Despite the Tories cobbling together a deal with Northern Ireland’s DUP, their Parliamentary majority is wafer-thin, and that means with a few by-election reverses, there could be another General Election soon. So they and their Labour opponents are already planning for one. Also looking ahead to the next contest is the Daily Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor Paul Dacre, and hence today’s front page splash.
Why the f*** should I care about council schools when I send my sons to Eton, c***? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
“SCHOOLS’ BID TO SWAY ELECTION … Head teachers sent out letters attacking Tory policies during campaign” thunders the headline, under by by-line of education correspondent Eleanor Harding, although this is not about education, but the usual Mail staples of misinformation, falsehood, threats and bullying. Schools across the country are being told that Big Dacre Is Watching Them.
The detail effectively admits that the Mail does not have enough dirt on its targets to make any direct accusation: “Families sent letters by headmasters 'trying to sway the general election’ [note use of quotes] … Headmasters stand accused of trying to sway the general election by attacking Tory policies” [in other words, once again, there isn’t the evidence to stand up the claim]. But the Mail presses on regardless.
“Families were sent a series of political messages – by post and on social media – in the run-up to the national vote on June 8 … One warned of the ‘dreadful state’ of education funding under Theresa May. It was sent by heads from 3,000 schools across 14 counties … Parents elsewhere were urged to sign a petition set up by the Left-wing National Union of Teachers”. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point.
But then come the supposedly biased letters. One, sent from 3,000 schools, “urged families to raise the ‘current financial difficulties’ in schools with all prospective parliamentary candidates”. The Mail concludes “While it claimed that the schools signing the letter were not ‘involved in a politically biased or partisan way’, it was clearly critical of Tory funding policies”. But it does not mention any party.
The Mail does, though, have an expert on hand, “Anthony Glees, professor of politics at the University of Buckingham”. He has told “Council-run schools should not be seeking to influence voters during the purdah period … parents will fear understandably their children are being indoctrinated”. Of course, he’d know all about indoctrination - he wrote about it recently for a paper called, er … the Daily Mail!
That’s because he is also “director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham”. And in this capacity, he has obediently churned out “An intelligence expert's devastating verdict: Leaks by Edward Snowden and the Guardian have put British hostages in even greater peril” for the Mail, as well as “Liberal elite are helping spread of extremism”. So he’s not an exactly impartial witness.
But good of Paul Dacre to tell the world that he will be on the teaching profession’s case come the next General Election, making sure the Mail’s tsunami of spite is unleashed on any of its members daring to incur his displeasure.
The Daily Mail - still desperate for a Tory Government. No change there, then.