Monday, 4 March 2013

Ringswell Round Up March 4th

Eastleigh – what a result! Steve Webb telling us on Friday about his two days down there campaigning and how he and others of similar ilk got up at 2.55am on Thursday morning to deliver polling day leaflets in 5am dark. He managed to get back to London in time for his first of three pensions events at 10am.

Rennard – more practice on learning how to add my voice to a debate without sounding like I think I know the solution. Hope the systems in place will produce a just result, whatever that happens to be. See a need for a re-think on how to tackle this issue and help both sides understand each other better – will be interesting to see if we manage to make that space, at least within the party.

Education – interesting debate in Bristol on Saturday afternoon. Only signs of political correctness around food in schools, otherwise seemed to be a reasonable range of views and some refreshing thinking from schools and NUT reps. Came away feeling there is hope yet - a very welcome change from the doom and gloom one gets from the media about state education. One chap in audience asked whether we couldn’t assume that qualifications made well-rounded individuals – couldn’t let that one go by, leads me to my rant of the day on measurement below. 

I liked another point made by the NUJ rep: he’d been asked recently what could be done to import the DNA of the private system into the state sector, to which his response was, we don’t need your DNA, just your resources.   

Measuring human beings – the assumption that there’s is a direct correlation between academic achievement and well-rounded individuals feels so wrong it’s danger to my heart rate. It ties in with Rennard and politics generally as well as education:  just because we don’t have a yardstick for measuring human qualities like empathy, insight, humour, courage and common sense doesn’t make the things we can measure, like how many facts you know about history or how good your maths is in exam conditions, more important. I still want to know how good GCSE maths helps people look after babies.

Energy Bill – much discussion in Green LibDems over the weekend on our approach to Tim Yeo’s (Conservative Chair of the Climate Change Committee) amendment to include a decarbonisation target. Interesting to see the different arguments brought to the table.I'm changing my comment of "Not much chance of the amendment succeeding" to apparently every hope of the amendment succeeding - depending on who you read -  but agreed it was important LibDem MPs felt able to support it so Emergency Motion to Conference being proposed.  Tim Farron (party president) also supporting a target. Perhaps another lesson in government about working in coalition. Would LibDem support for the amendment undermine Ed Davey in any future negotiations in government? ie he can’t demonstrate that he can bring the party along with him when making a concession. But then, it’s a cross party amendment, proposed by a Conservative – George Osborne equally unable to bring his party along with him, on a point he had won. 

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