Monday, 30 November 2009

Nicely timed!

My understanding is that there is good news on the way today for certain schools in Darlington, courtesy of Schools Secretary Ed Balls who is dishing out £1bn to a few councils around the country to enable the rebuilding of run-down secondary schools.

The announcement is nicely timed for Jenny Chapman, cabinet portfolio holder for children's services, just before she faces the local Labour Party at their parliamentary candidate hustings on December 5th.


james said...

I keep forgetting you are the Liberal Democrats' parliamentary candidate. If you are elected to represent Darlington as an MP, what will happens with regards the next govt. Will you be sitting in coalition with the "party of class and privilege"?

Mike Barker said...

James, how could you!? But then, I keep forgetting you're a member of the Labour Party.

james said...

Mike, how could you?!

I haven't even told my mother! She won't be too disappointed, I think she's suspected for a while... ;-)

Mike Barker said...

It's not your mum you should be worried about. What happens if your friends find out?

As for the hung parliament debate, there are so many unknown and unquantifiable possibilities at this stage that I don't think anything should be ruled out.

Even offering our support to a Conservative administration could be possible, provided they are clearly the top party in terms of votes cast and seats won.

They would also have to agree to a change in our electoral system, a significant improvement in our approach to climate change and an acknowledgement that support for weaker members of society is more important than inheritance tax cuts for the residents of Notting Hill.

There are two key requirements as far as I'm concerned.

First, we have to produce a government that is strong enough to re-assure the British public, the international community and the financial markets that the country has an effective government which is able to act decisively when required. There are too many serious problems facing us: the economy and climate change being just two, to contemplate a weak government.

Secondly, any formal or informal arrangement with another party must not be allowed to split the Liberal Democrats in the country or in Parliament. The leadership has to take the Party with them on this one.

james said...

I'm sure they'll accept me, Mike ;-)

Given that the Tories wouldn't countenance electoral reform, weren't keen on the Climate Change Bill, and are the natural party of big business and the bankers...

Perhaps it's time for social democrats and liberals to split?

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes......

On a "point of order" can I interject here please?

I think "class and privilege" is a bit overplayed now. It still exists, but it no longer confers the divine right to reach the top in the professions, business, the armed forces or in government as it did say 40 years ago.

The power of the hunting (sorry that's banned), shooting and fishing,land owning nobility has been considerably reduced.

You may argue James that the Shadow Cabinet is an example of "class and privilege," but they were elected by the Conservative Party most of whom who did not go to the top public schools and the top universities. I don't think Cameron will turn back the clock.

Interestingly as an aside, the last Tory PM who went to Eton was Douglas-Home in 1964. Ted Heath and Margaret Thatcher went to grammar schools and John Major to a comprehensive school in south London.

james said...

Those were Mike's words, not my own.

I would say the Tories are the natural party of big business and the banks - look at who funds them.

Their priorities are all wrong - rather than focusing on how to make the transition to a low carbon economy with greater ownership by ordinary people, they would return the banks to the bankers and set social mobility back by years with swingeing spending cuts.

ianh said...

Good news indeed for Darlington Schools with £57 million to be shared between Hurworh Longfield and Brankesome

Now at last Hurworth will be provided with a quality of facilites to match their outstanding performance over many years (in the top 1% os state secondary schools nationally)

As regards privelige, this slots in nicely with the somewhat sneering comments of the Darlington Tory Candidate Edward Legard in yesterday echo.
He plainly know nothing about the needs or performance of Darlington schools yet spouts his opinions on what must be done to halt their "decline".
I note that his own educational history is rather elusive on the net but as the son of a Baronette he should fit in well with the Tory cabinet and explain his ignorance of state schools and their needs.