LibDems fail to stick by word again…

THE Lib Dems have done a U-turn on academic selection in Northern Ireland. It’s the latest about-turn from a useless LibDem lord on Northern Irish issues. What was the bribe from Labour this time?

  • Rory

    The LibDems require no bribe considering what unbribed they are capable of all by their own sweet little selves. LibDem policy is that all policy is a moveable feast dictated by the prevailing wind.

  • Crataegus

    Politically I would have thought better to let the government suffer.

    Not a very clever decision, what does the local Alliance Party make of it?

  • “Not a very clever decision, what does the local Alliance Party make of it?”

    Sure they’ve been anti-selection all along, haven’t they? In fact I’m surprised to learn that the Lib Dems weren’t, it sounds like the sort of wishy-washy unfounded guff that usually passes for Lib Dem policy.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi All,

    What amazes me about the whole selection debate is that there is even a debate. From my understanding of the parties attitudes, largely the Unionists are for selection and nationalists against. As schools are largely already split on these lines, why don’t CCMS become non-selecting and state schools retain selection? It would be as logical as splitting the schools on a religious basis…

  • Crataegus

    Beano

    Sure they’ve been anti-selection all along

    Indeed, Eileen Bell was very much for removing selection but Alliance to me seems more interested in Integrated Education. So one would suppose they are well pleased?

    Had a quick look at their site and plenty about integrated education in the policy area. Just curious what exactly is their wider Education Policy? Does anyone have a link, I am in a bit of a hurry and can’t find it.

  • kensei

    As I noted on the short list thread, this is could be an interesting move to outflank the Tories. Cameron has repeatedly stated he doesn’t support the reintroduction of selection, and now both Labour and the Lib Dems support removing it here, whereas the Tories don’t.

    If the issue becomes hot in England again, then I could see Blair attacking Cameron with this.

  • Reader

    Congal Claen: As schools are largely already split on these lines, why don’t CCMS become non-selecting and state schools retain selection?
    Then where does the next generation of the Catholic middle class get their education? In the state Grammers, that’s where!
    I hope you weren’t expecting a reason based on principle…

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Reader,

    Maybe not a bad thing? And happens to a lesser extent already…

    Also, much better than paying for it…

  • bob wilson

    IJP – any answers?
    They were opposed because of the use of Orders in Council – a matter of principle. Now because Govt has left it to the Assembly until 24 Nov they are going to vote FOR.
    Abstention would be a more logical and honourable position.

  • Garibaldy

    Crat,

    Integrated education is integrated academically as well as re4ligiously, if that’s what you mean by wider education policy, although it probably isn’t.

  • Crataegus

    Garibaldy

    Thanks for the clarification, there is a lot on their website about religious integration but not too much obvious (for someone in a hurry) about academic. Statements like those below sort of confused me, as they seemed to be attempting to face both ways.

    “Neither the Burns Report nor Alliance call for the abolition of grammar schools. Middle-school education can be provided by existing schools, including grammar schools.”
    “Alliance does not believe that the quality of grammar school education would be lessened if they lost their unique status of academic selection. But we recognise the benefits of retaining their ethos and identity as part of a greater network of partnerships. Alliance, instead of calling for the abolition of any school sector, wants to have all schools play an instrumental role in education reform.”

    So in plain English Alliance is for the abolition of the 11 plus and an end to grammar schools as we know them today. They want to incorporate the grammar schools into the new comprehensive system, albeit their preference would be for comprehensives that are also integrated when viewed from a religious perspective.

  • Garibaldy

    Crat,

    I suspect that, like the Lib Dems under Ming, Alliance will be pulling to the right in the near future to attempt to hoover up UUP votes. This process will be facilitated by the disappearance of many members who grew up under Stormont, and remember discrimination. I wouldn’t be entirely shocked to see this position on education change if this question drags on for a year or two

  • Someone please tell the disingenuous Alliance folk that a school that does not operate academic selection cannot be a grammar school. Perhaps IJP/someone else would like to comment?

  • mark james

    The real debate here isn’t ending academic selection but the sheer pointed bigotry of the protestant middle classes who are bricking it that catholics will now be an equal position academically.

    That bastian of everything protestant the Belfast telegraph have taken the high road on the education debate and perhaps its me but they have seemingly been very selective in coverage of the debate – very one sided.

  • Reader

    mark james: The real debate here isn’t ending academic selection but the sheer pointed bigotry of the protestant middle classes who are bricking it that catholics will now be an equal position academically.
    Eh? How is that not already the case? And what has it to do with the debate over selection?

  • Reader

    Congal Claen: (Re a comprehensive maintained sector competing for the middle class kids with a selective state sector) Maybe not a bad thing? And happens to a lesser extent already…
    I didn’t suggest it would be a bad thing, but can you see the Hierarchy buying such a plan? It would be fun to float the notion in the Assembly, and see how committed the SDLP and SF are to the comprehensive ethos.

  • Crataegus

    Watchman

    Surprise surprise all quiet on the Alliance front.

  • Mark James:

    Rubbish. If you can’t answer the criticisms of people like myself then don’t waste your time posting here.

  • Nevin

    [i]Tory Education spokesman Jeffrey Peel slammed the Government for acting like arrogant colonial despots by tying the Order to efforts to restore devolution.

    He said: “What the Labour Government has done must surely rank as one of the most offensive attacks on democracy in British history.

    “Here we have a government that has received no votes from the people of Northern Ireland telling the local population it will ride roughshod over their democratically expressed wishes in the event of a failure to restore devolution.”[/i] … UTV link

    Will he now be called ‘Orange’ Peel?

  • Alan

    The Lib Dems are only following policy, although I hear that they were so thoroughly put off by those presenting the pro-11+ case that the decision to respond positively to Hain’s changes was made very easy.