Author Archives: Helen Flynn

What is Nicky Morgan doing to school governance?

I’d love to know who is advising the Tories and Nicky Morgan with respect to much of what is contained in the education white paper.

What I sense overall is panic. They are terrified that we will not have the skilled individuals to make us globally competitive. So they are embarking on a series of measures that they think will give more flexibility in the education system and modernize it in terms of structure and accountability, on the one hand, but rigidly defining what children should learn, particularly at primary level, and sticking with archaic, sudden death-style …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 18 Comments

Why we need to develop hard-edged campaigning

 

No one can deny that the Tories ran a stunning campaign to get back into power in May.  It wasn’t a nice campaign.  It wasn’t the kind of campaign that we would ever want to run, based – as it was – on the politics of fear and division.  But, my God, it worked.  We must learn from it.  Not to repeat similar messages, but to replicate the style and method.

What absolutely clinched it was that the messages had a hard edge, were simple, and were delivered multiple times on a variety of platforms.  You would have had to have been living underneath a stone on a far flung Hebridean island not to have picked up the messages that Tory HQ were pumping out.  How much that then influenced the undecided (of which there are increasingly a large number) can now be clearly gauged by the fact that the Tories now reign unhindered for the next five years.  And then they will employ a similar style of campaigning to quite possibly be in charge again.  They need proper competition.

Time for us to wake up.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 32 Comments

Securing a future for sustained government investment in cycling and walking

Frankly, this is one of the main reasons I went into politics and am now seeking to become an MP. It’s  amendments to legislation such as this that can mark a step change in how we travel around the places we live on a daily basis and the knock-on effects on health, wellbeing, pollution and congestion.

The Infrastructure Bill, which will dictate the future direction and spending commitments for infrastructure once it becomes an Act, is nearing its conclusion. CTC, the national cycling charity, along with a number of leading transport groups, is demanding a change from the old ways of looking at transport infrastructure, as set out in the following statement:

One of the most important bills going through Parliament this year is approaching its conclusion. The Infrastructure Bill proposes a five year Roads Investment Strategy, but currently makes no similar commitment to long-term funding to vitally increase cycling and walking.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Opinion: What it will take to win in 2015

The fact that there are just over four months now until the general election put me into a pensive mood about the state of British politics, what we need to do to change it and what I need to do to win.

The “trends” are:

  • People are increasingly disengaged from politics and have little faith in either politicians or the political process
  • People are increasingly not aligned to individual political parties
  • Young people, in particular, generally struggle to see the relevance of politics to their own lives
  • Because of prolonged austerity and “squeezed” living standards for the majority, populism, the politics of fear and a culture of blame are rallying support for extremist parties such as Ukip.
Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 34 Comments

Opinion: Setting the record straight

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 08.06.08 Liberal Democrats LibbyI was misquoted on BBC radio 4 on Monday. They said I had asked for Nick Clegg’s resignation. Would that it were as simple as asking for a leader to resign–as if that would change everything. But it isn’t. And I don’t feel in any way that I am being evasive or woolly by not asking for a change of leadership. What I am asking for is a root and branch review of our campaign strategy.

Let’s examine the facts.

We have just suffered a disastrous set …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 24 Comments

21st Century Education: A Social Liberal Approach

slflogoThe Social Liberal Forum are proud to announce the publication today of our newest publication: 21st Century Education.  The contributors to this publication are all experts in the world of education—the majority of whom are teachers—who are also members of the Liberal Democrats.   Grass roots members at that, many with long years of party membership.  As the editor of the booklet I am grateful that all the contributors were happy to write under the Social Liberal Forum banner.

What we are predominantly grappling with in this publication are not the usual battlegrounds of …

Posted in News | Tagged | 1 Comment

Opinion: UKIP – let’s have a debate about low skills

strawberriesThere has been an inconsistency between two highly prominent policy areas that has been niggling away at the back of my mind for quite some time now.  UKIP needs to take note.

So, take two policy areas and also take into account the temperature (at least according to the Daily Mail, etc) of the voters.

The first area is education.  Schools that do not match up to the floor levels at Key Stage 2 and at GCSE are pounced upon by Ofsted.  They require improvement or are put into special measures.  All children must get 5 good GCSEs.  They must progress and they must aspire.  Think of the slogans that populate the UK and US education policy discourse: “no child must be left behind; “every child matters”; and social mobility is regarded and upheld as a kind of rebalancing panacea to address all social ills and help narrow the gap.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 26 Comments
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