Tag Archives: market

Education professionals rubbish Williamson’s claim Covid has worsened behaviour in English schools

Wearing the dunce’s cap yet again: Gavin Williamson was happy to deliberately endanger your children by reopening schools at the height of the Covid crisis (he was forced to close them again when the demand for him to do so became overwhelming. Now he’s happy to falsely criminalise them – in order to satisfy a new profit-making market he is creating?

The Tory Education Secretary’s unevidenced claim that discipline in English schools has “inevitably” worsened after a year of lockdowns has been dismissed as nonsense by people who actually work with school pupils.

Gavin Williamson intends to impose a national network of “behaviour hubs” to spread “best practice” among schools and teachers.

But it seems there is absolutely no need for them. Why is the Tory minister so keen to force them on our schools, and on our children?

Is it anything to do with his new network of “secure schools” – prisons for youngsters – to be run by private firms as “charitable” enterprises?

But Mark Russell, the chief executive of the Children’s Society, told The Guardian:

“We are not aware of any evidence that their behaviour is worse, and our practitioners report that on the whole young people have been relieved to get back inside the classroom.”

Mary Bousted, a joint leader of the National Education Union, said:

“With all the challenges currently facing schools, playing to the gallery by talking tough on behaviour is the least useful approach the education secretary can take.”

Wes Streeting, Labour’s Shadow Schools Minister, also said something – but we are already aware that he is an extremely suspect character himself so it is best to pass him by.

Stuart Lock is chief executive of the Advantage Schools trust, which includes one of the 22 schools named as hubs. Even he disagreed with Williamson’s claims:

“I don’t believe classroom behaviour has got worse than it was before the pandemic. It is probably a bit better.”

Even the man leading the new project – Tom Bennett, the DfE’s lead adviser on behaviour – has said there is no evidence of worsened behaviour:

“To be honest, the picture on behaviour we’re seeing is reasonably consistent with the behaviour we were seeing before the pandemic.”

So why has Williamson suddenly falsified a claim that our kids have all gone feral, and started wasting our money on a project to correct behaviour that hasn’t gone bad?

Well, there is this new “secure schools” aspect of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill:

Secure schools are essentially a re-branding of Young Offenders Institutions that allows private organisations to run them.

The government says it is building “schools with security, not prisons with education” but as Zahra Bei wrote in 2019, “the policy of rebranding youth jails as ‘secure schools’ provides a thinly-veiled disguise for what in essence marks the start of the biggest children’s prison expansion programme in Britain”.

Members of the British Association of Social Workers have called the plans “a penal approach rooted in the past”.

The contract for the first secure school was awarded to academy chain Oasis, which has one of the highest rates of personal exclusions in the UK.

It will be on the site of the former Medway Secure Training Centre in Kent, which was described as “a site of violence and abuse that prevented the young people who were held there from accessing learning and freedom”.

After a dispute arose over whether running a child prison could be considered a suitable activity for a charity, the government wrote clauses into its new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to ensure that running a child prison can be considered a charitable activity in law.

The change will encourage more academy chains to be providers, creating what the Tories no doubt hope will be a profitable market. And the use of charities will put distance between the Tory government and anything that happens there.

You can read further information on the “secure schools” project here.

With a new market opening up for the detention (and mistreatment?) of children, it seems clear that the organisations running it will want a supply of children.

And suddenly Gavin Williamson is talking about poor behaviour in schools. Convenient?

Source: Experts reject claim Covid has worsened behaviour in English schools | Pupil behaviour | The Guardian

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Brexit: now we’re all waiting for Michael Gove to resign. Here’s the reason

Gove: this image was made for a completely different story but… oh, it fits this one so well, don’t you think?

Will he or won’t he?

Once upon a time, after the Johnson government reneged on the Withdrawal Agreement by launching a new Bill that promised to break international law by changing border rules for Northern Ireland that had been agreed with the EU, Michael Gove said a very silly thing.

You can see it in this clip, around 19 seconds in:

Last night it seemed his job was safe, when 357 Tory MPs reinstated those clauses in the Internal Market Bill after the Lords had removed them.

Today? Not so much… Gove himself cut them right back out again, in a desperate bid to appease EU officials who won’t sign a trade deal otherwise.

This is a major defeat for the Conservatives and for Gove in particular.  They all swore that they would never let the EU dictate the UK’s internal borders and they have all buckled under and done as they were told, like a flock of expensive-suited sheep.

And it seems everybody is asking the same question:

He’s really upset the Brexiters…

I mean, really

So it might be just as well for him to take a back seat for a while.

Well – we’re waiting.

And I’ve seen no announcement from Mr Gove – yet.

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Tory Hoare branded a ‘coward’ for plan to abstain on Bill that threatens peace in Northern Ireland

Should it say or should it go? “Northern Ireland voted to stay in the European Union, and the Good Friday Agreement demands that its border with the Republic of Ireland be kept open. Brexit would make that impossible without the conditions in the EU Withdrawal Agreement that provide the province with a special status. But the Internal Market Bill illegally overwrites those conditions.” Isn’t Boris Johnson pushing NI towards re-integration with the Republic?

The Conservative chairman of the Commons Northern Ireland select committee is currently taking a drubbing on Twitter after he announced he will abstain on the Third Reading of the Internal Market Bill that threatens the peace there, rather than opposing it outright.

Simon Hoare tweeted that information from the US Congress that its members would not permit any free trade agreements with the United Kingdom. He seemed to believe that this was justification for him to abstain, rather than oppose the Bill that breaks international law by overruling the EU Withdrawal Agreement on trade borders around NI.

Northern Ireland voted to stay in the European Union, and the Good Friday Agreement demands that its border with the Republic of Ireland be kept open. Brexit would make that impossible without the conditions in the EU Withdrawal Agreement that provide the province with a special status. But the Internal Market Bill illegally overwrites those conditions.

In abstaining on the Bill, Hoare is effectively saying that he does not want to express an opinion on it – even though he knows it will be harmful to peace in Northern Ireland, and to the Union. It is the position of a coward who is afraid to take a stand when his bosses do the wrong thing.

Even if he really didn’t know that, he is being told it in no uncertain terms:

If he does abstain, Spineless Simon should be ashamed to call himself a human being.

I wonder how many Conservatives will follow his example – doing just enough to salve their miniscule consciences without actually stopping the Bill?

Abstention means allowing Boris Johnson to break international law.

And it means an end to peace in Northern Ireland.

When violence breaks out again, after Johnson does whatever he’s planning to do to the Northern Ireland border, Simon Hoare and all other Tory abstainers will be responsible.

But then we know from past experience that Tories are perfectly comfortable to sit in Parliament with blood dripping from their hands.

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How long until Gove’s ‘safety net’ that breaks international law becomes ‘the right thing to do’?

Michael Gove: This Site has better pictures but the Spitting Image dummy reflects his shifty personality so well that it is hard to find an excuse not to use it.

Michael Gove is living evidence that you can get further by talking nonsense constantly than by rational behaviour.

He has just said that talks on implementing the EU withdrawal agreement are at a “healthy stage”.

That’s odd, when the EU side is that the UK’s negotiating position is still “far apart from what the EU can accept”.

The issue is the Internal Markets Bill – or at least those parts of it that override the EU withdrawal agreement where it concerns customs borders in Northern Ireland.

The European Commission’s Maros Sefcovic… said there was a “window of opportunity” to come to an agreement on the Northern Ireland protocol, but added that was “rapidly closing”.

And that’s what Gove calls a “healthy stage”!

Mr Sefcovic says the EU wants the UK to remove the “contentious parts” of the bill by the end of September – that’s Wednesday.

He said the EU would “not be shy” in using “legal remedies” written into the withdrawal agreement to address any “violations”.

What do you reckon the chances are that the EU will have to use those remedies – and that when it happens, Gove and the other Tories will say the EU is to blame for the failure of the Withdrawal Agreement?

Source: Michael Gove: Brexit provisions to stay in Internal Market Bill – BBC News

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Where’s Boris? Apparently he’s been in Perugia getting instructions from his Russian masters

Boris Johnson and Evgeny Lebedev: what was the UK PM doing, if he was visiting this Russian oligarch’s Perugia villa right before starting a row with the EU – and isn’t it interesting that Russian money donated to the Tories has been linked with that country’s government, run by Vladimir Putin?

Downing Street denies everything, of course.

But it seems Boris Johnson flew into Perugia, Italy, where his Russian friends have a villa, at some point in the last fortnight:

The claim of Johnson making a seemingly undercover visit to Perugia would be seen as especially intriguing given he has done it before. In April 2018, while he was foreign secretary, Johnson was photographed looking somewhat dishevelled at San Francesco d’Assisi airport.

It emerged that Johnson had stayed at Palazzo Terranova, a restored castle owned by the media billionaire and socialite Evgeny Lebedev, who is renowned for holding lavish parties.

The pictures of Johnson at the airport suggested he went to Italy without a police escort. According to another passenger on the flight back to the UK, Johnson was on his own, apparently without any luggage and very much the worse for wear.

We must ask ourselves why Johnson would visit his Russian friends just as Parliament resumed sitting. What was going on that might interest them.

How about the Internal Market Bill that has caused huge enmity between the UK and the European Union?

Russia would certainly gain much from a row between this country and the power bloc to which the UK formerly belonged.

How unfortunate for Johnson that this visit should come to light right after it was revealed that Russian government money seems to have been donated to the Conservatives in return for access to ministers including Johnson and two previous prime ministers!

Source: No 10 denies reports Boris Johnson went on secret Italy trip | Politics | The Guardian

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#InternalMarketBill: why did these #ToryLawBreakers vote for the #WithdrawalAgreement if it was so bad?


Hundreds of Conservative MPs voted for the EU Withdrawal Agreement to become UK law in January – on the grounds that it would bring the UK back together as “one invigorated nation”. Why have the same people now voted to betray the same agreement?

Back in December last year, as his then-EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons, Boris Johnson said: “Now is the time to act together as one reinvigorated nation, one United Kingdom.

“Now is the moment to come together and write a new and exciting chapter in our national story, to forge a new partnership with our European friends, to stand tall in the world, to begin the healing for which the whole people of this country yearn.”

He ditched that idea with the Internal Market Bill, which has caused as much division within the countries of the UK as it has with the European Union.

The Bill – if passed into law – will break the terms of the EU Withdrawal Agreement. That’s breaking not just national, but international law.

Johnson has said that it is necessary because the EU has reneged on the spirit of the withdrawal agreement, but this is a lie. In fact, like the spoilt little boy he is, he has decided he doesn’t like the terms of his own treaty so he wants to change it unilaterally, to suit himself.

On January 9 this year, 329 of his Conservative colleagues voted to approve the Withdrawal Agreement that Johnson hates so much now.

And on Monday, 339 of his Conservative colleagues voted to rip it up.

How can they justify this behaviour?

Either the Withdrawal Agreement isn’t right for the UK, in which case they should not have supported it in January, or it is – and they should not be breaking international law to wreck it now.

This Writer thinks every single one of the Tories who voted to contradict themselves needs to be asked just what the hell they think they’re playing at.

They are:

Are none of these people able to think for themselves?

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US Congress threatens to pull out of #freetrade deal if UK undermines #GoodFridayAgreement

Partners? Dominic Raab is in the United States, where he has been meeting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. But the threat to the Good Friday Agreement posed by the Tory government’s Internal Market Bill means they may not see eye-to-eye.

This is awkward for Boris Johnson.

The US Congress – or at least members of it – is threatening to withdraw from any free trade deal with the UK if Boris Johnson’s Internal Market Bill undermines the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland.

This is a body blow to Johnson, who has claimed that the Bill is vitally important even though it very clearly breaks international law by shattering treaty agreements with the EU and in NI.

According to the BBC:

US Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week said there would be no UK-US trade deal if the Good Friday Agreement was undermined.

Ms Pelosi said if the UK broke international law and Brexit undermined the Good Friday Agreement – the Northern Ireland peace deal – there would be “absolutely no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress”.

On Tuesday, four senior congressmen also issued a similar warning, saying a UK-US trade deal would be blocked if the UK failed to preserve the gains of the Good Friday Agreement.

In a letter to Mr Johnson, the four congressmen said the plans to give ministers powers to override part of the UK’s exit agreement – designed to avoid a hard Irish border – could have “disastrous consequences for the Good Friday Agreement and broader process to maintain peace on the island of Ireland”.

“We therefore urge you to abandon any and all legally questionable and unfair efforts to flout the Northern Ireland protocol of the withdrawal agreement and look to ensure that Brexit negotiations do not undermine the decades of progress to bring peace to Northern Ireland,” the letter added.

The letter was signed by Democratic congressmen Eliot Engel, Richard Neal, and Bill Keating, who all chair committees in the US House of Representatives, as well as Republican Congressman Peter King.

Downing Street has said the GFA will be upheld “in all circumstances” but the problem is that Johnson has a record of saying one thing and doing the opposite.

The row over the Internal Market Bill is because it contradicts the EU Withdrawal Agreement that Johnson himself signed in January after expelling 21 Tory MPs for failing to support him.

He simply cannot be trusted; he will say anything he likes to get whatever he wants at a particular time.

The warning from Congress underlines fears that no other nation will want to do a deal with a country that breaks international law.

The Americans would be better-advised to pull out of any deal now.

They might as well be negotiating with a spoilt child.

Source: Brexit: Dominic Raab seeks to reassure US politicians over Brexit bill – BBC News

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Straight from the Nazi playbook: #ToryLawBreakers resort to propaganda to justify themselves

After the Tories in the House of Commons voted en masse to break international law and turn the UK into a rogue state – with which nobody is likely to want to trade, did they show an ounce of remorse?

Not a bit of it!

They tweeted this:

Individual Tories have been tweeting versions of this ever since – presumably in a vain effort to justify their own support for crime.

For the sake of accuracy:

Labour did not side with the EU in opposing the law-breaking Internal Market Bill.

Labour sided with the law.

Don’t let the Tories compound their offence by getting away with this lie.

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#ToryLawBreakers: the 340 MPs who voted like sheep to turn the UK into a rogue state

It’s all about Brexit: Johnson’s Internal Market Bill will break international law by contradicting the Withdrawal Agreement he signed with the EU.

It is as This Writer predicted – despite the many contradictory justifications Boris Johnson provided for his international law-breaking Internal Market Bill, no fewer than 339 of the 363 other Conservative MPs voted with him to ruin the UK’s reputation for many years to come.

You can read some of the arguments against Johnson’s nonsense Bill here.

And Labour’s Ed Miliband made a spectacular speech trashing Johnson here.

But it was not enough to stop hundreds of Tory MPs following Johnson mindlessly through the “Aye” lobby. Clearly they had been told to do it and have no ability to think for themselves.

Voters should remember this when they finally return to the polls in four years’ time (if we’re lucky). To help you all out, there follows a list of the offenders, courtesy of Hansard.

If your MP is among these offenders, make sure everybody in your constituency knows about it, and what it means. They should be barred from government – of any kind – at the earliest opportunity.

Here’s the list of shame:

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Miliband masters Johnson in clash over Bill to break international law

Speech-less: faced with a barrage of factual accuracy from Ed Miliband, Boris Johnson sat, head bowed, with nothing to say.

Given that Boris Johnson had threatened to withdraw the whip from Tory MPs voting against his Internal Market Bill, one would have expected him to launch a spirited defence of it during the debate.

That expectation may be doubled in the knowledge that he was facing not Keir Starmer, who had run away to self-isolate after one of the children he sent to our “perfectly safe” schools exhibited Covid-19 symptoms, nor Angela Rayner, but Ed Miliband.

Certain commentators were betting on a knockout win for Johnson, against a man who famously botched eating a bacon sandwich.

They were completely wrong. Miliband metaphorically mashed Johnson’s derriere like burger meat and then fed it back to him.

The speech was probably the most golden moment of the political year.

“I have been part of many issues of contention across the Dispatch Box, but I never thought that respecting international law would be a matter of disagreement in my lifetime,” he said.

“As Leader of the Opposition, I stood opposite the Prime Minister’s predecessor David Cameron for five years. I do not know why the Prime Minister is rolling his eyes. I disagreed with David Cameron profoundly on many issues, but I could never have imagined him coming along and saying, “We are going to legislate to break international law” on an agreement that we had signed as a country less than a year earlier. Yet that is what the Bill does, in the Government’s own words.

“Is it right to threaten to break the law in the way the Government propose? Is it necessary to do so? Will it help our country? The answer to each question is no. Let us remember the context and the principle. If there is one thing that we are known for around the world, it is the rule of law.

“This is the country of Magna Carta; the country that is known for being the mother of all Parliaments; and the country that, out of the darkness of the second world war, helped found the United Nations. Our global reputation for rule making, not rule breaking, is one of the reasons that we are so respected around the world. When people think of Britain, they think of the rule of law.”

He continued as follows:

Mr Miliband said: “We respect the fact that the Conservative party, under this Prime Minister, won the election. He got his mandate to deliver his Brexit deal: the thing that he said was—I am sure she recalls this because it was probably on her leaflets—“oven ready”. It is not me who is coming along and saying it is half-baked; it is him. He is saying, “The deal that I signed and agreed is actually—what’s the word? Ambiguous. Problematic.” I will get to this later in my speech, but I wonder whether he actually read the deal in the first place.”

We found out the answer to that, didn’t we?

Here it is:

Boris Johnson has not even read his own Internal Market Bill.

Mr Miliband continued:

He wasn’t even halfway through his speech, and Miliband had destroyed Boris Johnson.

Remember at the top of this article I said Johnson could have been expected to deliver a spirited defence of this Bill?

He didn’t.

He just sat there and took it, shaking his head as though in disbelief.

And by the end, he looked older than his dad.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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