Friday, January 13, 2006

What the government really thinks of our children's education

It's been a week in which the government has shown its true colours about the priority it gives to "Education, Education, Education." First Tony Blair trivialises the problems that many schools face in finding a permanent head teacher in favour of a cheap swipe, then we have Ruth Kelly, herself a mother of four, and Kim Howells allowing a registered sex offender to work as a PE teacher. And when there is natural outrage the Downing Street the response has been to confirm that both Kelly and Howells will keep their job. So once again a Blairite Cabinet Minister who screws up is backed to the hilt with promises that "Ruth Kelly will stay in her job". Presumably she will be staying just like Peter Mandelson, Peter Mandelson again, Stephen Byers, Alan Milburn, David Blunkett and David Blunkett again.


Mustafa Arif said...

I think your own blog on this subject (sex offenders working in schools) is a cheap shot. We don't know fully what happened but ministers were given professional advice on making these decisions and apparently took it on good faith. A review has been promised. That's not unreasonable step. Mistakes happen and it's important not to have knee-jerk reactions to media hysteria.

But whether a minister made a mistake is not really a big issue in the greater scheme of things. The fact is that in our liberal democracy, decisions on whether an ex-offender, who has served their time in prison and been rehabilitated back in society, continues to pose a threat to society should be made by an impartial judge (with appropriate professional advice / assessment in support) not by an elected politician who will have to look over their shoulder and apply "the Daily Mail test".

Paul Leake said...

You mention Kelly getting TB's full backing, like Byers, Blunkett etc. To be fair to Ruth Kelly (much as it goes against my natural inclinations), her department has been incompetant in its handling of the issue (particularly not being able to say how many people this applies to), but they just aren't of the same magnitude as the issues of trust over the other ministers mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine the consequences on Blair if he did sack Kelly? Well, the media would just devour him.

It would be game over for Blair, that is why he cannot afford to sack her.


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