A week is certainly a long time in politics. Last week the PM claimed the A level results were robust and dependable and his Education Secretary, the one who looks and acts like Private Pike, insisted there’d be no U-turn. This week they’ve abandoned the fancy algorithm which marked down bright children, at state schools, and favoured those who attended private schools.
How did this happen? It didn’t come out of the blue; we’ve known since February that there was a problem and yet the government waited until after the A Level results were announced before acting. They waited until children were distraught and parents driven to distraction. They determined to rebuke everyone who challenged what was happening until eventually their own MPs started turning on them. Given the furore, it was reasonable to expect a ministerial statement and apology but instead the Chair of the regulator, Ofqual, was wheeled out. Lack of attention to detail and risking the future of thousands of youngsters appears to be nobody’s fault, just one of those things.
We’re living at a time when the Health Secretary says one thing on track and trace and then the opposite days later; one care home resident died every minute on his watch, yet he blames Public Health England as failures mount. We have a Member of Parliament, accused of rape, protected by government whips and still able to vote for the government in Parliament. The PM swears there will be no border in the Irish sea despite it being written into the agreement he negotiated and the fact that extensive preparations for that border are well underway. Words have begun to mean their opposite like something from Orwell’s 1984.
I’m delighted that at the 11th hour, the government has seen sense and taken the only sane step to avoid wrecking the futures of so many of our children and grandchildren. There’s no shame in admitting a mistake but is it too much to expect that those responsible might own up, apologise or even consider resigning?
Is competence, honesty and integrity too much to expect these days?