Oh the frustration. As a result of a complaint to the Charity Commission, I willingly agreed with RSA Trustees that I should not use this blog on this site to speculate on political strategy. Apparently, it’s not so much a problem of political bias, more that such matters have little to do with the RSA mission (‘unlike women’s sense of humour of the use of animals in advertisements?’ I hear you comment quizzically).
But I have so much to say! Sadly, I must save it for those occasional media appearances in which I insist there is no reference to the day job.
Suffice to say in this context that - amazingly – the general election is shaping up to be one in which real policy questions may feature. Whether on universalism in the benefit system, promoting marriage, the speed of deficit reduction, the form and content of schooling, immigration, Britain’s relationship with Europe, there are real differences being clearly articulated and debated.
Last week even, at the State of the Arts Conference, there were substantive differences between Jeremy Hunt and Ben Bradshaw’s view both of what is happening now in the sector and what needs to happen next.
Following the agreement of the Party leaders to TV debates, we are hoping to hold equivalent events with a departmental focus here at John Adam Street. We will be inviting the culture spokespeople and the environment leads to agree to answer questions from an audience comprising a full Great Room and thousands watching and listening on-line. And we will, of course, be hoping to do the same for education.
Which brings me to the most exciting news of the day: Michael Gove has replied to my July questions. Maybe now he has published his education manifesto I have finally, albeit momentarily, moved to the top of his priority list (joking and bad puns aside, I am genuinely flattered and grateful). And what a fascinating reply it is. I am holding back for 24 hours in case we can get some take up from the traditional media but tomorrow or the day after I will share his thoughts in full along with some of my replies to his replies.
Given that we are running at nearly 60 comments on my last education post, I am sure Michael’s views will provoke a very lively debate.
We shouldn’t underestimate how far our societies have pulled apart. Yet there is hope for renewal, says Anthony Painter. The question is not whether we come together – but how.