In what seems like a long time ago, while All Change Please! was recently enjoying itself in a galaxy far, far away, Stephen Twigg, the Labour Shadow Education Minister, was replaced by Tristram (no relation) Hunt. So, billed as a more demanding opponent for Michael Gove, how does he appear to be shaping up?
All Change Please! has to admit its initial impressions were not particularly favourable. In a just a few short weeks he has had to agree that Free Schools would remain open under a Labour Government, and on Newsnight he failed the Old Grey ‘Will you be sending your children to a state school?’ Test question. And it didn’t seem that someone who writes (admittedly in an article in the Economist): “It is perhaps time to think more imaginatively about precisely which equities are sacrosanct and which diversities are worth of encouragement” was going to get him very far with Daily Mail and Sun readers.
And then the other day in the Evening Standard, he said … “you now need more qualifications to work as a shift manager at McDonald’s than to become a teacher.” This, of course is misleading nonsense, especially when the headlines reported it out of the context of his more general and apposite message that McDonalds insist on training while Gove does not.
Of course the whole teacher qualification issue is mainly political/media spin. All Change Please! has yet to see any figures as to the number of unqualified teachers who have been employed in schools the last 12 months as an alternative to a suitably qualified one. And surely those that have been are likely to have better qualifications – even if not as a teacher – than a single A level in Shift Management?
From Gove’s perspective, the ‘no qualifications’ agenda is really to do with him wanting to close all these radical left-wing Marxist teacher training colleges that exist everywhere. So it’s a sort of ethnic cleansing to recruit a population of teachers who will never have been exposed to all this progressive education nonsense. But the problem is, as is revealed here, having Taught First, it seems that all these highly qualified young new graduates are now looking for softer jobs that have shorter working hours and more pay!
But hold on a cotton pickin’ moment. It then dawned on All Change Please! that Tristram (no relation) Hunt is actually cleverly playing Gove at his own game, presenting a misleading statistic or piece of inappropriate or non-existent evidence to encourage influential newspapers to report it in such a way that the public are fast-fed a simple, memorable so-called fact. And that’s exactly what’s needed to start to change public opinion.
Please Mr Hunt, we need more sound-bites like this. Indeed we need super-sized portions of them. Somehow you need to make a Happy Meal out of Mr Gove.
The trouble is that these days every time a politician from any party says or writes anything, all they do is reveal the extent of their ignorance of what actually goes on in real life.
Meanwhile, on the same subject, this from Mark Steel writing in The Independent is well worth a read!
Image credit: Sergio Alcántara http://www.flickr.com/photos/sergiooaf/2921745031