I was disappointed by his appointment, and have been appalled by some of his comments, and Tristram Hunt is only a couple of weeks into his job as shadow education spokesperson! His support for Gove`s pet project, free schools, is counter to the belief Labour supposedly has in state education and equality of opportunity, whilst his ridiculous remarks on Question Time favouring Performance Related Pay for teachers will have been daunting for all those employed in education, hoping for a better deal from a Labour government.
However, the suggestion in today`s Morning Star that he "faced a TV savaging" on Newsnight last Wednesday is a slight exaggeration.His arguments in favour of having qualified teachers were forceful and well researched, and it`s a shame that he hadn`t spent as much time looking into PRP before his previous television appearance.His defence, in fact, of Labour`s policy of insisting all teachers in the state sector be trained and qualified, regardless of their subject expertise, was so persuasive, Paxman had to resort, as he always does when out-argued, to asking personal questions demanding "yes" or "no" answers, and then repeating them. Admittedly, Hunt should have been better prepared for such questioning, so that the answer would have been "Yes", he would send his children to state schools with unqualified teachers, because within eighteen months, a Labour government would make it illegal to employ such teachers anyway, and that there was no need to contemplate private education for his children, because the qualified teachers in the state sector are doing such a good job.
What the programme showed, as does his other programme, University Challenge, was the arrogant and patronising attitude of Paxman, whose contract,especially in view of revelations made by the Observer newspaper last year about him, and some other BBC presenters, in relation to tax avoidance, should not be renewed.