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Gove is playing fast and loose with education as a way of aiming even higher (for himself not kids)

Posted on 23 June 2012 | 7:06am

As Michael Gove reflects on his latest intervention, what will have the greater impact on him as he surveys the weekend papers with his usual careful reading?

… the fact that he has annoyed huge numbers of heads, teachers, parents and children with his ill-timed (in the middle of exams for heaven’s sake), regressive (he wants to take us back to ‘Jennings Goes To School’ times) and half-baked (I believe Nick Clegg on this one) plans to scrap GCSEs and go back to two-tier exams…

Or the fact the The Sun made him ‘political hero of the week?’

Go to the Leveson inquiry website, read his evidence, and you have the answer.

Ludicrous as it may seem, there are many in the Tory Party who think that the next leadership election could be between George Osborne, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove. And with David Cameron struggling, there are some who think it may come sooner rather than later.

Osborne’s star is currently on the wane because of a Budget that backfired and revealed near fatal strategic weakness, when strategy was meant to be his strength. Boris is Boris, to most people a joke, but not one to be underestimated, and Gove is, well, we will come on to that. But it does rather show up the paucity of talent in their ranks that this should be shaping up as a not very palatable choice.

Gove is the current media darling. There are two main reasons for that. First, he is something of a spokesman for the press in the Cabinet. His speech to the press gallery claiming Leveson was already having a ‘chilling’ effect on press freedoms was rank in its crassness vis a vis an inquiry set up by the Prime Minister, but he knew exactly what he was doing. He got up Leveson’s nose, and the press loved him for it.

Defiantly he took a more polite version of the same message when he gave evidence himself. The Tory right and the press loved him even more.

The second reason is that the right-wing-dominated media – most of whose leaders have no direct experience of State schools whatsoever – like his basic pitch on education, which is for a system that is based on elitism dressed up as higher standards for all.

As I never tire of saying, virtually all national editors use private schools for their own kids, in Paul Dacre’s case Eton (so so middle England yah!) They have a vested interest in running down State schools to justify their own decisions. And Gove plays along, rarely saying anything positive about State schools, talking up failure and ignoring success, as a way of justifying changes for which nobody voted (the return of the O-level being but the latest example.)

There is another great irony within all this. He bemoans dumbing down in schools. Yet by far the greatest contributor to the dumbing down of Britain has been our tabloid press, celebrity magazines and reality TV, all now swimming around in the same market place. And without doubt the biggest influence within the media at that time has been the man Gove hero-worships, and did so publicly at Leveson, namely Rupert Murdoch.

But to go back to my original question, I’m afraid I have reached the conclusion that he cares passionately what Murdoch, Dacre et al think of him, but cares very little of what teachers and parents think of him. Because education is for him just where he happens to be right now, but not where he wants to be in the future.

You take one look at him and you think ‘No, he doesn’t really think he could be PM does he?’ But then he says to himself ‘well Dave managed it, and he’s not exactly Brain of Britain is he? … and Boris is Mayor of London … so anything can happen.’

And meantime, as kids around the country work hard, do well and show the amazing talents so many of them have, the man in charge of their education sends them the message that they’re not really up to much at all, whatever grades they get. It is all, frankly, a bit weird. But is it terrifying that he is running our schools, dreaming up one potty idea after another to get right wing MPs behind him, and newspapers who couldn’t give two tosses about State schools singing his praises.

Nick Clegg had better be serious about blocking this one. And if he fails, then heads and teachers really should just refuse to do it. I was at a head teachers’ conference in Durham yesterday. Good people doing a good job. They have the support of most of the parents whose kids they teach. Gove has no mandate for this at all.

  • Sean

    As time goes by I get angrier and angrier. These Tories are determined to fuck things up for the masses. They know they’re fooked at the next election, so they going to make it as hard as possible for others to clear up their mess.

  • Absolutely right about Gove. He’s a waster of an education secretary with little or no understanding of what is required to master the classroom or inspire pupils.

    Have a look at this film of Gove boring pupils into submission with his waffle

    Youngsters are often better judges of people who have no interest in their future and every interest in their own.

  • Stephen

    Great blog, Gove is the worst thing to come out of the Tory Party in a long time

  • Ehtch

    Bugger it, I will post Sigrid und Marina aus Osterreich, because I feel I want to do OK! love.past life past away, should have captured you, you too, and you, ol-do-oh!

    Wish it was possible in Western Europe, to have a harem, without eyebrows raised, from the local Vicar. : ) the dark haired one please, yes, the dark haired one – wannawanna wanna…

    JA! well, vie gehts, Marina?

  • @booksifinished

    yes well seeing as he and mudoch were going to carve up ucas hotcourses datatech and adtech the harvested details under project rubicon it comes as no surprise Lols at them both tho for thinking theyll be around in 2016! Fantasists nd to realise they didnt wake up in 1970! crazed old tory loons about the place!

  • Nikostratos

     Gove is a freak he will never ever walk into no 10 as a conservative  just hope he pushes on with his attempt to position himself as a contender.It all helps to undermine this awful Tory administration 

  • Richard

    Why can’t Gove and his cronies take their hands off our wonderful education system. We are after all at the very top of all international league tables as to academic standards at 11, 16 and 18, and we are the the envy of the entire education world for our examination rigour.
    A minimum of 50% of our teenagers are perfectly prepared for their future careers in coal mining, fruit picking, car washing, political disconnection and benefit collection. Our educationalists have been levelling upwards for the last 40+ years and have nearly completed the job.
    If it ain’t broke, Gove, don’t fix it.

  • Michele

    GCSEs already do provide levels, what else are grades?
    There are then AS-levels for students hoping to continue to A-levels and the results of those let the student know they are on target or need to knuckle down.

    Before ASes when we had to do two years of work up to the one definitive exam we had people so miserable and worried there were  cracking ups and even suicides. 
    It was because it was so bad that the new system was brought in.
    If the present system needs fixing, fix it. 

    Does it need fixing though …. is the fact that teenagers are more relaxed due to being able to be more organised in their studies nowadays deemed complacency?  
    Don’t we all have to do less rushing around in certain areas of life now ….. home deliveries, mail order ….. most people’s lives are less frazzled than in the good old bad old days.
    Ripping it all out and replacing would be experimentation; Gove doing his praying mantis crossed with ninja thing again (the way his demeanour at Leveson was described).
    He really is peculiar.

  • Samwires

    he’s annoyed the kids? really? as someone who was in the 1st or 2nd year of gcse’s, all i remember was being pissed at having to do the damn tests, no matter who was setting them. the only way an education minister will be popular or even acknowledged by kids is if they abolish testing and hand out free doughnuts instead. 

  • Ehtch

    my father didn’t bother to wake up to hear the game even on Radio Wales, and it has been the same all my life. Sorry to say, I have never had a father, I had a child. Me constantly getting up in the middle of the night for such events, and  was faced by a total crap excuse of a dad. Ask around, I am not making this up. My dad is a self-centered prick coward arsehole, that had everything needed to be done to him, by fools, and he expects me to be the same. He is a waste of fresh air, I have to say, he sucks life out of everyone that has life. Told him when totally sparewith him  there is a length of rope in the garage and a tree in the back garden, go hang.

  • Michele


    Just seen this from the brill

    John O’Farrell

    Exams aren’t easier, pupils/teachers are doing better.

    athletes now run a 4 minute mile.

    Gove; ‘Ooh the mile was much longer in
    my day’

  • Ehtch

    “We have nothing to fear”!?!

    You english are well known to have been born yesterday, I have, as a welshman, spun you round my finger. You are cultural thick shits, sorry to say Roy, you are managing children here, only just out of their nappies, they know shit all. They are total children Roy. When push comes to shove in these inyernational championship games, you can see it in their eyes, they cry for their mama, They are pathetic. Last people I would want to defend what I stand for, they would go walkabout, they shitty in their attitude, unless they prove me wrong, but they won’t. They are shithouse overpaid englishmen.

    Song for England,


  • gove fan

    Unfortunately the “everyone gets a prize” education ethos, so beloved of Hampstead Labourites like Campbell and Fiona Millar, has done UK PLC no favours whatsoever.

    Employers don’t rate the GCSE, which might explain why youth unemployment rocketed under Labour.

    Everyone getting a prize may make the likes of Campbell feel better when his connections open employment doors for his kids post- GCSE, but they do the vast majority of kids no favours.

  • Ehtch

    Patience, Sean, patience, and then we can laugh.

    Song for you Sean, since it is the weekend, and why not! Think you will really like this, here goes, youtube, what were we talking about again? : )

    Any good? : )

    well, i think so

  • Michele

     Oh be careful Ehtch 🙁

  • Michele

     The problems that need sorting out are about parenting and peer group pressure.
    Same as it ever was.

  • Anonymous

    Just want to say bravo to Ed Miliband! Finally a Labour leader looks like he might genuinely want to reclaim labour principles!

    His statement that immigration helped those who wanted to have a conservatory built, but not those who wanted a job building conservatories, was both accurate and brave, and in the political climate of the day, groundbreaking and shocking. Even more so than when Merkel and Cameron denounced multiculturalism!

    I am not the tiniest bit racist or xenophobic. I have helped friends and colleagues from various places like India and Poland to get jobs with companies I’ve been involved with.

    It is just a simple fact that, in the short term at least, when you allow non british people to come to britain to work, this will decrease the amount of jobs available for British people, and decrease the wages they get paid.

    Labour are not supposed to stand up either for the rich people in this country who want cheap immigrant labour, or for the workers of the world – they are supposed to stand up for British workers. If Ed Miliband does so, he might just get my vote, and he’ll certainly get a lot of others.

    Of course the guardian denounce this, but they are the conservatory owners who claim to speak for the conservatory builders. But the conservatory builders read the Sun!

    What is the counter argument… that having more workers in Britain, means more skills, and lower costs… which in theory means our companies can be more competitive, have more productivity… and therefore sell more product, expand, and create more jobs? There is logic to this position too. But not democratic logic.

  • Anonymous

    “changes for which nobody voted (the return of the O-level being but the latest example.)”

    Oh yeah, because I remember when I voted in that referendum to replace the O-Level with the GCSE?!

    You might have a point Alastair but this is hardly the way to make it!

  • Anonymous

    On Gove and education:

    Given current conditions, I will always back the guy who says “our schools are crap” over the guy who says “our schools are fine”. Call me an elitist 🙂

    Of course teachers hate Gove! They are supposed to! Otherwise he is not doing his job! I refuse to believe that parents hate him though.
    No parent teacher event I have ever attended showed the level of respect Alastair detects towards teachers. Once again it is a labour man being on the side of the elite, producer interest ie the teachers, rather than supporting the people labour should support, ie the parents and pupils.

    I went to the finest school in my district. It wasn’t exactly Eton, but it was a grammar school. Things are a lot different now, but it is still the finest school in the district. Finest… but not fine.

    I don’t know how to say all this without sounding arrogant but its true – I managed fine, because… well I was smart! I could do without the teachers for the most part, though the couple of good apples in the largely rotten barrel were enough to show me what a difference a great teacher can make. That is on the intelligence/academic side.

    On the discipline side… well it was practically non existant. Again I was ok, I was willing and able to use my fists and boots, and if I were a kid now I’m sure I would be willing to carry whatever additional armaments are now required. But not everyone is like that, and a couple of people were bullied into suicide at my school, one guy for being gay, as well as quite a few more into leaving the school.

    Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime eh… well just as I was once willing to use my fists and boots against bullies when I was a kid (the crime), I am now willing to support anyone who puts his fists and boots into the teachers ie the causes of crime.

    So I hope Gove gets tougher and tougher and tougher.

  • Gilliebc

    I’ve no doubt that many kids around the country do work hard and show ‘amazing talents’ as AC says.  But when so many of them leave school without having been taught or grasped the basics, i.e. the 3’Rs’ then something is clearly wrong with our state education system. 

    I seriously doubt that Gove is the person to fix it though.  The ‘Education’ brief that he (Gove) currently holds is just a stepping-stone along the way to a much higher office for him.  Or so he believes, I would imagine.  He is known to be very ambitious. 

    As AC writes, Gove has no mandate for his plans.  The coalition gov. had no mandate for what they are doing to our NHS either.  Not having a mandate doesn’t seem to bother or prevent them from wreaking havoc all round.   

  • Anonymous

    On Gove and the leadership:

    It is quite evident that Alastair both rates, and fears Gove. And with good reason. Yes Boris is not be underestimated, and yes Osborne was once the dahling, but Gove’s star is rising, and some of us have thought he was the best choice for leader ever since David Davis.

    I don’t see Alastair attack Jeremy Hunt much. Or Eric Pickles. Or Theresa May. He knows that there would be plenty of scope for the lesser labour communicators to do so should any of them become leader. He does attack Osborne and Gove, which to me shows how much he respects them.

    Alastair does not attack Johnson, which means I think he does not fear him leading the Tories, possibly with good reason (there is certainly a lot to attack.)

    I think Gove and Johnson, unlike Cameron and Osborne, are actual conservatives and would therefore be the two best choices for leader. Gove would probably win due to safety, because he does not have the buffoon qualities of Johnson.

    I agree its a weak field, but I think Gove could have challenged for the leadership at any time, he would certainly have been better than Heseltine, Ken Clarke, John Major or Iain Duncan Smith.

    And he doesn’t have to fight against a strong team on the other side. There appear only to be 2 credible future labour contenders, David Miliband and Yvette Cooper. I think Gove is comfortably in their league.

  • Ehtch

    Been always wantde to visit Calmar, Iowa, a girl, ahem! I really met, say the word yankies would let me in. On the list that I had licked one of them, in appropraite way, and other things. Spoke to a lady who was looking after said ladies and US guys, CIA and all that, think I past the test, to bother the US, Though I have several times since, so no big deal. Gram,

  • gove fan

    Campbell also falls into the familiar left wing ‘we are good people, we know best’ trap familiar to readers of the Guardian and Polly Toynbee.

    In their world, all Tories went to Eton, wear a watch chain, and want to send 4 year old kids up chimneys. In contrast, all Labour people are ‘decent’ because by definition they know best how to spend other peoples money/ taxes on what they think is best for them. Regular Campbell readers will be familiar (if a little weary) of his tactic of describing ALL public sector workers as definition…”Good people”. This week it is head teachers. Next week expect a big up for the nation’s road sweepers.

    Any one reading this blog should also be mindful that Campbell’s ubiquitous ‘other half’ is right up there with Shirley Williams and Tony Benn as a culprit in foisting the lethal comprehensive school experiment on this country.

  • Anonymous

    Not much constructive criticism of Gove on here I see, just “he’s a freak” same line as “Cam/Osbo are posh bullingon boys”, or “Boris Johnson is a buffoon”. Takes more than that to beat their arguments, after all labour have had plenty of good leaders who were also freaks, posh, or buffoons.

  • Michele

     Educators disagree with you, saying that much of the old A-level system was about simply memorising and reiterating and that GCSEs are more about solving problems.

    A lot of the trouble in this topic is the lack of appreciation for various Boards, how can that prejudice be resolved?
    People claim some Boards have higher standards than others but how much of this is just about reputation and propaganda re institutions that are deemed classy or more demanding, whilst actually being less of each, they just have a name. 
    It’s doubtful many schools have the time to do regular comparisons.

    I’ve done a very short spell of lecturing and found marking a completely befuddling pastime, the more of it you do the more you think you might have mis-marked someone earlier …….

    Having a fit of the vapours, the impression that Gove’s perennial startled look conveys, rubbishing what some of them are working very hard for is unsettling for our youth and as has been said before, the timing is so bad that it must have some destructive or selfish purpose …..

  • Ehtch

    maple syrup

  • Dave Simons

    The issue about dumbing down and declining standards over the last half century is interesting and complicated. If you took English Grammar as a measure you would have to conclude that there has been a decline, but is English Grammar really a measure, given all the permutations the language has gone through over the last millenium and a half? I don’t know the answer. My own feeling is that there has been a decline, but it is unfair to concentrate on comprehensives to illustrate that decline. If an Eton/Oxford-educated Prime Minister, with all the support of his highly-educated briefers, can open his mouth on the world stage and talk about Britain being a  junior partner to the USA in 1940, I’m inclined to conclude that educational standards have declined across the board, including in our most prestigious public school and university. I doubt if Harold Macmillan or Sir Alec – and definitely not grammar school boy Ted –  would ever have come out with such a gaff, with or without briefers. But I wonder if it’s just routine ageing that makes us think the young are not of the same rigorously-educated stock as us?
    I do wonder sometimes which audience Gove is playing to. Does the Tory right seriously think that the reintroduction of Latin will raise educational standards? Latin was one of my favourite and best subjects at school and I now wish I’d studied it at ‘A’ Level, but it is a specialist subject, OK for people who want to spend their lives translating monastic cartularies and the like, or for people interested in the origins of modern languages. Or botanists! But to make it a general educational subject when you could be more usefully studying Chinese or other modern languages seems absolutely potty.
    Incidentally Gove celebrated Geoffrey Hill’s eightieth birthday recently by calling him in the House of Commons ‘our greatest living poet’, by which I assume he means us in the UK (otherwise I think a few Irish people might mention Seamus Heaney). Hill belongs to a tendency in poetry in which difficulty and opaqueness are seen as virtues. He argued in an interview (about a decade ago) that difficulty is democratic and it is dictatorships that simplify everything. Without going into that debate I think it can be said that Hill especially appeals to elitists who like to think that they are just that little bit superior to the uneducated masses. I would like to hear Gove analyse one of Geoffrey Hill’s poems rather than just parade himself as one of the club that appreciates them. I’ve been aware of Hill’s work for a few decades and while I find his language intriguing in a Dylan Thomas sort of way, he leaves me stone cold.

  • Ehtch

    ok, ok, so I am a plastic James Bond, shagged ladies from all continents, and I mean I have shagged ladies from all continents, The best was that Sri Lankan extract girl in Singapore, my god, she couldn’t have enough, and that Kenyan lady I met in South London, she was fascinated by my white pri.. what were we talking about again?

    Oh yes, shagging around the world, song,

  • Ehtch

    Charlotte Adams, East Henry, street, Calmar, Iowa. Song for Char, her favorite, while we were friendly, no wonder I never managed to get dragged up the isle to get married, with all these ladies diplomatically kept happy – you don’t know half of it son. Anyway, where was I? oh yes, Char, her song, with I suppose about me then,

  • Ehtch

    suppose I better not mention a one off, there has been others, but the main one was that french girl working in that hotel in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, obviusly looking for notches on her bed post, and I gladly gave her one. She gave me a baggfull of pillow mints after breakfast, as i went on my way. From the chamagne region she was, in a village just outside Troyes, or however you spell it.

  • Ehtch

    Remember when we discussed things, MI6 lady, talked about the tree in Canturbury cricket ground, in field, before it was removed, and I was in, could go anywhere in the Wolrld if I want to. She was loverly, dark haired, obviously oxbridge, she just disappeared like that, when she was office satisfied with me. I know what is what, I know when people talk to me for a reason, same thing happened when I was down the horse and hounds in Caterham when I joined the local TA, an old boy came up to suddenly talk to me, and we discussed things, and he went away, and he was obviously happy.

  • Ehtch

    ach, I don’t mean it, I am just fantascising. Think it would be me using a length of rope…

    Only joking about Michele, don’t worry, life is as last week.

  • Michele

     Do you have children?
    Are they well behaved?
    If they aren’t would you blame the teachers instead of yourself?

    Pirouette to your heart’s content :-s

  • Dave Simons

     Entirely agree with all that.

  • Dave Simons

     Immigrant workers from Eastern Europe are lower paid and more highly motivated than British workers. That’s why they’re here. They undercut British workers. It’s as old as  capitalism.

  • Michele

     As I’m the only one using Osbo would you care to advise where this ‘quote’ is from?

    ………….. “Cam/Osbo are posh bullingon boys”……………

  • Anonymous

    Ah Michele Michele… it should not concern our discussion whether I have children or not, how many, or how well behaved they are.

    But as always I don’t need to use any of my own logic I just use yours. If you want to proceed with this line of argument, and the similar one with your “have you been to a 3rd world country” then I will agree to argue within those terms but I will need the relevant information about you. I need to know what parts of the country you have lived in, what occupations you have worked in, and a few other things like that. Once we have established all that I want you to shut your yap about all the occupations you haven’t done, and all the places you haven’t lived in, because according to your logic you are not qualified to speak about them.

    On to the topic. Whether my children are well behaved or not in general is mainly my responsibility, but whether the people they interact with in school are well behaved or not is the school’s responsibility. I don’t care how bad little Johnny’s parents are, if little Johnny carries drugs or weapons to school, then its the school’s responsibility to stop that happening, by whatever means.

    After all, in our touchy feely, nanny state, oh those poor poor criminals society, we have said that if a thief breaks into my house and cuts himself on broken glass or barbed wire, somehow thats my fault. Its not the fault of the parents of the thief. Them’s your rules. So it should definitely be the school’s fault what behaviour happens on the school property while we live in such a regime. Again, I just need to use other people’s logics.

    Its not how I would have it, I would let people shoot burglars in the face, and the only punishment they would get would be target practice boot camp if they missed.

  • Anonymous

    I answered my own question. The only economic reason, and a logically sound one (don’t know if there is evidence for its soundness) for immigration, is that with cheaper workers we could make products more cheaply and therefore sell more and create even more jobs.

    Does that feel like a tempting argument? If you are in favour of immigration it should, seeing as there is no other logical one. And it is human nature to cling to arguments which support preconceived ideas, so feel free to cling hard to this idea.

    Oh the bad news is that if you do, then you have just embraced supply side economics, and if you follow the logic in this case you must follow it in the other circumstances – welcome to the Reagan revolution beeaaatch.

  • Dave Simons

    No wonder you call yourself ‘gove fan’! There’s not a shred of truth in any one of your three paragraphs. Of course all Tories didn’t go to Eton! Some went to Harrow! Didn’t you know that? I could go on but why waste space!

  • Dave Simons

     I think maybe we should stop looking for leaders and just be self-reliant. I can’t see any Tory leaders amongst the names you mention – showbiz turns yes, ad-men, con-artists, wide boys, snobs, big-time gamblers – but not prime ministers surely?

  • Michele

    ‘ubiquitous’ – you mean she’s diligent about her role?

    Things need improving, it’s not the same as ‘Let’s chuck it all in the air and hope for the best’.

    Gove’s own childhood is part of this performance.

  • Michele

     Given your constant know-alling it DOES matter whether you have experience and actual knowledge (just as it does when you’re posing with the butch act of how workers should be treated).

    Given your overlooking of the reason for my question it must have been beyond your capability to stretch it to ‘oh ….. she means parents are responsible for children’s behaviour’. 
    Smart, you?  Do people IRL agree?

    Given that if I make a statement (and it’s also elsewhere on thread) about parental responsibilities and teachers being lumbered with some badly-behaving children I’m not sure what the launch pad was to send you off on your ‘touchy-feely nanny-state’ hysteria.

    DO you have child/ren?
    HAVE you managed to bring any up to respect others or do you just imagine they do it all by themselves then some go out to school and misbehave because teachers are all ….. erm what was it? ….. ‘rotten apples’?

    Don’t tell me what’s (copying your grammar) MY rules, you get yourself wound up then do the spinning-top act, getting in to ranting as performance …. are we in a cyber drama group? 

    Cool it.

  • Michele

     You do know who introduced the GCSE don’t you?

  • Graham

    Michael Gove, has an alarming fondness for tarring everyone with the same brush, for his own political aims. Instead, he would be better getting some facts on his side, in context, before making a fool of himself, in public. 
    It would be wrong to suggest that every school is performing to a high level, of course, but it is also wrong to say, that teachers are failing right across the board. Problems with education, go much deeper than bland statistics, as there are social factors which need to be understood, such as adult illiteracy among some parents; which was a failure of the old system. 
    We know that education doesn’t stop at the school gate, and more should be done to help those parents, who struggle when their kids ask them questions about homework, instead of blaming teachers all the time. 
    That was something the last Labour government tried to address, and succeeded in many areas of the country. Perhaps one of Labour’s failings, at the last election, was that they didn’t illustrate the difference they had made in adult learning support, as well as, overhauling the entire education system. 
    Of course, with drastic cuts being made all over the country, this good work will, sadly, fall by the wayside. So, it is the job of shadow government, to paint a true picture of schools, and present a vision to the people, of what is needed; instead of patronising the nation, like Mr Gove.

  • reaguns

    It’s not a quote, simply paraphrasing the sorts of criticisms that often come up on these boards when talking about Gove, Johnson, Cameron and Osborne.

    Of course there are other better arguments made against them as well, and I think we should stick to these.

    So you can re-holster away there. Though as a matter of interest, do you not think Cam/Osbo are posh bullingdon boys, or that this is in any way a problem?

  • reaguns

    Well that would be great to be without leaders though I can’t see a workable way to achieve it anytime soon, though I think there are steps we could take in that direction. The first thing would be to get back to limiting powers. To limit the power of the prime minister, limit the power of the cabinet, limit the power of parliament, but increase the power the people have. Referendums and open primaries would be two good steps.

    We could reverse the steps taken mainly by Thatcher, Blair, and to a lesser extent Brown, to have a more dictatorial arrangement whereby they could circumvent cabinet, parliament, law and of course – the will of the people. Wouldn’t it be great if Blair had to ask the people whether they wanted war in Iraq or mass immigration?

  • reaguns

    It is sickening when the likes of Alastair tell the rest of us how great teachers are, its like when Chuka Umuna goes on question time and tells us we have “the best and brightest young people in the world” cue huge flipper slapping and baa sounds from the audience. Its all world peace and apple pie.

  • reaguns

    I certainly do.

  • reaguns

    I’ve told you already, we will debate on those terms (the terms being that people are not allowed to have opinions on subjects unless they have experience) the minute you tell me your personal details, or at the very least what socio-economic class you are in, what part of the country you lived in, whether it was a council estate or not, what kind of school you went to, and what kind of jobs you have done. Then by your rules we will muzzle you and not allow you to express an opinion on any other occupations, localities or socio-economic groups.

    Generally in post enlightenment countries we call this sort of thing ad hominem and take it as a sign of a weak argument. But I’d be happy to play your game. I would love it if we banned non-working class people from having any influence over working class areas (because it is middle class people who are responsible for problems in them) and let working class people decide what to do with people in those areas who break the law and so forth.

  • reaguns

    Yep, we seem to agree, so then it is disingenious for a left wing party to support immigration, as Old Labour were aware.

  • Michele

    They are ex-Bulliboys.
    They think they are entitled to ride roughshod over all sorts of things belonging to other people.

    When they were Bulliboys this meant they felt they had the right to smash up various someone elses’ property and accommodation with the arrogant ‘reasoning’  that they could afford to repair/replace it so WT* should it matter?
    Now they are EX they still have the same idea
    about the smashing but not, unfortunately, about the replacing.
    NHS – bam
    Enthusiasm in (others’) children – bam
    Security in all sorts of workers – bam (and withOUT using immigration as a tool, did you notice that?).

    I don’t give a sod about their being ‘posh’ (the wussy pronunciation from a few of them does make me gip though). 
    I have friends that are ‘posh’, it is not a euphemism for ‘bully’. 
    Bullies are good at pirouetting.
    Use the right words.

    I don’t think AC has made this blog about poshness, its subject is about yet more division rather than cohesion.

    I don’t think Gove is posh but I know he is self-interested. 
    His wife works for Murdoch.  Is he keeping the door open for himself to return to NI if he’s ever booted out of politics, is that why his demeanour at Leveson was so combative and why he used the stupid description of ‘chilling’ about it.  Yuk, toady.
    He’s a social climber. 
    That is far from posh but makes him easy to toy with and use.

  • Michele

     Do you actually have any first hand experience of schools as they are nowadays or is the nouse all pseudo 2nd hand or from rages?

    It’s an obvious question, what’s wrong with you answering about education later than your own?

  • reaguns

    I’ve told you 3 times now and will keep telling you – I will submit to the “you have no experience of X so you can’t talk about it” once you tell your location, occupation etc so that we can work out all the subjects that, by your own logic, you are not allowed to speak on. I would have hope the ridiculousness of this position would have been illuminated for you by now but seems not…

  • Ehtch

    GOOD GRIEF! calm down Huw….

  • Ehtch

    Blimey! A bit one sided it was, wasn’t it, England just did not look interested, or they were physically exhausted already at kick-off, or something? Italy were all over them – England were lucky it reached penalties, and if they did win it with them, it would then be fair to say Italy blew it big time.

    A fair result.

  • Ehtch

    …furthermore, sorry to say it Roy, you should have started with Carroll and Walcott. The Ities couldn’t really cope with Carroll when he came on.

  • Ehtch

    Gove, between the lines, has been given a huge telling off by Leveson this morning, and Dave too. No wonder Dave was hiding in Mexico last week.

  • Michele

    Have you actually ASKED for info previously?  I have  not seen you do so. 

    It’s logical to ask for ‘qualification’ for someone so full of **** (that means ‘info’, honest injuns) and angry about life and how they’d improve it (according to their own criteria).

    I have not ever suggested you have NO experience of all that you spout about, I have asked what experience you DO have (to qualify the dogmatic behaviour).

    Stop pretending you’re round at someone’s house doing the vigilante thang that you’ve boasted about IRL, take off the ether bovver boots and knuckleduster and ASK.  This is a blog, nobody is pointing and laughing at your frustration.

    Make sure you ask about what’s relevant as I do when you’re all Rambo-like re the third world.  You DO know that I have experience of finding acceptable school/s early/mid 90s, you might have read that I’ve lectured (not for long, I’m too used to a different pace).  That, compared to what you’ve offered, makes me more qualified to comment about secondary education in recent history.

  • Michele

     Had the questions been :

    – should we be part of a multi-national coalition in Iraq to watch the behaviour of Bush Jnr’s troops?

    – should we be isolationist and make those people recently freed from Communism followed by ethnic cleansing stay where they are

    they’d have been more honest (and therefore what TB would have asked if it were not for politics and, of course, if there had been the time anyway).

  • Anonymous

    reverse psychology obviously doesn’t work on over paid english footie players, it seems.

    They just wanted to get home, to their mamas!

  • Michele

     If only you were interested in FACTS and had not spurned the link.

    When all you post about is your uninformed opinion what else do you deserve than ad hominem (for the blinkered and obstinate boastful prejudice).

  • Michele

    Indeed !!

  • Anonymous

    People might have voted for war in Iraq. They certainly would have voted against immigration.

    Personally I’d have voted for a much earlier and heavier action in Bosnia (when Major was in charge.)

  • Anonymous

    I have asked for information, its mostly within the last few blogs, and I think in the the last blog with clegg in the title. Why should I ask again when you keep refusing to answer? Alright I’ll humour you, want a list of all places you’ve lived and all jobs you’ve held down, what education you have, what socio-economic class you are in or have been in.

    But I’ll start with a simpler one, if I am to humour you and need to play by your rules long enough to show you how ridiculous they are, I want you to hear and now stop commenting on all current and previous prime ministers and chancellors, after all you’ve never been prime minister or chancellor, so what do you know… right?!

  • Ehtch

    reminds me of the red british telecom phone that I sold £500 quid, and when I phoned BT and told it got thrown out, by mistake, in a kitchen revamp. BT said, ok, you had it for twenty years, rent, so it was, really, actually yours, so we’ll let it go.


    The fascists wanted it back.

  • Ehtch

    met Gruff and all the rest Super Furries during National Eisteddfod in Cross Hands Hotel where they were staying, ’96 I think it was, all getting bladdered until 6am. Good bunch of blokes, mostly north wallian gogs, but I won’t hold that against them. We had a laugh, chwythrenodd ni.

  • Ehtch

    More tea Vicar?

    enschuldegung Vicar? Was ist dos? ok, two sugers.

  • Anonymous

    This in the wrong place? Whats your take on mass immigration? Are you with Ed Miliband and Chris Bryant, or with Tony Blair?

    If you support immigration, is it because you believed it would install a larger labour constituency, or is it because you implicitly believe in supply side economics?

    Or do you support it because the thought police told you to?

    I can’t think of any other reasons.

  • Michele

     What a long-winded excuse for failing to confirm any nouse about education as it is now and proof that you’re energised by anything other than rags.

  • Michele

     You need to sort out exactly what your own criteria is.

    When you talk about ‘mass immigration’ do you simply mean any? 
    Re-read your post.

    I don’t think of people as labour although, due to our shrinking indigenous population there are economic reasons for needing more than we will otherwise have in mid 21C.

    Let me know which ‘thought police’ you think I’ve listened to, let me have yet another  giggle at your knowall-ness.

  • Anonymous

    So no engagement either on my criticism of your daft position, or even on the questions I put to you within your own daft framework.

  • Anonymous

    No as I’ve said before, when we need immigrants to do certain jobs, or if there is ever a time when we simply need more people to almost every job then we should bring in as many immigrants as we need, absolutely.

    But points based, work permit systems are best for this.

    When I say mass immigration I am talking about the 3 million extra people New Labour let in (and carrying on under the Tories.)

  • Michele

     The most important question is contact with education POST your own.  I have some as you know.  You?

  • Anonymous

    Still waiting Michele, we can’t say that we need experience to talk about education without following that logic through to say we need it about everything. So you want to hear my education experience, I want to hear about the areas you’ve lived in, the jobs you have done etc so that we can determine all the subject that you cannot comment on by your own logic.

  • Ehtch

    and that lady doctor from Uzbeckinstan in the Roadhouse late night diner night club in Covent Garden, and that Argie lady I met in the Glasshouse Stores Samuel Smith pub on Brewer Street Soho, shagged both for diplomatic reasons.

    I do these things for the love of my country, honest. “You get to places we can’t possibly reach….” Howard/Huw,

  • Ehtch

    think I got my old Soviet stans mixed up there. Anyway, she was oriental looking, as in Mongolia, so could be another old Soviet stan more eastern, bit like Nelly Kim the old soviet olympic gumnast – anyone remeber her?. Lovely lady, very very clever, as all doctors are.

    Might as well pont out this doctor I got friendly with locally, who worked in the sound echo location lab, as in sonar stuff as with looking at fetuses growing with pictures, and looking at internal organs as well, but I will leave that for another day. It started off with my intestines needing a scan for mucosal scleroderma affects, and it looks she liked the rest of my internal organs….

  • Ehtch

    Nellie Kim, even, but her dad was Korean, so I am off target again. Not russian oriental blood at all,