Friday, March 13, 2009

Ed Balls may yet be saved

In today's Guardian Martin Kettle dissects the absurdity of Ed Balls' politics:

Faced with Lord Laming's report on Baby P, does one laugh or cry? The man who delivered a bureaucratic blizzard of 108 recommendations after Victoria ClimbiƩ's death and helped overload a system that failed Baby P was surely not the right man to think of 58 more.

But the reaction of Ed Balls, who appointed him, is even more bizarre. From his desk in Whitehall, the secretary for children, schools and families decrees that all social service directors must be sent off for retraining, as if they were disgraced Chinese officials sent back to the fields during the cultural revolution while Chairman Balls, who would certainly look good in the jacket and cap, acts the role of Mao Zedong.

This is Labour's centralist impulse at work on an almost demented scale.

And he looks like Piers Fletcher-Dervish too.

Yet Ed Balls has a heart and may yet be redeemed. For, asked about his childhood reading by the Wakefield Express a couple of years ago, he remembered:
a great series of kids' detective books by Malcolm Saville called the Lone Pine Adventures, which were all set in the Shropshire hills.


dreamingspire said...

Not so fast, Jonathan. Something has to be done to prick the balloons in which rather too many of those combined social services and education directors have been working. During the first few years of this Millenium, in an area of public service that thankfully cannot cause as much damage as social services, I listened to increasingly aspirational statements by managers who didn't have the skills and knowledge to deliver, yet felt compelled to 'go forward'. The storm started to calm down in 2005, but left many of them stranded. In that environment, combining education and social services has so easily, in pockets here and there, led to the problems that we see now. Some senior people will likely need counselling as well as training.

Anonymous said...

Johnathan's figures of 108 recommendations followed by another 58 are what we should onto - especially since not one of them address the root of the problem which is the role of central Government in setting up what is an inherently dysfunctional system. In a very small way as a Chair of school governors I've tried to work it over an uncontrollable 6yr old who is likely to be a danger to his new baby sibling. No chance. Quit while you're losing.