After shadow education secretary Michael Gove’s barely comprehensible (especially after he ‘explained’ it) ‘toffs for teachers’ elitist schooling plan, the Tories have now turned their attention to child poverty.
According to the FT’s Nick Timmins, one of the most reliable public policy journos around (sorry, I know how that will damage him but it is true) the Tories are changing indicators of deprivation so that it will become ‘hard to identify or measure progress.’
That is handy I must say, as with their policies so clearly skewed towards the top end, there won’t be any progress towards ending child poverty!
Mr Timmins, who wrote a seminal book on welfare, reports that the Tories will move away from income as the main measure of poverty to take in ‘a matrix of measures’ which build ‘a richer picture.’
My God, even when they’re talking about poverty, they can’t get the R word out of their minds. Perhaps this should be the new slogan under the next airbrushed Cameron poster – For Richer, For Richer.
Meanwhile in the next column we learn that top Tory spin doctor Steve Hilton has sent Tory candidates on a green ‘re-education’ programme. This follows a survey showing Tory candidates couldn’t give a toss about ending the planet so long as they and their mates do really well out of a Tory government. (I paraphrase). This sits badly with Dave’s admittedly superficial greening, the one that gave us a tree as a logo and a bike in the boot of the car to wheel out whenever photographers hove into view.
Meanwhile on pages 1 and 3 an altogether more sensible, mature and thought through politician in the form of Alistair Darling. Many politicians of lesser weight and resilience would have buckled in the face of the global financial crisis. Alistair has emerged as a stronger figure and whilst he may not have the charisma we keep being told the public want from their leaders, he has the calm and the character.
So when, as today, he talks about the need for spending cuts in some areas to get the deficit under control, I think most fair-minded people would rather see him taking on that task than George Osborne, who for doubtless Hilton-inspired reasons has gone a bit low profile again.
Good to see the FT putting the entire transcript of the interview on their website. With most speeches and interviews it is always good to read the whole thing, not just the bits taken out for a headline or two.
And if it is amusement you’re after, get the transcript of some of Gove’s interviews on toffs for teachers.
If it is serious-minded government you prefer, call for Darling.