Alastair's Blog

Return to:  Blog | Articles | Videos RSS feed

Gove helping to destroy Olympic legacy plans. What does he have against sport exactly?

Posted on 18 December 2012 | 10:12am

The BBC did a brilliant job with their Sports Personality show on Sunday. If I had one small complaint it was in the air-brushing of any politics or politicians from the narrative.

‘Keep politics out of sport’ has a certain compelling appeal, but sport is an intensely political area. Always has been (think Eastern Europe, think America v USSR back then, America v China now). Always will be.

John Major’s Lottery. Tony Blair’s decision to go for, and role in securing, London 2012. The Manchester Commonwealth Games and the legacy of the velodrome as a home for British Cycling and, later, Team Sky. Sport yes, but with a lot of politics along the way.

As with so much of the good that was done in the Labour years, more and more evidence is emerging that it is now at risk. We won the Games in part because of the promise of a real sporting legacy. It is not happening. This non-happening is not be chance, but as a result of decisions taken by the government. Like the decision to axe School Sports Partnerships, one of the many backward-looking decisions taken by Michael Gove, whose sports policy (lack of) has the feel of a man taking revenge on PE teachers who made him run in the cold when he wanted to sit by the fire learning Latin and reciting lists of Kings and Queens.

Now his plans for the new baccalaureate have come under fire from a host of sporting bodies who fear sport is being further downgraded within the education system.

I said on Any Questions last week that Gove, far from being the success story as described by his private-educating supporters in the newspapers, and his little gaggle of followers and advisers on twitter, is shaping up to be the most disastrous Education Secretary in history.

Here, from today’s Guardian front page, is the latest exhibit.

PS, if the latest reports about ‘plebgate’ turn out to be true, I hope Andrew Mitchell is back in the Cabinet soon.

  • Anonymous

    This West Ham/Spurs/gawd knows who of the main site is a bit of a mad load of business, isn’t it, ey Alastair?

    Mocha Starfucks with chocolate chips for me, please…

  • Olli Issakainen

    In Finland we have 13 special SPORTS HIGH SCHOOLS.
    Training is available for pupils every day.
    Ice-hockey, cross-country skiing and Alpine skiing have their own schools.
    Pupils who are good at sports usually go to these special sports schools.

  • Anonymous

    Olli, my friend, amazed me the number of of ice hockey pitches in Finland/Suomi, but I did land in Oulu in January, and take off left there from Kemi.

    YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE OFF FROM AN AIRSTRIP OF ICE, YOU MADMAN, I thought to myself, whilst walking to the aircraft, slipping and falling down about every five yards in my british shoes.

    The landing in the first place into Oulu was something else – jeeezuz chroisssttt, side winds like anything – we landed sideways. That dark haired glacial grey eyed finnish hostess/stewardess was top drawer though, oh yes.

    Song for her,

    Furthermore, went down to see the harbour in Kemi, that January, and before I knew it, I was walking on the Bay of Bothnia, and heading to Sweden, huskies and sleighs and skiidoos passing me by!

  • Anonymous

    Sorry Alastair, and of course – congrats to Wiggo. But I couldn’t watch it, it turned my provincial guts – three hours or something???!?!? Jesus wept, He must have lasted less on the cross.

    Lineker and Barker are not good for my health, Alastair, and after a quarter of an hour, I overdosed.

    Anyway, well done Wiggo, a song for Wiggo, ey Alastair? For the lad.

  • Anonymous

    Alastair, and Wiggo, The Alturantive always made me laugh years ago at the start of youtubby, because of the young fella they had on the keyboards, known then as analoguecrazy4, or something. Anyway, here he is with them then, at a wedding party, in Bolton I think,

    Analoguecrazy4 I have heard is doing very well in the music business these days, in his early twenties now, and does not like to be reminded of then, too much… Good lad he is.

  • Gove’s consistently rubbish ideas (and they are) terrify me. I’ll be honest I hated and loathed sport at school, however the idea that sport should be “downgraded” even further down the curriculum is going to have a horrendous impact on the future of a whole generation.
    Of course there’s no way I want to get back on a hockey pitch but not everyone is academic, I want my kids to grow into people who enjoy being active. To enable a generation, to inspire a generation is going to take more investment, and more encouragement. This man is dangerous, is he even thinking any of this through, because he just seems to be attempting to settle old scores. Can you tell I don’t like him?

  • Betcha five quid that Toby Young is busily rewriting the attack lines given to him by Central Office in order to launch a tirade tomorrow against Alaistair (and in defense of Gove) in the Speccie. Another five quid says he does the same in this weekend’s Sun.

  • Anonymous

    2010: Osborne looks like a formidable leadership contender – Campbell attacks Osborne.

    2012: Osborne makes terrible budget, still no recovery after two years of his chancellorship, Campbell no longer mentions him.
    What does this say about the fact that Campbell is attacking Gove? So obvious. Campbell, quite rightly, fears Gove, and considers him a more worthy foe than Osborne or Boris Johnson.
    Every blog attacking Gove is a compliment and sign of Campbell’s fear.

  • Anonymous

    Kudos for saying what you said about Mitchell Alastair. Personally I was glad to see him go because he is just one of those sorts of people I can’t stick. But I wouldn’t want him to go due to lies, or a conspiracy against him, or bent coppers.

  • Anonymous

    Gove the most disastrous education secretary in history? Not the ones who introduced or allowed secondary schools? Comprehensives? GCSEs? Prizes for all? Public schools? Private schools?

    Come on Alastair get real. A bit of balance.
    He is only carrying on the good work started by Tony Blair! You guys should claim credit for Gove? This just proves that if the conservatives have a good MP or a good policy, you would rather say it was bad for the good of your party, than good for the good of your country.

  • Anonymous

    What does Gove have against sports? The same he has against arts. And it is all to do with grading. Unlike maths and english that can be scored on a set system, it is harder to quantify grades on both sports and art.

    Why is this important? One answer – students’ test scores can be used to gauge teachers performance. A low performance score can be used to justify docking a teacher’s pay. Said performance would be more difficult to quantify if the less structured grading of Arts and Sports are included in the mix.

    EBacc is just a way for Gove to chip away at teachers unions through performance related pay. It’s as simple as ABC/123.

  • anna

    Once Gove has ‘got rid’ of all the bad teachers he believes are infesting our schools, from where does he plan to get the good ones? Will teachers with drive, commitment, imagination and dedication flock to work in the threatening and punitive atmosphere currently prevalent in state schools? The truth is that bad teachers sack themselves because if you are not hacking it in the classroom, you leave. Life is living hell otherwise. And good teachers, with high professional standards and a modicum of self-respect, also leave because they refuse to compromise their integrity.

    I was a successful teacher – in a ‘bog standard’ comprehensive school – and achieved excellent exam results (100% A-C grade three years running with a ‘borderline class’, of whom only a few were predicted an A-C grade); but I left during the last Conservative terror, ground down by the constant denigration and criticism of my profession. The satisfaction I got from my pupils’ achievements and their gratitude for my efforts to help them could not, in the end, outweigh the destructiveness of the attacks by politicians on my morale and that of teachers as a whole. I still grieve for the loss of the satisfaction I got from the classroom but have no regrets.

    Many more excellent colleagues also left. A physics graduate joined the police force; a modern linguist went to Spain; two mathematicians went into the private sector to free themselves of the constant interference and denigration they suffered. I began to write for publication and continue to have articles, short stories and poems published in reputable publications.

    Unless teachers as a whole are valued, the quality of the profession will not be maintained. To attack teachers in areas of deprivation for ‘failure’ and to brand their schools ‘bad’ is to misunderstand the nature of the problem. Ideally, to thrive, a child needs three things: a good home, a good social environment and a good school. If you have two out of three, you can succeed. With only one, it is much harder to achieve success. So often, for many children, from terrible homes in terrible areas, even the heroic efforts of a good school (and there are many in such places) do not always manage to improve their chances in life. That some children manage to break the cycle of deprivation and lack of educational aspiration is a tribute to themselves and to the teachers who work with them. But it should be no surprise that schools and teachers are sometimes overwhelmed by the magnitude of the social problems they face that seriously hamper learning. It may be their misfortune, but it is unfair to say it is their fault.

    Teaching is a team effort. I was very conscious that my successes owed much to the foundations laid by colleagues in infant and primary schools. It is invidious to set teacher against teacher when pupils’ successes and improvements are achieved by the interweaving of the skills and arts of many. It is hard for a head to encourage this collegiate atmosphere if he has to manipulate salaries and rewards.

    I am dismayed that the spite and malevolence from government that drove me from the profession is rearing its ugly head again. This might well result again in the departure of many good teachers, to the detriment of our children’s future.

  • Anonymous

    Terrify you Lucy? They remind me of the same same as 1980’s – a nasty horrible time – britain self-destructing by thatcher and her tories then. An unbelievable time for me to live through, and I can just see it happening again – it gives me nightmares.

    Lib Dems need shooting, they do.

  • Anonymous

    Gove is a clown. But a dangerous clown, at that. It’s been proven.

    Song for Gove the fuckhead, and why not?

  • Anonymous

    Well, we’re all still here, mostly, but still a few hours left in the western pacific for today/yesterday, so still a chance.

    But never mind that, Season’s Greetings to all, since it is the new pagan year – may your garden be fertile in the coming year, if it hasn’t washed away, that is, into the nearest river.

  • Anonymous

    reaguns, seen Lizzy Two asking Georgie Porgie a question week just gone? Quite amusing it is, hope you enjoy,

  • Anonymous

    See the pit props are being put up to hold up the Thatch by the tories, as some sort of plastic god. Let her die, the poor bugger, by that what do you call it, planned nhs dieing or something. Or is Cameron planning that she will not die when he is in no.10? Well, allow Labour in then Dave – we will allow her to be humanely dispatched, to her peace.

    Sorry for being so blunt, sensitive numbnuts about – but that is life, for our ends. No one can deny death.

  • Bar Bar of Oz

    Interesting about Andrew Mitchell. I was in London at the time and swallowed the whole story. After all, that’s how you expect Tories to behave innit?.

    At time was expecting to see phone video or eye witness account emerge from one of the many tourists who were there but even when that didn’t eventuate, did not think anything of it.

    What I hadn’t realised was that the incident had actually taken place in the dark near to 8pm! Because of the “tourist” crowds I’d just assumed it was late in the arvo, say 4.30 – 5. Of course there would have been no crowds at 8 pm on a cold, dark autumn night in London. Journalists should have tumbled that that detail made the story likely a bollocks revenge attack by Police Federation. Alistair’s anecdote about the ferocious language used by the cop at Olympic Park just confirms it. Have now read Robert Harris’s defence of Mitchell who is clear one of that rare breed, a tory ok guy.

    What’s especially troubling is sections of the police are still law unto themselves, even after Leveson and all that has gone before. Disgraceful and don’t know what old blighty has come to.

  • Anonymous

    One other thing that was truely amusing to a gulf atantic streamed warmed brit when in Finland near the arctic circle, was all the power points in the carparks, for cars to get plugged into for their heaters for their sumps, to stop their engine oil freezing or turning into wax. It was mostly -25deg C when i was in Kemi that January, and the hotel receptionist said to me it was a heatwave – she told me it was -38deg C if I was there a week ago.

    And noticed the Finns like their disco dancing, when I went into that nightclub underneath the hotel I was staying at, on that Saturday night. Saw them all leave in their cars after too – it was like the Finnish Rally of the Thousand Lakes them leaving, revving engines and going out of the carpark exits sideways, with their girlfriends and mates. Quite a sight. Some even left on bobsleighs.

  • Anonymous

    It’s all a load of nonsence again, to fill the papers and media, Oz, to fill our simple minds, to divert from the actual issue, that the coalition are a bunch of tits and have no clue how to govern.

    And oh yes of course, by the way, Mitchell was a crap Chief Whip – he thought he was running a tank regiment in the field of battle again, and got it all wrong. But that is not the important point of it all, is it Oz, you fairly excellently noticing. And cops just need strong common sense leadership, that is all, and they will be fine servants of the people, without bigotry.

  • Bar Bar of Oz

    To be fair to Mitchell he’d only been in the chief’s whip job about 2 minutes so how can it be said he was crap unless via prejudice?

    Something is very rotten in police culture over there if police protection officers can think nothing of fabricating evidence then leaking it to media to bring down cabinet ministers whatever the persuasion of the govt.

  • Anonymous

    Only takes two minutes to find out a bloke is not up to it, I find. But it was Cameron who chose him, after all. But he is harder to get rid of – it takes years.

    With the bizzies, there has been enough shock stories well before this – the usual from 1984 and 1989, but also what happened to that brazilian electrician and that Evening Standard newspaper seller, with the met.

    And of course, “kettling” and their video cams showed us all that the met stood alongside the stasi in tactics.

  • sorry for the slow reply Ehtch I am somewhat unreliable. I have vivid recollections of my mum crying at each election until ’97. We desperately need to get organised and get everyone to campaign against the vile little toe-rag that is Gove well before 2015, my eldest has started school this year, so yes, it’s frightening how narrow the curriculum could become. Happy to get rid of lib-dems apart from my brother and Charles Kennedy.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, Charles Kennedy, agreed. And Paddy Ashdown, liked him too. Charles Kennedy needs to join Labour. The Lib Dems have gone up a really dark alley deadend. There is no hope for them in 2015 now, no way.

    And get your brother to change his ways, too.

  • I try help my lovely brother see the light, however I feel he may be something of a lost cause, hopefully we can get those betrayed by the liberals on our side for 2015.

  • Anonymous

    Yes agreed. Can’t see your average Lib Dem types being UKIP or BNP sorts, so there is only Labour. And the sandal jesus-creeper wearers will never turn tory. So Labour is their only alternative really, outside PC welsh and SNP scottish lands, that is.

    But saying that, there is always the Greens. And can see quite a few Independents standing in 2015, after the next two year nightmare.