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Call me old fashioned about education and the Labour leadership

1 Mar

The Local Education Authority (LEA) in Brighton and Hove have introduced a lottery system as a way of allocating places at over-subscribed schools. Supporters of the move say it will bring an end to the system of a child’s education depending on their postcode. Detractors, many of whom are parents who deliberately moved to live close to popular schools say it is unfair.

Will it work? Possibly. Will it be any more fair than the existing system? Probably not. After all, it is likely that a number of brighter children will now find themselves being educated at schools which are some distance from their homes, and which are not of the same standard as their local establishments. However, here’s a novel idea – instead of targets, initiatives and the reworking of existing systems, why don’t the Education Department make a genuine attempt to bring all schools up to an acceptable standard? Of course, that would require real investment and a return to the days when teachers were employed to teach, not to fill in forms, meet targets and juggle ever increasing levels of bureaucracy, so it will probably never happen.

Former government ministers, Alan Milburn and Charles Clarke (Remember him? He was the Home Secretary who looked like Big Ears.) have spoken out against the Chancellor Gordon Brown – most likely successor to Tony Blair – warning of a defeat for Labour at the next election. The duo have launched a website where Labour supporters can discuss the future of the party. I have to say I agree with some of their points. What exactly are Gordon Brown’s policies? Does he have any? And why is it such a foregone conclusion that he will succeed Blair anyway? Shouldn’t there be some kind of election with a variety of candidates, or is that just a silly old fashioned notion?


Who should be the next Labour leader? Have your say

18 Sep

Spadger recently posted about the question of who should be the next leader of the Labour party, and therefore the next PM, at least for a while anyway. At the moment, Gordon Brown is the favourite to succeed Blair, but is he necessarily the best man for the job? Is he your choice, or would you prefer someone else? Maybe, you would like to see a younger candidate, or do you think a more mature politician would serve us best?

If you have an opinion about the subject why not vote in our latest poll, you will find it in the sidebar on the right. If your choice isn’t mentioned, pop back to this post and leave a comment.

Update: the poll is displaying a little oddly, but it seems to work ok.

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PM is a job, not a title!

15 Sep

Prime Minister Blair. If I hear/read those words once more I think I will scream. He is not Prime Minister Blair. PM is his job not his title. If he were a baker or a newsagent he wouldn’t be known as Baker Blair, or Newsagent Blair, so why do some people insist on giving him a presidential style title. (OK we all know he would probably like one, but he doesn’t have one.)

He is not the head of state, he is the (current) leader of the Labour party and due to the success of said party in recent general elections, he is the PM. When he steps down as leader, the Labour party will still be in power because the British public did not vote for Prime Minister Blair, but a significant number did vote Labour.

Oh, I feel so much better now 🙂

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So who should be the next PM?

8 Sep

It seems that President (sorry Prime Minister) Blair is on his way out so who would make a good successor?

At first it seems obvious that Gordon Brown will walk any Labour Party election. But will he?

Firstly there will be some who will find his behaviour at the moment appalling. Doesn’t he remember the disunity that brought 18 years of Conservative rule? There is no point winning the leadership election if he leads the party to oblivion. Brown loyalists are obviously out to oust Blair and with their Masters connivance.

Secondly Brown is Scottish. Now that we have devolution will it be acceptable to have a PM introducing laws on one part of the country when his own constituents will be exempt? The current cabinet is Scot heavy.

Thirdly Brown is heavily associated with Blair. New Labour is as much his idea. Will the public believe it a change?

Anyway I’m not convinced by Brown. Everything that happened in Iraq happened with his full knowledge and consent.

The alternatives? John Reid, well he’s not Brown. Ok he’s Scottish but he is different to Blair and Cameron. Gruff abrasive. Jack Straw? OK was the foreign secretary, Iraq and all that BUT has openly opposed military action in Iran. Seen by some as deposed by Bush.

I reckon they should skip a generation, how about Hilary Benn the Development secretary? Alan Johnson at Trade & Industry? David Milliband?

Milliband and Benn have left wing parents. Johnson is a former postman. All are modernisers.

If it was down to me Brown’s behaviour would not be rewarded.

What Tony Blair Could Learn From Alan Shearer

6 Sep

You really know you are unpopular when people leave a party because of your presence. However, our illustrious leader doesn’t seem to think so, and desperately clings to his post despite a batch of resignations over his refusal to announce the date he intends to step down as PM. The resignations follow the publication of a letter from back-benchers demanding to know said date and stating that in the opinion of signatories his evasiveness is damaging both the Labour party and the credibility of the government. Mr Blair has responded by stating that his critics are ‘disloyal, discourteous and wrong’. The truth is they are more in touch with popular opinion (about the PM) than he is.

Blair no longer has the huge level of public support that he enjoyed in the late 90s. His ‘friendship’ with the president of the US has damaged his reputation beyond repair. In addition some of his more recent policies have left the public feeling that he has become too big for his boots. He may believe we still see him as some kind of golden boy capable of rectifying the worst mistakes of Tory policy, a kind of political Alan Shearer, talented, able, trustworthy and reliable, but we don’t. Smarmy and insincere are the words I hear most often used to describe him. Sadly, unlike Alan Shearer, Mr Blair does not seem to realise that his time is up, and that he should bow out gracefully. Instead he clings to power and deludes himself that deep down we all really like him, that he is still the man of the people he once was.

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Blair wants to help….yeah right!

31 Aug

For the first time in a very long time in his political career Blair is not making an arse of himself in public because of his foreign policies. Now he’s doing it because of his home policies. Sure it makes sense to identify problems in society but keeping young mums on benefit? I’m all for benefits, they are incredibly helpful. However they need to have practical help and advice for themselves and their children. Surely, they need to be giving encouragement to help these people to get on their feet and ultimately improve the lives of their children?