« David Davis highlights Labour's ineffective authoritarianism | Main | Willetts opens door to selection by race to tackle segregation »

Comments

I haven't viewed this site regularly for some time.

It almost seems now as if the focus of the editor have shifted from giving the members a voice, towards keeping the members (particularly the right) quiet.

I'm all for behind the scenes brokering, but I doubt very much that it's healthy for the likes of Fox to have to try and convince that they agree Willets agenda.

Good for Foxy, hope reports of his imminent sacking prove false (I don't mind if he's moved, but removing him from the front bench entirely would be a waste especially as so few of the Shadow Cabinet are recognisable at the moment).

Having read Fox in the Telegraph it is pretty clear Fox agrees with Willetts. It just seems so typical of contributers to, firstly, imply that Fox and Davis don't agree with the policy but when Fox writes in that he does it's a put up job to keep the right quiet. Some people will go to any lengths to mess up Cameron. Willetts is right, all the grammar supporters are doing is confirming voters poor view of Tories in that they are only interested in the top 30% of children.

I would like David Willetts to answer the Buckingham CC question though, I am not happy that the implications of localism have been fully addressed here.


First William, now Liam.

For crying out loud when will someone set their own short term self interest aside and speak out against (or even, God forbid, resign the shadow Cabinet on principle because of this) ongoing barrage of garbage ?

Cycles pass, and when DC's has, these dark days of multi party Liberalism will not be forgotten or forgiven.


I doubt Liam Fox could convince me of the day of the week. I find he has a credibility problem not least on matters pertaining to Defence

but I doubt very much that it's healthy for the likes of Fox to have to try and convince that they agree Willets agenda.
Maybe he does agree, politicians aren't always shifting position to fit in with party mainstreams and few people hold a particular set of opinions right along the line that fit into a single spectrum concept of right-centre-left as portrayed by the media.

Well done Mr Editor!

You suggest that the right is deployed to defend Cameron and then, on Friday, William Hague trots out a defence and today the shadow defence secretary does the same!!

Let us hope that the "quid pro quo" is honoured and they have influence and not just a salesman role.

Foxy has been an excellent Defence Spokesman.

Unlike Cameron he understands we are at war.

He has championed the unhappiness of servicemen's families and their inadequate accommodation etc.

He is exploring new defence architecture to deal with the need to guarantee energy supplies.

Without George Osborne giving him extra resources he has thought about new off-the-shelf methods of procurement that will provide bigger bangs for the existing bucks.

He made the right call on the Navy 15's sale of stories to the press.

he has thought about new off-the-shelf methods of procurement

The procurement projects are blocked out for the coming 2 decades with FRES, Carriers, Trident, and UAVs...... I doubt Fox has much input

Umbrella man, I don't think anyone has any issues with Fox's track record as Shadow Defence Secretary. As you have outlined above, he has performed extremely well in a role which doesn't often fall into the media spotlight (except when something goes horribly wrong!).

Any issues related to Fox stem from the reports that he has been conducting backroom briefings, which clearly goes against cabinet collective responsibility. I hope these accusations are false, but if true then there is a legitimate problem.

Procurement projects can be cancelled, TomTom.

Procurement projects can be cancelled, TomTom.

Posted by: Umbrella man | May 27, 2007 at 17:45

I think you are wrong....these are well underway.. just as it is so prohibitively expensive to cancel the second tranche of Eurofighter

What "diversity and choice" and choice is Fox talking about?

Schools will not be free to set their own entrance criteria. Willets' latest statements even suggest they will be told what races and social classes to accept.

They will not be free to decide on teaching methods. Instead they will be required to use streaming and phonics.

There is no suggestion that they will be free to set salaries. And one assumes that Ofsted will still comment on the arrangement of chairs and tables.

So what freedom will they have? They will just be nationally controlled comprehensive under another name.

Fox and other members of ths Shadow Cabinet hope to become ministers, so I understand why they defend this left wing hogwash. But I don't understand why conservatives should.

TomTom,
Some of them like you say are prohibitively expensive to cancel, but others like the carrier project are still at risk of cancellation by the present government.

It appears that Camerloon has told Fox and other colleagues to form a 'thin Blue line' (very appropriate for a Defence spokesman !) to speak out and defend poor isolated Willets from the oncoming horde of shire Tories who wish to behead him.

How Umbrella man can say Fox has done a good job at Defence, I just don't know. Where was he and his team on vehicles, base defence, helicopters, close attack aircraft - left it to backbenchers and Lib-dems. Everything the Conservative Party do now is the fringe grey stuff, but then it is no longer the Conservative Party, and having changed the logo, should change its name.

Matthew Oxley:
"It almost seems now as if the focus of the editor have shifted from giving the members a voice, towards keeping the members (particularly the right) quiet."

My impression is that it's more that the party leadership has lurched heavily to the left, into BBC-Observer-Guardian land, and this, for some strange reason, is making party members unhappy.

Personally I'm aghast, strange to think that when I joined the Conservatives at the end of 2005 I worried they might be too right wing for me!! I'm not sure what to think. This stuff might play well in the left wing media but it seems well to the left of what most of the people of Britain believe, at least outside of inner London.
Even if I weren't a Conservative I'd be worried about what it means for democracy when all three of the national parties are running on left-wing platforms.

"...Base defence...close attack aircraft"

Crikey, not very good on your military terminology are you?

Fox has orders like everyone else in Cameron's cabinet: don't commit to anything and don't steal cameron's limelight. Considering therefore that Fox is fighting the Government with one hand behind his back, and considering the working classes are currently foaming at the mouth about the state of our armed forces and blame the government(just listen to Talk Sport, the White Van Man radio station), I'd say he's done a pretty good job.

That article by Liam Fox is pretty incoherent. To pick a few holes:

"But grammars represent only a tiny number of our schools. We need to try to replicate their successful recipe in underperforming schools that are letting down too many British youngsters."

What does he think that "successful recipe" might be, which could be "replicated in underperforming schools"? What about "selecting entrants on their academic ability and/or aptitude, and teaching them at their average level rather than at a level which is the average for all children of their age" - is that part of the "recipe"?

" to turn diversity and choice from dry words into a reality" - by maintaining a dogmatic ban on schools selecting pupils on academic ability and/or aptitude?

"It is to maximise the potential of our society by maximising the potential of each individual within it." - good - "Every child is different and they require a system able to recognise and develop their aptitudes. That means diversity and an end to one-size-fits-all education" - good - We need selection not between schools, but within them" - a complete non sequitur.

Why do the Conservatives want to "open new schools within the state sector"? The state sector is rubbish isn't it?

Here's a better idea - Why not just privatise all schools? What is your problem with free markets?

Bishop Hill,
I believe that would be the end aim (at least in my books), and trust schools are the first step towards that. The voucher systems which willets has mentioned are also a part of this plan.

The state sector is rubbish isn't it?

Some parents have children they want their children to sit with in school because they fertilise and help their child grow..........some parents know that if their child sits with other children all the nutrients will be sucked out of their child so weeds and brambles can grow and overrun the garden


Parents want to have their children in a nice tidy blossoming garden, but the politicians want to pour concrete over the garden and leave all the flowers encased in rigidity

Fox-Davis-Hague will have just as much influence on Cameron's policy as his EPP-shackled MEPs have on EU policy.

Zilch.

This is the usual sell-out - careers before principles. I am so glad I left this party of self-serving shape-changers earlier this year (after 35 years of work for them). How one can honourably promote the Cameron Party on the doorstep is beyond me. Now Dave's Lib-Cons are having a love offensive towards the deceitful and hard-left Lib-Dems: pass me the the sic-bag...

FACTs. David Cameron will not close any grammar schools. He will not prevent any more from opening. He will take their methods and replicate them into other educational sectors.

SPIN. Cameron cannot afford to be identified as promoting the interests of the more capable over the average.

He has to make it appear that he is not in agreement with ordinary Conservatives on such key isues to build his appeal to Lib Dem and other potential new supporters.

ACTION. Insult Conservatives as 'delusional'. Speak out against 'grammar schools' as a political solution.

RESULTS. Cameron has grabbed the news agenda, promoted the idea of 'sets' across the educational spectrum, and ensured his opponents have no way to criticise.

ASSESSMENT. the process of criticising traditional Conservative labels, while reinforcing Conservative principles is working well. Cameron's clever, and he should continue with more of these plays which rile his traditional supporters - e.g. praising Toynbee, grammar school stuff.

Every time Conservatives are up in arms, it gives Cameron space to move the debate to new ground. If Cameron has proposed introducing sets into comprehensives in any other way, he'd have been shot down in flames by the left.

He will not prevent any more from opening.

That is patently untrue.

There is a DfE Directive prohibiting selection and the Conservative Party will retain it. What we call "Grammar Schools" could equally well be called Selection by Academic Ability and the Conservative Party has stated repeatedly in recent days it will not permit it outside the fee-paying sector


Why you assert otherwise Tapestry eludes me

<<"...Base defence...close attack aircraft"

Crikey, not very good on your military terminology are you?

Fox has orders like everyone else in Cameron's cabinet: don't commit to anything and don't steal cameron's limelight. Considering therefore that Fox is fighting the Government with one hand behind his back, and considering the working classes are currently foaming at the mouth about the state of our armed forces and blame the government(just listen to Talk Sport, the White Van Man radio station), I'd say he's done a pretty good job.

Posted by: dongbong99 | May 27, 2007 at 20:38>>

Nothing particularly wrong with the terminology for what is a general site. If you have bases (which come under attack), you need base defence; if you require close air support (CAS) you can provide it with close attack aircraft.

Therein does lie Dr Fox's problem. As shadow defence secretary, he might be better off husbanding his political capital for his own portfolio, rather than venturing into territories new, not least because, as John Ashworth suggests, he is indeed underperforming.

Crucially, we have Armed Forces engaged in two separate counter-insurgency campaigns, using equipment largely developed for dealing with a land invasion by the Red Army in nothern Europe. To cope with the current tasks, the Army in particular needs a major re-equipment programme, devoted specifically to fighting insurgents in extreme, high temperature environments (as has been recognised by the US Army and USMC).

On this crucial issue, as Ashworth rightly says, pressure on the government to change its procurement policies and acquire the right equipment has come largely from back-benchers (together with an increasing cadre of professionals).

Yet Dr Fox has been largely silent. If he had been an effective shadow secretary, he would have been leading the charge. As it is, he is not even part of the debate. To enter another, different debate seems perverse.

"David Cameron will not close any grammar schools ... He will take their methods and replicate them into other educational sectors."

So, tapestry, what precisely are those grammar school methods which could be copied by comprehensive schools? Apart of course, from copying their admission criteria, which by definition cannot be copied by comprehensives. And why can't comprehensives copy those grammar school methods which may be applicable, unless there's also a continuing ban on opening new grammar schools?

Comprehensives can introduce sets - selecting by ability internally, as I understand it.

Grammar schools cannot select by ability, but if they introduce a fee, of unspecified amount, they can.

There is always a way to fudge rules if there is the political will. Cameron has the will to select by ability where appropriate.

Of course the remaining grammar schools select by ability, at least ability as measured by something like the 11+, and that's one obvious reason for the good academic results achieved by their pupils - the school starts with higher quality raw material, in academic terms. So the first question is whether there's some magic in the way the school is run, or the teachers teach, which would mean
that they could achieve the same good academic results with pupils of lower academic ability and/or aptitude. If so, the second question is whether those better methods could be transferred to existing comprehensive schools. For example, if part of the secret is to have a school of only 600 pupils, then that can't be transferred to an existing comprehensive with 2000+ pupils. Then the third question would be why the transfer of that superior methodology would
only be possible provided that no more grammar schools were established.

Well.....As far as i'm concerned Cameron is not a team-player himself. The 'scandal' of unfit homes for the forces (in his very own constituency) could have been a real opportunity to attack the government's defence spending priorities. He and Fox should have both been more proactive in highlighting this. The fact that he did not get Fox involved more closely speaks volumes. Fox should be wary of offering 'slavish' support.

Some people will go to any lengths to mess up Cameron.

And others will go to any lengths to shore him up.

Those recent 'official leaks' about Fox's impending sacking for alleged 'disloyalty' were a shot across his bows which have clearly worked.

Sadly, as the right no longer have much confidence in this one-time hero, his defence of the Cameron-Willetts line amounts to a damp squib.

Grammar schools cannot select by ability, but if they introduce a fee, of unspecified amount, they can.

but that means no Academy can select by ability because it needs a central contract with Whitehall......so we are spending £3 billion each year on NEW non-selective schools which is madness.....since the buildings will be privately owned but the educational method dictated by central government

Cameron has introduced the principle of selection by ability in general terms, which was previously a no-no. How it will be applied in practice depends on policy reviews yet to happen.

Yes sorry I was a bit harsh on John Ashworth above in my previous post. Nothing wrong with his stance as such, though I disagree with it.
It is just that there was quite a vicious coordinated series of attacks on Liam Fox on this site by people a couple of months ago, and I was tired last night and I thought "aha person doesn't know what he is talking about, using wrong terminology, but is masquerading as someone who does, and is slamming Fox unfairly like they did a few months ago, time to respond". Sorry again, bit harsh of me.
Fair enough Richard North, you know more on this subject than me I am sure.

<>

Very generous of you to say so. If I can say so without sounding (or being) patronising, it does you great credit.

Personally I don`t think Liam Fox as done a particularly good job whatever he as been given but I admire him for showing loyalty to his democratically elected leader. Something a lot more in the party should be doing.

Something a lot more in the party should be doing.


"I swear by almighty God this sacred oath:
I will render unconditional obedience
to the Fuehrer of the German Reich and people, Adolf Hitler,
Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht,
and, as a brave soldier,
I will be ready at any time
to stake my life for this oath."

If privatisation of schools and a voucher system is what the Conservatives want out of all this eventually, as Chris suggests in his comment above, does this mean that my children (currently ages 2-6) will not actually see the benefits during their school careers? Is there any point in voting Conservative if you are only promising that my grandchildren will have a good education?

An excellent article by Liam Fox, which shows how this policy ought to have been sold - by praising grammar schools not running them down.

"If privatisation of schools and a voucher system is what the Conservatives want out of all this eventually, as Chris suggests in his comment above, does this mean that my children (currently ages 2-6) will not actually see the benefits during their school careers? Is there any point in voting Conservative if you are only promising that my grandchildren will have a good education?"
Hate to say it, but Rome wasn't built in a day. The work which is done during a first term Conservative government would be built on in future ones, sadly no party would ever have the money or time to instantly go from the system we have now to the vision which many have in their minds.

Chris

That's a bit sad for my children, wouldn't you say?

I'm currently at university (a product of a reasonable comprehensive school), but I can still imagine how frustrated you must as a parent of young children. Just because creating the ideal system is going to take a long time, it doesn't mean that progress won't be made. The sad truth is that our present system is such an absolute mess that it's going to take a long time to fix it :-(

Not to worry dongbong. Having one Son who has recently served in Iraq as a machine gunner, and a TA soldier at that, and another Son who is shortly to go to Afghanistan, my interest is their success and wellbeing. I would have sent you an e-mail direct, but that possibility doesn't appear to be available now.

Having one Son who has recently served in Iraq as a machine gunner, and a TA soldier at that, and another Son who is shortly to go to Afghanistan,

Best of luck to both of them !

Confucius: On a thousand mile journey, the hardest part is the first step. Cameron has taken it. Selection by ability is back on the agenda.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

#####here####

Categories

ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:
      Name:
      Email:
      Subscribe    
      Unsubscribe 

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker