Tag Archives: Williamson

Gavin Williamson scrapped dozens of protections for children – unlawfully

Williamson the dunce: I know it’s a duff image but it reflects this MP’s abilities so I’ll keep using it as long as he continues to be a dunce.

Tory Education Secretary Gavin Williamson stripped children in care of 65 legal protections illegally, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Judges said he should have consulted the Children’s Commissioner and other stakeholder organisations before inflicting such a “substantial and wide-ranging” “bonfire of children’s rights”.

The regulations affected included legal timescales for social-worker visits to children in care, six-monthly reviews of children’s welfare, independent scrutiny of children’s homes and senior officer oversight of adoption decision-making for babies and children.

The protections affected also cover disabled children having short breaks and children in care sent many miles away from home.

It seems Williamson did conduct a consultation but was selective about whose opinions he sought – adoption agencies, private providers and local government bodies.

But organisations representing the children and young people who were to be affected by the changes were not consulted and the Children’s Commissioner only found out about the changes after they had been forced through Parliament through the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) regulations in April.

We are told that all of the changes were temporary and have now expired.

We have yet to hear – may never hear – how many children were harmed as a result of them.

Williamson has been told to run proper consultations in future.

But will he? And doesn’t this simply reignite the debate over whether Conservatives should be allowed anywhere near children in care.

Source: Education secretary ‘unlawfully scrapped children’s rights’ – BBC News

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If political interference in anti-Semitism complaints is wrong, why was Chris Williamson expelled from Labour?

Chris Williamson: he was dismissed from the Labour Party after political interference – in extremely bad faith – by right-wing Labour MPs, some of whom are now among Keir Starmer’s chief lieutenants. Shouldn’t THEY now be suspended and investigated?

I called it at the time.

Last year, Chris Williamson’s Labour Party membership was suspended amid false allegations of anti-Semitism. There was an investigation, the charge was upheld (wrongly, in my view) and he was punished for it with a formal warning.

Then a roll-call of the usual suspects – bad-faith Labour MPs acting on an agenda (in my opinion), along with that fake charity the Campaign Against Antisemitism, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and others – demanded his re-suspension after the details were leaked to the press. They had their way and he was dismissed from the party.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report, published yesterday – ruling that there was no “institutional antisemitism” in the Labour Party during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership – has condemned political interference of exactly this kind.

Referring to the Williamson case, the EHRC report points out that Williamson “successfully challenged the decision to reopen the complaint in the High Court. The court found that: ‘it is not … difficult to infer that the true reason for the decision in this case was that members were influenced by the ferocity of the outcry following the June decision … the NEC should decide cases fairly and impartially in accordance with the rules and evidence; and not be influenced by how its decisions are seen by others. Internal and press reaction to a decision are not of themselves proper grounds for reopening a case that was not otherwise procedurally unfair or obviously wrong.”

The EHRC does not make any recommendations that could lead to those responsible for the reopening of the Williamson case to be penalised.

But it does call for the current leadership to implement clear rules and guidance that prohibit and sanction political interference in the complaints process, and to acknowledge the effect that political interference has had on the handling of antisemitism complaints.

It occurs to This Writer that such an acknowledgement should include punishment of those responsible in the Chris Williamson fiasco – for bringing the party into disrepute in the way they did.

They are [shadow ministers in bold]: Tom Watson, Holly Lynch, Stella Creasy, Anna Turley, Rosie Duffield, Louise Ellman, Ruth Smeeth, Jenny Chapman, Roberta Blackman-Woods, Stephen Doughty, Karin Smyth, Baroness Thornton, Lord McNicol, Baroness Morgan of Huyton, Lord Turnberg, Gloria de Piero, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, Yvette Cooper, Baroness Massey of Darwen, Baroness Kingsmill, Lord Soley, Madeleine Moon, Kate Green, Ruth Cadbury, Owen Smith, Seema Malhotra, Liz Kendall, Chris Matheson, Margaret Hodge, Stephen Kinnock, Jeff Smith, Chris Bryant, Wes Streeting, Julie Elliott, Lord Levy, Lord Knight of Weymouth, Lord Harris of Haringey, Ali McGovern, James Frith, Lucy Powell, Bridget Phillipson, Pat McFadden, Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall, Lord Triesman, Lord Dubs, Ian Murray, Darren Jones, Alex Sobel, Karen Buck, Neil Coyle, Lord Mandelson, Anna McMorrin, Chi Onwurah, Baroness Taylor of Bolton, Lord Willie Bach, Susan Elan Jones, Ged Killen, Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale, Lord Livermore, Kevin Barron, Dan Jarvis, Jess Phillips, Martin Whitfield, Rachel Reeves, Peter Kyle, Baroness Armstrong of Hilltop, Lord Young of Norwood Green, Ellie Reeves, Baroness Maggie Jones, Rushanara Ali, Debbie Abrahams, Daniel Zeichner, Lilian Greenwood, Graham Jones, Toby Perkins, Lord George Robertson, Baroness Mary Goudie, Barry Sheerman, Tonia Antoniazzi, Ian Lucas, Lord George Foulkes, Lord Wood of Anfield, Cat McKinnell, Ben Bradshaw, Lord Haskell, Lisa Nandy, Gareth Thomas, Lord Brooke, Sharon Hodgson, and Lord Kennedy of Southwark.

Will Starmer take appropriate action?

Or will he merely provide further proof of his own unfitness to be Labour leader?

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Now the #ToryScum are squabbling among themselves about #FreeSchoolMeals

Gavin Williamson: did he really ask Rishi Sunak’s Treasury for £150 million to provide meals for poverty-stricken children during school holidays?

Conservative cabinet ministers have started in-fighting over responsibility for blocking the provision of meals to poverty-stricken children during school holidays.

Somebody, it seems, has claimed that the Treasury blocked a request for £150 million to pay for such a scheme.

But Chancellor Rishi Sunak has hotly denied this, claiming that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson never asked for the funds.

Treasury sources said there had been no request from the education secretary for the £150m to provide meals for 1.4 million disadvantaged pupils during the holiday.

It seems perfectly reasonable to suppose that Sunak is right, in fact.

The call for the government to fund the meals came originally from footballer Marcus Rashford, and it was Labour who took it to Parliament in an Opposition Day debate last week – when the Tories ensured that it was rejected.

So it seems to me that Williamson would have had no reason to ask for the cash to make it happen.

Boris Johnson has since said that his government will not u-turn on the decision, no matter how hard public opinion turns against it.

His comments, along with the claim that no request has been made for the cash, will make it very hard for him to change his mind (as he often does if the focus groups tell him he needs to).

And he managed to cause trouble for himself by claiming local authorities could draw on a £63 million fund that his government has already created.

Council leaders angrily pointed out that the fund was intended to cover a wide range of hardships created by the Covid-19 crisis and most of it has been used.

Meanwhile, Nadhim Zahawi told Kay Burley of Sky News that kids were more interested in football than food:

The Tories have argued themselves into a corner and are digging themselves a hole in order to escape.

If I didn’t have some already, I’d be buying popcorn.

Source: Treasury rejects claims it refused extra £150m for free school meals | Education | The Guardian

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Good news for U-graded Gavin Williamson as Johnson announces courses for people with no skills


Ill-starred education secretary Gavin Williamson has suffered another setback by making a long-overdue and practically-empty speech about the effect of Covid-19 on universities – on the day Boris Johnson announced new courses for people who need new skills.

Williamson put himself forward as a prime candidate for such a course.

Here’s how one commentater described Johnson’s announcement earlier today:

Only hours later, others were to signal how fitting his words were:

Here’s some of what he said – and some of what people are saying about it:

On his responses to others, they had this to say:

In summary:

Of course he isn’t. He isn’t even supposed to be.

And we’re supposed to see that he isn’t.

Boris Johnson has surrounded himself with dimwits; it’s an old strategy.

He knows he’s nigh-on useless himself, so he’s making sure none of the candidates to replace him even match up to his low standard.

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Schools are now for indoctrination, not education, as teaching of non-capitalist ideology is forbidden

Education secretary Gavin Williamson: he’s too stupid to realise the best way to get people interested in something is by banning it.

Boris Johnson’s government has lurched further towards fascism with an edict banning any anti-capitalist ideology from schools.

Any ideology other than capitalism is to be considered an “extreme political stance” from now on, according to guidance issued by the Department for Education and its secretary of state, Gavin Williamson.

Resources from organisations that have expressed a desire to end capitalism are henceforth to be considered equal to opposition to freedom of speech, anti-Semitism and endorsement of illegal activity.

As former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said, the measures effectively outlawed reference in schools to key events in British history, and symbolised growing authoritarianism within the governing Conservative party.

McDonnell said: “On this basis it will be illegal to refer to large tracts of British history and politics including the history of British socialism, the Labour Party and trade unionism, all of which have at different times advocated the abolition of capitalism.

“This is another step in the culture war and this drift towards extreme Conservative authoritarianism is gaining pace and should worry anyone who believes that democracy requires freedom of speech and an educated populace.”

Totalitarianism is nearer the mark.

Economist and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said the guidance showed “how easy it is to lose a country, to slip surreptitiously into totalitarianism”.

He added: “Imagine an educational system that banned schools from enlisting into their curricula teaching resources dedicated to the writings of British writers like William Morris, Iris Murdoch, Thomas Paine even. Well, you don’t have to. Boris Johnson’s government has just instructed schools to do exactly that.”

Of course Mr Varoufakis will be among the first to be banned:

Critics of the new policy have come out in force.

Emyr Lewis added a few names to the list of banned authors: “We’ll have no more of your William Blake, your Shelley, your George Bernard Shaw, your D. H. Lawrence…”

And here’s mention of one highly notable person that the Tories ought to ban, if they’re serious:

This, from Jessica Simor QC, makes the point that the Tory government itself has broken its new guidance on multiple occasions:

How about this:

This makes the point in coarser terms:

Opinions of the Johnson government have been… frank:

Rohit K Dasgupta put it mildly, commenting on Tory racism: “Teachers: Rosie has 10 apples and gives Rashid 4. How many apples does Rosie have now? DfE: Stop that at once. This is straight up communism. Rashid has to prove he is a legal immigrant and can buy those apples.”

Then there’s this:

But there is an optimistic side to this. Here‘s Martin O’Neill:

Schools in England told not to use anti-capitalist material in teaching”. – My optimistic prediction is that this will backfire spectacularly. This government are creating a generation that will forever despise them and everything they represent.

And it is creating a generation that will want to know why alternatives to capitalism are being banned from schools.

This Writer certainly intends to put as much information about those alternatives into the public sphere as possible.

I’m happy to take suggestions too.

Source: Schools in England told not to use anti-capitalist material in teaching | Education | The Guardian

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Why are individual schools being asked to pay millions for Covid-19 safety?

Schools: it seems the cost of measures to protect children from Covid-19 will be paid using individual school budgets, meaning less money for teaching. Won’t that harm their education?

If the Tory government wants children to go back to school, then why isn’t Gavin Williamson prepared to pay the £216 million we’re told will be needed to protect them from Covid-19?

Here’s The Mirror:

Heads will have to pay the £216million cost of making schools safe for pupils to return this week.

And staff fear they will have to raid cash meant for teaching.

One union boss said: “The Government should cover these costs.”

Teachers’ leaders say that England’s 21,622 schools – already cash-strapped after a decade of austerity – are each spending an average £10,000 to prepare.

It seems strange to This Writer that people like Boris Johnson and the afore-mentioned Williamson are claiming that children’s education will suffer if they stay away from school, when they are ensuring that kids’ education will suffer due to lack of funds for teaching.

Source: Struggling schools must find cash for £216million bill to keep our kids safe – Mirror Online

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Johnson’s government has spent £100 million on consultants because he can’t think for himself

Spaffer: Boris Johnson has thrown so much money at private consultants and contractors that the UK’s financial stability is in peril.

The cost of privatisation: faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, Boris Johnson has paid consultants more than £100 million to do his thinking for him – and the cash has been wasted.

Clearly it’s money for old rope, considering the failure of every policy announced by Johnson and his cronies including Matt Hancock, Gavin Williamson and Dominic Raab.

And the waste is very clearly a result of privatisation; before Tory neoliberalism demanded that even ideas should be outsourced, governments used to rely on people called civil servants who spent their entire careers in public service and could therefore be relied on to know how things worked.

Those people have been largely ostracised, retired or otherwise cast out by know-nothings like David Cameron, Theresa May and now Johnson, in favour of their know-nothing friends in the private sector. Here’s the gist from the Financial Times:

The UK’s largest consulting firms have been paid more than £100m to advise the government on its response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a string of delayed disclosures from Whitehall in recent weeks. A total of 106 contracts worth £109m have been agreed between various government departments and consulting firms such as PwC, Deloitte and McKinsey since March, as civil servants scrambled for support to source personal protective equipment, set up test and trace programmes and acquire thousands of new ventilators as the pandemic gathered pace.

The UK’s public finances are now in a terrible state after Johnson and his people awarded huge contracts to firms that were incapable of honouring them – some of which even turned out to be dormant companies – on the advice of firms like PwC, Deloitte and McKinsey. Weren’t these people supposed to be cheaper than doing the work in-house?

The government has been mired in scandal because it adopted a biased algorithm to award ‘A’ level results, on the advice of an outsourced consultancy firm.

It’s a well known adage that the definition of madness is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.

And yet we see Johnson going back to these private consultants for more advice.

Why aren’t we all drawing the obvious conclusion?

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#ToryTrustDeficit: are they sending kids to school so parents catch Covid at the gates?

Gavin Williamson: he’s at it again – telling us he has the best interests of our children at heart, while his demands may actually cause serious problems.

Yet again, the Tories fail us with their pronouncements on Covid-19.

Here‘s Gavin Williamson – whose credibility is already shot to ribbons after the ‘A’ level and GCSE algorithm fiasco – saying parents in England who do not send their children back to school risk putting a “huge dent in their future life chances”.

He’d know, having himself tried to put a huge dent in the future life chances of millions of young people with that algorithm.

According to The Guardian:

In his letter to parents on Sunday, Williamson said it was generally accepted that children’s health and well-being was more at risk if they did not go to school.

He referred to a joint statement by the UK’s chief medical officers, which said very few, if any children and teenagers would come to long-term harm from the virus solely by attending school.

That’s nice. What about the parents’ health and well-being?

Well, it seems their chances of catching Covid-19 will increase exponentially – by chatting to other mums and dads on the way to school or outside the gates.

That is the advice of Birmingham’s public health director, Dr Justin Varney.

According to Birmingham Live, he said:

“It’s actually all the parents at the school gates. It’s that mingling space.

“You won’t have seen other parents for a long time. We will want to have a catch up and a chat.

“It is a noisy environment so everyone is standing just a little bit too close. So those are the kind of spaces that I think we have got to be really alert to.”

Perhaps the Johnson government hasn’t considered this.

Perhaps Williamson doesn’t think it’s anything to do with him and parents should take responsibility for their behaviour.

Perhaps he’s mistaken about that.

This is a situation involving a potentially fatal pandemic illness and it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that the possibility of infection is minimised.

That’s why this rush to get kids back into school so parents can go back to work is so potentially dangerous.

It is actually providing new vectors on which the virus can spread through the population – possibly with wildfire speed.

And that is why Tories like Williamson have created what we may call a “trust deficit”.

He’s telling us to do things we know are dangerous. How can we have faith in the Tories when they are actively trying to put us in harm’s way?

Source: Parents most likely to catch coronavirus at the school gates, warns city’s public health director – Birmingham Live

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Williamson was warned of exam chaos in July, and did nothing. Why has he not been sacked?

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There can be no sympathy for the Johnson government over its ‘A’ level and GCSE exam failures now we know Education Secretary Gavin Williamson was warned in good time – and couldn’t be bothered to do anything.

Former Department for Education Director-General Sir Jon Coles raised concerns in July, and actually had a meeting with Williamson and schools minister Nick Gibb.

The revelation piles up new pressure for the Education Secretary to resign, as he claimed he had only realised there were flaws in the system created to work out students’ ‘A’ level grades over the weekend.

This Site pointed out after he made the claim that it was just an excuse. It seems I was right.

Oh, and it seems he also lied that he was the one who recommended the 280,000 ‘A’ level grades that had been decided using a computer algorithm should be ditched. In fact, it seems Ofqual made the call and the DfE agreed.

All in all, we have learned at least two things from the dangerous mess Williamson has created:

First, that nobody’s fate should be decided by a computer algorithm that is subject to perversion according to the prejudices of its writers and those who commission it.

Second, that Gavin Williamson should be removed – forcibly if necessary – from any position of responsibility in the future. His best job in Parliament is sweeping the floors.

He tried to make thousands of students look stupid but it turns out he’s the dunce.

Source: Tories admit Gavin Williamson was warned about GCSE and A-levels chaos six weeks ago – Mirror Online

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Victory for school pupils as Tories give up attempt to downgrade them for not being rich

Gavin Williamson: he had to find an excuse to backtrack.

Tory Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has given up his bid to use the Covid-19 lockdown as a weapon against school pupils.

After a wave of protest swept the UK over his use of an algorithm that automatically gave pupils at private schools higher grades than those at state schools – and in fact downgraded state school pupils’ grades based on the performance of previous exam candidates from their school who were nothing to do with them, it seems clear that Williamson has been looking for a way it.

He found it today (August 17). Consider this, from the BBC’s article: “He added the government decided to change policy – bringing England in line with the other UK nations – after it saw a number of outliers that did not ‘make sense’ when Ofqual released additional data about its algorithm at the weekend.”

It’s a rather obvious excuse.

In reality, I think we all know that the Tories – who currently rely heavily on public opinion to form their policies – had realised that they had gone too far with what seemed a clear example of class war.

The attack on ‘A’ level students’ grades would have affected their entire future lives and careers – and although the electorate is generally thought to have a short memory, nobody is likely to forget that kind of betrayal in a hurry.

Here’s the evidence:

The weekend saw a wave of protest:

… including ill-feeling towards the children of richer parents who benefited from the algorithm the Tories used to pretend they had fared better than their poorer counterparts:

But the last straw was probably the decision by the Labour-run Welsh government to follow its Scottish counterpart and ignore the prejudiced Tory algorithm in favour of teachers’ assessments.

It meant the general public would consider the devolved governments – run by political parties other than the Tories – to be on their side, while the Tories were trying to harm them.

So we get this decision to give up and let both ‘A’ level and GCSE pupils have the grades they deserve, and a claim that it is because the government found a fault in its algorithm – which is easy to make as we all know prejudice was written into it.

But I don’t think it will save them at election time, once these pupils are old enough to vote.

They know what the Tories were doing – what Gavin Williamson wanted to do.

He wanted to steal their futures and hand them to people who don’t deserve them.

And I think they’ll remember that.

Note: Say what he likes, Keir Starmer had nothing to do with the government’s u-turn.

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