March 30: Who won the Chancellors' TV debate?
Who won the Chancellors’ TV debate?
The consensus seems to be that Lib Dem
Vince Cable emerged with the best notices from the
critics largely because he got the most rounds of spontaneous
applause from the audience; that George Osborne
did OK because he didn’t make any major mistakes and managed to
avoid looking too posh and prvileged and that Alistair
Darling made a decent fist of things and continues to
present himself effectively as a safe(ish) pair of hands.
In other words: there was no clear
winner. I must admit I watched expecting it to be fairly dull fare
but ended up being quite absorbed. Inevitably, there is a sense in
which these events are all about avoiding mistakes, neutralising
your opponent and landing the occasional blow rather than going for
a grand-standing knockout.
It was a good warm up for the leader’s
debates and I’m even more convinced that the three TV events during
the election campaign will play more to the Liberal Democrats than
Labour and the Conservatives. But I suspect there are a few Lib
Dems who might prefer to have Cable at the rostrum rather than
Perhaps Nick could be persuaded to
throw a sickie…
interesting news from County Hall, which has just
announced that it is to get an additional £350,000
from the government to help lift standards at its poorest
performing schools – those that are on Ed Ball’s "National
Challenge" initiative and which are expected to be getting
at least 30 per cent of pupils achieving five or more good GCSEs at
grades A* to C by 2011.
Extra cash is always welcome of course
and I don’t expect KCC will be turning its nose at the offer. But
you might argue that the government’s agreement to plough more
money into Kent schools that are struggling is a sign that KCC’s
progress is not quite as fast as ministers would like to see.
Indeed, there is a slightly ominous
tone to a letter sent by secretary of state Ed
Balls to KCC’s children’s services director
Rosalind Turner about the authority’s response to
the recommendations of a review into what it was doing to help its
33 National Challenge schools.
In it, he says his officials will
reviewing KCC’s proposals in the summer for some schools "with a
view to reconsidering in September all the options available…if
they are making insufficient progress".
Still, at least there seems to have
been a more harmonious relationship between central government and
KCC's political leadership after Conservative leader Paul Carter
denounced Mr Balls and the National Challenge initiative as a "kick
in the guts" to the 33 schools when it was first announced.
According to a review by government
advisers "KCC has engaged well with central government to consider
the full range of options at the most challenging schools."
Goodness me - KCC getting along with Mr Balls?
You can read Ed Balls' letter here>>
You can read the report of the government into Kent's National
Challenge progress here>>>
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