Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cameron's humiliating U-turn as another Tory frontbencher rebels on Grammar Schools

Grammarsgate Day 16

Dominic Grieve (shadow attorney general) told his local paper that if more grammars were needed in Buckinghamshire, they should be built.

In an article for the Buckinghamshire Examiner, Mr Grieve - shadow attorney general and MP for Beaconsfield - said he was "pleased" the Conservatives were looking at ways of reforming the comprehensive school system nationally.

But he added: "There is no question of our changing the selective education system in Buckinghamshire against the wishes of the local community.

"We must also ensure that if further grammar or secondary schools are needed they can be supplied within the county."

But David Willetts claimed that these comments are not in conflict with the policy he and David Cameron have been banging on about. Indeed, David Cameron has said that the idea that new grammar schools would be built was "delusional".

David Willetts seems to be making it up as he goes along to avoid another frontbench reprimand/black listing/resignation. It seems Willetts and Cameron have decided to use policy limbo dancing to get out of their undoubted mess on Grammar schools:

But the Conservatives say Mr Grieve's comments do not contradict party policy.

Shadow Education Secretary David Willetts said: "David has said absolutely nothing that is out of line with Conservative Party policy.

"I do understand that in parts of the country where they've got grammar schools, as demography changes, so they will come forward with how their grammar school system needs to change."

Mr Willetts said Mr Grieve's argument had been made in the full knowledge of his discussions with Buckinghamshire MPs and councillors - and he did not rule out building more grammar schools in such areas if they were needed.

I wonder if David Willetts knows that Dominic Grieve is not called "David". And if Grammar Schools were not to be built where there are 'demographic changes' where the heck would they be built these days anyway?

Here is Grieve's article in full.

Conservative Home reports that the Evening Standard leads with "TORY RETREAT ON GRAMMARS - Two weeks party backs new schools on case by case basis" regarding this latest twist.

Can I make a suggestion to the Conservative Party? Have policy decisions taken and agreed by a thing called a party conference. Get a policy commission to produce and distribute a paper and a motion months in advance. Allow amendments. Have a good old debate where all points of view are voiced. Then have a thing called 'a vote' on it. This will allow the leader to go on holiday to Crete without having to have palpitation-inducing phone calls back to Blighty.

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