politics

Tories are acting like a child-hating film villain over funding for schools


Probablythe one bright spot in that otherwise extremely turgid England game on Wednesday night was the performance of Jude Bellingham.

You can’t help but be pleased for the lad, who seems like a decent bloke and will be a great player. Brave to have gone to live abroad so young (he plays for Borussia Dortmund).

But halfway through the second half, I made the fatal error of looking him up on Wikipedia.

He was born in 2003. How can ­someone have been born in 2003?

It inspired an episode of jealousy that I suppose is a natural consequence of ageing. Who is this kid? Why am I not playing international football?

What do you think? Have your say in comments below



rime Minister Boris Johnson answers questions during a briefing on the current coronavirus pandemic, in Downing Street on November 5, 2020
Boris Johnson has reset the clock on the Tories

A level of delusion even more tragic because I was watching the game halfway through a bottle of Merlot, eating a Chinese and leafing through an old Homebase catalogue. Also, I am old and was always a useless footballer.

At least my low-level resentment of the young is manageable – unlike the Conservative Party, which is ­demonstrating a level of rage and ­hatred ­towards the youth of this country not seen since the chilling Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The young have had a hard few years. And just when it looked like they would get the help they needed, it was snatched away in such a crass way the education recovery commissioner for England, Sir Kevan Collins, quit in disgust.

He called it “a half-hearted approach that risks failing hundreds of thousands of pupils”.



Education Recovery Commissioner, Sir Kevan Collins, giving evidence to the Education Select Committee on on plans to help school pupils catch up on lost learning, March 2, 2021
Education Recovery Commissioner Sir Kevan Collins, quit in disgust over Tories’s handling of education budget

Sir Kevan needed £15billion for more hours, more teachers, more funding. He got less than a tenth of it.

The frightening thing is this: We all know there is more money. But it is being saved for later in the year, when the euphoria of emerging from the pandemic is wearing off and the Government needs to look good again.

There is room here for Labour. Education is a natural spot to pressure this Government. No-one is going to put up with a mob that is risking the future of millions of youngsters.



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Some kind of radical plan on ­education would be a very nice position to campaign on in the summer. And they need to move before Boris Johnson slips another punch.

A friend rang. “The problem for Labour,” he said, “Is that Boris Johnson has reset the clock on the Tories.

“That means they’re ignoring ten years of austerity and we’re all having to start again.”

This is bad news, as education is an area that desperately needs help, having been butchered for the past decade.

Hundreds of thousands leave school every year ill-equipped for work, with everyone from the National Education Union and the CBI saying the exams system is not fit for purpose.

Add school closures, problems of inequality and the shrinking job market and it is really tough to be young.

Labour can help here and seize a good bit of ground. We’ll see. Long summer coming.

Meantime, back to Jude Bellingham, and wishing him well for the Euros.

He is going to be the breakout star and has got the lot. Even his name is spot on – St Jude being the patron saint of desperate and lost causes.

Perfect fit for an England midfield.





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