Coffee House

Tristram Hunt won’t condemn the NUT’s strike, but is he ready for a confrontation?

6 July 2014

7:18 PM

6 July 2014

7:18 PM

Tristram Hunt is getting a fair bit of stick from the Conservatives for refusing to condemn the strike action planned by the National Union of Teachers on this morning’s Andrew Marr Show. The Shadow Education Secretary merely said ‘it’s not up to me to tell trade unionists what to do – what I want is teachers in classrooms in a conversation with the Secretary of State so we get over these kind of hurdles’. He said the current stand-off was ‘as a result, partly, of some of the incendiary language from the Secretary of State’. Certainly when you read some of the NUT’s literature around its industrial action, it’s difficult not to conclude that this isn’t as much about a dislike of Michael Gove as it is a particular policy.

But the question for Hunt is not so much whether he condemns the strike action, but whether he is prepared to end up in the stand-off with the NUT that would inevitably befall him if he wants to pursue rigorous standards in the classroom. Last summer I wrote about the confrontations that Democrats have ended up in with trade unionists when they’ve tried to reform schooling – and the stakes are higher in the US as teaching unions can provide funding for party campaigns. There is no political affiliation for teaching unions in this country, and so Hunt needn’t worry about Len McCluskey-style threats when he formulates Labour’s education policy. But an education policy that favours the consumers – pupils – rather than the producers will most likely be one that incurs the wrath of this country’s most militant teaching union, and Hunt must be prepared for that.

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  • mattghg

    “it’s difficult not to conclude that this isn’t as much about a dislike of Michael Gove as it is a particular policy”

    Too many negations in this sentence for me to parse.

  • Ken

    The more the unions complain, the more convinced I am that Gove is doing the right thing.

  • John Smith

    Another poor Labour shadow education secretary

  • Amir

    Read this article about Labour concerns for NUT’S STRIKE:

    http://www.casualpolitics.co.uk/2014/07/which-party-is-most-worried-about-strikes/

  • lakelander

    Tristram Hund has an uncanny likeness to Harry Enfield’s Tory Boy. Is this what makes him look and sound fatuous and ineffectual?

  • Lucy Sky Diamonds

    Tristram C…..

  • GraveDave

    if he wants to pursue rigorous standards in the classroom.

    Oh gawd. Why don’t you try it then Isabel. Just for a day.

  • ohforheavensake

    Isobel- does it not start to ring alarm bells, when you talk so casually of pupils as consumers?

    • answeeney

      are you just looking in as telemachus’ supervisor?

    • GraveDave

      It’s a Tory thing.

  • MrGrylls

    Hunt will never condemn the striking teachers as he values them more than he values the pupils whose interests should be paramount. This is because his party relies on the votes of NUT members whereas the pupils have none.

    • telemachus

      The key is to value both
      As Tristram does
      All Gove does week on week is to lambast teachers
      You have to value and motivate your workforce
      Ask any CEO of any successful enterprise

  • Graeme S

    Mr HUNT WAS A COMPLETE LIMP WRISTED WET BLANKET.. HE LOOKED WELL OUT OF HIS DEPTH

    • telemachus

      Your opinion
      *
      He has the kind of good looks that will draw the ladies in to the polling booths

      • Reconstruct

        Chase me ladies, I’m in the Labour Party!

      • Holly

        No he doesn’t!

      • fubar_saunders

        Oh right. So its now down to facile, lowest common denominator visuals as opposed to substance is it?

        Glad we got that straight. I figured substance would have nothing to do with it.

  • telemachus

    The best way to end the strike is for Evil Gove to resign

    • MrGrylls

      In a mad way, you are right. The strike is motivated by hatred for Mr. Gove and the Government and has nothing to do with the working conditions of teachers.

      • telemachus

        He must take stock and go
        Go quickly

        • Alexsandr

          Didnt you read what Mr Grylls wrote, you muppet. Or did you see a post and pasted any old response from a spreadsheet given to you by your masters.

          • telemachus

            It is called reinforcement

            • Alexsandr

              that shows your level of understanding

              • telemachus

                It is the message that is important

                • Alexsandr

                  If this subject wasnt so important your ignorant ramblings would be funny. but here they are just tragic. Go home and play with your lego, sonny.

                • telemachus

                  That tells me that you have not got the message
                  Gove is destroying further the education of the disadvantaged

        • Kitty MLB

          Mr Gove must certainly stay. Maybe Tristram could just
          disappear off with Isolade. Is that you Telemachus.. you both
          could walk off into the sunset together .

          • GraveDave

            He doesn’t know what he’s doing Kitty dear. Really.

      • GraveDave

        Then maybe some of you ought to condemn Gove and his policies. Because that’s something else that’s not working. Btw, there’s a better debate about this going on at the DT , with Toby Young.

  • goatmince

    The opposition fails to oppose opposition to not oppose oppositon.
    A PC Britain has gone bonkers – there is nothing of substance to purport.

    • telemachus

      Is that the way to say Tristram is yet another superstar in the firmament

      • Alexsandr

        he is a thicko. giving him any sort of responsibility would be so wrong.

        • telemachus

          He is not dangerous
          *
          And more importantly values teachers and is glad to say as much

      • Kitty MLB

        Tristram Hunt is most certainly not a superstar,
        as said on many occasion, he’s as beautiful as the
        statue of Neptune in Florence but unfortunately his
        orb contains the same amount of living matter.
        Even his lattest history book is factually incorrect.
        The truth is Tristram was placed in that position
        to make the excellent and unique Michael Gove look
        like a unattractive fool.

        • telemachus

          Not difficult

  • HookesLaw

    Teachers and their unions can discuss with Gove – the strike does nothing only hurt pupils and their parents. It is not a weapon that can somehow affect the profits of an employer. As such it is a disgrace and Hunt should condemn it.
    After discussions the government has the right to formulate its policy. Hunt is free to explain why he opposes it.

    • telemachus

      Gove is hurting thousands and thousands of pupils with his Educational Social Darwinism

      • Alexsandr

        teaching unions are hurting kids because they put themselves first, not the kids.

        • telemachus

          No
          The Government need to be told
          *
          First to value and not lambast teachers
          And second to stop this divisive policy of creating Free Schools to destroy LA Schools

          • Andy

            The Fascist Teaching Unions, like the Fascist Labour Party, need to be destroyed.

            • telemachus

              Who else will speak for the well being of children
              All children
              All the Coalition care about, led by the hateful Gove, is the promotion of and investment in Free schools
              Meanwhile LEA schools wither and the children in them denied any chance of betterment in life

              • Alexsandr

                LEA schools have had since 1944 to show their mettle and have failed. Mine was cr@p in the 1970’s We need a new way to improve the education of our kids. We have failed them for too long, and need to be radical.

                • telemachus

                  You have a valid point
                  The crime is in the way Gove is going about it
                  He does not revamp them
                  He does not shut them
                  He plonks a Free School next door to allow them to wither
                  *
                  2problems with this
                  -firstly it takes a few years
                  -secondly it relies on engaged parents transferring their children. Problem there is that the 14% of children who are disadvantaged anyway and have disengaged parents get the worst deal
                  *
                  This Govian Educational Social Darwinism is anti egalitarian

                • The Masked Marvel

                  Your lot’s attempt to engineer equality of outcome is a human rights violation. You don’t care about the children at all, only your own emotions.

                • telemachus

                  Equality of opportunity

                • DWWolds

                  Equality of opportunity to plummet down the international comparison tables?

                • The Masked Marvel

                  But, telemachus, your complaint is that Gove’s system is “anti egalitarian”, and “Social Darwinism”. A system can provide equal opportunity but unequal outcomes due to survival of the fittest. That’s not anti-egalitarian, and neither is anything put together by Gove. The whole point of his schemes are to provide as many children as possible with that opportunity to achieve.

                  Either you’re erroneously conflating equality of opportunity with equality of outcome, or you’re simply taking a reflexive contrary position with no substance behind it.

                • andagain

                  The crime is in the way Gove is going about it
                  He does not revamp them
                  He does not shut them

                  So you’d be cheering him on if he were ordering the closure of a lot of schools? It is hard to believe that, unless you actually demand that he close a lot of the existing schools.

                  The alternative is to believe that you think the existing system is indefensible, and so simply attack any attempt to reform it. After all, you are not actually supporting a reform – you are attacking a reformer.

                • Mynydd

                  So why didn’t Mrs Thatcher’s government do something about it.

              • fubar_saunders

                yeah Tele, cos thirteen years of “Education, Education, Education” really worked, didnt it? Thirteen years of dumbing down and devaluing qualifications whilst throwing open the doors to all and sundry who can do it better and cheaper whilst building up nearly a million kids who havent got the gumption to do anything except think they should go to uni, where they promptly spend 18 months then drop out. Meanwhile, the rest of the world, educationally is wiping the floor with us and theres a million kids who are nothing but dole fodder, thanks to being undercut and out-trained by half the rest of the world that Labour invited in to rub the right’s nose in diversity.

                “who else will speak for the well being of children”…. puhleeze… such over-emotive hysterical horse s**t. The left doesnt give a s**t about the kids, it never did, it never will. Any public sector service under a Labour government is far more about those who work in it as opposed to the poor saps who have to use the damn ed service in the first place.

                The day I listen to the left’s hypocritical bulls**t about anything, let alone education is the day I die. Anyone who votes for them is either part of it, has something personally to gain from it, or is mentally ill.

            • Kitty MLB

              Well clearly for the sublime Michael Gove to
              rattle so many cages with in the cosy little club
              of teaching unions he must be doing something
              right.
              It must be added that there are some teachers
              in whom post here and none of them support
              the bullying teaching unions and would be
              quite happy to see them demolished.

              • Andy

                I agree. Gove must be doing something right to have the Fascist Teaching Unions hating him so much and Fascist morons like Telemachus. And we ought to tackle to abuse by the Teaching Unions of strike ballots – the one they are using on this occasion is more than 2 years old and is not a majority of their members.

                • Mynydd

                  Mr Gove is paid by the taxpayer to run the education system, therefore it is responsibility to resolve any problems that may arise. If that means talking to the unions so be it. Children should not be used in his bid to be the next Conservative Party leader. By the way at the last general election the Mr Cameron’s Conservative party had a massive 23% of those eligible to vote.

              • Mynydd

                Thank you for confirming that Mr Gove has deliberately provoked the unions into strike action for his own political reason

          • Dutchnick

            Valuing teachers is not an entitlement it achieved by results and doing a proper job. The whole teaching establishment has been the preserve of the left and they have failed. Never better demonstrated in the Labour fiefdom of Wales where sats were discontinued and it was left to the ‘professional opinion’ of the teachers. Achievement dropped through the floor. 26% of kids i Wales leave school with no qualifications whatsoever, it is beyond scandalous and having been a parent governor there I could see the total disregard actually for real education. If a doctor had a 26% failure rate I would want him struck off. I can understand that you do not like competition and cannot handle it, neither could the dinosaurs.

          • Tom M

            It is not within the remit of the teaching unions to decide the education policy for the UK. That is what we elect a government to do. Teachers are employees in the same category as any other employee working for an employer. If the government of the day decides upon Free Schools then too bad if you don’t agree a lot of other people do.
            They should just learn to live with it (much the same as I had to live with an ex postman who left school at fifteen without any qualifications whatsoever being in charge of the education system in the UK under the previous government).

          • fubar_saunders

            in a word….
            “bollocks”.
            End of.

      • HookesLaw

        Garbage.

        • telemachus

          As we speak children are getting ready all over the country to go to sink schools in the morning
          Gove will not invest in them
          Instead he plonks a well funded Free School next door and hopes the sink will wither
          But it takes 7 or so years while a generation of kids are denied real education

          • Holly

            That would be a good point IF ‘sink’ schools had suddenly appeared after May 2010.
            You, the unions, and Labour would be justified in your anger.
            Shame it is all so bogus.
            Well over a decade Labour were in government.
            What did the Labour generation inherit from them that made employers cry out for their ‘expertise’?
            ZILCH!

            • telemachus

              Yes and during the last administration the physical well being of our children was made immeasurably better as children were rescued from draughty Victorian classrooms and given fit for purpose schools across the land

              • Holly

                Nice to know that churning out poorly educated children, who ended up years behind their full potential, is justifiable in your eyes, because they had ‘nice’ classrooms.

              • Dutchnick

                Typical of the last administration to rebuild schools on the basis that poor and old buildings made for poor education, any excuse but the teaching. Mind you they did well with ever increasing achievement rates, the way it was going you would have had 50% of kids with PhDs, shame they probably could no read or write.

            • Mynydd

              There were many ‘sink’ schools when Mrs Thatcher was in power. In those 18 years many started and finished in one.

      • David B

        No Tele like you the unions apply a flat earth policy. They don’t want any evolution to improve education because it doesn’t fit within their dogma

        • telemachus

          What they want is to stop Gove
          To stop the policy that is depriving the bottom 14% of any meaningful education
          If he will not improve education for all who will speak for the disadvantaged?

          • David B

            Making up numbers again!

            Gove has done more to improve social mobility in 4 years than Balls or Hunt could dream of.

            But then Labour don’t like social mobility because it represents aspersion and people with aspersion don’t vote labour.

            That’s why you despise Gove so much he because he makes aspiration a key part of education.

            • telemachus

              Aspersion?

              • David B

                No the word is Aspiration – but you would not know what it means

                • Mynydd

                  How can you have Aspiration when many of Mr Gove’s school cannot even teach pupils to read and write.

            • GraveDave

              Gove has done nothing. Zilch. Nada…

          • answeeney

            Even a paid troll like you must surely be embarrassed at having come up with this one. The laughable thing is that the Labour party have probably got you on a zero hours contract.

          • Tony_E

            But that’s not what their strike is about – and if it is, then they need to ballot their members again because that’s not what they voted for.

          • fubar_saunders

            Not you lot, thats for sure. You dont speak for anyone but yourself.

      • Kitty MLB

        Absolute balderdash Telemachus.Teaching is about
        Lighting that little spark and allowing a child to reach
        their full potential.That through education they can
        Live any life they chose.The mess that New-Labour
        made of our education ststem in the name of
        muliticulturalism happens to be a disgrace .
        And its most certainly not Social Darwinism for children to know the basics. Education is about the
        Children and not the feral teaching unions and their
        comfortable jobs.

        • telemachus

          It is because education is about children that we must take the hated Gove to task
          He has made it about doctrinaire right wing policies
          Not since Germany of the 1930’s have we seen attempts to put Social Darwinism into practice

          • Kitty MLB

            He’s hated because he happens to be right,
            and wishes to drag the establishment out of its
            comfort zone. There are those who were educated under Blair’s reign who have very little
            understanding of basics.

            • Mynydd

              Some schools in Birmingham say he has lost control of those school under his direct control.

              • DWWolds

                And the latest report says that the problems in Birmingham began 10 years or so ago.

                • GraveDave

                  A lot of these cultural clash problems began far longer back than that. Try reading Melanie Philips’ work on Londonistan That was all back in the mid 80s. Tories! I mean she is rightwing – right? Not a luvvie.

          • The Masked Marvel

            What’s the opposite of “Social Darwinism”, then?

          • fubar_saunders

            must…..not….feed….the….troll…….resist…..

        • GraveDave

          There’s a lot of truth in that. But then go online and find how many pictures you can find of Gove posing in a ‘traditional’ looking classroom. He’s a hypocrite.Bans the BNP but only decides to act tough on the Trojan Horse scandal once it gets to be too much of a hot potato.

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