If ever proof were needed that Labour couldn't give a toss what Parliament thinks, it cam this morning when Ed Balls said he would press ahead and appoint Maggie Atkinson as childrens' commissioner even though a Labour dominated select committee voted down her appointment, saying it didn't think she would be independent enough or be able to stand up to Ed Balls. The committee chairman, Barry Sheerman called Balls a "bit of a bully" who "likes to get his own way.
Michael Gove has issued a fairly strongly worded statement, but failed to say he would replace her if he becomes Education Secretary. Why not?
What's wrong with Maggie Atkinson other than the fact that Barry Sheerman is having a tantrum about her appointment? I wouldn't trust him to choose anyone better. He'd probably pick some egomaniac self-publicist like Esther Rantzen.
"A bit of a bully?"
That's a bit like saying Stalin was a little over-eager with his rebuttal of alternative viewpoints.
Balls is a disgrace. How he can claim to be a democrat working for the disadvantaged in society is laughable - he was joined at the hip to Damian McBride ("I wasn't aware of Mr McBride's work"), he ignores every piece of evidence based research preferring his own dogmatic assumptions and he should never, ever have been allowed anywhere near the schools brief. A public schoolboy Oxford star graduate who has never been near a comprehensive in his life? Troughing on the maximum food allowance on his joint ministerial salary?
A champion of the disadvantaged?...no, the champion of Ed Balls Esq.
Tres amusant. He's my MP (the Sheermanator) and whilst he's got the safest seat in the conurbation, it's still a bit touch & go. Anyway, comedy interview.
Balls and wifey, are also thieving, fraudulent liars!!
Why not? Possibly because he wasn't planning to bully her?
Just because somebody is no good as number two to Balls doesn't mean they're no good under more reasonable conditions.
If the complaint is that she is too close to Balls to be independent, presumably that goes away in the event that Gove becomes Secretary of State for Education (or whatever it's called now).
"Michael Gove has issued a fairly strongly worded statement, but failed to say he would replace her if he becomes Education Secretary. Why not?"
It could be that, as this is a New Labour position dating back to 2005, that Michael Gove would simply do the decent thing and abolish the position anyway.
Surely this calls for further reform.
Pre-appointment hearings should be a statutory requirement for all senior quangoland appointments, and the committee's approval equally a statutory requirement.
Otherwise there's no point them taking place.
Michael Gove wouldn't need to replace her, as he wouldn't be a bully like Balls.
If he doesn't think she's the right person for other reasons, then he would say so.
Here we have a UK Government Minister deciding who should be the Children's Minister for England and going against the wishes of a committee of English MPs.
You can easily imagine exactly the same thing happening under the Conservative's English Votes on English Laws.
Why not just abolish the non-job?
Problem solved and money saved.
Ed Balls "A bit of a bully?" - "No shit, Sherlock"
More significantly he's also rubbishing the findings of the Cambridge Review - the most comprehensive study ever undertaken into Primary school education in England.
I feel a Tweet campaign coming on.
According to the Today program she was the unanimous recommendation of the Panel and the children who interviewed her. Sheerman may or may not be right but this seems to me a simple power grab by a select committee chairman who was miffed that his committee was not involved in the selection process. Sheerman may be right that they should be involved in such appointments but the position is not clear cut and independent of the merits of this particular appointment.
In the meantime there are several months to see how she performs. Gove would be as culpable as Balls if he just declared now unilaterally that she was going to be replaced. Balls is an odious, dishonest creep but I am not sure I see your point in this case.
While it is important for the trust agenda that Ministers must take appointment hearings seriously, there is another side to this.
Listen to the Paul Ennals interview at 8.32
Gove is right. Once she's been appointed she has a legal contract and a new Minister should respect the law and not descend to the corrupt behaviour of this lot.
We can expect more of this in the weeks ahead as labour pursue a burnt earth policy or try to fix the agenda in key policy areas ahead of their demise at the election
Maggie Atkinson was the director of children's services for Gateshead before Ed Balls appointed her as Children's Commissioner for England. Interestingly I note that one of the members of the committee which unanimously non-recommended Ms Atkinson was Gateshead MP, Mrs Sharon Hodgson (Labour, Gateshead East & Washington West). She may be about to have an interesting discussion with Mr Balls.
There is now to be an Urgent Question on this subject, called by Michael Gove to be heard on the floor of the House at 3:30pm.
@David - 12.13 - fair point, well made. And there wasn't a vote on it - just an agreement. I've not been to any select committees but i've been to squillions of local gov scrutiny panels and the amount of half arsed tossers who turn up simply because they accidently put their name down at the start of the year is significant.
Although, I much enjoyed the bit on Toady this morning when Naughtie said she had a 'particularly grueling interview process which involved being interviewed by children'!! Stop the press - get the UN on the phone - that's torture err... except for virtually every senior job outside of schools these days involves being interviewed by kids but who cares.
OTish - but Naughtie had a right go at some university lecturer who authored a report on postcode lottery stuff - bang out of order.
The best way to deal with bullies is to give them a damn hard kick in the coopers!
Balls has been desperately trying to soften his image in the media recently. He is, and I know this from speaking to his constituency chair, bricking it about losing Morley and Outwood.
This is not going to help him
Larry whats wrong is that she was rejected by the scrutiny committee. IIRC this scrutiny was a labour wheeze.
Blooming Tories are scared to say ANYTHING ON ANYTHING!The EU especially!!!!!
Then they wonder why their poll ratings are dropping.
Hessletine will drop them even more.Cameron seems hell bent on giving us the very Tory cabinet we VOTED OUT in 97.I am Tory to my bone and even i'm wavering.The Tory party IS IN TROUBLE going down the road Cameron is taking them.Tell him to GO BACK TO HOW IT WAS FOUR WEEKS AGO.Just you see if I'm wrong.Watch the polls go back up!Trust me I'm a girl.I can see a change in a bloke's behaviour from a hundred miles away..all from experience.
D the P?
Sheerman is looking for his next job!He WILL be kicked out at the election.He has stolen the council from the tories,along with the Lib Dems & Greens.He told us he would defend the maternity unit at HRI, cost one young couple their baby so far and others have to travel miles to a maternity unit.He promised us he would lobby parliament to keep Crown House open and braged about how 'people in high places owed him favours', ALL going to end up in Bradford.On BOTH accounts he voted along party lines.He is a useless,gutless,two faced,slimy no good chump,after saving his own neck!He has sponged off the taxpayer for thirty years like the leech that he is and did sod all when his constituants NEEDED him. Unlike the Tory toffs with their inherited wealth,built up by their parents. He has renamed our town,took over the paper and lives miles away.He is running scared and I hope Brown & Balls turn on him the sleazy way they do.If they can trash decent people like Dannett,just think what they have on this gobshite.Sheerman deserves and has earned all that is coming to him,either by Brown & Co or the voter.Mountford is cut from the same cloth.On sick until she stands down,because she'll be kicked out at the election as well.She should be MADE to have a 'fit to do some work' interview!Now that WOULD be interesting!!
Sheerman £4k on food? Mountford,staying quiet on how much the scumbag has to pay US back.We fund this bloody pair & my £17k should NOT be taxed to help keep them who are on £65k plus!!!
Gets me RAGING Iain I can tell you.
Sorry for going on.
A MASSIVE fan
Balls and his like form part of the 'politocracy' that has arisen under Blair n' Brown.
They represent no-one but themselves. All they seek is a tax payer funded soap-box for life.
Just consider Anthony Blair. A man who oversaw the destruction of UK plc and took the country to war on a tissue of lies.
A man who didn't have the cojones to stand up to Brown.
A man who considers it normal to accept a monstrous remuneration from JP Morgan.
One has to question the morality of a man who sups wine with one of the masters of the financial meltdown.
Of course morality sneaks quietly out of the window when you have a property empire to maintain!
One has to wonder at the disconnect between the political class and those who suffer the consequences of their incompetence and deception.
Mandelson exemplifies all that is rotten about our political class. He slides in and out of jobs seamlessly progressing from one sinecure to another.
I don't know anything of Maggie Atkinson. To be honest I don't care. This thread purely gives me the chance to express my disgust at those who govern.
I live in Spain. It's exactly the same here.
I used to live in France. It was exactly the same there.
And if you can bear to cast your eyes to Italy you witness the spectacle of Berlusconi.
Time for the warm embrace of El Bar Cadiz and the real world!
I think blogger's software must be on the blink, cos I can't find your post criticising Boris Johnson for ignoring people's recommendations when appointing the London chair of the Arts Council
Anonymous October 19, 2009 12:13 PM said...
"...he's also rubbishing the findings of the Cambridge Review - the most comprehensive study ever undertaken into Primary school education in England."
That's right - just about the only sensible report on primary education this ***wit NuLab government has allowed to be produced. So naturally they rubbish it. So do the tories, natch.
Is this the same Sheerman whose daughter works for Mr Cameron.Hmmmmmmmm
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