Bonnie Craven, applicant for Labour PPC (prospective parliamentary candidate) for Putney, writes about Tory MP for Putney Justine Greening’s leadership bid – and the lack of change it would bring.
As Tory Conference starts this weekend, newspapers including the Conservative friendly press have led with stories of their MPs lining themselves up as a replacement for Theresa May.
In amongst these naked displays of ambition, Justine Greening, MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields criticises Theresa May and says she needs to “reconnect with people’s lives with a mission the whole country can believe in.” And she criticises her Party for failing to build a Britain that works for everybody.
The former Education Secretary is publicly pushing herself as a Conservative who wants to see improved social mobility. Let’s examine that, shall we?
During her period on the front bench it was education policy to expand grammar schools. These selective schools favour the children of the better off, who are able to pay for private tuition, or send their children to expensive prep schools where they are coached to pass the entry exams.
Selective education entrenches privilege and sees, by definition, the majority of our children locked out of schools which are intended to educate the most able. In a number of academic studies it is clear that the progress made by children at grammar schools is actually lower than that achieved in good comprehensive schools. A child from a private prep school is ten times more likely than a child on free school meals to get into a grammar school (Sutton Trust CEO, 2017).
Justine Greening was of course the Education Secretary who managed the new funding formula disaster that saw schools in her own constituency considerably worse off. She was a part of the government which implemented the long and severe period of austerity, which has hit women and children the hardest.
Schools are now struggling to pay for teachers due to the real term cuts to their budgets, never mind any ability to retain CAMHS, its classroom assistants. Some are even begging parents to provide toilet rolls for the pupils. Even more contrary to Greening’s new found “social mobility” passion is the fact that in order to balance the books, she took money from some of the most needy children in our schools.
Next time you hear a Tory tell you about their caring credentials, remember how well it worked out for the many when David Cameron told us it was time to “hug a hoodie”. The Tories can change their Leaders, but they will never, ever change their spots.
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