The Northern Echo's report on the cancellation of Building Schools for the Future includes case studies where local head teachers give their views. Longfield's Head, Keith Cotgrave, expresses his disappointment but insists that the work which has already gone into the bid will not be wasted. He makes the point that what is most important is what happens inside the school, with which he is very happy. A headteacher from Bishop Auckland makes a similar point.
Contrast this with the near-hysterical views of Darlington's Cabinet member for Young People: "A devastating, short-sighted, knee-jerk reaction. The long-term impact on education, community cohesion and the economy will haunt this Government for years to come." Oh, purleese. Calm down dear.
Much as I regret that Darlington will not be receiving the money it was hoping for to renovate three local schools, the crocodile tears being shed over this by some local Labour politicians somehow fail to move me.
The Labour Government left a huge black hole in our public finances: they simply did not have the funds to honour their school building spending pledges. By falsely raising the hopes of local children and parents by promising them new school buildings which they had no hope of providing, the Labour Party has shown us why they deserve their place in the political wilderness.
The Government's Building Schools for the Future programme was bureaucratic and wasteful. It was characterised by massive overspends, lengthy delays, botched construction projects and needless bureaucracy: funnily enough, an accurate description of some of our local Labour Council's favourite projects!
Local Labour politicians complain about “not getting the money we were promised.” Yet we now know that this BSF money to Darlington was not promised, no contracts had been signed and the money simply wasn’t there.
The Labour government committed itself to spending money it did not have. Making unfunded spending promises and raising false hopes was dishonest and cynical. We now have a Coalition Government which is prepared to be open and honest about the difficulties we face and is prepared to do something about them.