Saturday, November 26, 2011

There is "no pot of gold" for teachers, but there are free Bibles for schools and an extra £1 billion "found"

The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has said that teachers should not go on strike for two reasons:

1. Talks are still continuing. It is irresponsible to strike while negotiations are still ongoing.
2. There is "no pot of gold" and so no better deal on offer.

(In other words, we're still talking, but have nothing more to give so please don't strike.)

Schools may not get a better financial deal for teacher pensions, but Gove has decided to send each teacher -- not a better pension deal, but rather -- a new King James version of the Bible including a brief preface written by Gove to be funded by tax payers instead. The government -- now claiming there is "no pot of gold" -- did find an extra £1 billion to spend earlier this week (although we still await any details of how this was found or how it will be paid for).

This is what I will call "spray paint politics" (feel free to use it):

1. It is the politics of splattering the public with as many policy ideas as come to mind without genuine concern about consistency or coherence.

2. It is the politics of veneer: the wood may be the same, but perhaps a new shiny polish might make people believe something else. If money is so tight, then why produce new Bibles to be sent to all schools? If money is so tight, then how to explain the just found extra £1 billion (and is there more)?

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