The idea that Cameron wants a ‘clause 4′ moment over anything is to completely misunderstand the nature of the Cameron project; and David Cameron personally.
He really, really, does not want to have a fight with parts of the Conservative party.
His style is genuinely non-confrontational - he really does want a return to consensual politics -people working together for the best- and he is completely truthful when he says ‘if the Labour party comes up with a policy we agree with we will back it’.
So entrenched have some political activists become that they see politics as a war, but the public don’t; they just want to see our country run properly.
Everybody knows that on some issues party politics - the adversarial system- has become pointless and in some cases damaging, education is one such area.
There are only 160 or so grammar schools left against over 3,000 secondary schools. The Conservatives haven't introduced new Grammar Schools in 18 years in Government and nobody has seriously imagined that we had any plans to roll out Grammar Schools across the UK.
I believe that everyone has talent somewhere. The job of a good education system is to find that talent and make the best of it. That could and should include artistic ability, sporting ability, mechanical aptitude, and any other number of abilities that thousands of children have but which is not valued or honed by the old system , and isn't happening under the comprehensive system either.
The public schools do a better job on this. Bryanston is recognised and known as a very artistic public school, for instance, against Harrow which is very academic. The idea behind both Blairs education vision and ours is to try and replicate some of that diversity in the state sector. City academies are encouraged to specialise and accordingly they can select up to 10% of their pupils by ability from outside their ‘normal’ catchment who have notable talent in their speciality.
In additon, proper subject streaming by ability and restoring effective and worthwile discipline will do far more to help most children than any amount of posturing over the return of an old system rejected by all parties and the vast majority of parents and teachers 40 years ago.
And the idea that this is a party political ploy by us is totally wrong and shows just how insulated some Labour activists have become.
This is not a political game it’s real life. It’s about our childrens education.