The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
Digger and Tosca
Posted Friday, 1 June 2007 at 11:39

A friend in the Cotswolds invited me for supper last night. As I walked in through the door, supper was being laid out on the table. A bottle of red wine was open and had been breathing for an hour, and a fire crackled in the grate in the sitting room.

 

After we had eaten we collapsed onto the sofa in front of the fire, with a Jack Russell on each lap, a glass of wine in each hand, and as I settled down for a long chat my friend said, “So what’s been going on with all this education stuff then”?

 

I am alone in the house this morning and I am sat in this beautiful Cotswold garden typing my blog with only the birds and the two Jack Russell’s for company.

 

Digger dived on my lap. I don’t have a very big lap. Tosca has dived on top of Digger; if any more arrive we can play Jack Russell Jenga.

 

My friends Housekeeper has just arrived and brought me a cup of tea into the garden, she has sat down to join me; she wants to talk about grammar schools.

 

This is my sign off blog on education for now. This is the last thing I have to say.

The issue for me was about the decision not to select by academic ability in the state sector.

 

It was about not putting any more children through further educational experiments, when we know what works and has worked for many years, perfectly well.

 

For me it was about trying to ensure that in the future, children in the state sector could compete on a level playing field with those from the private sector for the type of jobs which seem to pass state school kids by today, since the demise of the grammar.

 

I disliked the fact that the argument became bogged down in infrastructural issues. Became all about institutions and buildings and names. When really in amongst all of the media political hype, hardly any mention was given to the children who would benefit from academic selection.

 

I did not see one child being interviewed on TV and hardly any parents.

 

What I would have liked to see was a film showing how children in a prep school are prepared for the common entrance exam at 13, and how children in a state school are taught in a non academic environment.

 

I would have liked to have seen the media focus on how under this Labour government the private sector has boomed, and how in the state system over a million kids are failing.

 

I am delighted the private sector is booming, so it should, however, I am horrified that children in the state sector have been so badly let down by us politicians. Shame on us.

 

There you go then, done. Back to Mid Beds. Digger and Tosca both asleep with Tosca’s face in Diggers mouth. Funny dogs Jack Russell’s!

 

How's my grammar?

 
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Friday, 1 June 2007
The best dogs too. They would never have left you alone if you were typing.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Friday, 1 June 2007
You have probably played a huge part in the turnaround taking place now. Don't be so hard on yourself, you have nothing to be ashamed of.
 
 
Dave said:
Responded: Friday, 1 June 2007
It started out quite promising. Ha, I thought,my cyberfriend Nadine is either going to be in for a nice relaxing evenning or a romantic one at best. Not a good sign, a four legged friend on each lap,but balanced out by a roaring fire in warm weather and wine.Then my hopes dashed as the 'education' word mentioned. I would imagine a politician to be subject to the same numerous requests for personal diagnosis as those in the medical profession, when trying to relax amongst friends or new acquaintancies. Goes with the territory, I guess.Bad enough putting up with us bloggers day and night. I don't know why you pour shame on yourself considering your stance on education.Blair made 'education.education,education' his priority, but has failed miserably. The shame is on him, alongside the NHS and Iraq.I live in hope of a Mills and Boon type blog from you one day, you deserve one!
 
 
david kendrick said:
Responded: Friday, 1 June 2007
'You are better off playing a bad system well, than a good system badly'. No govt should try to make changes for a marginal improvement. The changes cost twice what you'd budgetted, and the improvements have to be twice that to allow for unfamiliarity on both sides of the desk. But politicians love to change things---it makes them feel good.
 
 
Sweeper said:
Responded: Friday, 1 June 2007
No shame on you Nadine, you stood your ground and helped to make them rethink. Good for you I say.
 
 
Carl Cross said:
Responded: Friday, 1 June 2007
Exactly Nadine. This should all be about what works and has been proven to work - in the state and private sector. I had the good fortune to attend Liverpool's only grammar school (incidentally threatened with closure by the (Militant) Labour council in the 1980s). It makes me laugh now to hear my school categorised as 'entrenching social advantage'. Nothing could be further from the truth. What disturbs me most about this sorry episode is the antipathy towards academic selection. And the antipathy towards grammar schools on the basis that 'only a few' benefit from them. Presumably by implication, the next Conservative government would have abolished the assisted places scheme had not Labour already done so - since it benefits only a small number of children. Or for that matter, ban council house sales since only a minority of council tenants can afford to buy their own home? Where does it stop?
 
 
Ian said:
Responded: Friday, 1 June 2007
I don't think that Nadine is about to share any details of any romance with us Dave.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Friday, 1 June 2007
Happy Tax Freedom Day everyone. Hope you are all satisfied with what Gordon has spent you hard earnt tax on.
 
 
James said:
Responded: Friday, 1 June 2007
I wonder how much time you get to be yourself Nadine? Very little I would imagine. Politics, politics and more politics.I really hope the day spent with your daughter in Newcastle was relatively politics free. You deserve a break!
 
 
Steve said:
Responded: Friday, 1 June 2007
You write with such acute common sense.
 
 
Nadine said:
Responded: Friday, 1 June 2007
Thanks everyone, Mike H, are you on blogger burn out?
 
 
John said:
Responded: Friday, 1 June 2007
Perhaps Mike is on holiday, Nadine, it is half term week.He'll probably be back on Monday. Have a good weekend Liverpool Lady.
 
 
Mike H said:
Responded: Friday, 1 June 2007
Helloooooooooo! Anyone there? I am still here - but talking to myself, it would appear! I did comment late last night on the 'first born' blog, but of course you can't see blogs earlier than 1st June without changing the date selection on the calendar. I did think I was persona non grata for a while and now you're enquiring where I am! All explained in my 'first born' comment... Oh, and I am still busy fighting this darn Linux installation, but hopefully that will be finished soon... :-(
 
 
Dave said:
Responded: Saturday, 2 June 2007
Hi Mike Nice to hear you again! With the best will in the world some of us are not as politically estute as you, so Nadine does need your input to stimulate her,political speak wise.
 
 
Nick Gulliford said:
Responded: Saturday, 2 June 2007
Please will you comment on what David Willetts said about Variable Value Vouchers? David Willetts said, “……. there is another approach which appears to have great appeal because it trusts parents - introduce school vouchers. The idea is to empower parents to choose the good schools by giving them direct spending power. There is a subtle, and more attractive form of a voucher in which you adjust the spending power for the social background of the student so that children from a poor area have, if you like, a higher price on their head. If a parent’s request for their child to get to the school of their choice is written on the back of a cheque to pay for it then the letter is going to get far more attention. This is a powerful and important argument. We do need to go further towards clearer, more predictable per capita funding of pupils, aimed particularly at the poorer children being let down at the moment.” It is a pity when a radical idea is proposed - especially by a Conservative - that it is studiously ignored by the people who could be debating it. Variable Value Vouchers distributed on the basis of the ONS Neighbourhood Statistics, showing areas of deprivation - which rank 32,000 neigbourhoods - could lead the way to all schools becoming independent. Surely this would be a genuinely Conservative step forward?
 
 
Mike H said:
Responded: Saturday, 2 June 2007
Dave - Politically astute? Me? What! :ROFL: You HAVE to be joking! Nah, I'm just an ordinary bloke in the street who likes to vaguely understand what and whom he's voting for when making that choice in the polling booth. Since retiring, I have more time on my hands than is probably good for me, so I spend some of it reading the political commentary on sites like ConservativeHome and Iain Dale's Diary. And here, of course. :-)
 
 
Dave said:
Responded: Saturday, 2 June 2007
Hi Mike H. Just come back from meeting my estranged sister for the first time in 15 years. The only member of my family I'm in contact with. Anyway Mike, I reckon you are more politically 'aware' then than most of us. I personally look forward to Nadine's blogs as they not only give me insight into politics in a very new and refreshing way but also the workings of a female mind, which I have to say appears infinitely more intelligent than mine!
 
 
Lizzie said:
Responded: Sunday, 3 June 2007
Haven't been in touch for years, Nadine, and commenting on your blog seems so surreal! You are just as bright and funny as I rememember. I wish you well, Hon. Say "HI" to my Goddaughter x p.s. my Dad has two Jack Russells and I know exactly what you mean.
 
 
Nadine said:
Responded: Sunday, 3 June 2007
Lizzie!! Flip, email me via the web site. Your goddaughter is now 22.If you go back into May I dedicated a post to her called first born. As you were almost there when she was first born, you will appreciate it more than most! Much love to Dick, and the dogs!!..
 
 
Dave said:
Responded: Sunday, 3 June 2007
Just tuned in hoping John had inspired you again to blog today. Obviously not. I will go and 'connect ' with one of the other ladies in my life then. British born, and has the body of a 36 year old but I feel like a teenager when I'm with her. With this lovely weather I'm going to have her topless.She drinks like a fish but responds positively to my every move.Added bonus that Gordy doesn't charge me road tax on her. Yesterday,I saw what the fields of Flanders must have looked like after the second world war.Literally acres of scarlet red poppies, a truly glorious sight, blowing gently in the breeze. Other motorists had stopped to take photos and children were running through this sea of red.Amazing sight!
 
 
James said:
Responded: Sunday, 3 June 2007
One or two bloggers are straying off topic.Nadine and Dave this is a serious education debate. Old friends, long lost sisters, I thought I had logged onto friends reunited for a moment...................( Only joking of course. Isn't it great when folks reunite!!)
 
 
Victor NW Kent said:
Responded: Sunday, 3 June 2007
Too much, Nadine. Not only do you like the idea of grammar schools but you love Jack Russells as well. I have had heaps of them - all somewhat mad and often bad but what lovely company they are. We don't have a dog anymore - just a lot of photographs and memories but we do have a collection of 17 ceramic and other model Jack Russells. As I said, you are too nice for this politics stuff. I bet neither Brown nor Cameron has a Jackie.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Sunday, 3 June 2007
Hey Lizzie, What do you know about our MP? She is known as 'the golden girl'around here. Kindness personified, but there must be something naughty she has done in her life. Go on, spill the beans, we wont tell anyone will we lads?
 
 
 
Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at: nadine.dorries.mp@parliament.uk
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

 
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