Another example if I may of this coalition’s tendency toward cannabilibistic policies.
Exhibit 1 comes from the Camden New Journal, where I read of the professional demise of a man mamed Mike Jackson, not the singer, nor the General, but a man who has for 27 years worked to promote the sporting activities of children in Camden.
My own three children have all benefited at various times from his professionalism, his organisational skills, his willingness to work long hours often seven days a week to make sure kids who want to be good at sport have the best chance of being so.
Page 7 of the CNJ tells me that Mike is one of three coaches being sacked by the council.
The Tory government would no doubt say this is a matter for the Council. But councils all over the country are making decisions like this to satisfy the central demand for enormous cuts.
Exhibit 2 comes from the Times Educational Supplement and a fairly soft interview with Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The headline tells us he ‘wants to be 2012 winner’. The subhead warms to the theme ‘ ‘The minister is determined to bring Olympic ideals to every UK school in the run-up to the London Games.’
As befits the government of The Big Society, the Big Idea for Sport is a Big School Games.
‘We’re not talking about one day at the end of the year,’ gushes Hunt, who admits he was hopeless at sport at Charterhouse, where doubtless they had the kind of facilities Camden kids can only dream of. ‘We’re talking about a whole programme of competitive sport.’
But with Michael Gove (who we can safely assume was even worse at sport than Hunt) in charge of schools, of course it will be ‘up to heads’ how all these kids and schools are engaged in competitive sport.
But you will not have genuine and universal competitive sport in schools without political will (which wasn’t much in evidence when Gove was trying to axe school sport funding), investment, and co-ordination between schools. Mike Jackson was a symbol of the investment and co-ordination. He has forgotten more about school sport than Gove and Hunt will ever know. And before the Tory trolls come on with their misleading playing fields and competitive sport stats, access to sport grew under Labour.
They have not thought it through. They know the Olympic Games will be a success, because they have to be. The School Games will be a great day and the media will be in their usual tummy-tickling Tory mode and so Hunt and Gove will say it all went terribly well.
But there is nothing in Exhibit 2 to tell me they have a thought through policy for school sport. And there is plenty in Exhibit 1 to tell me they don’t. That is how this particular cannibalism works … Government says it believes in school sport, and cuts the means needed to deliver it.
ps, off to Derby today. However did anyone ever criticise the play-offs? Burnley went through a terrible run, one point out of 12, but suddenly with two wins in four days we are back in with a chance