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The media love Michael Gove, but the Any Questions audience was not so gullible

Posted on 15 December 2012 | 12:12pm

I hope those inside the political bubble who constantly define Michael Gove as ‘one of the few successes’ of the Cameron government find time to listen to Friday’s Any Questions on Iplayer.

Gove’s main success, so far as I can tell, is in persuading the media and the Tory Party that he is a success. However, both are out of touch with what most reasonable people with experience of State schools actually think.

The audience at a CofE school in Leyland, Lancs, was a fairly typical Any Questions audience, overwhelmingly white, middle class, middle aged, very middle England. Yet without having had a clapometer to hand, I am pretty sure that the loudest applause of the evening came when Camilla Batmanghelidh and I criticised Gove’s plans for variable pay for teachers.

Camilla’s opposition came from her view that schools are a community not a competition between teachers. Mine was that Gove is deliberately trying to provoke teachers into an industrial dispute so that he can have a fight and show his many media admirers and Tory right-wingers that there is a touch of the Thatchers about him. Children’s education is something of a pawn in this.

I visit a fair few schools. My partner Fiona visits a lot more. We know and we meet a lot of heads and a lot of teachers. If Gove is deliberately setting out to become a hate figure, he is making progress. One head I met last year, John Tomsett, who runs a brilliant school in York, had a letter in The Guardian yesterday expressing total outrage at Gove’s letter to heads suggesting they dock pay of teachers involved in the current ‘Action short of a strike.’ Tomsett said Gove’s letter was ‘threatening’ and designed to cause turbulence at a time heads are managing the ‘action’ without it escalating towards real damage to children.

But Gove, according to his briefers (one of whom even Andy Coulson wouldn’t work with) has put his department ‘on a war footing.’ Yet the only person who wants a war is him, and he wants it not to drive up standards in schools but to drive up political support and profile for himself.

At the pre Any Questions dinner for the panel, Tory commentator Tim Montgomerie and free marketeer Mark Littlewood had clearly both bought the line that Gove is a success. I said the public and the teaching profession took a different view to the commentariat. Tim looked somewhat shocked to see a middle England audience, in a non Labour area, loudly clapping the line that far from being a success, Gove is a disaster for our children, and far from being the best is shaping up as the worst education minister in our lifetime.

I heard Frankie Boyle on the radio yesterday echoing one of my favourite lines – never confuse media opinion with public opinion. Not least because he is essentially the media’s man in Cabinet, as his outrageous undermining of the Leveson Inquiry showed, and because he is a journalist close to Rupert Murdoch, Gove tends to get a very good press. But never forget that virtually all national newspapers editors, and a majority of the commentariat, use private schools for their own kids, and as a result not only know next to nothing about state schools, but have a vested interest in running them down.

As i said last night, the latest primary school improvements are the result of Labour investment and Labour reform, both put at risk by Gove’s agenda. In another question last night – on immigration – I mentioned the primary school my children all went to, and where Fiona has been a governor or chair of governors for most of their lives. When our eldest child went there, the Tories were in power and less than 40 per cent of kids reached level 4. Thanks to a new and brilliant head, but also to the investment and reforms, the school was turned around, despite many middle class parents deciding to go private. Today, 57 per cent of the children have English as a second language, 50percent are on the pupil premium. Ninety per cent reach level 4, and Camden primary schools have been rated by Ofsted the best in th country, an amazing achievement.

You’d have thought this was the kind of success story Gove and Co would want to highlight and build on. Far from it, because the success has been achieved despite his reforms not because of them, and does not fit with his potty backward-looking agenda.

One final point. He keeps saying heads should be autonomous. So stop sending them letters telling them what to do with their staff then. As John Tomsett said in his letter ‘I will stand by my colleagues and defend them from this unprecedented attack by the secretary of state. And when I do, don’t accuse me of being an enemy of promise, ever.’ He said he had dedicated his life, at some personal cost, to helping young people achieve their full potential, something Gove cannot claim.

Instead of supporting, he undermines. Instead of building up, he knocks down. Instead of valuing, he devalues. Te media bubble may think it makes him clever. The public are not so gullible. They can spot a disaster posing as a success a mile off, and they were out in force in Leyland last night.

  • Anonymous

    Teachers, just like everyone else, act out of self interest. Therefore we have to make it in their self interest to improve standards.

    Teachers and headteachers trying to protect their cosy positions is no more surprising than bankers lobbying for corporate welfare, farmers lobbying for subsidies, exporters lobbying for a weak pound, regardless of the effects on the rest of us.

    Campbell sucking up to these education barons is no different than Cameron sucking up to corporate donors, after all that is in effect what they are.

    We wouldn’t listen to the bankers telling us how banks should be run, telling us about bankers pay, or competition in the banking industry – why then should we listen to teachers trying to do the same things to protect their positions?

  • Richard Thomas

    The adulation of Gove seems to be from the same sources that, for their own europhobic reasons, take Nigel Farage and his puffery of UKIP at his own valuation. They also of course swallow the twaddle from the Tax Payers Alliance whole too. Time to end the corruption of our press from the irresponsible non taxpaying ownership.

  • http://twitter.com/reddeviljp jaydeepee

    Well said AC. Gove is fungal and an enemy of evidence based reforms. Back to the 50s with Gove!

  • Olli Issakainen

    Goveism.
    Independent schools educate 7% of population, but people from top public schools make over 40% of the intake at Oxford and Cambridge.
    Of the British elite 12% went to 10 famous public schools. 4% alone to Eton.
    David Cameron´s cabinet has 12 Old Etonians. Harold Macmillan had 13.
    Michael Gove is neoliberal.
    In his own words he is also “proud Zionist”.
    He is a good friend of Rupert Murdoch having worked for the Times.
    Michael Gove is part of the Notting Hill set. He has also worked for BBC´s Today programme.
    Michael Gove was the chairman of the Conservative think tank Policy Exchange. He went to Oxford studying English and became the president of the Oxford Union.
    Michael Gove is in the running to become the next Tory leader.
    GOVEISM is nowadays the Conservative world-view.
    Ps. Mr Gove is worth £1m.

  • Anonymous

    You have metaphorically nailed Gove to the wall, and did so verbally on .Any Questions.. The round of applause was deserved!

  • Guest

    I qualified as a secondary school teacher just prior to the
    change in Government and love(d) the job, but since that time have seen the profession systematically marginalised and demoralised by Mr. Gove’s relentless ill-thought-through, non-consulted and dogmatically-driven changes.

    I have had my work and practice rated ‘outstanding’ throughout my training and since qualifying, yet for the life of me I can’t see myself teaching (not in this country
    anyway) for very much longer. I resent the new culture that assumes that myself and my colleagues are lazy and inept
    unless we (continually) prove otherwise.

    Goodwill and morale has dwindled to a huge low and the thought of working under this scrutiny and pressure for the next 25 (or should I say, 30) years depresses me.

    I fear that Mr. Gove is spoiling for another fight which he may well win and, as a consequence, his vision of parents and non-QTS staff running more classes than he anticipated as all the qualified staff will have emigrated, quit the professions or be off work with stress-related illness.

    And the worst thing, the knock-on effect is real,
    irretrievable loss to the education of the students we passionately want to support to achieve their potential.

  • http://twitter.com/siforestiero Si Forestiero

    This article resonates more than you know and hits the nail right on the head.

    I qualified as a secondary school teacher just prior to the
    change in Government and love(d) the job, but since that time have seen the profession systematically marginalised and demoralised by Mr. Gove’s relentless ill-thought-through, non-consulted and dogmatically-driven changes.

    I have had my work and practice rated ‘outstanding’ throughout my training and since qualifying, yet for the life of me I can’t see myself teaching (not in this country anyway) for very much longer. I resent the new culture that assumes that myself and my colleagues are lazy and inept unless we (continually) prove otherwise.

    Goodwill and morale has dwindled to a huge low and the thought of working under this scrutiny and pressure for the next 25 (or should I say, 30) years depresses me.

    It is clear that Mr. Gove is spoiling for another divisive fight which he may well win and, as a consequence, his vision of parents and non-QTS staff running more classes than he anticipated (since all the qualified staff will have emigrated, quit the professions or be off work with stress-related illness).

    And the worst thing, the knock-on effect is real,
    irretrievable loss to the education of the students we passionately want to support to achieve their potential.

    I find it amazing that Gove has been allowed to dismantle UK education into his own image, steamrollering morale and professionalism in the process.

  • Anonymous

    Good piece. Gove needs to be challenged much more vigorously (as does Cameron and Osborne) on the dubious statistics they produce to support their ‘evidence’ based policy making. In Gove’s case the alleged fall in standards against international competitors is a misrepresentation that has seen him criticised by the ONS – despite this, the argument continues to be made and was made by Tim Montgomery (sp?) in the broadcast. But the most damning piece of evidence Gove holds back is that his favourite educational country – Finland – only managed to improve their standards when they realised private fee-paying schools needed to be banned. They did this, and educational progress followed.

  • Anonymous

    Gove won’t acknowledge that his favourite educational success story (Finland) only achieved their success once they realised they had to ban private, fee-paying schools. Which they did and upon which their success depends. The ONS has challenged Gove on other selective and inaccurate data he uses to support his ‘evidence’ based policy decisions.

  • Martin Belleini

    Hi. I’m a teacher and consider that my motivation to do so is not ‘self-interest’. I teach, not to be paid a decent but hardly huge wage, but to give the students I teach a good start in life. The staff I manage are dedicated and brilliant teachers. They are visibly and sadly being drained of their enthusiasm and cheerfulness by the current relentless changes and vitriol led by Mr Gove. They continue in their jobs for a number of reasons, but self interest is only a small part of it.

    It is true that changes to national pay structures, pensions, accountability measuring, working conditions, standing in the political eye and others do work against my self interest. Does this mean that is what drives me to do well? Noay!
    Please walk a little in the shoes of those you dismiss before being so confident and condemning of people you may not know.

  • Anonymous

    Well said, Mr Campbell, on Any Questions, very well said.

    As a parent, rather than a teacher, Gove’s “vision” to me seems twofold;

    1. To ripen the education system for privatisation and profiteering

    2. To undermine the teaching profession, break their unions and drive out the “lefties”

    I never ceases to amaze me that right wing types so abhor the fact that “lefties” have so much influence over the education of children but yet they cannot see that it is precisely the sort of person who will work for the benefit of others and for not a great deal of money who is going to be a teacher.

    Gove’s “success” is certainly a construct of the media, even the Tory voters of my acquaintance find him a chilling character, even if they like the sound of some of his more regressive policies.
    As a former Lib Dem voter I can only conclude by saying that 2015 cannot come soon enough for me to vote for the Labour party.

  • Anonymous

    It is easy to understand Gove’s actions against teachers union when one reads what Joel Klein, the one time Chancellor of Schools of NYC and fellow Murdoch “associate” whom Gove fashions his school reorms after (Klein was the one who introduced charter schools, the US version of Free schools, to the system in NY), wrote about them. In a piece for the Atlantic magazine, Klein had this to say about teachers unions –

    “…politicians can reap enormous political support from the unions representing school employees…Teachers unions consistently rank among the top spenders on politics.

    Moreover, millions of union members turn out when summoned, going door-to-door, staffing phone banks, attending rallies, and the like. Teachers are extremely effective messengers to parents, community groups, faith-based groups, and elected officials, and the unions know how to deploy them well.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/06/the-failure-of-american-schools/308497/2/

    Chip away at that and you essentially weaken the Party teachers unions support. Simples.

  • http://www.assetpoint.com/ Cece Lianne

    A round of applause for this article. That’s all I have to say!

  • http://twitter.com/johntomsett John Tomsett

    Dear Reaguns,

    Do come to our school, Huntington School in York. I promise you that my opposition to current education policy has nothing to do with protecting my “cosy” position. There is nothing cosy about being a state school headteacher. Please visit – I’d love to take you round and show you what we do. You could meet students, talk to parents, talk to staff. I brief them all to tell the truth when people visit – you could ask them anything about the way we run the school and I know they would tell you exactly what they think. Best of all – come and watch me teach; at the moment I am learning how to teach AS and A2 Economics, something of a first for me in 25 years of teaching.

    You can contact me on j.tomsett@huntington-ed.org.uk.

    Sincerely

    John Tomsett

  • http://www.patrickjames.co.uk/ Patrick James

    I heard the programme when it went out at a repeat on Saturday. I think that Alastair Campbell did very well indeed!

    The discussion about education was the best however on immigration AC may have missed a point. Tim Montgomery (I think) was talking about how the immigration over the years of the last Labour government happened without consultation with the public. He believed there was no mandate for the immigration policies of Labour.

    I’ve heard this argument put by others in other situations.

    I think my response to that would be that in the 2005 general election immigration was the main issue talked about, absurdly, for most of the election campaign.

    Despite the attacks on Labour in 2005 over immigration the general public went out and voted in another Labour government.

    So, it is not possible, in my humble opinion, to suggest that the public were not consulted about immigration during the period of the last Labour government.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, you’re right. The public can indeed spot a disaster posing as a success a mile off. It’s very sad when those in power ignore us, as we are far more frequently right than wrong. Like when a million of us marched against the Iraq adventure…

  • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

    “They can spot a disaster posing as a success a mile off, and they were out in force in Leyland last night.”

    Alastair, are you joking? You clearly do not listen to Any Questions much nor know of it’s audiences…but I am sure that you do, which in in turn taints much of what you write here.

  • Dave Simons

    Back to Thomas Hobbes and ‘the war of all against all’. So we’re all nasty, British and short-tempered, are we? You must have met some people in your life who don’t act out of self interest, surely? Who do you knock about with? I suggest you take up John Tomsett’s kind invitation and meet some nice people for a change.

  • ZintinW4

    Gove is dangerous and a media charlatan. One of the last Labour Government’s great successes was Education. By contrast, along with the economy, crime and transport the Tories are showing the only things they manage well are attacks on the weakest and an increase in privilege.

  • Pingback: Good to know Team Gove was rattled by Any Questions blog – here is their (sic) rebuttal | Alastair Campbell

  • Anonymous

    Fungal? Gove is a virus – more incidious. I just don’t like the cut of his mush, let alone his policies. But they do go together. And this bullying letter sent out to the sharp-end that actually do the work, whilst hiding behind his desk, just sums up what a cretinous creature he really is.

  • Anonymous

    reaguns – are you stirring the pot again? Told about this before – go and stand in the corner you vewy vewy naughty boy. Or are you not allowed to stick kiddies in the corner anymore? And are you allowed to call them kiddies these days too? Students then.

  • http://twitter.com/markrblackburn Mark Blackburn

    Where did you have him valued?

  • Mary Clarkson

    Really good article and good remarks on Any Questions too. I’m Chair of Governors at a primary school in Oxford and my son attends private Magdalen College School (MCS) Oxford. I have to say in the twenty years I’ve been a school governor, I’ve never come across so much unhappiness across the teaching profession which is caused by one Education Secretary. The striking thing is that it’s not the just the usual suspects-the lefty NUT members but it’s the apolitical teachers who would never strike. You should also be aware of the strong public attacks which heads and teachers at private schools are making on Gove. Tim Hands at MCS had a real go at him in a Telegraph article a few weeks ago.

  • Anonymous

    …let alone give them a good ol’ public school thrashing, ey reaguns? : )

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqoGcC4S5jk

    and,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lhG3duwYqI

    Fags my arse, dear boy!

  • Anonymous

    This post is in partial reply to the few replies I have received below instead of doing them one by one. I am not a tribal labour or conservative, I look at each issue. On education, so far I think the parties have been about 50:50. Tony Blair made some education reforms, Michael Gove is now carrying them on in the same direction, ie acting more for the pupils and less for the teachers, which is as it should be. Anyone who says what Blair did was good and what Gove is doing is bad, or vice versa, is a braniwashed tribal fool.

    Schools exist to teach children, not to employ teachers.
    Now, I would give each party, each leader, each education secretary/shadow a fair hearing. If the argument was “I think we should reform schools like this” “No I think we should reform them like that”, then it would be difficult. But when one side is saying they don’t need any reform, then there is only one winner, once that winner was Tony Blair, now it’s Michael Gove.
    Notice that Campbell used to attack Osborne, obviously out of fear that Osborne would make Prime Minister one day. Now that looks less likely, he is attacking Gove. Its so obvious.
    If you want to attack this government, attack them for dropping the election debates, surely thats an open goal for labour?

  • Anonymous

    Teachers have always complained in the manner you are complaining now. I can’t speak for you or any individual one, but despite how increasingly terrible they find the job, precious few of them ever opt to switch it for a private sector job. I usually receive an emotional response when I point this out, but there are no need for emotions, we have stats for this sort of thing.

  • Anonymous

    That’s all very nice, and were we on question time, I’m sure you would get a nice round of applause, seeing as the audience is at a similar level to those you teach.
    But I assume you want a grown up intelligent discussion?
    So when I say teachers and headteachers are in “cosy” jobs, that does not mean that it is comfortable and easy trying to teach people and get them to pass exams, let alone deal with unruly pupils, nor does it mean I could do it.

    However it is “cosy” compared to many private sector jobs, due to lack of performance incentive. Can you quantify how much lower this year’s marks would have to be compared to last years marks in order for you, or one of your teachers, to get the sack? If you can, be my guest. If you can we’ll take it from there, if you can’t we’ll acknowledge that I am right.
    Second of all, its a very crowd pleasing thing you are doing inviting me to your school, and I’m sure I’d have a lovely happy clappy session if I got there. But just as Warren Buffett doesn’t need to visit a factory in India to buy it, he just needs to see the numbers, the accounts, you could just show me the results your school has been getting under your leadership. You could quantify how the results compare to the beginning of your time there, to the head before you, and of course in comparison to other schools.
    I don’t need to see in a school, do you think I educated myself or do you think it is more probable that I spent at least 12 years in at least 2 schools already?
    Of course, just as Osborne is wrong to pretend everyone on the dole is a shirker, and Polly Toynbee wrong to pretend none of them are shirkers, it is wrong to suggest that all teachers are lazy, useless, motivated by the wrong things. It is also wrong to assume that none of them are. In my school I guess it was aboout 70-30, about 70% were complacent jobsworths – and I went to the best school in my region, a grammar school of course. I happened to get the highest marks in that school, those teachers will happily explain how they helped me get them, without explaining why no one else got them if it was down to their teaching. If we’d had a more academic, more disciplined school, many of the less naturally talented could have got marks like I got.
    Economic theory, game theory will tell you what should be obvious – if you get a group of unempoyed people, some of whom want jobs and some of whom don’t, or a group of teachers, some of whom are self motivated and some who aren’t – then you should set your policy to deal with the lazy and unmotivated, as the others will take care of themselves.
    P.s. It’s certainly not worth a trip to York.

  • Anonymous

    No, deadly serious on this one Ehtch – children’s education is no joke.

  • Anonymous

    See my reply to John. Can we agree that some teachers act out of self interest and some don’t? I don’t know about your school, but in my school, a grammar school and the top one in my region, the majority of the teachers were lazy compared to people I have worked with in the private sector in factories and so forth, and low in intelligence compared to the people in my profession (with a few exceptions.)

    Most of all, well over half were complacent, and ignored poor results and ill discipline.
    All you have to do is concede that some teachers are like this, and some aren’t. Policy should be set to deal with the lazy complacent teachers, they need motivation, it needs to be in their self interest to do a better job, set the policy to deal with them, not the good teachers, the good teachers will thrive in either system. So “We can’t do that because some teachers are good” is really no argument at all.
    Again, I don’t mind people arguing about different types of reform, but when people argue that no reform is needed, they are out of touch.

  • Anonymous

    See my other replies, but let’s assume you are telling the truth and you are one of the good eggs – what have you to fear from reforms to make your lesser colleagues perform better? Don’t you try to help the pupils in your class who are falling behind?

  • Anonymous

    Don’t let’s forget the local education authorities in all this. Gove wants to take their democratically-accountable responsibilities away, to undermine them, and even some Tories are uncomfortable with that (viz Lancaster County Council recently). Moreover, Gove is using bullying tactics and Ofsted inspections to undermine the whole system of democratically-accountable provision. Ask around.

  • Dave Simons

    I agree that some people are selfish and some people aren’t. That qualifies as a platitude. What I don’t agree with is your implication that all of us are selfish. That’s ideological – you want to believe that. And it’s a colossal insult to the unselfish people who I’m pretty certain will have helped you all your life, fortunately without expectation of gratitude. And don’t talk to me about the private sector because I’ve worked in it. What I’ve witnessed absolves me from ever believing the lie that you continually propagate about the lean, efficient, performance-incentive-driven, sack-menaced private sector. Also I too went to a grammar school and did quite well academically. I don’t, in retrospect, agree with a lot of the attitudes of the teachers I had – more of a mixed bunch than I knew as it turned out – but none of them were lazy, not even 30%. The trouble with the grammar schools, like the public schools they imitated, was that they were elitist, excessively competitive, highly streamed and too focussed on university entrance. Anyone who has passed through those schools needs to get a lot out of their system before they can begin to appreciate, respect and love the majority of people who attended other kinds of school.

  • Gilliebc

    Wise words Dave.

  • Anonymous

    You have went downhill Dave. You accuse me of saying that everyone is nasty and short tempered (something I never said) and then suggested I never meet anyone who isn’t self interested. I then have to point out what should be blatantly obvious, but clearly wasn’t to you, and when I do you call it a platitude? Strewth.
    Lets take this conversation to a better level shall we, but seems I shall have to set everything out first. Ok, we know there are some teachers who will do as little as possible, as long as they can get away with it, and keep their jobs – right? And we know there are other teachers, who will go way beyond that, putting in extra time and effort, for no financial benefit to themselves, only the benefit of seeing their pupils do well. Ok this might help them financially if it involves getting good marks etc, but many help in ways that can’t be quantified?
    These people are still acting in what economists would call “self interest”. Ie if you win the lottery and spend it on ferraris, or give it all to charity, either way you are still acting in your own self interest, do you understand? See Public Choice Economics.
    My grammar school was not the elitist, competitve type you talk of, it was a happy clappy type, talking of a “holistic” education, which in reality was just absolving itself from any failures in terms of exam results. While I attended it, my best friends attended secondarys, as did people in my family, and people I associated with through youth football teams, part time jobs and so forth, I did not stick to some elitist circle as you imply.
    I had a lot of lazy teachers, and a lot more complacent teachers.
    Of course the private sector contains lazy and complacent people too, but not on the scale of education, unless its a quasi-private industry in reality propped up and protected from competition, such as the banking industry.
    I have stated before, rather than public private, I think the main divide is big company vs small company. The big companies I worked for were more similar to the civil service, than either were to the small companies I’ve worked for.

  • Evelyn Mintrim

    One thing you didn’t mention which I think truly reveals Gove’s commitment to our children is his nasty little decision to change the rules regarding the building of new schools, so that the costs can be economised on, allowing for lower ceilings, flimsy materials etc.This might seem a minor point but actually, sending children to schools which have architectural merit and a sense of solidity to them gives out a very powerful message ie ” You are valued and your education is important to us”.

    I had two children who went to school in an inner London area during the Thatcher years – the buildings were literally falling down around them – the plaster crumbling off the walls, windows that wouldn’t close etc. Our local comp couldn’t even afford to replace broken windows and has to use boards to keep the elements out ( I am not exagerrating!). I had a third child in the early ’90s who attended the same comp, which,by the time he got there, had benefitted from the London Challenge money. It had a brand new, startlingly imaginative, building and with the improvements in mangement and funding, over time managed to attract a higher proportion of middle class parents, as well as maintaining a wide ethnic mix. This school is a real testament to the policies of the Labour government.

    Please keep speaking out Alastair. Could you please also mention the numbers of children that get to Oxbridge from state comps? A lot of the media-folk are probably wasting their money!

  • Anonymous

    Come on reaguns – you know we both have a humourous way of approaching serious issues, it usually helps the arguement, doesn’t it? But we both don’t know ourselves when each of us is being serious, at times.

    And kiddies education is serious, and should be not set as a timetable, as within school hours. It is 24/7, whenever they are awake, and is the responsibility to all us oldies – older than them, that is. School is a help, not the be all.

    Sad news yesterday of Dylan Thomas’ last surviving child has passed away, Colm, at a fragile again youngish age. Good pic of him here when young, being educated by a roadworker in Laugharne, south-west Wales,
    http://education.gtj.org.uk/storage/Components/414/41447_2.JPG

    Link to beeb Wales/Cymru article,
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-20753324

  • http://twitter.com/bumperrepairs Bumper Repairs

    I think the state school situation is one which needs to be dealt with in manner befitting not just its short term by national aspiration and more important obligations to the younger generations of young adults that they produce.

    In all the back and forth dramatisation of our education system, it really does come down to an important point Alistair makes which is as close to the truth as you can get.

    “Never forget that virtually all national newspapers editors, and a majority of the commentariat, use private schools for their own kids, and as a result not only know next to nothing about state schools, but have a vested interest in running them down” and Ill add this ” to keep the virtual and dynamic ‘elite’ at the top and the ‘normal folk’ somewhere in the nether regions of attainment………. not aspiration….but hard cold, degree getting, good job getting educational, social and personal attainment”

  • Dave Simons

    ‘You have went downhill Dave’. Pardon? I certainly have the Yorkshire river Went downhill from where I live and I’ve GONE downhill to walk its banks many times, specifically because of its connection to the earliest written records of the Robin Hood legend before he was recruited by Notts Forest. ‘Short-tempered’ was of course part of a play on Hobbesian words – only yesterday I heard someone quote him on Radio 4, with his famous remark about life being, for what Edmund Burke later called ‘the swinish multitude’, ‘nasty, brutish and short’. Such beautiful people, these Tory gurus!
    ‘If you win the lottery and spend it on ferraris, or give it all to charity, either way you are still acting in your own self interest, do you understand?’
    No I don’t understand. I do however totally disagree. In fact I think what you’ve said is rubbish. Giving to charity is self interest if you do it as a celestial insurance policy – pennies from heaven and all that. But atheists and agnostics give to charity too and they often do it because it needs doing, not because there’s a smidgeon of self interest involved. Comparing that to buying ferraris for yourself is grotesque, to say the least. But perhaps rather typical of your attitude, which is certainly gut Tory if it isn’t tribal.
    Your grammar school was very untypical by the sound of it.

  • Garry

    “As i said last night, the latest primary school improvements are the result of Labour investment and Labour reform,” So it wasn’t the Labour Party who created the monstrosities that are Academies then. Criticise Gove as much as you want, but it was the Labour Party who decided to put our children’s futures in the hands of a Labour supporting carpet salesman. The stench of hypocrisy is heavy here methinks.

  • Jaynieph

    I could not have said it better myself. He won’t have very long to ‘make a name for himself’ when the entire teaching population actively vote in another party just because of this man. I have just read his biography on his own website – not a single mention of working in schools.

  • pimpmypost

    He will dismantle English education, not UK education. You must know that Scotland has its own systeM