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Thursday 12 December 2013

Gove Polecats Abuse Critics Again

[Update at end of post]

A report from the National Audit Office into Free Schools has sparked a number of media reports, not all of them favourable to Education Secretary Michael “Oiky” Gove and his retinue of polecats. This has meant that there must be instant and massive retaliation. Sadly, this has been ineffective, although unintentionally hilarious as the ranting has reached new heights.
Yes, your polecats, Minister

What provoked the convocation of polecats was a report by the hated BBC, authored by Hannah Richardson, entitled “Free schools budget trebled to £1.5bn, report shows”. This is a factually correct statement, as is “in half of all districts with high or severe need for new places the Department for Education received no applications to open primary free schools”.
Stating “More than a quarter of all spending on school buildings - £241m out of £950m - has been on free schools in areas with no need for extra places forecast” is also factually correct, as is the observation by Public Accounts Committee chair Margaret Hodge that “on opening, one in four desks at free schools were empty”. So who has a problem with that?
Step forward the loathsome Toby Young: “The BBC's anti-free schools bias is becoming laughable” spluttered Tobes in another tedious offering to the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs. “The author of this shockingly misleading article is Hannah Richardson who has a long track record of inaccurate reporting ... it was picked up on the Guido Fawkes website”.
Then – don’t laugh, please – he talks about being “even-handed”. Yeah, right, Tobes and The Great Guido are examples of even-handedness. But, as the man said, there’s more: the @toryeducation Twitter feed, manned by “Oiky’s” SpAds Dominic Cummings and Henry de Zoete – which one is immaterial – launched into a characteristically vicious attack on Ms Richardson and anyone else in the vicinity.
Someone fire Hannah Richardson NOW ... how about a story on HYPOCRITE HODGE ... stop wasting taxpayers’ money on Twitter [my favourite] ... hypocrisy from Hunt and Hodge ... you’re an even crapper hack than you think we think you are ...are you lying or just reading the wrong figures? INTEGRITY HODGE, GET SOME” spewed from @toryeducation in quick succession.
Ms Richardson was accused of taking after the Observer’s Toby Helm, while Reeta Chakrabarti and Nick Robinson were urged to investigate their colleague. But there was no vengeance taken on Laura McInerney, whose “The 12 Most Critical Findings of the NAO Free School Report” makes less than happy reading for Gove and his cheerleaders. There are questions over this policy that are not being answered.

Personal attacks and other abuse will not answer them. That’s not good enough.

[UPDATE 13 December 1805 hours: the Discovery New School, a Free School in the Sussex town of Crawley, was today given termination notice by the Government. It will close in April next year. Thus the first failure of a Free School, which, as I've previously noted, will result in the unfortunate pupils - well, those who haven't already been pulled out - being dumped on local authority schools in the area, which have sufficient spare places.

Yes, that means there was no shortage of places before this Free School was set up - the kind of thing that Laura McInerney was discussing (see above). So what have the loathsome Toby Young, and Michael "Oiky" Gove's SpAds Dominic Cummings and Henry de Zoete had to tell us via the @toryeducation Twitter feed on the mater?

That would be nothing. Zilch. Zero. Nil. Nada. Nothing from @toryeducation, and nothing from Tobes either via Twitter or the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs. One might form the impression that they're not keen on discussing the downside of "Oiky's" Very Wonderful new idea. And one would be dead right]


Laura McInerney said...

Thanks for posting about this Tim. I was surprised at the vitriol fired at Hannah yesterday. The fact that it was chucked at her, and not me, suggests that this was really about landing a target on the BBC and not actually about the content.

Toby has always been very reasonable with me in these sorts of discussions (and was yesterday). Likewise the @toryeducation account (well, most of the time). So I find it even stranger when they get into a tizz with others.

Shawlrat said...

If @toryeducation is actually authorised by the Dept of Education they should be ashamed.
Why should a reporter not report news just because it is critical of government policy? I thought we lived in a democracy.
If the free school policy is so marvellous, why are they afraid of criticism or accurate reporting ?