So Michael Gove has finally surfaced. When A-Level students received their results a fortnight ago, he was nowhere to be seen. Last week, when GCSE results were published, he was not available to comment. He has nothing to say on the crisis in primary school places facing pupils going back to school next week. While Labour has been talking about the big issues in education, Michael Gove has been conducting his very own Summer Of Silence.
Now when he has finally opened his mouth, it is to act as Lynton Crosby's ventriloquist's dummy. He needs to focus on the day job.
His failures in education are increasingly being exposed. Just today we see he has failed to build on the progress in our academies programme, as A-Level results slip in the schools that were making big improvements with Labour. And a shocking report from Barnardo's cannot find a single young person who has heard of the Government's careers advice service.
All this comes having wasted £1billion on mismanaging the academies programme and over £100m on consultants, IT projects and marketing. At the same time he is threatening a decades of higher school standards by allowing unqualified teachers into the classroom.
Why has Michael Gove got nothing to say on the big issues this summer? He has been silent on the overwhelming opposition from leading universities to his A level changes. Silent on the latest figures showing nearly a million young people not in education, working or training. Silent on the explosion of pupils sitting multiple GCSE exams in the same subject, which threatens school standards and budgets. Finally on 27th August we hear from him, not to address these issues, but to go on a rant about trade unions.
He is the political equivalent of an oddball in the corner of the pub who everyone tries to avoid. He can't resist telling you how we should bring back the royal yacht or send every child a bible with his name on it. Parents and pupils deserve more than this.
Does Michael Gove really think that people who work in Tesco are like Militant? Sensible people will be concerned that the history curriculum is in the hands of a man prepared to come up with such nonsense. Either Michael Gove really believes this, in which case he should take off his tinfoil hat, sit down and have a nice cup of tea. Or he's prepared to spout ahistorical guff to push a political agenda he knows is nonsense.
Ed Miliband is setting out a course of major reform to the Labour Party to strengthen and change our relationship with trade unions. This is the most significant reform since the creation of the Labour Party over a century ago. For the first time, this will enable individual trade union members to have a relationship with the Labour Party. It will limit the amount of money that can be spent on selection contests and strengthen rules on MPs having second jobs. And for the first time we will open up our selection contest for the Mayor of London to the people - through an open primary.
In his blinkered ideology, Michael Gove cannot see the value of a relationship with millions of working people. I am proud to be supported by Usdaw, the union that represents hard working people employed in shops and supermarkets. While Labour is backed by millions of working people, the Tories rely on a small group of extremely wealthy backers. Reportedly over half their money comes from the City - the millionaire bankers and hedge fund bosses who David Cameron rewarded with a tax cut while hardworking families feel the squeeze. And they're continuing to rake in millions from private dinners with David Cameron and senior ministers, while the Prime Minister continues to refuse to publish the results of his promised inquiry in to the 'dinners for donors' affair.
Just as Michael Gove's opinions on education are stuck in the past, so the Tory Party itself is becoming a relic from a bygone age. Its membership has sunk so low that Grant Shapps is too embarrassed to publish the total. The party's dependence on rich City backers explains why David Cameron is unable to agree the £5,000 donation cap which Ed Miliband has proposed.
And that exposes a more fundamental truth; that there is something in the elitist nature of the Conservative Party which renders it unable to adapt to the politics of the 21st century, which requires parties to be more open and accessible to a less tribal electorate. Ed Miliband recognises this new era, which is why he is transforming Labour into a mass movement, not just a traditional party. David Cameron and Michael Gove either cannot see this change, or if they can are powerless to respond to it.
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