Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Of Learning, Labour, and Liberalism

It has become news to me that Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has proposed removing important loopholes from recent Education Acts to place local schools under even greater threat of academisation. The planned removal of a particularly important section for challenging academies, regulation 46 of the School Governance England 2012, and other regulations could mean that schools could end up being forced into academy status without any local consultation or any recourse at all. Academies not only take local schools out of democratically accountable control, but also generally do not even improve the standards of the school in question (some academies have had worse results); free schools are worse still because of the lack of a legal requirement for free schools to employ only properly qualified teachers. My Green colleague in Milton Keynes, Samantha Pancheri, has rightly said that business interests have no place in our schools-for that matter, only the interests of parents, teachers, children, and the community should be valued and respected in schools of any kind. In just a few years we have seen the damage academisation has done to our education as a whole-we must do as much as possible to stop schools being converted into academies or free schools.

With the Labour leadership election heating up, notable left-winger Jeremy Corbyn has entered the ring, but so far has only gained three endorsements compared to the 52 received by Andy Burnham and the 32 received by Yvette Cooper, wife of ex-MP Ed Balls; the current make-up of Labour MPs makes gaining 35 nominations an unlikely possibility for Jeremy. My position is that with the Labour right once again dominating these elections, with no realistic chance of being defeated, the remaining committed left-wing Labour MPs who often voted with Caroline Lucas in the last Parliament when it mattered, not just Jeremy Corbyn but also John McDonnell, Dennis Skinner et al. would in my opinion be better off defecting to the Green Party (since many of their views are now more in step with the Green Party than with the current Labour Party) rather than staying in the Labour Party and likely watch it drift further to the right (even though a drift to the right would just cause more damage to Labour rather than allow it to win over Conservative and UKIP voters).

Going to the Liberal Democrats, their leadership contest's nominations have just closed, and as expected, it is Tim Farron vs. Norman Lamb. In light of the sad and recent death of former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy at the age of just 55, who in 2005 led the Liberal Democrats to their highest strength since the 1930s before his alcohol problems ended his leadership of them, Tim Farron just might yet again prove that rumours of the Liberal Democrats' slow but sure demise are once again exaggerated if he wins, even though unlike in previous nadirs of the Liberals/Liberal Democrats (1950s, early 1970s, 1988-90), the Green Party is not only reasonably strong, but here to stay and staying on the left track.


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