credit cards and loans the only way to get things even then would be to work hard and save.Once again, I am not getting at people in desperate need, I say again they should get all the help they can. I am talking about a culture of wanting it all now which did not exist in the last century,

  • Dr Stavos

    The Harnessing Technology for the Future fund was yesterday slashed again – £100m

  • Gail Court

    Yes, we all know Clegg sold his party and supporters up the Swannee but let’s not take our eyes off the ball here. The real villains of the piece are Cameron and Osborne driving Conservative ideology designed to wreck the country. They have no mandate to cut public services by 25% or to raise VAT to 20%. The nonsense spin that it is all the Labour government’s fault just does not stand up to scrutiny – believe that you and you’ll believe anything. Between 1979 and 1997 the Tories ran this country into the ground so now I’m waiting to encounter the beggars, riots and soaring unemployment with all the social ills it entails. Yes folks, it’s just like the Tory years of the 1980’s and 1990’s and I’m personally horrified to know I’m going to have to watch the country fall apart all over again.

  • sarah dodds

    Must stop doing this – got kids to look after and school planning to do…
    We don’t have debt.We run one car. We don’t drink, we don’t smoke. We work our asses off. We too have one cheap holiday in the UK each year. We have a very happy family life, where we live comfortably. But the margins that will dip us into debt are very very narrow. And I don’t mean for luxaries.
    S Chapman
    Pleased to see you acknowledge your stereotyping. I acknowledge mine. And I would not hit you. I am more than happy for efficiency savings to be put in place. I’ll give you a few.
    a) Free fruit in schools – I live in Lincolnshire. Think farm. Think fields of fruit….then wonder why the hell the contract from local government for free fruit for the entire counties’ schools went to a firm based in Peterborough. Who drive it up here twice a week. Insanity.
    BSF – many of our local school building schemes that have been scrapped should have been up and running by now, but again local government have been shocking on this one.
    Many more examples (eg the local authority giving the contract to re-roof my school to a firm from miles away instead of one of the local ones)have resulted in mind blowing wastes of both time and money.
    There is a very difficult dynamic between local and national government, and both I feel need to shoulder that blame. ANd by that I do mean the previous Labour one.It results in far too many screw ups and far too much waste.
    Thus these are our efficiency savings. There are many of them.
    But don’t throw out the ideological babies with the efficiency bath water. We have become removed from ideological politics and it’s a great shame – actually it’s a bloody tragedy. And it has allowed Cameron et al to breeze in and do what he wishes.
    Remember Osbourne’s post election mantra that they had a once in a generation chance to change the way public services worked? I don’t remember that being on the agenda during the election. Your “efficiency savings” were the topic of the day then.
    I love politics for the same reason I love teaching.I see both as the best way for ALL people to the best they can be. My reasons for my beliefs come very much from my gut and my instincts about what is fair, not from AC. For me it is about fairness and opportunity. And those are reasons why I have always voted, and very recently, joined Labour. (My husband used to vote Tory by the way, but I have converted him entirely and he is now a right bloody leftie pain in the arse who wants to watch Newsnight instead of Big Brother.)
    And after talking to my said husband yesterday about the cuts lined up for his frontline public sector work as a cop, my worst fears are confirmed. It is only a matter of time before these cuts don’t just cost jobs, but lives. How is that an “efficiency saving?”

  • Paul H

    I realise that this is the wrong forum to ask this question, but I’ll be damned if I’m reading any Tory blogs any time soon. I would love to ask Cameron and co precisely which spending they are referring to when they talk of the reasons we are in such a ‘mess’. If we look at what they are taking the axe to then obviously investment in existing schools was a terrible faux pas, but apart from that, what did Labour get so terribly wrong? was it bailing out the banks? Creating jobs? Maybe they spent too much on defence? It only proves how appallingly pro-tory our press is when ‘Labour mis-spending’ is trotted out as fact in every newspaper.

  • Phil

    I work in the NHS & will be getting letter inviting me to express an interest in voluntary redundancy on Monday. The scale of cuts is absolutely unjustifiable. Even the Office for Budget Responsibility (sic) said Labour’s plan to halve the deficit in a parliament was credible and sufficient. Gideon however, ably supported by his Lib Dem colleagues, is going where even Thatcher dared not tread all in the name of “it’s unavoidable”. And if another Lib Dem voter says to me when I voted Lib Dem I didn’t expect this… I’ll go mad – Clegg was quite honest pre-election when he said he’d support the Tories.

  • Filiz

    Quote from AC:
    “”I thought the Education Secretary looked nervous and faltering as he tried to justify the scrapping of the Building Schools for the Future programme yesterday.””

    I don’t know why he would look nervous, he has Private Eye agree with him.

    Private Eye have been saying for years that the PFI programme has cost us dearly and we will be paying for it and Labours mistake for decades. Deals signed under PFI since 2005 will cost the education budget more than £700 million a year, (enough to run 70 large secondary schools) and that’s without the tens of millions in fees charged by consultants.

    Thanks to Labour the education budget has a £700 million millstone which will remain for decades and will mean that thousands of schools will forgo crucial maintenance while the few to have benefited from BSF enjoy their shiny over-priced facilities.

    God knows what the hospital PFIs will cost us eventually. Our services are no better, but big bisnesses/corporations/consultancies have made a fortune at the expence of the tax payer thanks to Labours incompetence and mismanagement!