Coffee House

Promoting David Laws to the education department would be a waste

3 September 2012

3 September 2012

Appointing David Laws as deputy to Michael Gove seems like a sensible way of bringing the Liberal Democrat back into government at first glance. But this move, which is one of the changes David Cameron is rumoured to be considering as part of the reshuffle, is actually rather a waste of a talented member of Nick Clegg’s party.

Here’s the case for putting Laws in the education department: He is not from the wing of the party that gets the most upset about Gove’s reforms in education. In fact, his views on free schools and the profit motive suggest he could work well with the education secretary. On profit-making, he said this in an interview with an education magazine in January:

‘I think that we would be unwise to rule out the possibility of it ever happening, but I don’t think it should happen over the next few years. I think that we need to embed the existing new programme of Free Schools and demonstrate that it is about education performance and not about allowing people to ‘exploit’ the education system.’

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Gove and Laws get on well: before the general election Gove said ‘his is a voice I have always benefited from listening to in the past’. The relationship would not be fully cordial, though: the two men would be likely to clash over whether local authorities should retain some level of supervision over free schools, or whether they really are independent institutions. Laws seems to favour the former at present.

But the real problem is that Laws might not be much use in education: not because of his views but because Gove’s reforms are so successful. Why move a ‘troubleshooter’ to a department where there is no trouble? Instead, Conservative MPs would rather see him in a role where he could reach out to departments where coalition discord is far more manifestly blocking progress. He could do this from a desk in the Cabinet Office, which is also where the advisers who joined Nick Clegg’s team to shore up his influence in each department are based. It also gives him the flexibility to intervene in policy areas where unexpected trouble flares up, which it could well do in the most unexpected of places, given the still tense post-Lords reform landscape.


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Show comments
  • Cullum Elly

    Oh david, u are saying right.
    High School Diploma

  • David Lindsay

    David Laws to return to the Cabinet?

    Just give the intended job to someone who had fiddled that much in Housing Benefit.

    At least that other person will have done the deserved term in prison.

  • Gina Dean

    He should be in the treasury, he worked in the city. At least he would be able to oversee the banking reform and look for loop holes. As they say set a poacher to catch a poacher. Any where else would be a waste.

  • http://www.the-cameron-coalition.co.uk FredDibnahsLoveChild

    Can someone please explain why the odious creature Laws should be brought back into a senior government position. Is it because he is gay? Or is he so highly talented that his previous fraudulent activities can be overlooked?

    Just a reminder, he took £56,000 (not £30k?) from the taxpayer to give to his gay lover so that he could maintain the illusion of a landlord-tenant relationship. Both fraudulent and deceitful. Being a millionaire he maybe thought £56K was loose change.

    Just why is this man or woman even getting a hearing? If this is a star of the LibDem party then their talent pool must be very very shallow.

  • Charlie the Chump

    I’m not convinced we need Laws at all. If the Libs really need him then one of their existing “ministers” should go.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Will Laws be tagged?

  • Frank P

    This midget arse-bandit has been, characteristically, entering the back door of government ever since he was disgraced and shit-canned. If Cameron allows gives him another lease of life by an (officially) paid brief again, at the behest of the tail that is wagging the dog, then it will be the final nail in the Tory coffin. Just how debauched can the Westminster gasworks get? It’s always been there sub-rosa; now it’s in-yer-face and fuck the consequences. Grrr!

    • http://profiles.google.com/jimmygrant56 Jimmy Grant

      A hallmark of decent conservatives is surely good manners and civility. This is an odious post.

      • Frank P

        This suggestion is obscene and your post is pompous poppycock – which appear to be the hallmarks of the current conalition.

        The public didn’t vote for it and don’t deserve to be victimised by a cabal of queers who seem to have undue influence over our affairs. And what makes you think this friggin’ magazine any longer interested in the opinions of decent conservatives? Foxtrot Oscar, Jummy. The time for good manners is long past. We’re being governed by charlatans with little or no interest in the nation; they are Europhiliac, sexually perverted and venal. Is that civil enough for you?

        • http://profiles.google.com/jimmygrant56 Jimmy Grant

          It is about what I expected! Your comments are obnoxious and hypocritical and they don’t deserve to be dignified with a detailed response.
          Suffice to say, if you don’t like the magazine, take yourself somewhere else and leave the rest of us to have a civilised, intelligent discussion.

          • Frank P

            That’s exactly what you would like, isn’t it; for everyone to toe the line behind the wettest bunch of conniving bastards ever to grace the PoW and by God! That’s saying something. Civilised, intelligent discussion – my arse! Bollocks and bilge is par for the course around here these days. And as someone who has read, subscribed to (until recently – ceased out of chagrin because it has been hi-jacked) this magazine probably for more years than you have lived, I’ll come and go as I please. I don’t have to be Grant-ed permission, by you. It’s a free forum and you don’t like it, then feckin’ lump it! Hypocritical?? I suggest you look the word up. Not even hypercritical fits the bill – I not only mean it, they deserve it and so do you. Nothing Janusian about my disapproval, cocker.

            • http://profiles.google.com/jimmygrant56 Jimmy Grant

              I don’t think I ever said anyone had to toe the line. I’m all for debate, discussion, and dissent – I just think we’d all be better off if contributors could make their points with a little more grace than you appear capable of.
              I am well aware of the definition of hypocritical – my use of it was considered. You accused certain members of the coalition of “victimising” the public, yet you have repeatedly victimised “midget arse-bandit” David Laws and other “queers” for their “sexual perversions”. You accuse the government of having “undue influence” in our affairs, yet you seem to think that you are entitled to pass comment on what two consenting adults get up to in their own bedroom. Hypocritical about sums you up and, now you mention it, Janusian is pretty apt too.

              • Frank P

                When you’re in a hole – stop digging! I didn’t accuse the government of having undue influence in our affairs, I accused a cabal of perverts using their relationships with each to gain undue influence in government. In fact our government has far too little influence in our economic and other sovereign affairs; they have ceded most of those to a bunch of Leftist bureaucratic bastards in Brussels; Moreover the ‘conservative’ input to what’s left of our governmental decision making has been apparently handed over to the aforementioned arse-bandits in a party that has been known as the band of buggers throughout my long lifetime. What you seem to be suggesting is that those of us who profess small conservatism politely accept this monstrous development in a polite and civilised way; well fuck that, Jimmy boy. Some of us are not prepared to hide behind the other face of hypocrisy and be polite while we are pissed and shat upon by undemocratic self-appointed perverts; though I understand some of them quite enjoy the experience themselves. The golden rain of some of the Ministers of State is simply not appropriate for the Diamond Reign of Her Majesty.

                • http://profiles.google.com/jimmygrant56 Jimmy Grant

                  I almost admire your attempt to rewrite your post, but this is what you said:
                  “The public didn’t vote for it and don’t deserve to be victimised by a cabal of queers who seem to have undue influence over our affairs.”
                  I don’t even know what you mean by “using their relationships with each other to gain undue influence in government” (a government which, characteristically Janusially, you then go on to accuse of having too little influence over the direction of the nation in any event). Given your recent fixation on their sex lives and sexualities, I dread to think what you are insinuating.
                  This will be my last post in this thread – I will leave you with your anger. Best wishes.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vitaly-Klitschko/100003020592266 Vitaly Klitschko

                  But the thing is… what Frank is saying is brilliantly pithy and – in my experience – largely true.

                • Frank P

                  I’m pleased you finally decided to step out of the hole. By-ee!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

    The question is not why David Laws isn’t in the cabinet, but why he isn’t in jail. Anybody in any other walk of life, having fraudulently trousered £30,000 from his employer, would have been, regardless of how good his sob story might have been.

    It’s not even as if Laws can claim that he was only doing what everybody else was doing, since his expenses claims would not have qualified even under the old system. But there is clearly a different law that applies to mates of the prime minister.

    The fact is the man’s a crook, and in any field other than politics, that would disqualify him from holding senior office ever again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

    The question is not why David Laws isn’t in the cabinet, but why he isn’t in jail. Anybody in any other walk of life, having fraudulently trousered £30,000 from his employer, would have been, regardless of how good his sob story might have been.

    It’s not even as if Laws can claim that he was only doing what everybody else was doing, since his expenses claims would not have qualified even under the old system. But there is clearly a different law that applies to mates of the prime minister.

    The fact is the man’s a crook, and in any field other than politics, that would disqualify him from holding senior office ever again.

  • nordelius

    Sorry – I know that this is the Spectator and I may be out of my depth here, but on what planet is Gove doing a good job at education? What about the half-empty “Free Schools”, the GCSE grading interference, the will-he-won’t-he bring back O-levels stuff, the Academies riding cavalier over the wishes of local parents, and the sheer fact of him being so far up Rupert Murdoch’s backside he can see Jeremy Hunt’s feet?

    Serious question. As the only minister *ever* to have presided over a fall in educational attainment why on earth should he retain that (or any) brief?

    • John_Page

      Are you on work experience at Labour HQ?

    • http://twitter.com/ianwalkeruk Ian Walker

      to be effective, free schools musn’t be full. Competition in an oversupplied market is what drives down costs and increases value. That’s how capitalism works, even when the customers aren’t directly handing over cash for services.

      If you have a small number of oversubscribed schools, then you end up with the mini-monopolies that we have at the moment, unfetttered by the notion of having to deliver results to parents and children, only to their masters at the unions and the LEA.

    • Alexsandr

      ‘Serious question. As the only minister *ever* to have presided over a
      fall in educational attainment why on earth should he retain that (or
      any) brief?’
      Really? I think he is the first politician to take on the scandal of grade inflation, a scandal the last lot used shamelessly to point to so called rising standards. The sea change in opinion on that must be larely down to gove. Good on him.

    • Charlie the Chump

      Yes, you are out of your depth, please leave and do not return

  • Dodgy Dave

    How do we know that Laws is so ‘talented’ ?
    Does thieving tax payers’ money qualify him to be ‘talented’. If that’s the only qualification, then perhaps we should have the ‘talented’ Azil Nadir brought in as Chancellor. At least he’d be able to keep the ‘funny money’ and ‘off balance-sheet debt’ merry-go-round spinning a little longer.

  • alexsandr

    Isabel. you say ‘…sensible way of bringing the Liberal Democrat back into government…’ There is no way of getting this duplicitous thief back into government. he should be in gaol.

    • Charlie the Chump

      Anyone noticed the authors constant need to find good things to say about Libs and their “policies”???

  • John_Page

    He should be in the Treasury or in jail.

    More seriously, he should have renewed his mandate by causing a by election.

  • Nick

    Nothing like putting a fraudster in charge of other people’s money.

    He should be in jail for his expenses.

  • Nick

    Nothing like putting a fraudster in charge of other people’s money.

    He should be in jail for his expenses.

    • http://profiles.google.com/jimmygrant56 Jimmy Grant

      As swivel-eyed an assessment as any I have heard. The man broke the rules on a technicality because he wanted to keep his private life private. He wasn’t stealing – in fact, had he claimed according to the letter of the rules, he would have been entitled to far more.
      Laws has fine instincts – fiscal conservative, social liberal. I would love to see him back in government, ideally in a business or economic role.

      • CJ

        Whatever, like squatters, really…

        • http://profiles.google.com/jimmygrant56 Jimmy Grant

          Not sure I see the analogy…

          • CJ

            The analogy is, that it wasn’t really a crime, cos he did it for the right reasons. Like the rest of them I suppose. They did it cos everyone else was doing it, so that’s alright then.

      • Remittance Man

        in fact, had he claimed according to the letter of the rules, he would have been entitled to far more
        Horse poo!
        Laws’s claims were found to be over the market rate for what he was claiming (the use of a spare room). He was also found to have claimed for maintenance – something the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner said was not part of a normal lodging arrangement.
        Quite frankly his claim that his fraud was just a way to hide his sexuality doesn’t hold much water either. Off the top of my head I can think of several more convincing ways to hide a relationship from freinds and family.
        Laws took money to which he was not entitled. He should not be a minister of the crown no matter how “brilliant” he may be.

  • Bruce, UK

    Promoting David Laws

    The ultimate victory for soft sentencing. At least Ken Clarke will be happy.

  • pauldanon

    He should be chancellor, finally doing the cuts with a human face. Osborne should be the sole party-chairman.

  • UlyssesReturns

    I have long thought that Mr Laws is a conservative cuckoo in the lib dem nest, just as the seriously flawed Cable is really a labour viper in this nasty disfunctional party. If Cameron and Clegg (because as sure as eggs is eggs one cannot shuffle without the other) have half a brain between them they would replace Cable with Laws. Cable can go and sit on the backbenches and grizzle and moan on the BBC and Sky with his partner in dissemination Lord Oakshott.

    • Nick

      Put Cable in charge of the small business bank. Give him a little bit of capital, and make sure he follows the rules. He’ll quickly discover what a mess he has created. Make sure he has a low capital ratio, as he wants for other banks.

      Then axe his department. Completely.

      The money saved to come off corporation tax or NI.

      • alexsandr

        I think Cables talents should be used cleaning public toilets. At least he can’t do much damage there.

    • Nick

      Put Cable in charge of the small business bank. Give him a little bit of capital, and make sure he follows the rules. He’ll quickly discover what a mess he has created. Make sure he has a low capital ratio, as he wants for other banks.

      Then axe his department. Completely.

      The money saved to come off corporation tax or NI.

  • Michael990

    Don’t mess with Gove, he and Pickles are the only ones doing a good job.

    • Charlie the Chump

      Agreed but add IDS

      • Michael990

        True. My apologies for the ommission.

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