Tristram Hunt and his SpAds had been up all night and the morning was about to peak up above the Palace of Westminster. Hunt knew this was his moment to shine. After the dour week that Labour had suffered at the hands of UKIP, Hunt was certain that he could reverse the Party’s fortunes and prove himself as the candidate for leadership which he always knew he was. The mission to Singapore was all about to pay off, and Nigel Farage would look glumly as Tristram Hunt sailed to unrivalled popularity. This was his time. The world would know about Tristram!
The ‘teacher oath’ confirms the departure of Tristram Hunt to another planet. Because you see, on this planet our schools are overcrowded, underfunded and being given away to Academy chains. On this planet our teachers are demoralised, underpaid and over-worked. Who knows what happens on Hunt’s planet. Tristram Hunt has such an easy job he shouldn’t even be payed for it. If he could put out a few, good, well thought out policies he would be doing well. He’s not doing that. If he could remain less unpopular than Michael Gove/ Nicky Morgan he would be doing the bare minimum expected of him. He can’t even manage that.
Imagine you’re a teacher. Your wages have flatlined, you’re working hours and hours more than you can cope. Last year your staff room didn’t even have a christmas party because you were all so busy. This year you face being absorbed into academy federation effectively being run for profit by a Tory party donor. You’ve been insulted and kicked about by Michael Gove for four years now. And now what? Instead of offering concrete proposals to make teaching a rewarding job, Tristram Hunt patronises you and puts forward the most flaccid, the most useless and the most half-arsed idea this side of Speedy Boarding for veterans.
Labour has always been the party of Education. After years of Tory neglect, the investment we pumped into the education system after 1997 was what was needed to allow our schools to flourish again. Academy schools were not the best idea in the world, but then again that was the nature of the Blair years: very good policies coupled with atrocious ideas. But Milliband’s two Shadow Education Secretaries have been dire. Trying to decide whether Twigg or Hunt was the worst one keeps me up at nights. After Michael Gove slashed and burned our school system, Labour cannot be complacent in Education. We need an Education Secretary who has a vision for our schools and the leadership to carry it through. Michael Gove had both, and that was why he caused such damage. A Labour Education Secretary however, will be on the side of teachers. A Labour Education Secretary will pay teachers well enough, will not patronise them and will allow them to do their job. A Labour Education Secretary will have the best interests of all the stakeholders in education, and will not only care about his own career. Tristram Hunt is not a Labour Education Secretary.
This little rant has been directed at Tristram Hunt but unfortunately with very little effort it could be adjusted to point towards many members of the Shadow Cabinet. It makes my job easy but makes the task of actually forming a government rather tricky. It must be difficult to ignore so many voices, both inside and outside the Party, which call for leadership and vision from our Frontbench. We must congratulate the senior members of the Shadow Cabinet for their immense skill at ignoring so many people when they decide upon policy. What planet are they on, and when will they get back, if ever?