Why is Tristram Hunt in the Labour Party?

'U' for effort: Why should parents vote 'Labour' if Tristram Hunt won't repair the disastrous harm that Michael Gove has been inflicting on our school system - and our children's future?

‘U’ for effort: Why should parents vote ‘Labour’ if Tristram Hunt won’t repair the disastrous harm that Michael Gove has been inflicting on our school system – and our children’s future?

According to shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, Labour will not repeal Michael Gove’s major – useless – changes to the British school system if it wins the next election. In that case: Why vote Labour?

Gove has proved to be the stupidest education secretary of recent history. His divisive ‘Free Schools’ vanity project is a disaster that has increased costs for children who must get their education miles away when there is a school next door to them, while standards of teaching have plummetted at the new establishments – with unqualified teachers and calamitous Ofsted inspection reports.

Not only has he created appalling imbalances in the school system, but Gove has also de-stabilised his own department, bringing in unqualified ‘advisors’ to overrule seasoned civil servants on major decisions. The result has been wide-scale demoralisation, with many experts leaving the profession, their experience lost forever.

The agenda, as far as it is possible to see one, seems to be to maim the state education system so badly that it will be unable to compete with privately-run schools on any level, meaning the sons and daughters of the rich will be able to beat state school pupils to the choicest jobs.

Now, Tristram Hunt – whose political beliefs appear to be so amorphous that he could belong to any one of the major political parties – says he won’t sort out any of the problems Gove has been creating. He says that would be “tinkering”.

Many of Gove’s reforms “built on” Labour ideas, he told the BBC.

Those were bad ideas, Tristram. For a man who is supposed to be well-educated, you don’t seem to notice much, do you?

We currently have a system stuffed with so many kinds of school it must be impossible for parents to work out what’s best for their pupils, even if they have a decent choice available to them.

In practice, it seems, there is little difference between them as none seem capable of providing the education that people need. As a writer, I have seen the quality of written English nosedive over the past 30 years. Tristram Hunt will do nothing to change that. So why vote Labour?

Instead of having Free Schools, academies, grammar schools or whatever silly name people want to give them, why can’t we just have schools?

Hunt does put forward some useful ideas in his BBC interview but – having seen what he thinks of the Gove policies – it is hard to have faith that he can carry them out adequately.

He says the Free Schools policy has been wasteful in adding new places where there is already a surplus – and any new schools should be built where there is a shortage.

Also, Labour would put resources into technical and vocational education in a change from previous policy – which attempted to funnel half of school leavers into university, whether they deserved the extra education or not.

These are practical ideas, but if the system is not based on solid principles, they will not make any difference at all.

Mr Hunt is himself an educated man and must be made to see that his policies are ridiculous. He should receive a ‘U’ for effort and be made to take his exams again.

And, while Ed Miliband is putting people like this on his front bench, the question remains: Why vote Labour?

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  1. gingerblokeblog March 2, 2014 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on gingerblokeblog.

  2. Florence March 2, 2014 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    You say “Mr Hunt is himself an educated man”. I would say he has been schooled, but not educated, just like Gove, and just like Gove’s unqualified advisors and teachers, and school administrators. This is the hallmark of the amateur, the dilettante, who considers themselves in some way superior, in other words the typical product of the Public School system. The system that manages to churn out these idiots who have been given to believe they not only are superior but they are destined to rule. They are all thick as donkeys, to the point that they cannot see their own inadequacies. Excuse me while I reach for the sick bag. (BTW Apologies to donkeys.)

  3. jaypot2012 March 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    This idiot is as bad as Gove – well actually, he’s worse and I didn’t think that was possible!
    This should be shown to Milliband with the response that he needs a new Education Secretary! With friends like this…

  4. Dave Rowlands March 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    The labour party is a disgrace, there is not one party in this sad country of ours that understands the plight of the ordinary person, when millionaires are making decisions on how those less well off than them should run their lives then we are doomed.

      • Mike Sivier March 2, 2014 at 4:06 pm - Reply

        I lost a lot of faith in Caroline Lucas and her party when she told us all that Labour had been told to abstain in the WoW debate last week. That wasn’t true. It seemed that she was involving herself and her party in the kind of party politics that we’re all starting to despise (if we didn’t already).

  5. jaypot2012 March 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    Oh dear…

  6. Big Bill March 2, 2014 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    The real question is not why should we vote Labour, it’s why should we vote at all when all it gets us is more of the same?

    • Mike Sivier March 2, 2014 at 4:06 pm - Reply

      All the more reason for the country to demand a box at the bottom of the ballot paper saying ‘None of the above’.

  7. Chris Mckenzie March 2, 2014 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    Vote Left Unity.http://leftunity.org

    • Mike Sivier March 2, 2014 at 4:44 pm - Reply

      Rather than everyone from different parties demanding that we all vote for them, can we not have some kind of debate on the pros and cons of different policies?
      What does Left Unity have to say about education?
      What do the Greens say about it?
      Let’s try to stay on-topic, please.

  8. Mike Sivier March 2, 2014 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    I’ve just had a tweet from someone making this point: “Why BOTHER to vote Labour? BECAUSE all free and Academy Schools will become FEE PAYING that’s why.”

    Presumably this person meant they’d become fee-paying if the Tories get back in. It’s an interesting – and worrying – point, as this would mean the Tories are using taxpayers’ money to fill profit-making company bosses’ pockets in the long run, and that should not be allowed.

  9. beastrabban March 2, 2014 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    The short answer to the question of Tristram Hunt’s presence in the Labour party is simply ideological inertia and the retention of power by the remnants of New Labour. Blair took the party significantly to the right when he became its leader. There was a game at the time that rearranged the letters in politicians’ names into a suitable anagram. Michael Portillo, for example, came out as ‘a cool, limp Hitler’, while Anthony Blair was ‘I Am Tory Plan B’. Or something like that. Blair’s electoral tactics were based on making the party acceptable to a small group of swing voters in key marginal constituencies. Hence the move to the Right and the attempt to appeal to ‘Mondeo Man’. He was also part of a general trend amongst left-wing parties across the world, including the Democrats in America, who attempted to respond to the popularity of Reaganism and Thatcherism by frantically embracing the market. This started off in New Zealand in the 1980s. Blair has gone, as has his collaborator and successor, Brown, but the mind-set is still there, as are some members of the New Labour clique. This includes Ed Balls, and explains why Ed Milliband has stated that he will not reverse the Tories cuts, as well as his reform of trade union power, and statement that he wishes Labour to appeal to the middle classes. This is an attempt to reclaim New Labour’s position of trust by the middle classes. Before the election Cameron had the problem in that the Labour party, not the Conservatives, were seen as the more economically sound party. Blair famously took over a set of policies discarded by the Major administration, and took on, as their advisors, Arthur Anderson, who had also just been rejected by the Tories. This seems to have bred an attitude in the Labour party that they can only gain power by stealing the Tories policies and appealing to much the same constituency.

    As for why anyone should vote Labour, this is a very, very good question. One answer is that they are still, even at this level, to the Left of the Conservatives. However, Hunt, Milliband and other key figures in the party have shown such a willingness to adopt contemporary Tory policies that this will probably remain true only in relative terms. They will remain slightly to the left of the Tories, but will still move further right-ward as the Tories become more extreme in their policies. There is thus no absolute reason, given the Labour leadership, why anyone on the traditional left, who is being penalised by the Coalition’s policies, should vote Labour if the party is not willing to change direction and move back towards a more centre-left, rather than centre-right stance.

  10. Samwise Gamgee March 2, 2014 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    Just a gentle reminder, Mr Gove (or if Labour get in in 2015, Mr Hunt) is responsible for the education system in England only, not the UK or Britain.

    I agree with the rest of the article though; why bother voting Labour if they are going to carry on like the Tories? Same goes for Social Security where, aside from their current commitment to abolish the bedroom tax, they seem determined to copy the Conservative/LibDem coalition.

  11. Ian Duncan March 2, 2014 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    Did anyone see Hunt on Question Time fairly recently? He literally did not have a clue, not even about his own education policies. He seemed to say he’d do exactly as Gove but differently. An utterly pointless individual in an almost equally pointless party.

    Forget the LibDumbs, the next election is going to be a straight ‘choice’ between Even Newer Labour and the unspeakable filth we have now. Miliband may make vague noises about a job guarantee (still based around sanctions) and he’s still hammering the fuel price thing because he has nothing else of interest to say to anyone. Same neo-liberal economic horse pucky, it makes little difference if it’s brought to you with a friendlier face.

    When Ed Miliband speaks up on behalf of the poor, sick, disabled and disadvantaged and offers something other than sanctions and Workfare Mk2, maybe then he’ll be worth listening to.

    I’ll continue not holding my breath.

  12. MrChekaMan March 2, 2014 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    I don’t like Labour or trust it, but UKIP are far right, the TUSC is too small and the Greens would make it even harder to throw my rubbish away. The Tories-ugh, and the Lib Dems are traitors.

  13. bobmouncer March 3, 2014 at 8:46 am - Reply

    Don’t worry, I have no intention of voting Labour! And coming from a lifelong trade unionist, striker, secondary/flying picket and a supporter of the wicked NCCL in the 1970s (I don’t recognise any of the rubbish that’s being thrown at them at the moment) – as one of those people, I say, I find my non-voting intentions depressing. But what can you do?

    • Mike Sivier March 3, 2014 at 10:22 am - Reply

      As a Labour member, I find your non-voting intentions depressing too. Have you got in touch with the party and expressed your dismay at its current direction? That would seem logical.

      • bobmouncer March 3, 2014 at 11:05 am - Reply

        So it would, Mike, so it would. Your advice to get in touch with the party and express my dismay brings to mind a friend of mine, a journalist, who covered some Labour Party event soon after Blair became leader. She told me, in considerable frustration, “I didn’t want to argue with him any more – I just wanted to kick him in the balls.” At the time, I thought she was overreacting, maybe a bit extreme. All these years on, that feeling she had has spread among the population, including among people who see themselves as on the left. I think many Labour Party members have problems getting that. When you’re next canvassing, try the “get in touch with the party and express your dismay” line on the doorstep. Should be interesting.
        Of course, there are other initiatives going on, on the left, but for the moment I’m resting. I can’t face sitting in meetings discussing “the way forward”. But if any of them put up a credible alternative, I’ll vote for it. But I won’t vote Labour. For one thing, I’ve already promised Alan Johnson that I will let him win Hull West without my support this time. Can’t go back on that.

  14. buddyhell March 3, 2014 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on Guy Debord's Cat and commented:
    In this excellent blog, Mike Sivier asks “Why is Tristram Hunt in the Labour Party”. More to the point: what’s the point of Labour if they merely copy the Tories’ policies or keep them? Tristram Hunt, recently crossed a picket line at Queen Mary’s University. His excuse? He wasn’t in UCU.

  15. Jeffrey Davies March 3, 2014 at 10:41 am - Reply

    labour isn’t labour it was retuned by tony blair to the little tory party and still isn’t labour but they trying to push unions away from them but still want that money until the unions say bye bye andstart another party for the real people more of this sh** to rain down on us

  16. Mike Sivier March 3, 2014 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    Chris Manners on Twitter says: “Bit unfair on T Hunt, I think. Hunt will allow LAs to open schools again. V important difference.”

  17. Thomas M March 3, 2014 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    Blair ruined the Labour party, and it’s replacements are little chicks just out of the egg.

  18. Tony Franks March 3, 2014 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    To contact the Labour Party, follow this link http://www.labour.org.uk/contact and let them know what you think. Here’s what I left them…

    Ever since I came to this country from the Republic of Ireland as an economic migrant in 1987 I have voted for Labour, despite the fact that I live in the Tory stronghold of Bracknell Forest and hence, with the first past the post system, it counted for nothing at each election. When Tony Blair won his first election I can remember thinking “At last! Someone with integrity and vision has beaten the Tories and now we will see some changes”. What a disappointment that was!

    But I stuck with you. Now, however, I fear the end of the line is fast approaching.

    I work in the Education sector as an IT Network Manager in a large Primary School and I can see, every day, what the impact of ill thought out, ideological, capitalist-centred policies are having on pupils, teaching assistants, teachers and support staff. If, as Tristram Hunt said last Sunday, Labour would continue with the disastrous education policies being executed by the Tories now, then you will have lost my vote.

    Please re-consider.

    Let Education be run by the people who know how to educate our children, give them the tools to do one of the most important jobs out there, pay them properly, monitor them independently to check that they stay on track and stop using Education as a political football

  19. […] So for the sake of the education of the UK’s kids, don’t just halt the programme, undo it. Tristram Hunt needs to go. He’s thus far shown little real opposition to the ideological zealotry of Michael Gove and I […]

  20. Chris Manners June 2, 2014 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    Mike, I’m Chris Manners from Twitter- appreciate you posting my comment to here.

    If LAs can open schools, that changes things a lot.You’ve massively cut back the absurdity of school places being run from Whitehall.

    As does the insistence on qualified teachers. That clips the wings of the chancer providers straight off.

    And indeed, if it happens, the local oversight plan that’s been proposed. That gets over the difference between types of school really.

    LAs won’t survive another Tory government- I’d vote Labour on those grounds alone, but it’s hardly 1945 admittedly.

    One of Gove’s commissioners has basically admitted his job will be to shove academies into groups because they aren’t viable as stand alone converters. Lots of them would jump back into their LAs tmrw. Hunt’s said he’d abolish these commissioners. If he follows that up with some way of letting these schools opt back in, then that’ll be good.

    Hunt looks awfully unprepared for the Shadow Cabinet, but his policy stuff is better than his media presence.

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