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Brady keeps the pot boiling

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Food for thought for Cameron

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Sacked Conservative front bencher Graham Brady (o.k. so he resigned) today keeps the pressure on party leader David Cameron with a stinging rebuke in the News of the World.

Instead of telling working-class families to put up with the schools they’re given, we should be angry so many children are being let down. This is not just an internal Tory row. By undermining grammar schools, Shadow Education Secretary David Willetts has set off a row with millions of ordinary working families. People are frustrated by a political establishment that talks about choice but won’t let them choose a grammar school.

Now, in the face of gathering dissent over Mr Cameron’s original plan to build no more grammars, Central Office has changed its stance again.

The message now is that, because selection works, areas with grammar schools already can have MORE—but if you haven’t got one then tough!

This shows how badly thought-out the policy was in the first place. There is an easy solution. First, accept it’s absurd to claim grammar schools stop kids from poor families getting on in life. Second, make it clear that a Conservative government will listen. We don’t need to promise “a grammar school in every town” but we should make it clear that if people want one we won’t stand in their way.

At the end of a hectic week, I’m reminded of these words of movie mogul Sam Goldwyn: “I don’t want to be surrounded by yes-men. I want people who’ll tell me the truth — even if it costs them their job.”

The Conservative Party under Cameron’s leadership is becoming more and more of a marketing tool to replicated the ascent of Nu-Labour, whilst die hard principles and policies are pushed to the back of the mind, by bringing the party closer to the centre he is diminishing choice and offering no real alternatives to Gordon Brown’s ambitions. This whole issue of grammar schools has caused a needless debate within the party and can only serve to distract, the existing grammar schools are doing just fine, support them and encourage them, there is no need to run around calling people “delusional” just because they support the view that selective education gives greater opportunity to all, regardless of their backgrounds.

We had excellent grammar schools in South Shields which had outstanding academic achievements, I’d love to see selection return here (but there is more chance of meeting the Pope’s wife), we didn’t regard grammar school pupils as toffs or middle class did we? I recall many lads from around the riverside who joined me at the grammar school, and I certainly don’t recall parents running about with huge sums of money to buy additional tuition to ensure their lads passed the 11 plus.

I say, if people in any part of the UK want to have grammar schools and selection, and they have elected councillors who support such a policy, then the government of the day ought not to stand in the way of parents wishes.

Written by curly

June 3, 2007 at 12:05 pm

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