The papers are being briefed that the government is to perform a U-turn on the planned scrapping of School Sports Partnerships. This is to be announced as early as Monday. It is also to be placed in the category marked ‘keep an eye on the detail’, and ‘don’t fall for the spin’.
‘Key elements’ of SSPs, the reports are saying ‘will be retained’. Ah, key elements! In other words, David Cameron has been persuaded that Michael Gove has made an arse of things, that the timing could not be worse because of the Olympics coming down the track, that the backlash is real and will get worse, and could even grow to tuition fees proportion and so he wants it sorted out. But Gove wants to sort it in a way that doesn’t make him look a complete fool for having gone for the axe in the first place. So let’s try the ‘key elements’ route and swallow all that nonsense he has been spouting about the failure of the scheme.
So the U-turn headlines are to be welcomed by all who have been campaigning against this daft decision. But a headline is not a policy shift, and campaigners should be wary when the announcement comes.
Talking of campaigns, good luck to Labour candidate Debbie Abrahams in the upcoming Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election.
The Tories will be furious locally that Cameron has been so nice about the Lib Dems up there. He was droning on about the ‘context’ being Phil Woolas being sacked as MP because of lies he told about his Lib Dem opponent.
As Phil has pointed out, admittedly via a Private Eye spoof, Nick Clegg lied about Lib Dem policy and ended up as deputy prime minister. Any embarrassment over the ‘context’ should not stop Labour from pointing this out, specifically in the context of tuition fees. But a look at Lib Dem sports policy might be in order too.