A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Cancelling Schools for the Tory Future

Read this list and weep: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/interactive/2010/jul/05/building-schools-for-the-future-michael-gove

Every name with the word "stopped" next to it is the snuffing out of a brighter future for kids from an entire community. It's children condemned to learning in, and teachers to teaching in, an environment that's not fit for purpose. It's the difference between having a local school where the buildings and facilities are a source of pride to one where they are a source of embarrassment. And it's the economic madness of a country emerging in a fragile state from a recession and throwing construction workers on the dole when they could be building new schools we need, earning good money, paying taxes, and sustaining the jobs of other people they buy goods and services from.

I feared that a Cameron-led government, particularly one propped up by the Lib Dems, would be an impossible opponent for Labour - a mushy force on the middle-ground, crowding us out with crowd-pleasing centrist policies and smothering debate in the warm duvet of "compassionate conservatism", hoodie-hugging and proclamations of bring the "heir to Blair".

Now I just fear for the benighted people of this country. What crime did we commit to deserve to
have our society and communities trashed twice in 30 years by the governmental equivalent of the Vandals and Visigoths?

I fear that this Coalition of economic wolves backed by 22 of the meekest, stupidest and most easily placated by high office political sheep will create such anger and disgust that meaningful debate with it won't be possible.

I want to scream at them. I want to cry. I want to shake them and ask what pathetic lack of imagination it is that leads them to think this is what 21st century Britain needs or deserves.

No doubt they'll say we can't afford new schools. I don't quite get the maths of that when we're the 22nd richest country in the world by GDP per capita. I don't imagine we'll be seeing the schools that the PM or the Deputy PM or the Chancellor attended stopping any building projects or putting up with teaching in portakabins.

I'm not sure we can afford not to have our construction workers working, and instead to be paying them benefit.

I'm not sure we can afford to try to compete in a globalised knowledge-based economy on the basis of a half-complete school building programme and billions in cuts to our education budget.

I'm waiting for someone to pinch me and say this is all a really, really bad dream. But I know I'm going to wake up and the lunatics will still be running the asylum for at least another four years and ten months. Lord knows what damage they will do in that much time given the destruction they have caused in just two months.

I hate it. I hate living in a country led by people whose political and economic views are so extreme, irrational and reactionary. I wish they'd just all get on a boat and go and establish some free market experimental laboratory on an island in mid-Atlantic, and leave the UK to the rest of us who want to live in a normal West European social democracy that does normal things like fund normal public services, keep people in normal jobs rather than on the dole, guarantee the weakest in society a normal civilised existence, build schools not cancel them. It's not too much of a dream is it?

29 Comments:

Blogger Guido Fawkes said...

You spent all the money Luke. There is no money left.

10:17 pm, July 05, 2010

 
Anonymous Gideon Hoffman said...

It really is vandalism, that even with the most generous and charitable interpretation, would have to say is pretty stupid.

A country needs an education system and schools, and schools needs buildings, and buildings being what they are, you have to maintain, and rebuild them over time.

So cancelling all of them, just means we, those of us who actually pay UK tax, (unlike the private schools Gove, Clegg, Osborne and Cameron went to themselbes - which - despite the deficit - are still not taxed properly), eventually get a bigger bill, when the vandals get thrown out, and the schools will need even more maintenance and rebuilding than they would have, and of course, without lots of extra immigrants, that would mean prices rise.

Of course, bureaucracy can probably be streamlined, and I can see why a coalition of the hard of thinking might not care for some of the stages that involved analysis, and justifying choices. But the solution to this problem is to have less bureaucracy, not to cancel all the schools the country needs.

In the meantime, children at these 719 schools get a worse education overall by having poorer facilities, and which will unfortunately affect their chances over life. Which means, we get less tax back later, and pay out more benefit, and employers with a choice move to places with a better educated, and more highly skilled workforce.

Stupid stupid stupid.

10:27 pm, July 05, 2010

 
Blogger Jed Keenan said...

This is what Guido Fawkes wanted all along. This is the excuse 'spent all the money' but this is what Guido Fawkes wanted all along. He would have left the Banks to collapse and stopped the schools programme too. Its the schools he opposes and the children that he is afraid of. the centreground is being forced to become much more redistributive because of this gruesome attack on our children. Guido Fawkes wants to attack our children and we will teach them how and why to fight back and this time to win.

11:19 pm, July 05, 2010

 
Blogger Jed Keenan said...

BSF:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ey-LGudDR0

11:22 pm, July 05, 2010

 
Anonymous Rich said...

I completely agree lukes. What people don't realise is that many older schools are full of brown asbestos. It really is cheaper to build new rather than maintain our crumbing stock.

This move will mean job losses in the construction industry and their suppliers. I'm extremely concerned.

The Tories know what they are doing, they know the result be a even bigger down turn. The next stage will be an attack at the unions through the courts and the removal of the min wage.

11:45 pm, July 05, 2010

 
Blogger Jimmy said...

They need the money for the Free Schools for parents who can't afford school fees any more. The existing ones are too ethnic but that nice Mr. Gove is going to start some new ones for them. Of course it means the chavs will have to make do with their portakabins but there's a recession on don't you know.

12:13 am, July 06, 2010

 
Blogger tony flaig bignews said...

Lets be blunt Luke, like many of your fellow Labour party pro's you've spent your life particularly the last 13 years in denial as the top knobs in your party sucked up to bosses, paid off the public sector and throw a few bones toward the lazy feckless unemployable.

Tony Blair sorted out a nice career as great "Statesmen" for which ordinary men & women from working backgrounds are paying the price.

Gordon "bigot" Brown took over the reigns because it was his turn and he wanted his go, which resulted in today's bankrupt country.

To their credit David Cameron and Nick Clegg have acted in a mature fashion, each gaining something in the process.

Your concern for poor old construction worker is admirable were it not for the lack of interest and contempt of your Labour party, who in the good years could not have given a flying toss, despite the fact that during your boom years, construction workers and other manual workers have seen wages going down every year, with little or no employment protection.

Working people have seen a decline in employment prospects, poorer education and witnessed huge social changes but those articulate middle class types like yourself have chosen to ignore working people.

The simple fact is that many Labour activist are aloof and remote happy to have spent the last few years patting each other on the back for what god alone knows.

The simple fact is you are experiencing a nightmare and its for this reason, Labour instead of helping working people chose to sleep through its time in office, and instead weaning welfare scroungers off the sofa, correcting the balance between public and private sector.

As a manual worker who now earns about a third less than I did six years ago and often works 72 hours a week if its available, not being an uncharitable person, I do have this terrible feeling of schadenfreude.

I actually do give a toss, for those victims of Labour woolly thinking because it effects me, my family, my friends and co workers.

I'm also proud to be a member of the Lib Dems, because who else actually cares for people, the millibands, balls, mandelsons, campbells of your party I dont think so.

And in the million to one scenario Gordon Brown who see's the masses as bigots had got back into power he'd have had to do the same sort of things. Pour yourself a coffee and wake up

1:28 am, July 06, 2010

 
Anonymous Ed said...

Labour spent 13 years throwing vast amounts of money at schools to absolutely no effect.

Simply rebuilding schools will not raise education standards a bit if the same old rot that passes for teaching goes in inside them.

As for the benefits of government-created jobs, I thought that old socialist chestnut died with East Germany. It sounds nice, but it's hideously inefficient. For every job created by the state, at least one is destroyed in the private sector by the taxation used to create the state job.

1:36 am, July 06, 2010

 
Blogger tony flaig bignews said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:36 am, July 06, 2010

 
Anonymous Rich said...

To the above, no matter cancelling the building of new schools is not good for education or our childrens health. There is a correlation between a well educated society and a prosperous society.

I do agree and a lot of labour supporters agree that labour did waste 10 years. However, this is probably why Brown went on a spending spree to try and reverse the Blair years.

The torys really are painting a gloomy picture. The last thing we should be doing is stopping investment.

What we need is a back to work stratergy, more people working means more tax and better prospects.

7:27 am, July 06, 2010

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A bit emotional.

A pity you don't take any responsibility for the damage you have caused over the last 13 years.

You spent what you didn't have.

2:03 pm, July 06, 2010

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

You are supposed to spend what you don't have in a recession then pay it back in the good years. It's called pump-priming. We were carrying out an international obligation, agreed with all the major countries, that all nations would apply a fiscal stimulus to their economies.

Pre-recession Labour was in conventional terms fiscally responsible. During a recession it's irresponsible not to try to reflate by deficit funding.

2:11 pm, July 06, 2010

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I hate it. I hate living in a country led by people whose political and economic views are so extreme, irrational and reactionary"

Fair enough. But your own views are very reactionary too. In one of your blogs I think you said you would like five Trident submarines.
That is one more than Liam Fox.
He is quite sensible compared to you.

If we abandoned Trident then we could easily afford to build new school buildings.

Has the penny dropped yet, Luke?

5:24 pm, July 06, 2010

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Reaction means "Characterized by reaction, especially opposition to progress or liberalism; extremely conservative."

There is nothing particularly conservative about wanting your country to be protected by a strategic nuclear deterrent. It's a position supported by succesive progressive/liberal US Presidents, Labour UK PMs and Socialist French leaders.

It is absurd to suggest that a first world country can't afford both adequate defence spending and new schools.

Besides which the cost of Trident replacement (build and running costs) works out as only £3bn a year over its lifetime, 10% of the MoD budget, which is peanuts in the context of the current spending cuts, and not bad value for guaranteeing no one attacks you.

5:42 pm, July 06, 2010

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

PS you made up the bit about me calling for a fifth Trident carrying sub. No such post exists.

5:56 pm, July 06, 2010

 
Anonymous Koz said...

"Now I just fear for the benighted people of this country. What crime did we commit to deserve to have our society and communities trashed twice in 30 years by the governmental equivalent of the Vandals and Visigoths?"

You voted Labour, of course (and more than one election at that).

6:55 pm, July 06, 2010

 
Anonymous Ed said...

"You are supposed to spend what you don't have in a recession then pay it back in the good years."

Except Labour spent what we didn't have in the good years, with Gordon Brown crowing that he'd abolished boom and bust, leaving the bank empty for when the recession came.

8:14 pm, July 06, 2010

 
Blogger Merseymike said...

Luke: I don't agree with you about defence but the party has always had its pro-defence Atlanticist wing.

I'm totally with you on this one though. Its basic Keynesian social democracy which the Liberal democrats have clearly abandoned for a taste of power.

12:15 am, July 07, 2010

 
Anonymous KARMA MRA MGTOW said...

False accusations of rape make things even worse or the genuine rape victims, for some reasons feminists are blind to this. FYI: http://www.misandryreview.com/false-rape-society/2010/06/28/lying-about-the-prevalence-of-false-rape-claims-by-not-telling-the-whole-story/ http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/woman-recants-false-rape-charge-freeing-man-after-3-years-in-prison/ http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com/ http://www.falserape.net/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRIOSr-w6aU http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/ http://www.innocenceproject.org/ http://www.sophos.com/blogs/gc/g/2010/05/07/facebook-hacker-jailed-false-rape-claim/ http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/every-familys-nightmare--wednesday-june-9-20100602-wyty.html Perhaps the ultimate HATE crime is to accuse a man of rape, when he is innocent. Hmmm it will be interesting to see how a feminist would react if this hap

1:06 am, July 07, 2010

 
Anonymous Rich said...

The reality is that the torys independent schools policy is the real reason for the axe on this scheme. The problem now is that they still have to maintain these old schools.

I have already mentioned the problems of brown Asbestos in older schools estimated to be in hundreds of tonnes. It's not easy to maintain crumbling buildings when you can't touch them.

You would have to close a school for months for a refurb and then issue clean air certificates. I wouldn't want my kids in one of these old death traps.

Both the lib dems and Tory are very guilty of putting their political success before the interests if this country. Most people don't see this but it will all become very clear in mid 2011.

8:18 am, July 07, 2010

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"PS you made up the bit about me calling for a fifth Trident carrying sub. No such post exists".

Well there's this one from September 2009:

"I'd prefer four not three. In fact five would make me feel more comfortable. My logic being that if you are spending £20 billion on a national strategic deterrent you might as well spend the extra few billion on a couple more boats to carry it as it is a bit silly to have said deterrent temporarily disabled if one of them has a crash and needs repairing - the total of four boats was always said to be the minimum needed to guarantee keeping one at sea all the time".

You are entitled to change your mind. None would be the ideal number though.

5:29 pm, July 07, 2010

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Exactly. It says four.

7:05 pm, July 07, 2010

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's very little about improving standards in either the original post of the comments. Labour's education policy failed. In my company we can't employ a lot of UK graduates, so poor is the education they receive. Few leave school able to write as well as their foreign competition. So yes Labour provided lots of nice buildings in which to get a frankly mediocre ('bog standard' as Alistair Campbell would have it) education.

I guess that's why so many Labour MPs marched their own kids off to schools outside the system.

I have huge doubts about Tory education policy but to be lectured in such ludicrous terms by people who presided over abject failure really does stick in the throat.

7:15 pm, July 07, 2010

 
Anonymous Rich said...

I hear so much about how poorly educated our kids are but in most cases our kids are getting more from education than we did.

I don't have a qualification to my name but I wouldn't want my children growing up the same way. The problem with education is that too many schools are blighted with poverty. Kids coming to school without warm clothing in winter and can't concentrate because of poor nutrition. A lot of this comes down to parenting.

11:21 pm, July 07, 2010

 
Anonymous Rich said...

I hear so much about how poorly educated our kids are but in most cases our kids are getting more from education than we did.

I don't have a qualification to my name but I wouldn't want my children growing up the same way. The problem with education is that too many schools are blighted with poverty. Kids coming to school without warm clothing in winter and can't concentrate because of poor nutrition. A lot of this comes down to parenting.

11:21 pm, July 07, 2010

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say that, but I went to a state comp under the Tories and did ok, lots have under Labour and done ok, but for the money invested the changes haven't come in terms of outputs - ie standards, achievement. I have three kids in state primaries in London and I hope they go on to good state funded secondaries. Luke's post is all about the quality of the building the education is given in, not the education received in that building. Why can't the party political blinkers come off and say none of us sorted it, let's work together to make it better. I actually thought this post summed it up very well, but most people here will disagree..
http://conservativehome.blogs.com/parliament/2010/07/graham-evans-brands-the-gap-between-the-richest-and-poorest-parts-of-his-constituency-a-disgrace-in-.html

11:39 pm, July 07, 2010

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Anonymous says "I guess that's why so many Labour MPs marched their own kids off to schools outside the system." I can only think of one current Labour MP who has used private schools for their kids - Ms Abbott. Though happy to be corrected if there are others.

In contrast Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper's kids go to local state schools in Hackney.

9:57 am, July 08, 2010

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should have been clearer in specifying 'out of the system that they advocate' ie non selective state schools rather than suggesting out of the state system per se.

11:34 am, July 08, 2010

 
Anonymous Ed said...

Here's a devastating indictment of education under Labour in cold hard statistics.

In the last 10 years the UK has slipped from fourth in the world to 14th for the quality of our science education, seventh to 17th for literacy and eighth to 24th for maths.

Labour spending had absolutely no effect whatsoever on what really mattered. Who cares if the buildings are shiny and new if the Chinese, Malaysians, Koreans and all and sundry are overtaking us where it actually matters - results.

10:27 pm, July 10, 2010

 

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