‘Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, just not their own facts’

Recently, and despite being a lifelong Labour voter, I filled in a public survey from the Conservative party about priorities for policy development. (It is, after all, not just Tory supporters who are affected by Tory policies). Leaving aside the merits or otherwise of doing this, I’ve noticed an  unwelcome – if not unpredictable – consequence: my inbox has since been littered with Tory party emails asking me for donations. The most recent of these came from Nicky Morgan, the education secretary tasked with being Gove-lite (but more polite).

Ms Morgan makes a number of assertions (all of which I notice are attributed to the Conservatives, not to the Coalition). Not only are the Tories apparently recruiting “the best teachers”, they are also, it seems, working with school heads to ‘restore discipline and improve standards’. They’re  opening a record number of new schools and ensuring that 80,000 more children are starting secondary school with a ‘good understanding of English & Maths than under Labour’ (under whom school standards fell, they report).

None of these statements are accompanied by any evidence, nor even any reference to any evidence.  No examples or details are given, and there are no links to sources of information. There’s not even a heart-warming anecdote in sight. Evidence can of course be inconvenient to politicians of all stripes, but appearing to do without it altogether suggests to me that that Ms Morgan neither values evidence, nor expects anyone else to do so.  Gone is spin, in comes proselytising. There is a particular irony here: the party hoping that we’ll not notice the lack of evidence in their educational sales pitch is the same one that demands more rigour from pupils and teachers. That’s the same rigour which (in my dictionary anyway) is defined as extremely thorough and accurate.

However, I shouldn’t trouble myself with such matters. Apparently all I need to do to “play my part” in this success story is donate £20. Today.  (Which, incidentally, is a lot more than the Labour party requests of its supporters). Can’t think what’s stopping me…




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