The changing landscape?

Sometime I really don’t understand people. Earlier I read a comment from a labour supporter regarding Theresa May’s announcement that she wants to ensure employees sit on company boards. The comment suggested that the conservative party lurching to the centre ground would be the worst thing to happen.

This really confused me. Why would someone of the centre left political persuasion think that a centrist government would be worse than a far right one? I think his argument was that it would make the tories more likely to win, which is an argument I disagree with. But even further than that, it seemed that he felt the tribal lines of party politics were more important than the policies being enacted by the government.of course I would prefer a Labour government,  but there won’t be an election until 2020, right now we need to be an effective opposition and pulling the tories to the left into the centre ground is positive for the country. 

I genuinely believe that Corbyn is the best chance we have at winning the next election. I think Theresa May thinks that too. Why else would she be running her leadership campaign based on idea put forward by Ed Miliband at the last election?  She sees his electability and despite being on the right, neoliberal, side of her party she is trying to put forward a centrist, one nation conservatism vision. I know I’d much rather have 4 years of that than 4 years of far right neoliberalism. 

Thatcher reportedly claimed her biggest achievement was Blair and New Labour, she realised that the having a right and a centre party would suit her better in the long run. When the tories were in they could push the real right wing ideas, and when they weren’t they could fight against the few slightly left ideas but embrace the centre right ideas that their opponents put forward.

After 2020, with Corbyn in leadership we could have a left wing government with a centrist opposition. Surely that is a win? Surely that is better than a centrist government with a right wing opposition? And flip them around, what looks better if we lose, a centrist government with a left wing opposition or a right wing government with a centrist opposition? I know which I would prefer.

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Kill the house of Lords?

I’ve just read this article in the Huffington post suggesting the tory government is going to kill of the house of Lords in retaliation if they block the tax credit cuts.

This seems to me to be qn affront to our entire democracy. I am against the idea of an unelected second house, but I’m totally on board with the need for an second house in order to protect the electorate against the government becoming a dictatorship. Dictators work by eliminating any other power holders who can block their plans and assuming all roles.

The Lord’s have been the voice of reason many times already since Cameron first became prime minister, and look likely to be that again over this set of cuts which will destroy families. The fact that the government is issuing these threats is genuinely scary. What do you think?

Assisted Dying

I’m writing to you as your constituent to ask you to support the Assisted Dying Bill when it is debated on Friday 11 September. I believe the recent case of Bob Cole, as covered in a plethora of media outlets, shows that the current law is broken.

Dying people like Bob are forced to make incredibly difficult and unnecessary choices at present simply to have control over their own inevitable deaths. One Britain travels to Dignitas for assistance to die every two weeks. For every person who travels to Dignitas, 10 more dying people take their own lives here at home. This situation cannot be ignored.

It is my sincere belief that humans should be given the right to choose how they want to end their life. It is an issue I have felt strongly about for a number of years. The case of Tony Nicklinson,  a man who suffered from locked in syndrome and could only move his eyes, was one that affected me deeply. To see this man try, and fail, on numerous occasions to be allowed to die on his own terms was heartbreaking and I found the news that rather than be allowed a dignified death he had to resort to starving himself to death in order to end his pain and suffering.

A couple of years ago my best friend on the world took his own life. He has been battling with bi-polar disorder, addiction, and a number of other issues for a long time and he had had enough. He got night terror,  where he awoke screaming and was on edge the whole time. He said to me a number of times that he didn’t understand why we treat our animals much better than humans, and that he knew if a dog suffered the level of pain and suffering he did it would have ben put out of its misery a long time ago. In the end he hanged himself, a horrible painful end that could have been avoided if we had a much better law.

A new law with upfront safeguards, limited to terminally ill, mentally competent adults, would both protect vulnerable people and give dying people choice and control over their death here, not abroad. As my elected representative, I urge you to support this change, a change supported by an overwhelming majority of the public – 82% of Britons support this Bill.

What I’d like the Labour Leadership candidates to say on Education

Here’s a post I wrote for Labour Teachers outlining what I’d like the Labour Leadership candidates to be saying on Education.

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This post was first published 16th June 2015 on Labour Teachers here

I have just read this post from Duncan Hall (@doktordunc) on Labour Teachers (@labourteachers) outlining what he’d like the Labour Leadership candidates to say on education and I thought I would draft my own wish list on the topic.

Qualified Teacher Status

I’ve written about this before, and it’s still something that I feel is extremely important. Teachers should either be qualified or working towards a qualification. Teacher education gives a good grounding in pedagogy, ensures a minimum level of subject knowledge and ensures fair payment for the teacher.

Bring back our schools

For too long we’ve seen the dismantling of local authorities and the removal of schooling from state control. Some of the “freedoms” offered are worrying, no need for the national curriculum etc. I am also worried by big…

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An End to GCSEs?

Today Tristram Hunt has tabled a motion to put Education above Political Point-Scoring and to work together towards a better future for all. Here’s a post I wrote giving my views on his ideas from before the election, a lot of which he has brought up as ideas he’d like to discuss.

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This article was originally published on Labour Teachers here.

This week Tristram Hunt postulated in the Guardian that a Labour government may look to phase out GCSEs all together. if you didn’t catch the article, have a look here.

It’s an interesting article, and I have to say I like some of the things he’s saying. Firstly, he’s ruling out radical quick reform. This is something that has been playing on my mind, after 4 years of Gove’s fast paced reformation I feel we need time to let it embed. We haven’t assessed the new GCSEs or A Levels yet and won’t for a few years, and I feel it is right to let this take place given the work that is already underway. I happen to think the new maths curricula are in fact better than the old ones so am looking forward to teaching the new…

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A Political Education

Here’s a post I wrote in the run up to the election about the lack of political education that seems prevalent in today’s schools.

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This post was first published here on Labour Teachers on 19th April 2015

Monday is the last day you can register to vote, which means I have spent a large portion of the week checking in with my year 13 class and my year 13 form group that they have registered. This has led to various discussions around politics, how they can decide who to vote for etc. It seems a lot of young people take on the political views of their parents. I was pleased to hear a number of them had actually downloaded the manifestos of the major parties and we’re using them to help them decide. I was shocked, however, at how many of them knew very little about any of it.

One asked if she could vote for Barack Obama. One asked if we were choosing a new queen. One thought Ed Miliband was the prime…

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Vocational Education

Here’s a post I wrote over on my Educational blog in the run up to the election looking at the failures we’ve had in the field of vocational education. A field that looks set to be ignored and let down under the current government.

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This was the week they came, the manifestos. I’ve been waiting for them in anticipation and it was beginning to feel they’d never come. I love manifesto season and I’ve started to read and digest them.

One thing that jumped out at me in the Labour manifesto was a renewed commitment to vocational educational. Vocational Education is something that has been on the fringes of education policy in the UK for a long time, but we haven’t ever managed to get it right.

Last year I had the privilege to see Professor Geoff Hayward deliver a lecture on vocational education. Geoff was, at the time, head of the school of education at Leeds University but he has since moved to the same role at Cambridge. Geoff spoke about vocational education, and how British society has repeatedly failed to provide for “the forgotten 50%”. (He also go wrote “Education for…

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