Posts Tagged ‘Councils’

Hope Not Hate on UKIP’s Non-Breakthrough at the Elections

May 7, 2016

Yesterday I got this message from Nick Lowles and his team at the anti-racist, anti-religious extremism organisation, Hope Not Hate, putting UKIP’s performance at the council elections into perspective and showing that, whatever UKIP claim, it definitely was not an electoral breakthrough.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has taken to the airwaves over the last 15 hours to declare that these elections have been a great “breakthrough” for his party. The media, by and large, has accepted and run with this narrative.

The only problem is that the 2016 elections have not been the breakthrough that Farage had confidently announced. Sure, UKIP won seven seats on the Welsh Assembly (out of 60) and became the equal largest party on Thurrock council – but beyond that UKIP’s results were underwhelming.

In fact, nationally, UKIP only won 55 council wards and given the fact that it was defending some seats, this meant a net gain of just 26.

This compares with 140 council gains in 2013, 163 in 2014 and 202 in 2015.

UKIP did not breakthrough in any new areas and in almost all of the local authorities it won seats, it did far less well than in previous years.

While there is no room for complacency and there is still a huge amount of work to do, let’s not allow Farage to talk up UKIP’s limited success.

We have produced a map to show UKIP’s limited gains.

Even in Wales, where UKIP gained seven seats on the Welsh Assembly, this was below expectations.

And hopefully our own campaign had an impact. In Wales alone, our supporters put out almost 500,000 leaflets, knocked on thousands of doors and had hundreds of conversations with people keen to help.

In Rotherham, we worked intensively in the five highest risk wards in the last couple of weeks. In Oldham, Hyndburn and Bradford we helped ensure that UKIP candidates failed in seats they had been widely expected to win.

While Thurrock was clearly a set-back, our local HOPE not hate teams played their part in ensuring UKIP had its worst election in Essex in since 2012.

Over the next few days we will be analysing the results in more detail and sketching out a plan to continue our work in these communities, but for now I just want to say thank you. Thank you to the hundreds of people who came out campaigning the 2,136 people whose donations made it all possible.

And thank you to you – our supporters – without whom HOPE not hate would not be what it is.

The message is also repeated on Nick’s blog, which has the maps and stats of UKIP’s performance over the past few years, so see

http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/nick/the-breakthrough-that-wasn-t-4879

for full information.

Advertisements

Vox Political: Study Shows Council-Run Schools Better than Academies

April 26, 2016

Mike over at Vox Political has put up a piece on a report in today’s Guardian, showing that schools run by local authorities perform better than academies and free schools. The study by the Local Government Association found that 86% of state-run schools were classed as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, compared with 82% of academies and 79% of free schools. Furthermore, local government-run schools were better at improving. 98% of local government schools had done so by the time of their first Ofsted inspection, after being rate ‘inadequate’. The figure for academies was ten per cent lower 88 per cent.

The same article in the Guardian reported that Thicky Nicky would not be drawn on questions about negotiations with Tory councils to allow them to run some of the academies, in order to avoid a backbench revolt.

Mike makes the point that this shows that the Tories’ desire to privatise the education system is driven by ideology, not fact, and that Thicky Nicky is flagrantly incompetent. He has recommended that she be returned to the back benches.

The article can be read at: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/04/26/local-authority-schools-outperform-academies-proving-thicky-nicky-wants-the-worst-for-your-children/

I agree that Thicky Nicky should go back to where she came from, but ultimately, she isn’t to blame. The rot started long, long before, when Maggie Thatcher started ball rolling about taking schools out of local government control. It was then picked up by Tony Blair, who launched the academy system. Now it’s being massively extended by David Cameron, who, as a public-school toff, probably believes that privatising these schools will magically turn them into the prole equivalent of Eton, Harrow and the rest. I’m not exaggerating. Years ago Private Eye reviewed Danny Danziger’s Eton Voices, which quoted one old Etonian as saying that schools would improve if their pupils were given the same confidence that Eton gives its pupils. The Eye’s reviewer attacked the vacuity of this statement by sarcastically stating that it was so profound, it was worthy of the SDP in its prime. This to my mind seems a bit harsh on the SDP.

What the study does is disprove thirty years of Thatcherite propaganda: that private management is always superior to that of the state, and that the privatisation of a concern or enterprise will automatically solve its problems as if by some weird economic magic. It clearly doesn’t. But this won’t stop Cameron and the rest of them, who are ideologically wedded to the idea. They also have a powerful vested interest themselves in education’s privatisation. They’re the children of the haute bourgeoisie, and have a class interest in extending private ownership. They are also funded very handsomely by big business, and often have personal links to the companies lining up to buy up the remains of the state sector, and so have personal reasons for wanting education privatised. After all, we wouldn’t want to disappoint Rupert Murdoch and his aspirations to run an education chain.

Thicky Nicky’s role in all this is actually quite minor. She’s just the latest face shoved in front of the public to sell the policy. She replaced Michael Gove, who was also less than competent, and will probably be replaced by someone else in the next cabinet reshuffle. The ultimate responsibility is David Cameron’s. He’s the one who really should be overthrown, and have to trudge back to the back benches.

Insurance Companies Hampering Council Investigation of Child Abuse

February 19, 2015

Radio 4’s File on Four next Tuesday investigates the way council’s insurers are influencing the way local authorities investigate claims of child abuse and are trying to limit the amount paid in compensation. The blurb for the programme in the Radio Times runs

Tim Whewell investigates the role insurance companies play in local authorities’ handling of child sex abuse cases, with many firms wanting to limit the amount of compensation paid. Whewell hears claims from lawyers that getting access to information and files is becoming increasingly difficult, and this is causing further distress to victims. One former senior member of staff alleges that they were made to alter the way they approached investigations, just to protect insurer’s interests.

The programme will be on at 8.00 pm.

Coming after Peter Oborne’s resignation because of corporate corruption at the Telegraph and the on-going investigations into historic sex abuse, this should be a major scandal.