When we hear that a Lib Dem minister has said in the Commons that a member of the shadow cabinet has "stood on his head", normally the first response is one of disbelief, especially when the minister in question is the previously disgraced David Laws. The words "kettle" and "black" spring to mind. However, when he is referring to Tristram Hunt and Labour`s free school policy, one has to admit, albeit grudgingly, that he has a point.
The opposition keeps forgetting that its primary role is not to amend and change this Tory-dominated government`s policies, but to offer alternatives, based on fairness, and in education, equality of opportunity as well, and sadly, it appears that Hunt is not up to the task. His appearance on this week`s Question Time revealed a man more in tune with Goveism than with the very reasonable complaints of the teaching unions, and his support for Performance Related Pay, with his failure to understand both its unfairness and impracticalities, will have done nothing to raise the hopes teachers may have, for state education under a Labour government.
"Why should teachers bother voting for Labour in the next election?" is perhaps the essay question Miliband should be setting as homework for his shadow cabinet this week, with the added instruction that the answers must analyse the evidence available. The inevitable brevity of the responses should send a chilling message to the Labour leadership. Can they really afford to run an election campaign which offers absolutely nothing to the teaching profession, and runs the risk of industrial action escalating under a new government?The appointment of Hunt, whose lack of empathy with both teachers and the system of state education must have been realised beforehand, appears to be another indication that the Labour leadership has swallowed totally the Tory propaganda perpetrated by Gove, Laws and their minions. Didn`t Gove`s lack of evidence appall "ace-historian" Hunt? Didn`t his misuse of data suggest to the Labour leadership that ideology, rather than facts, formed the basis of Tory attacks? Could it be that this Labour party has given up on equality of opportunity and social mobility? It certainly looks like!I