Thursday, 19 March 2015

Gove and "compassionate conservatism"

 Ian Birrell, writing in the Guardian,might well think that Gove`s "bold and much-needed attempt to reclaim compassionate conservatism" is part of a debate "the electorate deserves to hear", but many will view it rather differently.(Gove is right: the Tories do need to detoxify the brand,14/03/15) The ambitious chief whip clearly still has designs on promotion, if not leadership, in the near future, and with a speech about Tories being "warriors of the dispossessed", he was simply cashing in on many Tory MPs` dissatisfaction with the negativity of the "competence not chaos" campaign. Gove even spouted forth nonsense about them having to fight for "social justice" and mobility, when the government which Tories dominated had, within weeks of being in office, reduced income tax for the rich, and ended the Education Maintenance Allowance, which helped poorer students stay on in sixth forms! 
      So close to the election, what the electorate "deserves to hear" is some truth about Britain under the rule of another predominantly Tory government, about what reducing government spending to levels last seen in the 1930s will mean, and about the effects of both future privatisation of the NHS, and of more cuts to the efficiency of the social services. Such "truths" explain Cameron`s reluctance to debate on live television, when all the details will be ensconced in the Tory manifesto.
       The last five years have clearly demonstrated that there is no such thing as "compassionate conservatism", but when has any empirical evidence ever influenced Tory politicians? None of Gove`s assessment and curriculum policies, during his whole tenure at the DfE, were based on hard facts; evidently, nothing has changed!   

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