Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, May 12, 2014

Party politics

The LibDems are slipping in the polls. They even come in behind UKIP sometimes. Elections are a year off, but if they're going to stay in government they have to distinguish themselves from the Tories, who also see declining popularity. They aren't ready to break up the coalition yet, but what to do?

One thing to do is offer alternatives to Conservative Party policies. This time the subject is education and "free schools" which are like charter schools in the US.

Coalition row over school places funding
A row has broken out in the coalition over school places funding in England, with allies of Lib Dem Deputy PM Nick Clegg accusing Conservative Education Secretary Michael Gove of "lunacy".

Lib Dem sources say 30,000 local authority places are being lost as money is diverted to new free schools…

Asked about the issue on BBC… David Cameron said free schools were "an excellent innovation" and he would "get on with delivering what matters, which is good schools for our children".

The Liberal Democrat's deputy leader, Malcolm Bruce, said the budget for free schools was "completely out of control"…

He told the BBC: "He [Mr Gove] is basically raiding money that should be going to the vast majority of schools that have real needs for a small number of free schools, many of which are in places where there isn't a pressure or a need."…

The row is not the first within the coalition government over education policy.

But BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said the "striking" language used was evidence that both parts of the coalition were becoming more willing to air their disagreements and grievances in public a year ahead of the general election…


Alex Forsyth, BBC Political Correspondent

With less than two weeks to go before the local and European elections, increasing tensions between political parties are no surprise. The coalition parties in particular are trying to put clear water between them, and this isn't their first public disagreement.

But on this occasion both sides have bandied round strong language - calling the other 'pathetic' or 'laughable' and describing funding decisions as 'lunacy'.

Those involved may see it as an opportunity to promote their party's policy and convince voters of what they stand for - in the strongest possible terms.

To others it might be viewed as two political parties, both in government, attacking each other and policies they've officially both agreed. They may view this as good tactics. The public may view it differently.

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed.

Just The Facts! is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.

What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original version and v2.0 are available to help curriculum planning.

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