According to the Telegraph the riots are all down to teachers

I was left open mouthed, but not entirely surprised this morning when headlines started coming in that a teacher had been in court for looting. As a teacher myself I tweeted that I hope this person would no longer be able to work with children, and that I hoped they would be properly punished by the courts. It is now known that the person in court is not a teacher, but works with children at a school. This did not, however, stop David Hughes, a man who is apparently the chief leader writer for the Telegraph publishing on his blog an absolute rant against the teaching profession.

This is what he wrote

teacher is charged with looting – why am I not surprised?

One’s capacity for shock has been rather depleted by the events of the past few days but a riot-related item this morning did manage to raise the eyebrows. The BBC is reporting that the first person up at Highbury Magistrates Court on looting charges was a 31-year old school teachernamed Alexis Bailey. She pleaded guilty to being part of the looting of the Richer Sounds store in Croydon. If this is what teachers get up to, is it any wonder that children have been queuing up to ransack shops? It prompts the question of just when was it that schools stopped punishing theft and instead started turning a blind eye to it? You can date this profound shift to the time youngsters started to heave all their books in and out of school each day in gigantic rucksacks because they could not leave them in their desks in case of theft. The difference between right and wrong became blurred. Before the change, theft was severely punished in all schools: teachers would come down like a ton of bricks on any light-fingered pupils. Then for some reason they simply threw in the towel and told children to protect their own stuff because the disciplinary system could not. Such moral ambivalence has helped spawn the rampant criminality that has had us all so transfixed.

One wonders how such an ill educated fool gets to be a chief leader writer for a national newspapers when virtually everything he has written is either rubbish, or if true, largely been done not because teachers have asked for it but because governments have sought to impose it, in and in the main that has been Tory governments.

Note his main argument that 

You can date this profound shift to the time youngsters started to heave all their books in and out of school each day in gigantic rucksacks because they could not leave them in their desks in case of theft. 

So breaking down his argument, this stems back to when children have to take their books around with them (and home) and the end of each day, in case of theft. So we are talking about after school hours, in evenings, at night ? In essence his claim is that the fault is that teachers failed to protect schools after school from thefts and break ins. Is that a teacher's role ? If so, what an utterly ridiculous argument.

Many people on the left have sought to blame the riots on cuts, EMA and tuition fees. They are wrong, as can be clearly seen by the type of people going before the courts.

But equally the right are wrong to turn to their usual targets, which as we've seen since Michael Gove because education secretary, always seems to involve attacking teachers.

Now you can't access the blog any more written by David Hughes, but you can access the cached version HERE.

Next time David Hughes writes about education, remember what he wrote and see what his real agenda is, which is basically to blame teachers for the nation's ills, even riots.


Is Lib Dem education policy simply "Let Michael Gove do what ever he wants" ?

The Lib Dems were for many years seen as having the most sensible and well thought out policies on education. Be this pledges to cut class sizes, a commitment to reform key Stage 2 SATS, a properly thought out policy on higher education funding and, [particularly under the stewardship of the excellent Phil Willis, the brilliant former Lib Dem education spokesman who stood down from parliament in 2010, teachers felt that there was someone who understood the problems in the education system.

So what the hell has happened to this ? Where has the Lib Dem influence of education gone since May 2011 ?

We all know the debacle over tuition fees. and irrespective of whether it is fairer or not, the failure of the party to get the Tories to admit that it could be called a "hybrid graduate tax", which would have got the party of the hook with many voters, showed a total lack of influence over education policy the Lib Dems have.

Of course the party nationally like to raiser the "pupil premium" as a Lib Dem successs, ignoring the fact that this was in the Tories manifesto also, so can hardly be hailed as a policy which the Lib Dems won as a concession from the Tories.

Since May 2010 all we have really seen on education is a succession of rants from Michael Gove, almost always seeming to put down the teacher profession, make threats, and tell us that what we are doing is wrong and can only be solved by creating new academies or free schools. On top of this if you work in Key Stage 2, the government arbitrarily put up the schools targets just weeks before the SATS tests. No reason was given other than that it was to raise standards. If Gove really thinks that raising targets without allocating any new funds will raise standards then he has no idea of the real world.

Yet even today, the teaching profession is being told that if we strike on Thursday, it could "Damage teachers' reputation". No Mr Gove, you've been doing that all by yourself for the last 14 months by constantly criticising the whole profession.

I'd love to see or hear a Lib Dem MP come out and offer an alternative narrative to the one put out by Mr Gove, but sadly we seem to have no influence whatsoever.


Danny Alexander - SHUT UP !

In the local elections in my part of the world we (the Lib Dems) highlighted a regular concern that people have that the local Tory Council see consultation as a process to be gone through in name only and after the decision has already been made. Nobody in their right mights would consider it to be consultation or negotiation when the person leading these talks has already made his or her mind up. SO WHY CAN'T DANNY ALEXANDER SHUT UP !

He is doing exactly what people dislike most, and he is doing it over and over again. Watching an old episode of "Have I Got News For You" tonight, they talked about Danny Alexander leaking figures of how many public sector workers would lose their jobs, and for the last 48 hours Danny Alexander has been going around like the worst type of Tory MP telling anyone who will listen to him that the public sector "Will have to accept ...".  Where the hell is the negotiation Danny ?

Since when has the Chief Secretary of the Treasury had to speak to the press so much ? In previous government's the Chief Secretary has been a background figure, but no, in this coalition, Danny Alexander has decided that he wants to be the hard man, the face of the cuts, as if people are going to somehow reward or credit him. Stop seeking publicity for doing unpopular things and get back to doing your job for the sake of the of us in our party who remember when we were here to do Lib Dem things, not the Tories dirty work !

At a local level I am proud of what the Lib Dems do to represent local people in their wards and county divisions in Norfolk. But the way some members of our party behave in government, and don't even got me on to the subject of education where Michael Gove comes up with increasingly stupid comments and ideas by the week, whilst the Lib Dems say absolutely nothing, is nothing less than shameful !


Why David Laws should NOT return to government

There are many who like to think that the ills the Lib Dems are suffering will, in some way, be fixed by a returning David Laws being thrust back in to the political front line. They are wrong.

Firstly, we should examine what David Laws is like.

I know people who know David, and they tell me he is extremely quit witted, he "gets it" very quickly, and is a real talent. this any be true, but as a voter, and outsider, I view David as an intellectual and bright, but not charismatic or exciting in any way shape or form. Would his return excite the electorate ? Would it er-energise the Lib Dem vote ? I very much doubt it. I think Charles Kennedy might, but not David Laws. So lets kill the myth that David Laws will somehow revive our electoral fortunes overnight.

There is, of course, the argument that having David Laws in cabinet will somehow make the coalition more than what it is, and will then given the Lib Dems credit. The truth, as we've seen, is that the more successful the coalition is in any given area, the Conservatives get the credit, and the things that the public despise are blamed on the Lib Dems. To say "We need him back" is also to say that one of our cabinet members is not up to the job. I'm sure the Tories would love to see Vince or Huhne go, after all, they are providing the only credible opposition to the Tories whilst Nick Clegg has been utterly useless in providing any liberal vision or future for the party.

But for me, the most important reason for David Laws not to return is the simple fact that he showed a total lack of judgement in what he did over claiming for a second home owned by his partner. Last year in the general election we rightly claimed that we were the party who were the cleanest on expenses, how we had called for reform and more rigour in the system whilst Gordon Brown did nothing, and we mocked the Tories for continuing to back those friends of David Cameron who had been caught with their hands in the expenses till.

How could we face the electorate if David Laws returns to cabinet ? Forget that he did it for "personal reasons to protect his private life". He is a wealthy man, he didn't need to claim second home expenses, he didn't need to claim above the market rate, and he could have claimed on his Yeovil home, not his partner's London home. There were numerous ways he could have protected his private life without having to fiddle his expenses, but he chose none of those options, which stands in stark contrast with the perception the party hierarchy has that he is an intellectual who will find solutions to the problems we face a a party, as a partner in coalition and as a country.

The public will not thank us if we bring David Laws back, they'll probably hate as more and we'll get tarnished further as a party that cannot be trusted to keep its word. What do I think will happen ? I think Nick Clegg will bring him back next year because the Tories want him back. Of course they do, it will make us look silly and they will get the benefit of any successes he may achieve in government. but whatever the Tories want, Nick Clegg gives them.

Throw a stick. Go on Nick, fetch boy, fetch !