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Mr Editor, you are an addict -- but at least you admit it, which is the first step to recovery.

It seems their authority on this matter is nonexistent, and therefore to satisfy MPs and grassroots members, they’re willing to sway back and forth regarding policy, leaving only incoherence.
It's what happens if you try to be all things to all people.

Many people on this website seem to want Cameron to fail

We don't want him to fail; we want him to go

If you aren't a member of the party you can have no idea how widely he is disliked within it.

I'm not Cameron's biggest fan these days - but Traditional Tory I'm afraid your talking nonsense. I'm a party member in an area with grammar schools, and whilst a minority of members are a pretty annoyed about this nonsense it is just not true to suggest that Cameron is in any way "widely... disliked". Most Members I speak to are still fundamentally overjoyed about the poll position we are in - and the majority of Cameron's work (grammars aside).

I rather suspect there are some people on this site who, whilst fondly polishing their Hang Nelson Mandela badges, seriously believe that if we could just find a politician like Enoch, the Conservatives would cruise back into Downing St. Sadly they're more than a little out of touch with modern Britain, and indeed reality.

"What a total non-story. Cameron will build no new grammars, just as Major didn't and Thatcher didn't. He's not doing anything different."

And rightly so. It's not up to Margaret Thatcher or John Major in Downing Street to control education in every single school up and down the country.

The difference is that Cameron has clearly (until today) stated that no new grammars will be created - whatever the local community think. There's a difference between allowing communities a choice, and them not taking it, and denying them a choice in the first place.

Oh, for pity's sake!! Am I going to have to comment on this nonsense again!

Look...

1) There's not been any U-turn in the policy - not even a partial one. It was always abundantly clear that the grammar schools (in the sense of their polis, rather than their locus - or their ecclesia/igreja rather than their immoveis, if His Grace prefers that metaphor) would remain. Manifestly if the ecclesia expanded in numbers, then additional immoveis would have to be constructed. But that's a matter of the Conservative Party's *building* policy, not its *education* policy. Who cares about that?

2) I and others gave Willetts the chance to clarify a related point in answer to our ConservativeHome questions and avoid this difficulty today, but he blew it.

3) The reason that Channel 4 news and others have been able to embarrass Willetts is because Cameron and Osborne became carried away in the heat of battle and expressed their resolution poorly. When they said they weren't going to allow a handful of additional grammars, what they meant was that it was silly to suggest that having a few extra areas in which there are grammar schools isn't going to address the needs of the vast bulk of the country. And that is just *obviously* right. (That doesn't mean that grammar schools are bad, or that I agree with Willetts' critique of them as social mobility devices, but it is plain common sense...)

Oh yes Prentiz I can believe that the old dears in your association (and mine) will remain slavishly loyal to whatever donkey somebody sticks the 'leader' blue rosette on, but exactly how are such people relevant to 'Modern Britain'?

We do indeed need a modern-day populist equivalent of Enoch. The late Pim Fortuyn showed with considerable style how it could be done in Holland.

What we don't need is a privileged Eton boy telling the plebs where to educate their children.

But I'm interested to see that you are going off Cameron. You're not alone among former Cameroons, it seems.

One thing that nobody seems to remark on is that Grammar Schools don't just raise the expectations and aspirations of children from less privileged backgrounds; they help to ground the middle class children in their own communities, with friends from every stratum of society and an ability to mix comfortably with just about anybody. It is patronising drivel to always justify Grammar Schools - to keep, to increase, or to fix in aspic - only in terms of the wonderful benefit they bring to working class students.

I'm a Cameron supporter and party member. I'm very happy with his leadership overall. I do think he's dead wrong on this specific issue, but this does very little to dent my overall optimism about the Cameron project.

Why do we keep on showing the public that we are a split party who are seemingly unfit to govern.

Because it is a split party (and has been for a long time, deeming from the many wet Tories I see on this site) and after Cameron, unfit to govern.

"There's not been any U-turn in the policy - not even a partial one."

Bing bong. Earth to Andrew Lilico. Earth to Lilico. Are you receiving us? Over.

I look forward to there being no mention of such a non-story in the press today then Andrew...

Oh, for pity's sake!! Am I going to have to comment on this nonsense again!

Be better if you didn't, but you have to do your bit to try to make Willetts appear credible......then again, you failed yet again......so probably best not to comment on this farcical issue

Calculus said, (22.40) “Calculus said, (22.40) “you forgot the attractions of having Selection by Ethnicity which is a vote winner in Northern cities......” Quite, I know several people who would want to send their children to all white school. The pre-1964 Mississippi model is not one I would prefer to follow.

What a moronic statement from someone who cannot read. Calculus was a hot-link to the Electoral Calculus Website showing how far the Tories are from a majority but Struan Jamieson does know about URLs and thinks it the name of the poster....LOL

If he thinks Northern cIties are similar to Mississippi it can only because of the poor financial settlement and the decay of inner cities.

The fact is NO public school in this country has an ethnic mix comparable with a State school in Bradford or Oldham. I am all in favour of imposing these same ethnic quotas on State Schools and Fee-Paying Schools or closing them down,

"Many people on this website seem to want Cameron to fail"

"We don't want him to fail; we want him to go"

"If you aren't a member of the party you can have no idea how widely he is disliked within it."

As a member for many years I don't want Cameron to fail or to go, though I accept that many tradional Tories, usually with selective memories of the past, have reservations.

What I do want is for Cameron to learn from this debacle and to accept that the Leadership is not the same as proprietorship. I think the system of checks and balances to power within the Conservative Party we had in the past has broken down over recent years - with the Leadership thinking it can do what it pleased - most spectacularly over the Howard Flight debacle.

Cameron should not be hamstrung by trying to please every critic, but he also has to take most of the Party along with him.

Pick the fights you can win Dave (and Dave). Messing with middle class aspirations in this half baked way exposes both sloppiness and complacency which has been found out.

Clean house - now. And accept you have just learned a harsh lesson you should have grasped much sooner.

Aren't these 'City Academies' for the most part merely failed Comprehensive schools in sink areas tarted up with fancy new names?

This I gathered from my wife, who teaches in a 'comp'. I said you mean it's really bullsh**? and she replied 'Yes'.

A few years ago, I recall, some dreadful school in Brighton or some such place was closed down and reopened with a ridiculous title such as 'Arts Sport and Media College'.

The name was a pathetic lie designed to play up to the worst fantasies of the pupils, who may not be able to spell or add up, but no doubt all see themselves as future Beckhams and Kylie Minogues (or whatever other starlet is currently in vogue)

A new head was appointed at a six-figure salary (of course). A few months later he bowed out with a nervous breakdown and the school was closed down again.

We don't want this kind of nonsense. We want traditional grammar schools with smart uniforms and strict discipline, turning out well-behaved pupils who can spell and write English rather than illiterate 'textspeak'.


Brief description of the project

The Business Academy in Bexley is a state of the art, purpose built school offering a new and stimulating curriculum. The school's aim is to motivate students to become imaginative and productive world citizens capable of benefiting from, and making a positive contribution to, the challenges of the 21st Century.

Establishing a partnership with business and industry

Through a special partnership with business and industry, the Business Academy has established a Centre of Excellence that will enable students to gain a direct insight and enter into the real economy, and the world of commerce, industry and finance.

The school includes a trading floor built and designed with the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE) Group, where students learn the principles of the stock market with real traders.
Outcomes of the project

The new school opened as an Academy in September 2002 and for September 2003 it is oversubscribed for the first time in the history of the previous school. Its attendance has risen from a low base to over 90 per cent since its opening.
Context

The predecessor school had been placed in special measures and was heavily undersubscribed. It had very low exam results and very bad discipline and behaviour problems.

http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/casestudies/casestudy.cfm?id=11

Academic achievement

At the heart of the Government's strategy to ratchet up standards in secondary education is the expansion of the Academies Programme, each new school sited in an area where existing secondaries are poorly performing and failing their communities.

So far, 17 have opened; the Government's Five-Year Strategy promises that in five years, 200 will be underway by 2010.

Academies are built with the help of philanthropic private finance, run with Government funding and are independent of the LEA. How they choose to operate is up to them, with significant freedoms compared with those of normal, maintained schools. They do, though, have to be committed to a mixed-ability intake.

"The place is run like a business; it has to be." This isn't Walsall Academy's bursar on balancing the books, or the canteen manager talking about stock; it's headteacher Jean Hickman on the way she runs her school. She continues: "Corporate ID is everything. It's reflected in the way this place looks, the way we all dress, even the way we interact with one another."

Traditional Tory,
A City Academy is a publicly funded but independently run, which are founded by a private sponsor. As independent schools they have no obligation to follow the national curriculum, though students still have to sit KS3 SATs and GCSEs. At present they are allowed to select 10% of their intake based on aptitude in a speciality of the school's own choosing eg. Music academy can select 20% based on music ability (DC wants to expand to 20%). At present hardly any academies are selective. Cameron is advocating that City Academies should have setting (academic selection within the school) in all subjects, so as to enable students to work with peers of a similar ability.

City Academies are not the same as "specialist colleges", which as you rightly point out out are simply rebranded comprehensives, which are still under the controlling hand of an LEA. They are given the option of selecting 10% of students according to aptitude in their specialism, but few do. My school converted to a Technology college whilst I was a student, and there were few noticeable differences, except lots of money was spent on unecessary things.

I agree that a smart uniform and strict discipline are essential, but this doesn't necessarily have to be confined to grammars. The prescence of an respected headmaster is also essential; at my old school the new headteacher was despised by staff and pupils for his liberal attitude.

except lots of money was spent on unecessary things.

sounds par for the course......now what are the lease payments to keep the buildings from repossession ?

I agree that a smart uniform and strict discipline are essential, but this doesn't necessarily have to be confined to grammars.

In the past good Secondary Moderns had pride in themselves too.

It's a pity that what could have been a useful debate so quickly turned into a brawl - and, yes, I do know who started in with the insults. I've a vague memory
of a conference when Cameron said how wonderful it was that there had been vigorous debate ... maybe that's a false memory, the product of wishful thinking, but why is the Tory party now being run on these "the debate is over before it's even started" lines? Does it have to be like that? Is it attractive to the voters?

City Academies

The Great City Academy Fraud (Hardcover)
by Francis Beckett (Author)

Synopsis
This highly controversial and compelling book exposes the government's city academies project: the ways in which companies and rich individuals have been persuaded to sponsor academies, their real reasons for sponsoring them, the lies that have been told in support of the academies project, and the disastrous effect it will have on Britain's schools. It brings together existing research, by the author and others, and adds new research, to build up a picture of a deeply flawed idea, which is educationally disastrous and inherently corrupt. In his provocative yet fascinating tour de force, Francis Beckett pulls the plug on the most high-profile educational scam for decades.

Cynical Voter,
The school managed to balance it's budget year after year, and as a long established school (Was an old grammar founded prior to WWII) the buildings aren't leased as far as I know. The unnecessary spending was due to the use it or lose it way that LEAs allocate budgets; unfortunately no one there has ever heard of "saving".

TomTom @ 07:53 quoting blurb on Academies -

"They do, though, have to be committed to a mixed-ability intake."

and

"The place is run like a business"

are mutually exclusive.

No successful business willingly and knowingly takes on unsuitable employees.

I feel that the announcement was untimely,poorly presented,badly worded and ill thought out.
Totally unnecessary at this stage of the proceedings.
I'm not a fanatical right winger but I can see how many moderates may be swallowing hard after this will we/won't we episode.
There are ways of getting a message across and this was not one of them,and we now have the unedifying spectacle of MPs scrambling over each other to try to clarify the matter and calm down the desenters.
I come from a working class family.
My father was a builder and we lived in a rented flat,in Kensal Rise but both my brother and I were educated at local grammar school.
My brother failed his eleven plus but took it again the following year while at the secondary modern and passed.
I being younger passed 2 years later.
He finished his career as Chairman and CE of a public listed company and I as Sales and Marketing manager in the photographic industry.
Our background did not hold us back and we were there on merit, as were the children from various social backgrounds at the
school, some even being driven to school by the family chauffeur,but we all mixed well together and I feel that I received a good all round education and became friends with children from a variety of backgrounds.
The school was however small enough having between 6 and 700 pupils for the staff to get to know those children in their classes.
I do worry that the size of these new academies may prove a drawback and that the pupil/teacher relationship may suffer.
We must ensure that there is opportunity for all and stop playing the class card on everything in an effort to prove that we are the party for all.


he Business Academy in Bexley is a state of the art, purpose built school offering a new and stimulating curriculum. The school's aim is to motivate students to become imaginative and productive world citizens capable of benefiting from, and making a positive contribution to, the challenges of the 21st Century.

Establishing a partnership with business and industry

Through a special partnership with business and industry, the Business Academy has established a Centre of Excellence that will enable students to gain a direct insight and enter into the real economy, and the world of commerce, industry and finance.

The school includes a trading floor built and designed with the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE) Group, where students learn the principles of the stock market with real traders.
Outcomes of the project

The new school opened as an Academy in September 2002 and for September 2003 it is oversubscribed for the first time in the history of the previous school. Its attendance has risen from a low base to over 90 per cent since its opening.


VERDICT - OFSTED

Bexley Business Academy, received the damning verdict: “Teaching and learning are inadequate overall.” By the way, Bexley is famous for its classrooms with only three walls, centred around a faux stock-market trading floor - estimated cost to the taxpayer: £58 million.

the buildings aren't leased as far as I know. The unnecessary spending was due to the use it or lose it way that LEAs allocate budgets

Yet Academies are PFI and New Build - that is why there is such a campaign behind them, they make banks and developers seriously rich and land the taxpayer with long term liabilities which should be capitalised as National Debt.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Why oh why, as I've said before, were grammar schools ever mentioned. One hopes that the "leadership" learn that at times it is better not to comment at all. Just imagine if this "fiasco" had hit the headlines prior to a General Election, much hardwork by candidates and activists in those seats we need to win to form a Government, would be undone.

Please let's be more careful, as I for one would rather like a Conservative Government and a Conservative Member of Parliament for Warrington South!

Tom Tom (06.23) suggested I thought that the pre-64 Mississippi model was one to follow- irony and understatement seem to be concepts of which he is unaware. With an understanding like that it is clear he either went to a public school or a modern comprehensive

The Calculus (22.40) statement is attributed to one Henry Mayhew. In this he seemed to be on the right track in suggesting that the treatment of Graham Brady was different to that of Dominic Grieve but I found the idea of selection by race repulsive- my position has in this debate been consistent which is selection on a pre-understood concept of ability with far more per head resources being dedicated in a proper system of Technical Schools which is I understand things is what Butler idealised in 1944

Cynical Voter,
The new schools being built are simply replacing old ones which are falling apart. The use of PFI is not ideal, but is preferable to leaving schools with inadequate buildings. Cameron also outlined plans for existing schools to become trusts, meaning they would get the autonomy without rebuilding from scratch.

I'd like us to eventually end up with a privatised school system utilising state vouchers, but we're never going to get there if we don't bring private business in.

"Why oh why, as I've said before, were grammar schools ever mentioned."

Why not? They're still a significant and notably successful part of the state secondary education system.

More to the point, why did Willetts go out of his way to disparage them?

He could have said that he had concerns about the methods they used for selecting pupils on academic ability and/or aptitude, which now seem to be unfairly weighted against working class children.

That would have been a worthwhile point to raise, and I don't suppose many
Tory members would have been up in arms about that. On the contrary, they
would have agreed that the procedures to select by academic ability and/or aptitude must give working class children as fair a chance as possible.

If the Conservative party were clever they would turn this 'mess' into advantage.
1. They'd show they had listened (and thus had democratic principles - how refreshing that would be),
2. Start talking up skills, global competitiveness, and wellbeing as a base for education policy - rather than social engineering (so 20th century, so Labour) or bring backery (which is what Labour and the BBC will try and do).
3. Outline an all encompassing education policy that shows how we are going to get the best out of every child based on their abilities. A policy that puts education and skills first, second and third.
4. Finally perhaps we could have some basic principals of education, like small schools, parental choice, return of discipline.

The moral high ground is giving everyone the aspirations and skills to make of themselves what they will. That's personal social responsibility, and a main campaiging theme that will cover many aspects of life, many people will sign up too.

Have you thought of a policy/strategy job at CCHQ Miranda. ;)

This has been an excellent result. It our clear goal of perpetual opposition and to remain ideologically pure for 20% of the population.

This has been an excellent result. It our clear goal of perpetual opposition and to remain ideologically pure for 20% of the population.

Posted by: DavidDPB |

TRue. Labour got c 21.6% voters to support it in 2005 and the Tories came second, so 20% seems about right

Miranda @ 09.02. Can I refer you to my post of 19.01 yesterday? We appear to be of a like mind.

There has now been enough (fully justified) criticism of the quite unnecessary mess caused by incautious remarks. I do wonder, though, why Cameron and Willetts were making firm policy commitments in advance of the policy working group's report.

The time has now come to put forward some positive suggestions.

Can anyone say… Labour 2009, Labour 2013, Labour 2017…

For goodness sakes people.

Ask yourself this, before we continue some of this hysterical bashing of the current Leader, who is implementing a policy he stood for the Leadership on. After the next GE, would you rather have:

1. David Cameron as Prime Minister not building new Grammer schools?

or

2. Gordon Brown as Prime Minister not building new Grammer schools?

(And for those who want a (c) David Cameron building new grammer schools - I'm afraid it's not on the menu. Get over it.)

(And for those who accuse me of not following the news, yes I know there's been a partial climb down regarding population growth, but that is tinkering in the margins as far as I'm concerned)

David Cameron can presumably say that. After all, with his and Osborne's 'heir to Blair' stuff, it turns out they were retrospectively saying "Labour 1997, Labour 2001, Labour 2005" all along.

"... he and Mr Cameron had always recognised Buckinghamshire was a special case because it already had a grammar system and had a rapidly expanding population which had led to pressure for more grammar places, or even a new school."

Well, lucky old Bucks ... and here on this side of the Thames in Maidenhead some people will continue to annoy Bucks residents by trying to wangle their children into Bucks grammar schools, because we no longer have any grammar schools in Maidenhead.

And therefore, according to the Cameron doctrine, we will never be allowed to have one in the future.

Why not? Is it 'cos we're Berks?

There are five state comprehensives in Maidenhead - so why not allow one of them to gradually introduce selection on academic ability and/or aptitude, and bring to an end this nonsense of Maidenhead parents trying to use the Bucks grammars?

Which may even mean that Bucks wouldn't need so many new grammars.

(And for those who want a (c) David Cameron building new grammer schools - I'm afraid it's not on the menu. Get over it.)

So we won't vote Conservative and 22 seats in West Yorkshire will not let you gain any majority

'The grand old Duke of Eton, he had ten thousand men....' I think the Party should be sponsored by 'Horlicks'. What a complete and utter debacle. What is it with party leaders and education? Remember the furore over Bliar's and Harman's choice of school for their offspring? Has our lot learned NOUT about how to minimise 'F'k up's'! After all, we've now had the worst government in modern times in power for over ten years! A bit more 'tactical' thought is needed chaps!

In fact Conservatives have no policies attractive to West Yorkshire voters....even William Hague has vanished from the face of the planet rather than try to revive extinct Conservative infrastructure.....people loathe Labour but see nothing attractive about Conservatives

Yes - whoever you were who mentioned it - I saw the harrumphing Hatterslump on tv, doing down education as is his wont. The only defender of selection - against the four other members of the panel AND, I suspect, the wretched Dimblebeast as well - was weedy Caroline Spellman. It was like pitting Private Pike against the whole Red Army. Hatterslump got away with some terrible nonsense; that selection "writes people off". It does not. As Brady demonstrated, everyone does better under a selective system. Did Weed Spellman say this? Well, she whimpered a bit before Hatterslump brought up the old totalitarian canard that you can't have a comprehensive where there are grammars. He spoke of "creaming off" the academic intake and used the magic incantatory words "Secondary modern" to describe the comprehensive school which is left. But why does a school, in order to function, have to span the whole ability range? Isn't a likely spectrum of IQ from 80 to 115 broad enough? Would it help to hurl a couple of infant prodigies into the mix? I suppose Hatterslump still fondly believes that the bright will drag the less bright forward, but we all know that this is not the case. The bright are dragged down. They hide after answering questions, as one correspondent averred. Still the Spellweed whimpered and havered, so it was left to two school girls in the audience to defend selection. They were applauded too, which is more than can be said for the official conservative representative. Perhaps the most pernicious pro-comp argument of all was advanced by the odious Greg Dyke - you know, Dave's choice for London Mayor - when he said that it was terrible to think that only grammar school "kids" were sitting round Dimblebeast's table. As though the non-intellectual mass of the people is likely to be thrust into positions of prominence by the non-training they receive at a comp! It is precisely this sort of sentimental piffle in which the whole education debate is rotting away. We kick and slash at the nonsense, peel away the false claims, expose the ideology but still we find ourselves confronted with the comp and the extraordinary idea that it can pull everyone to the very pinnacle of worldly success. Now THAT'S delusional.

As I recall Hattersley's mother was Lady Moyoress of Sheffield and his wife was Headteacher in a Secondary Modern; he went to Sheffield Grammar School and Hull University; but has no children......I met him once and was unimpressed

If you read up on Hattersley's City Grammar School it seems a bit odd

City

being one of the last to abolish Pupil Teachers when he was there

To James, and others who think we should simply shelve our disagreements with Dave just because he's better than Brown.

On what grounds do you suggest this? Think about the major criticisms about Brown;

1) The growth of spending, tax and the state.

Fine, a good reason not to vote for Brown, but not a positive reason for Cameron. They are both aware of the problem, and both propose the same solution (sharing the proceeds...). To say that a Tory gov't from '97 on would not have done the same as Brown is not a positive reason for Cameron either.

2) Opposition to reform of the NHS.

This should be an area in which we can open daylight up between the two parties -- conventional wisdom is that Brown is to the left of Blair on the issue. Yet Cameron's 'no new reorganisations' seems to rule out any forward movement on this front either. As did his shameless wallowing in the glow of the junior doctors.

3) Spin, and the rest.

We're all happy to say Brown is just as bad as Blair. But Cameron's squirming over his own past, his manoeuvring over the EPP, and his evasiveness about the grammar issue, suggests he will be no improvement.

It would seem that we now basically have the same policies as labour in education, since we are now the same on academic selection. We are also the same on the economy. And on the NHS, as far as I can tell. We have little concrete to say about law and order, and seem to be lagging behind on the immigration debate.

Why, then, should we back the Cameroons? I cannot see any reason why, just because he leads the Conservative party rather than another one, he will be an improvement on Brown. What is it that he is going to do that Brown isn't?

There is only one thing I care about that I haven't mentioned here, and that's Europe. We should not expect Cameron to stand up to Europe, because of his past form in ohter issues.

Brown, meanwhile, can claim to have kept us out of the Euro. My gut feeling is that he did this merely out of his own control-freakery. But, since he has, in my eyes, done at least this one positive thing in 10 years, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

We will find out if he's a Eurosceptic soon enough. If he is, then I will vote for him. It would be one positive factor against a zillion negative ones. But it's one more than I can muster for Cameron.

Time to use my car bumper sticker "Don't blame me, I voted for Davis".

Harry

After seeing Willetts drown in Newsnight last night Im still struggling to understand how this policy works.

If we feel that Grammar Schools entrench social advantage due to the demographics of the areas from which they get their intake, how can we use that very reason to justify the creation of more grammar schools?

The policy is a complete fudge and I pray that the readers of CH speak clearly that Willetts, Letwin and Cameron does not carry our confidence. Idiots, the whole lot of them.

James Maskell.....there is NO "policy" merely a series of soundbite prejudices revealing public school hatred of grammar schools

All this makes us look like we are in a zoo. It is a typical Tory mess and doesn't have much to do with education or grammar schools. Willetts speech was not to electors, or the CBI, it was to Tory right wingers going on about grammar schools and social mobility, hence he piled on the rhetoric. The right probably had been waiting for the moment to get back at the Cameroons since they were running out of issues to destabalise Cameron (please remember Lord Pearson's reason for joining UKIP "if we get organised we can stop Cameron becoming Prime Minister", not stop Blair or Brown note.). The Cameroons thought they had the statistics to back them up but forgot that parts of Britain had stuck with the Tory party through thick and thin, particularly Buckinghamshire!

Willetts was quite right in what he said re education but forgot that education is still a local issue and the party supports localism and he made the Buckinghams look silly quite unnecessarilly because their next question would be "what do we do when we need to expand our existing grammar school system?" Of course there would be occasions whan a Tory government could be asked by someone if they could set up a grammar school whatever the general policy.

The difference now is that Tory policy does not include specific building of grammar schools but is prepared to give respect to requests for setting one up.

Willetts was right, respecting local local situations is right. So what's wrong? Firstly we still have a party only interested in talking to itself. Secondly many Tory MPs are not interested, or capeable, of taking the fight outside the party; they are just selfish egotists. Thirdly there is a sreak in the party the electorate have noted a long time ago of thoroughly unpleasent people who regularly demonstrate their unpleasentness by attacking fellow Conservatives but run away when the need is to attack anyone else, you can read from a lot of them up above. And we still have a leadership incapable relating to party members or electors, I always wondered if knowing nothing about politics was a basic requirement for becoming a Tory MP.

Err, so in other words Willetts with his previously much lauded intelligence together with Cameron screwed up.

'Cameron will build no new grammars, just as Major didn't and Thatcher didn't. He's not doing anything different'

No - the key difference is that under Thatcher and Major education authorities had the right to reintroduce selective education if they wanted to. The fact that none of them did was not their fault.
Now Cameron is apparently saying that he will not reintroduce this option which was removed in 1998, so that academic selection by a local authority will be impossible. Whether he still supports acadamic selection by individual schools, as he appeared to do in the debate over foundation schools, I'm not sure. Some clarity would be welcome.

Bucks

John Bercow today welcomed the confirmation by Shadow Education Secretary David Willetts that a Conservative government would allow Buckinghamshire County Council to expand both grammar and upper school provision in the county to meet the needs of population growth.


There is a dedicated campaign by UKIP members to fill this site full of anti- Cameron comments in the hope they will be reported in the press.

They usually start off about being a loyal Conservative and so dismayed will be joining UKIP etc etc...

'Cameron will build no new grammars, just as Major didn't and Thatcher didn't. He's not doing anything different'

Thatcher overruled plans to close 90+ Grammar Schools as Education Secretary; she introduced Assisted Places as Prime Minister.......The Sutton Trust under Peter Lampl is privately paying for Assisted Places to prove the efficacy of the policy....and is calling on the Government to restore Assisted Places

"Whether he still supports academic selection by individual schools .. I'm not sure"

Apparently not: the only permissible form of academic selection would be within each school, with years being divided into sets for all subjects and (it seems possibly inconsistent with that) a "grammar stream" within each comprehensive.

And he is studiously ignoring the fact that many comprehensives are far too large, and should in any case be split into two or more separate schools.

'Cameron will build no new grammars, just as Major didn't and Thatcher didn't. He's not doing anything different'

Most of these whingeing Cameroons weren't 'there' during the Thatcher period.

I was.

Of course we Tories were busy reversing decades of antagonism to Grammar Schools from the left including such proto-Cameroons as Edward Boyle, but there were many other priorities at the time. Little maters like the miners and the Falklands.

What is important is that Thatcher never ruled out the possibility of reintroducing grammar schools, nor would she have shown the hostility towards them inplicit in Willett's recent speech and explicit in the utterances of public schoolboys Cameron and Osborne.

Those were the days before the party conferences had been corrupted by stage-management and Gleichschaltung. Grammar Schools were always praised to the heavans and it would have been a bold man who attacked them from the platform.

A fact which highlights a fundamental problem we face with Cameron and Osborne. For those of us who came up through the ranks of the YCs, FCS, the Womens' Branches etc they are not and will never be part of our Party Culture.

Day by day the penny drops with a few more estwhile Cameron supporters and I'm guesing they've been dropping faster than usual over the past fortnight.

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