Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Tory plan to force privatise every school in England

  
George Osborne used his 2016 spring budget to reveal his plan to forcibly convert all local authority schools in England into unaccountable privately operated academy schools, whether they want to become academy schools or not.

Academies

I've already written an extensive article detailing the severe ideological vandalism the Tories have already inflicted on the English education system, so I'll just stick to bullet points here:

  • A large number of academy chains are owned and operated by Tory politicians and major Tory party donors. Anyone who expects such people to provide a politically neutral education to our children must be spectacularly naive.
  • The process of turning local authority schools into academies results in public land and infrastructure being transferred, for free, to unaccountable privately operated academy chains.
  • A large number of academy chains have set up ludicrous executive pay structures to allow a handful of directors to topslice hundreds of thousands of pounds per year out of publicly funded education budgets to pay themselves vast six figure salaries.
  • Other academy directors have been caught out using their own companies to supply the schools in their chains on overpriced no-bid contracts. They are aided in this corruption by the fact that academy schools are subject to far less public scrutiny than local authority schools.
  • Academy schools have been exempted from all kinds of regulation that ensures that local authority schools provide a decent standard of education, such as school dinner nutritional standards, requirements that teachers actually have teaching qualifications, and minimum outdoor play space requirements.
Loss of local control

One of the main complaints about the forced academification of schools into the control of unaccountable private sector pseudo-charities is the loss of local control. If a local authority school is failing, then it's possible for parents and concerned citizens to hold the local authority to account by voting out the ruling party. If a privately operated pseudo-charity school is failing, found to be brazenly topslicing the local education budget to fill the pockets of their directors, or corruptly awarding supply contracts to companies belonging to the directors - local people have very much less power to intervene.

What if local parents don't want their school to be taken over by a private sector pseudo-charity owned and operated by a major Tory party donor. The Tory answer is "screw them, they'll get what they're given and put up with it".


The deliberate removal of the influence local people can have over the running of their schools is completely at odds with all all of the Orwellian rhetoric they spout about how important it is to give more power to local people. All the Tories are really interested in is giving more power to their cronies to leech as much cash out of public coffers as possible, and screw the objections of "the lower orders".

Privatisation 2.0

In the old days of Thatcherism the Tories used to privatise things by selling them off at a fraction of their true value. This "sell the national silver" form of privatisation was bad enough, but the kind of privatisation that is going on in the English education system is very much worse.

If the original Thatcherite privatisations took the form of "selling the national silver at bargain basement prices", the academification process is clearly "giving away the national silver for free, then renting it straight back at hugely inflated prices".

Not only are the Tories giving away all of our schools, for free, to unaccountable private sector pseudo-charities, then paying the national education budget directly to them to do with as they please. They're also using taxpayers' cash to cover all of the admin costs of the forced privatisations, which come in at an estimated £1.5 billion.

Cronyism


The Tories love to pretend that they're a capitalist political party, but what they're doing here isn't capitalism at all, it's blatantly cronyism.

If you think capitalism is about central government distributing public assets to favoured private entities and allowing them to form localised monopolies/oligopolies/cartels all subsidised with taxpayers' cash, you clearly have no idea what the word "capitalism" actually means and need to go and do some very basic level political reading.

The forced privatisation of publicly owned schools into the ownership of private taxpayer subsidised pseudo-charities (many of them owned by members of the ruling political party) is about the clearest example of cronyism possible.


Competition

One of the things that this plan to forcibly privatise all local authority schools proves beyond any doubt is the Tory fear of competition.

The Tories always bang on and on about how competition is so vital to capitalism, but what they're doing here is deliberately eliminating competition to their ideological reforms. They're so afraid that local authority schools will outperform privately operated academies, they're determined to eradicate proper publicly run schools completely so it's impossible for critics of their cronyist system to point to examples of public sector success to highlight private pseudo-charity failure.

Another example of this Tory fear of competition was the way they hastily re-privatised the East Coast Mainline when it became clear that the public sector body that was running it (after the previous private franchise bailed out of the contract at short notice) was doing a far better job of it than any of the private sector rail franchises.

If the public sector is ever in danger of outperforming their private sector cronies, the immediate Tory response is to eradicate the successful public sector operation.

The re-privatisation of the East Coast Mainline and the eradication of publicly provided education in England are two crystal clear examples of the Tory terror of competition from the public sector. They're crystal clear demonstrations that they secretly know that the public sector run services are actually far more efficient than handing control of public assets to their cronies.

Conclusion

If you think that unaccountable, topslicing, private sector pseudo-charities (many owned and operated by Tory politicians and major Tory party donors) will do a better job of educating future generations of children than publicly accountable local authorities, perhaps you could explain how you think that might work in the comments section?


  
  
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MORE ARTICLES FROM
 ANOTHER ANGRY VOICE 
         
The ideological vandalism of the English education system
           
The incompatibility of Christian ethics and modern Conservatism
                     
Austerity is a con
       

How gullible would you have to be to believe the Tory "hardworking people" propaganda?
                             
How the mainstream media frame the political debate
                
Asset stripping "bankrupt" Britain
                      
The Tory ideological mission
                                
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies
  



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