September 28: Gordon's vision thing
Was Andrew Marr right to quiz
Gordon Brown over rumours that he was taking
anti-depressants or had more problems with his sight? (As opposed
to his political vision).
I was half-watching the interview yesterday morning and must
admit, only got involved properly when the line of questioning
about his health began.
Link to BBC
interview with Gordon Brown>>>
My initial reaction was that it must have been based on some
bona fide story that I hadn't yet read or seen. Then I
discovered it was prompted by uncorroborated rumours on
internet rumours circulating on certain blogs.
But it seemed odd - not to say insensitive - to base it on
unfounded rumours and I can understand why Labour might feel a bit
miffed. On the other hand, I think that Brown did a decent job
dealing with it, making the point that it is not bad
reflection of our political system that someone with a disability
such as his can rise if not right to the top then at least to
a very senior position.
I don't often feel sorry for politicians but I felt a twinge for
Brown on Sunday. I got the impression that having started down the
line of questioning, Marr himself ended up finding it rather
Journalists hear lots of rumours about politicians - many of
which are richly entertaining - and I suppose if we based our all
our stories and interviews on them, political journalism might be
more entertaining, albeit less edifying.
Still, I can't help thinking Andrew Marr's normally sound
instincts rather deserted him.
Paul Carter may have inadvertently let slip one of
the reasons why schools secretary Ed Balls has moved to send in
expert advisers to help the authority make more progress in lifting
classroom standards at its poorest-performing schools.
In a strongly-worded letter to Mr Balls, Cllr Carter says the
Government is wrong to question the progress being made. At the
same time however, he reveals that five of the 33 secondary schools
being monitored under the National Challenge initiative have seen
an "unexpected dip" in their GCSE results this year.
Let's talk, Carter tells
That dip comes after confident predictions were made about the
apparent trajectory most of these schools were said to be on this
time last year and optimism that all were heading in the right
Perhaps KCC was rather too bullish in its earlier public
predictions. Schools will have known about the likely achievements
of their GCSE students and it is undoubtedly the case that
different cohorts have different strengths in different years.
Whatever the debate about the merits the National
Challenge initiative, it is, as Cllr Martin
Vye, the opposition Liberal Democrat spokesman has said,
questionable whether a wholly selective education authority like
Kent should have the same minimum targets for its non-selective
schools as everywhere else.
Whether Mr Balls deigns to take up Mr Carter's invitation to
talks remains to be seen. Somehow I don't see him clearing his
diary in the near future but you never know.
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