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Loyalty and discretion

Nick Robinson | 09:52 UK time, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Sir Paul StephensonSo why has the man who presided over the debacle of Damian Green's arrest been promoted to the top job in the Met?

Why was Sir Paul Stephenson's appointment as Metropolitan Police Commissioner "a matter of almost glutinous cross-party consensus" according to Boris Johnson, who did not have the predicted bust up with the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith?

I hear that the politicians were rather impressed that Sir Paul publicly took the rap for what many people see as the cock-ups of his subordinates (in particular Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick who was in charge of the Home Office leaks inquiry that led to Mr Green's arrest), even at a time when it must have been tempting to dump them in it.

Loyalty, discretion and sticking to the agreed line - these qualities are perhaps not as undervalued as some had feared.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Until the aftermath of the Green debacle and Police action is tidied up, will reserve judgement on this appointment.

  • Comment number 2.

    Any more info about Damian Green then, Nick, when wil the charges be dropped quietly, on another bad news day?

  • Comment number 3.

    Whae Hey! Nick.

    Loyalty, discretion and sticking to the agreed line - these qualities are perhaps not as undervalued as some had feared.


  • Comment number 4.

    I suspect it was a row not worth having.

    You would have a massive blog about it, and not bother to have any blogs about Mandleson giving away our money with no reference to the House of Commons and the other disasterous actions sanctioned by the prime mentalist.

    Anyway - looking forward to the mandleson/yacht update - made any progress yet?

  • Comment number 5.

    Taking the blame for subordinates in a debacle eh? Wow! That must be a new honourable thing to do. What this government's ministers could learn from such events

  • Comment number 6.


    A new boss, fresh faced, loyal and elected with majority support

    Now theres an idea

    Lets hope he stays out of politics and sticks to law enforcement.

  • Comment number 7.

    "Loyalty, discretion and sticking to the agreed line "

    Clearly high priorities for Boris in his political and personal life...

    Still, I suppose what he lacks himself, he needs to find in others.

  • Comment number 8.

    Another Common Purpose appointee.

    Plus ca change.

  • Comment number 9.

    This seems to be a very thoughtful apolitical decision made by the two politicians.

    The cynic in me would suggest that Jacqui Smith thinks that she has someone on her side in control of the Met whilst Boris thinks that he now has the person responsible for the Damien Green affair under his thumb and able to be watched closely.

    Only time will tell. Let's hope it works out for the best!

  • Comment number 10.

    he can't be any worse than blair now can he?

  • Comment number 11.

    Is there a lot of prickly heat about? Ah well, you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours!

  • Comment number 12.

    As he is just keeping the seat warm for the over promoted & under qualified, buts ticks all the right boxes Cressida Dick, there wouldn't be much disagreement.

  • Comment number 13.

    Maybe Gordon Brown could learn something from the new commissioner's evident candour.

    It would make such a difference if there were to be a mea culpa from Gordon Brown about the failure of the Tripartite system, the failed regulation, the collapsing banks, the bust pension schmes, the broken society, 42 day detention, the sale of our gold, the lowering of education standards to levels that universities won't accept, the relentless increasein the invasion of personal prvivacy and the erosion of our civil liberties, the alarming increase in government spending to levels of up to 70% of GDP in Scotland, Wales an the North East to make up for his failed industrial policies.

    The list is potentially endless of things for which Gordon Brown should take the rap.

    he should also withdraw his ridiculous assertions yesterday that he warned about financial deregulation which is rather like the man selling pies saying he put a lable on them ten years ago saying they could make you fat. He was in charge and did nothing about it; he wilfully sold the pies.

    All of which is why he should;

    Call an election

  • Comment number 14.

    I did hear a rumour that Sir Paul had a sharp exchange with AC Quick over the Damien Green affair. This is as far as that need go now.

    I hope that Sir Paul's appointment will end the politicisation of the Met.

    I hope also this signal's that the Met will refocus on policing for all the people of London rather than just sucking up to the ruling party.

    There has been too much nonsense going on at Scotland Yard these last few years. It has to stop and now is as good a time as any.

  • Comment number 15.

    Post 9, I like your logic.

    After all isn't the saying keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

  • Comment number 16.

    Speaking of loyalty and discretion, what's this I read today about Ken Clarke sounding off against another of Cameron's policies?

    You'd think the shadow biz sec and the shadow chancellor would agree on their plans for married couple tax allowances wouldn't you?

  • Comment number 17.

    I suppose that it is good that we still have a Police Officer in charge of the Met., not another time serving Quango running our largest Police Force.

    Only time will tell whether or not he is a political figure. Perhaps the report to the D.P.P./C.P.S., on the outcome of the Damian Green affair will be a good indicator. I await with interest the result due next month.

  • Comment number 18.

    In the words of The Who

    Meet the New Boss,
    Same as the old boss!

  • Comment number 19.

    @12 Digital

    "buts ticks all the right boxes Cressida Dick"

    Sounds like the female star of a certain type of movie

  • Comment number 20.

    If you have missed out on the top job at the Met why not try this one?

    Salary excellent i.e. over GBP 125K a year plus healthcare.

    Only problem must appy by Monday 2nd Feb.

    It is at

    After all you couldn't do a worse job than the current lot!

  • Comment number 21.

    Re Post 20. I forgot you don't even have to be a UK national to apply.

    You really couldn't make it up.

  • Comment number 22.

    #10 bradshad1
    "he can't be any worse than blair now can he?"

    Be careful of what you wish for, but prima facie I tend to agree with you.

  • Comment number 23.

    So the point of your blog is:

    "Politicians appoint somebody willing to take the rap for them"

    Did they offer him a job at the Treasury first?

  • Comment number 24.

    I heard that Gordon Brown first offered the Metropolitan Police Commissioner job to "America".

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    Well... we will have to wait and see, but there seems to be a general consensus on here about it. Certainly there needs to be a de-politicisation of the Police force and the Met is as good a place to start as any.

    Actions will speak louder though. Toe-ing the agreed line to me suggests however, that we're not going to see an awful lot of change.

    Considering that the Police along with the Armed Services are staffed at the top more with greasy-pole climbing, pension protecting politicians who dare not rock the boat for fear of being sidelined (honorable exception being Richard Dannatt and look what Gordon did to him), Senior Officers should be able to straddle the line between doing what the Government wants but at the same time being conscious of their obligations to the public and not being afraid to speak out if government policy is either unenforcable or just plain wrong and not in the national interest.

    Cant help but think that its going to be, as Pete Townsend put it...

    "Meet the new boss.... same as the old boss"

    Hope I'm wrong.

  • Comment number 28.

    Unless he ends the obsession with targets and statistics it won't make the blindest bit of difference to the actual effectiveness of the criminal justice system itself. But unfortunately that's all the fault of the Home Office. Paul Stephenson's promotion is undoubtably the result of his meeting all the ridiculous diversity/change criteria that are essential for anyone to get promoted within the police force (sorry, "police service") these days. Catching actual criminals and preventing crime is irrelevant these days for anyone wanting to get ahead.

    Morale within the force is at an all time low and the gulf between the hard-working cops at the front line and the box-ticking, figure-fiddling, daft initiative-inventing senior management has never been wider - in fact the only gap wider is generally the gap between these senior managers and their albeit tiny brains.

    Until senior managers within the police reconnect with front-line cops by returning to "shop-floor" style management (ie actually take an interest in what goes on instead of dreaming up new ways to fiddle figures) - by which I mean policing alongside them side by side, even perhaps (shock horror) on weekends or nightshifts, they'll never have a clue on how to save the force from total meltdown and the rest of us from anarchy.

  • Comment number 29.

    Ah, the Sarge is on form!! :-)

  • Comment number 30.

    @ 20 Why would someone who has missed out on a 253.000 GBP a year (yes 253) apply for a 125.000 GBP p.a.?

  • Comment number 31.

    If the lovely Jaqui is in favour of him, he is probably of the same calibre as his predecessor. Maybe he could show his mettle by opening an investigation into the corruption that appears to have been given carte blanche in the Lords. I notice your hero Gordon again failed to answer a single one of Cameron's questions today again , confining himself to his usual blame shifting and jibes of " do nothing Tories " . It seems to be wearing thin , even on the Labour sychophants' benches, the laughter is becoming fainter and more restrained each week. Could it be that the blind faith is turning to " perhaps we need a new leader " before we all fall of the gravy train. I sense a mood of desperation creeping into the Labour assurances of how Gordon the Great is saving the world.

  • Comment number 32.

    I am going to withhold judgement and give him a chance to prove himself, one way or the other. let's not criticise him for what he *might* be like.

    I have heard glowing references on other forums from people who lived in Lancashire when he was chief constable there, so let's give the man a chance.

  • Comment number 33.

    Sir Ian Blair had to go and Sir Paul Stephenson is a fresh start.

    This government on the other hand, since being elected has simply acted as a servant to the US; big business; big money; anything except the electorate.

    New Labour has got to go and anyone else will be a fresh start.

    Simple as that!

  • Comment number 34.

    So will his first job be to interview AC Quick then send him on "driving" leave?

  • Comment number 35.

    # 13 RobinJD

    Not much chance of Brown taking responsibilty. Did you see PMQs? Couldn't/wouldn't answer a straight question about being responsible and the Speaker stepped up for him again.

  • Comment number 36.

    If they are his subordinates then he is responsible for them.

    So it is his fault, and his responsibility.

    It is precisely why he gets paid so much more than they do. I know nick will not understand this living on his BBC gravy train but in the real world directors of companies are actually responsbile for what there employees do.

    As such there is nothing remarkable about what he has done at all.

    The ephasis should be on how bad it is when politicians deny responsibility and use scapegoats rather than when someone does what they are paid for.

  • Comment number 37.


    This must be 1 of the 500,000 vacancies that are out there! I think I could make a case for all of the requirements on the candidate profile and the interview would be a piece of cake. Just include "global" or "international" in the answer and say that it is better to do anything rather than nothing.

    Regards the police, various forces are cutting the number of police (Hampshire & Dorset). There does seem to be a disconnect between the senior police, the rank and file and the public. The police forces are full of analysts collating and amassing figures which are used to show "improvement".

  • Comment number 38.

    If our politicians were impressed that Sir Paul publicly took the rap for his subordinates, I'm sure he'll fit in very well. Our politicians need all the scapegoats they can get to save their own sorry backsides.

  • Comment number 39.

    Brown was utterly inept at PMQ's again. The same old, discredited incorrect rubbish regurgitated over and over.

    When will he answer a question for once, instead of repeating lies?

  • Comment number 40.

    I'm sorry but this is just another non-story and still nothing from young Robinson on Clarke's demolition of Mandelson's puny lacky in the Commons.
    No one cares who is in charge of London's policing, so long as it isn't Blair.

  • Comment number 41.

    Never mind this little charade.

    Tell us how many more grubby little Socialist peers have had their snouts in the trough.

    And name them.

    How come a Sunday newspaper could expose them but the illustrious Political Editor of the BBC couldn't?

    Come on Mr Robinson, keep your finger on the pulse!

  • Comment number 42.

    OT, but, I wonder if the following will be a Tory policy that is long overdue for being stolen by this incompetent labour shower?

    "The Conservatives are considering plans for a £100m cap on government IT contracts to prevent "white elephants" such as the NHS computer system.

    Instead of awarding long-term contracts to large IT companies they could open up the procurement process to smaller firms using "open source" software. "

    Another clear example of the do nothing tories coming up with good and sensible policies that will reduce government expenditure during this recession, without reducing any level of public service.

    Give me a 'do nothing' party over the 'do the wrong thing' party everytime.

  • Comment number 43.

    Post 30 because they have missed out on the quarter of a million job they need to keep the wolf from the door.

    I imagine the lunches are better at the Bank of England as well. I would imagine not having to toady to Jackboot Jackie has its benefits too!

    If you don't fancy the MPC well the OECD are looking for a new Washington Head. Just think of all those carbon unfriendly first class flights around the World.

    I imagine though that any Zanulabour supporters wouldn't pass muster as the Chief Technical Advisor on Anti Corruption for the UN Development Programme

  • Comment number 44.

    Post 30. Sorry I missed the irony.

    The new Commissioner is going to be on 50% more than Crash and double Jackboot Jackie his boss.

  • Comment number 45.

    Britons are facing a £20 billion a year 'double whammy' of tax rises and spending cuts to get Britain's creaking public finances back in order, a leading economic think tank has warned.

    And it will take until 2029 for government debt to return to levels seen before the credit crunch, the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicted in its annual 'Green Budget'.
    The bombshell comes as the International Monetary Fund revealed that Britain's recession would be the worst of any western country, with the economy set to shrink by almost three per cent in 2009.
    The IFS said figures suggest the credit crunch will cost the Exchequer more than £50 billion a year, or 3.5 per cent of national income, in lost tax revenue and additional benefits - excluding the impact of the mammoth bank bail-outs.

    The report said the Government will need to make fresh tax increases or spending cuts by the end of the next Parliament, in around 2015, to raise the money needed.

    It added that, without additional intervention, public sector net debt would balloon to 60 per cent of national income and take decades to ease back.


    We really are well and truly stuffed, thanks to Brown's economic incompetence.

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    44 Economicallyliterate

    The new Commissioner is going to be on 50% more than Crash and double Jackboot Jackie his boss.


    ...Ah but Crash and Jackboot Jackie have an unlimited expenses account........


  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    The title of this forum is Loyalty and Discrection, so although this blog may appear off-topic, it concerns loyalty and maybe discretion too.
    I was disturbed to learn that a suggestion has been made that money is to be paid, not only to victims of the Troubles in NI, but also to the perpetrators. My fear is that this will be jumped upon by some of our more loony politicans, and the terrorists and their families, responsible for the bombings in London will receive cash payments. I can see a certain unsavory character receiving compensation for having a hook instead of a hand, would this be a discretionary donation?

  • Comment number 52.

    I would rather reserve judgement

    If he makes less headlines than his predecessor then he'll probably be a good one

    It does also demonstrate the complete lack of talent available for the job if the incumbent gets it.

    I would like Nick's views on the Lords.

    I saw his tightrope walk on PMQ's, and beginning to believe that his time away has stiffened his resolve. If he could be more like Andrew Neil he might get more answers.

    Then he can interview Mandy about the car bail out, and what he understands about yacht parties, and maybe even the mathematics of mortgage applications.

  • Comment number 53.


    It might also be nice to actually pin down Crash on his "Boom and Bust" quotes...once upon a time those things would be handed to interviewers for maximum effect or brought out by journalists

    Then a true realisation from Crash about the reports he sought to rubbish in PMQ's

  • Comment number 54.

    And still further evidence of the Golem's "headless chicken" approach to government with news that barely 24 hours after Mandelson's much-heralded (and swiftly demolished by Ken Clarke) package the government is already looking at another plan for the auto industry.

  • Comment number 55.


    Don't forget that they have to be approved by Liebour Party Central as well .... that takes time.

  • Comment number 56.

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  • Comment number 57.

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  • Comment number 58.

    No mention of the Common's Treasury Committee either, didn't that show the short comings in Crash's original bank bailout?

    More bad news everyday, must be time for a change, even a novice might not make this many mistakes

  • Comment number 59.

    Guess we'll never get to know who was really responsible for the arrest of Damien Green's arrest. Too much of a political hot potato now kicked into the long grass.

    Sir Paul Stephenson comes over as a genuine enough person for the job and as Boris looks happy about it then so am I.

    Like every other leader he needs the troops behind him so the proof will be in the pudding. He has a long way to go and an unenviable job to do.

    Best of luck to him. He will certainly need it in the years ahead.

  • Comment number 60.

    Nick, How about a game of 'true or false'?

    Which of the following statements is a smelly porkie?

    1) The UK economy will shrink by 2.8% in 2009 - the worst contraction by any of the advanced economies. [Source: IMF]

    2) Britain will be in serious debt for the next 20 years and will need to reduce spending and/or increase taxes in order to pay it off. [Source: Institute of Fiscal Studies]

    3) Britain is better placed than most to withstand the global turbulence. [Source: The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown]

  • Comment number 61.


    How about an update on Browns bounce or should we say his dead cat bounce, any updates on Mandelsons mortgage or his freindship with Russian ogliarchs? or have your bosses put this off limits?

  • Comment number 62.

    One wonders indeed????????????


  • Comment number 63.

    No mention of the Common's Treasury Committee either, didn't that show the short comings in Crash's original bank bailout?

    ----- ----- ----- -----

    Interestingly, of course, in the Treasury Select Committee the chairman - a minion of the Golem - John McFall suggested the Hedge Funds had effectively robbed the tax payer by making profits out of shorting the banks. How dare they do such a thing? Such a marked contrast from "Black Wednesday" when it was all the Tory government's and - in particular - Norman Lamont's fault that George Soros made a billion.
    So, shouldn't McFall have blamed the Golem for throwing money at the short-selling Hedge Funds to be consistent?
    By the way, it was especially harsh to blame Lamont, who was very much against the ERM, while - naturally enough - the Golem thought it great. The Golem changed his tune, some might say oportunistically, once ERM had failed, blaming the government for a disaster he supported.

  • Comment number 64.

    From recollection, the Police were simply acting on interest following a complaint from the Civil service/Home office?

    Why should the Police apologise for this?

    Why do the people in - and around - Westminster still try to perpetuate a myth of untouchability?

    Did the officers storm in and push people aside - no - they were shown in!

    So that the man in charge during that period should prove a "shocker" by receiving a job he has been temporarily filling?

    Journalism just rearranges it's reporting these days to suit the most unfathomable agenda. How enlightening it is when the most controversial comment is "the predicted bust up". Just saying things in incredulous tones does not make it real. Or interesting.

  • Comment number 65.

    Damian Green? I thought that had been swept under the carpet.

    No police swoop on the House of Lords then? Oh I forgot they are Labour Lords.

    Stephenson also known in the force as "Jacqui's Lacky" is probably also in Mandelson's inner circle.

  • Comment number 66.

    #60 Maxsceptic

    I think only number three is false, but let me explain why.

    1) The negative growth will be a consequence of the Conservative Party talking down the UK economy. If they didn't do that, the PBR forecast would be pretty much spot on.

    2) Britain will be in serious debt for the next twenty years because the Conservatives will be in power for that period.

    3) Although we are economically stable at the moment, no other country has felt the effects of the economic crisis from America. That and the fact we have a Conservative Party talking the UK into recession. If people would learn to ignore them both, then they might just go away and this statement would probably be true.

    Am I right?

    I know I am, because I've seen Gordon Brown's notes for his speech at Davos.

  • Comment number 67.

    Hey maybe we can get the new Met Commissioner to investigate our lying PM. In PMQ he says that the IFS agree that the UK is well placed. What? The same IFS that shows that our public finances are fubared for the next 20 years and that we will need to make public spending cuts of £20 bil a year? If that’s and endorsement of the British economy then the Tory’s must be the loyalist opposition ever!

    This is the same day the top economists of the IMF says that the UK will have the biggest contraction of any major western economy (not quite the spin the unbiased BBC gave the story). So much for international support of Brown’s policies! Personally if I was a Labour MP I would be worried Brown is looking more and more a joke home and abroad, but I don’t think an election or leadership challenge is on the cards.

    So yes get the Met to investigate Gordon “no my pants are not fire” Brown.

    I do realise that this cannot happen, but a man can dream can’t he?

  • Comment number 68.

    My excellent friend Rahere has withdrawn over the abusive moderation. His followers on Bob Peston's blog are furious, but he advises me his decision is final.
    Being accused of defamation for drawing out the functional relationship between the MP for Blackburn and the Lord of Blackburn, whose involvement in the town dates back many, many years, on this political blog was for him the final Straw. Defamation in such a case, indeed, is beyond belief, and clearly presents a political agenda in immoderation!
    The only thing he wishes to observe is that thankfully, the said MP for Blackburn confirmed in Parliament by a slip of the tongue yesterday his deputy's comments he reported on here last week, that the time till THE NEXT ELECTION IS IN MONTHS. Prepare for a late summer election, and until that's over, all bets are off.

  • Comment number 69.

    Pahhhhhh 253k for managing 50,000 staff and a 3.5 billion

    Its Chicken feed.

    much more money in marketing carrots

    And there is certainly a lot more dosh in marketing Scotland

  • Comment number 70.


    There are serious rumours swirling around, including on Sky, that Gordon Brown was tearfully pleading with Labour MPs to vote for this third runway at Heathrow. This may be a sign that he is mentally fragile, or even about to crack up.

    Now, personally speaking I like you: I think you have a good manner and I like the way you write and speak. But you must read the balance of your comments. You must realise there is a widely held opinion that you have been nobbled by Labour, and you do persistently betray a Labour bias to your writing. As does the BBC generally. For example: look at 'Yachtgate'. While George Osborne should not have been on the yacht, he was entirely innocent of any wrongdoing, and once the story broke he was completely open about the whole thing. Unlike Peter Mandelson, over whom there still seem to be real allegations of malpractice and possible corruption. Since he refused to open his diary, like Osborne did, these doubts remain today. However, your coverage was blanket and negative over Osborne, whereas you quite clearly were more nervous of giving Mandelson the same 'going over'.

    This Labour government is dying, and Gordon Brown's mental stability, if not mental health is a key part of why it's dying.

    If it turns out that this was a story which you COULD have investigated, but didn't, then your journalistic integrity will be blown for the rest of your career. You must be as aware of these rumours as I am, and if you don't FULLY get to the bottom of them, IN PRINT, you really will be letting all of us down as well as yourself. If you need a fig-leaf to cover yourself from the wrath of Mandy and the Labour spin-doctors, you can always say your hand has been forced by emails like this.

    PLEASE, Nick, be an investigative journalist, for a bit!!

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    And just on the off chance that our school governor Eatonrifle should appear:


    Just to finish off our earlier tangle about how great our education system is.

    This just about covers it:

  • Comment number 73.

    Why bother? We've already covered that, if you'd looked at Purpledogzzz's answer 112 the day before yesterday, you'd be able to reach your own conclusions on the subject.

  • Comment number 74.

    New Labour has destroyed our economy; 'appears' ridden with corruption; is obsessed with dismantling our civil liberties; is becoming more and more unaccountable.

    New Labour must go - let the electorate decide.

  • Comment number 75.


    When the dust settles on Brown's administration, there are going to be some serious questions asked.

    Political imperatives mean that we probably won't get answers until it is no longer relevant.

    In my opinion, the question that will have to be asked is how have the Labour Party allowed such a maniac to step into 10 Downing Street uncontested.

  • Comment number 76.


    Clearly a far better state-school education now exist, more and more gaining better results and more and more going on to university.

    I think the government must now look at the public education system, private schools fail their pupils, it's clear that in this new world there is no need for an elitist mindset
    that believe,s in separating children from the main stream and filling their heads with
    class division.

    It is nothing short the brown shirt ideals to have a meaningless private education system. When clearly all the brightest of pupils come from state-schools.

  • Comment number 77.

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  • Comment number 78.


    Derek, if you think that more people attending university necessarily means better education, you're jumping a few logical steps and seeing what you want to see for party political purposes.

    Quality, not quantity Derek.

    Everyone should have the opportunity to attend university based on their abilities, not their background. But that doesn't mean everyone should attend.

    For some people it is completely pointless. All they're doing is racking up debt and staying off the unemployment statistics.

    That pretty much explains Labour's policy on that then....

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    Derek I am going to have to respectfully disagree. While I cannot speak for my Grandmother’s experiences as a teacher, I can for my Mother who retired four years ago after teaching for about forty years, also I passed two years of teacher training back in the mid 90’s and three of my friends are secondary school teachers. We all agree that the standard of what is taught has fallen over the years.

    My Mother would go further and say that the standard of teachers has dropped as well and that of my three teacher friends’ only one of them should be allowed to teach, grudgingly I agree with her. One of my teaching friend’s handwriting is like a ten-year-old’s, his spelling is truly abysmal and he cannot do mental arithmetic. If I was a parent of one of his pupils I would be horrified. He is what I would call a humanities teacher, though his title is different, to make matters worse he is head of History at his school and deputy to the whole humanities faculty.

    He gained these positions in part due to pass marks his pupils receive. I might add that I met this man when we both re-sat our history GCSE’s. So this is a man whose writing and maths is below par and had to re-sit the subject he is now head of. And this is the one friend my Mother would grudgingly accept as a teacher, so you can imagine how bad the other two are!

    Dumbing down subjects and teaching specifically to pass exams, that is teaching the parts of the subject they know will come up in the exams, so that passes and grades go up does not mean that the level of education is going up. Labour is not alone in this I did my aborted teacher training in the mid 90’s but things have got worse not better – no matter what a certain school governor might say.

  • Comment number 81.

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  • Comment number 82.


    No! Carrots, your what's different, not your children nor your area of residence.

    Are you seriously telling me that children should be taught and encouraged in a privileged like enviroment?

    What makes you think that you and your children are any better than the local parents and children living in the local council estate and attenting the local sate-schools.

    In time Carrots people will judge these times like they judged the victorian times.

    Carrots, people are people where ever they are, stop putting up barriers and trying to defend them.

  • Comment number 83.

    78. Diggers. Totally agree.

    I see around me in friends, family and others, some young people who do not even have a good command of English as she is spoke and they get in to university somehow. They then drop in and out of it and go travelling the world (giving rise to stress and anxiety amongst their families and sometimes danger to themselves). Somehow they manage to pay for drugs and eventually when they sort themselves out they knuckle down to a mundane, not degree related, job which they could have risen higher in had they gone straight after school.

    This gives rise to people living with partners, having children without partners, if they marry they get fed up and restless and divorce. Oh, you name it, I have seen it.

    Get rid of gap years and tell them they have to attain three or four good A levels and stick at their courses otherwise they are dead ducks.

    ANOTHER thing. Many to into university with their own fresh ideas and personalities and come out with looney left hippie ideals and behaviour. YUK. Seen it with my own brother and he is totally weird.

  • Comment number 84.

    76 Derek

    Sadly now, due to experience, whenever you type things "Things are better." or "Things are good or improved." I don't take your word for it.

    I looked on the internet and I found this.....

    Ofsted intervenes at new academy

    An academy which opened just five months ago has been put into "special measures" after parents complained to England's schools inspectors, Ofsted.

    'Too many' cannot read and write

    An "unacceptably" high number of people in England cannot read, write and count properly, MPs have warned.

    University's 'future in doubt'

    MPs have warned that the future of a university is in doubt as it faces the repayment of over £50m, after an audit found "incorrect data" on students.
    Schools closed in academy strike
    More than 1,000 children in south London have been sent home after teachers went on strike in protest at a plan to create three academies.

    Sats fiasco could spark 'changes'

    Significant changes are likely to be made to national curriculum tests, known as Sats, according to the peer who led a review into marking errors.

    Where? Oh just on the BBC NEW Education link.

    None of these headlines infered public or private school problems,

    Most were due to Government involvment, Target chasing, interfering and bad bureaucratic management at the top.

    So forgive me being sceptical.

    Meanwhile back to reality.

  • Comment number 85.

    78. SergeantDigby

    Agreed and while everyone is being fed through the university route mincer, what happened to all the apprenticeship schemes

    Hardly anyone gets trained in real hard trade anymore.

    So its either a Uni degree is media studies or flipping burgers.

    All all the trade is being carries out by EEC immigrants and 85 percent of cars are imported.

    Too many Islington lawyers in government thinking university is the only way ahead.

    No wonder we all want quango jobs, we cant actually do much else.

  • Comment number 86.

    #76 comicalali

    "It is nothing short the brown shirt ideals to have a meaningless private education system"


    I think you need to look closer to home, Labour's ContactPoint scheme has brown shirt written all over it.

    Derek, where have all your friends gone, you are now the lone voice in the wilderness?

  • Comment number 87.

    #76 comicalali

    Perhaps your views on education would be better aimed at hypocrites like Tony Blair, Dianne Abbot and Geoff Hoon?

  • Comment number 88.

    Sir Ian Blairs lapdog is just the man for the job as far as the Government is concerned.

    Onward and upward with The Nu Labour project of political correctness and bias in public office.

    By the way Nick you must say something about the Conway report. This will balance the four Labour Peers on the make.

    Your stance on the issues of the next election will be interesting.

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.


    Wrong again Carrots, the greed of individuals killed the apprenticeship scheme.

    When the right to buy came into society and the local council stopped building homes and the private sector moved in,
    apprenticeships stopped, the private house builder didn't want employ apprentices he wanted the fast cash and often employed people not by their trade cert's or experience, he employed people that would accept a lower wage package.

    Before you go off on one again tell me how many new builds have been in and around your area over the last decade and how many young people got aprrenticeship skills and training from those builds.

    How many people get ripped off by the kid-on plumber? Carrots greed is killing this nation.

  • Comment number 91.

    82. derekbarker

    Derek what I hate most in politicians is hypocrisy.

    So while youre screaming for NuLabours version of socialism, your leaders are all sending their kids to private schools.

    Derek you should feel used.

  • Comment number 92.

    #90 comicalali

    Interesting you mention greed together with "right to buy", who were al those greedy people buying council houses?

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.


    You raised an interesting issue. I was having a chat the other day about the must send child to university epidemic.

    Back in the day, when I was at school there were basically three types of performance in children.

    The super bright kids - University

    The average kids - College

    And the below average kids - school leavers at 16.

    What has happened is that the below average kids are still the same, however the average kids are now in the same bracket as the super bright kids.

    Sadly however the overly vast spectrum of useful degrees have cheapened the worth of university degrees, too few are becoming engineers or scientists. Too many are studying Media studies and conversational Klingon.

    I proudly attended a polytechnic (Southbank) when it overnight became a university, to improve its status. Which is my point. Everything now is about asinine status not actual worth.

    There are plenty of retail outfits who are manned by young people with worthless degrees.

    To the point now (right or wrong) where the school leavers at 16, who may have only been able to get jobs in relatively low paid jobs, but (For those with a modicum of drive) have raised their game as they worked better in the real world and got on, without the albatross of a student loan around their neck.

    BTW I was an average kid.

  • Comment number 95.


    Rather than just snipe yellowbelly,
    try and give a constructive answer
    how many young people have gained apprenticeship skills from private contractors over the last decade.

  • Comment number 96.

    91 Carrotsneeda

    Yes your right carrot.

    Another case of do as I say don't do as I do from James Brown and his disiples.

    I hope the all had a good a good Burns night.

  • Comment number 97.

    More on status.

    Do you know in Europe, Asia and the US, to be an engineer puts you on the same status as a doctor.

    However in the good old UK when you say you're an engineer, people ask if you can fix thier car.


  • Comment number 98.

    "who do not even have a good command of English as she is spoke"

    Great stuff Pat!

  • Comment number 99.

    #92 comicalali

    You haven't answered my question yet. After you, old chap!

    "Rather than just snipe...." that's hilarious coming from you, what was your in depth analysis on andrew Neil's blog?

    "2. At 11:40am on 28 Jan 2009, derekbarker wrote:
    O' dear, Andrew in the same old suit.

    Come on Neil, spend, spend, spend

    The BBC can always replace you?"

    The Barker, bit!

  • Comment number 100.

    So-called public schools are often pretty ropey - I know of quite a few teachers who failed their courses and were generally incompetent and coudn't get a job in mainstream education, who then ended up teaching in 'public' schools.

    And yes, Blair et al should be ashamed for using them instead of abolishing them.


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