The Budget and subsequent speeches and media interviews by Nicky Morgan and George Osborne would suggest that they are helping to lead a Government that has run out of ideas. Put aside the EU referendum and we are left with cuts to people on disability benefits and forcing Schools to be moved out of local authority control, along with a failure to hit economic targets promised in the General Election. The cuts to PiP and ESA are both morally indefensible and apparently unsupported by the many of the MPs who voted for elements of the change only a few days ago. Meanwhile the proposal to transfer the governance of Schools from local democratic control through local Councils into an enforced Academy status is clearly doomed. To manage to line up opponents from local parents and communities who are already aware of the funding challenges facing many Schools, local councils who are already being stretched further than they can tolerate (as evidenced by the letters from Tory Councils to the Cabinet) and teachers is a pretty impressive result. However it seems likely that the opposition won’t end there, as the faith schools will also oppose this change and they are able to mobilise staff, parents and local civic leaders to their cause. The existings Academy networks will also see this as a potential threat to their status if all Schools are dragged, kicking and screaming into the same structure that they have. The current failures by certain Academies will be dwarfed by the Schools that fail because they are forced into a structure that they don’t want to embrace.
Listening to Nicky Morgan, backtracking on the disability changes, whilst blaming John McDonnell for the issues she is trying to defend, even though it is 6 years since Labour were in power shows just how desperate the situation is. It seems as though the Government that did not expect to be elected has run out of ideas and is ready to go to the country, if only it could do so.