August 17th, 2012

School Playing Fields Stitch Up

Michael Gove has taken a kicking this morning following the Telegraph‘s scoop revealing he had ignored internal advice before selling off school playing fields. Labour Stephen Twigg has stuck the boot in:

“The fact that Michael Gove has ignored the advice of independent experts and ploughed ahead with selling off school playing fields shows he is shamefully out of touch. Michael Gove must now come clean and explain what appears to be a secret programme to sell off school playing fields. From the abolition of Labour’s school building programme, to curriculum changes, Michael Gove has form when it comes to ignoring expert advice.”

It is worth noting that Twigg seems to have forgotten that the last Labour government were flogging off playing fields at a much faster rate. The Department of Education have been pushing the following figures today:

Given the staff at DfE are the most effective opposition going these days, it’s hardly surprising they’re trying to stitch Gove up again…


  1. 1
    Lord Stansted says:

    Here’s another attempted stitch up that fortunately was also found out.

    Off-topic, I admit – but worth a wider posting.

  2. 2
    tommy5d says:

    Much faster rate? The coalition is on about 15 per year, which seems about the same as the above numbers for Labour. Perhaps roughly 15 schools close or relocate per year?

  3. 3

    Truth and politics.

    Mutually exclusive.

  4. 4
    Anonymous says:

    That doesn’t make it any better though does it. They did it worse than us….. why don’t we just poke our tongues out at them.

    Next election I’m just going to draw a massive cock on my ballot paper.

  5. 5
    Pussyfoot says:

    The ballot paper is only A4

  6. 6
    ds says:

    Ignoring the execrable Twigg (as one is quite entitled to do, indeed I’d say obliged), the fact remains that Gove ignored the advice he was given, knowing there might be less than pleasant repercussions. He will get his kicking and he will deserve it.

    We know Labour’s record on this was poor, which is why Twigg should seriously consider putting a sock in it, but it doesn’t change the fundamental problem with Gove’s actions.

    Or is concentrating on the actual policy and its effects and not joining in the standard finger-pointing and yah boo sucks culture being a party-pooper?

  7. 7
    Expat Geordie says:

    Nasty. These bastards obviously have their own agenda which has nothing to do with supporting the democratically elected minister of the crown as in the Gove/playing field case, and everything to do with opressing those of the general public who disagree with them as in the TV Licencing case. Rhetorical question, but whatever happened to politically neutral civil servants?

    As TV Licencing obviously fabricated evidence, shouldn’t the police be getting involved and shouldn’t someone be going to prison?

  8. 8
    Pussyfoot says:

    Me and Conservativeism also

  9. 9
    Anonymous says:

    alright, a small cock then.

  10. 10
    Danny Dyer says:

    These Labour c.u.n.t.s seem to have blocked out the last 15yrs – I think they need to be banged up in some psycho unit and have their heads tested!

  11. 11
    ds says:

    but the Treasury will claim that,, after adjustment, it’s A2, so the cock will indeed be massive (though not in real terms).

    so that’s alright.

  12. 12
    Steve Miliband says:

    Playing fields should be ring fenced thus avoiding unwanted interloppers

  13. 13
    Ex-Tory says:

    Perhaps, someone at the incompetent Govt communications should point out that the reason why schools, such as my local primary school, are developing their playing fields is because they need to increase the size of the schools. We need bigger and more schools because we have more children. we have more children because of Labour’s mass immigration policies.

    Oh no….best keep quiet because the Coalition is unable to control mass immigration. LabLabCon give them the boot. Vote UKIP.

  14. 14
    Expat Geordie says:

    Apparently in five cases he went against the recommendations of, to quote the BBC, “independent commissioners”. Can someone please identify these “independent” individuals and check them for “independence”. We all know that as far as the BBC and the DfE are concerned, “independent” means slightly to the right of Stalin.

  15. 15
    Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t seem to be a much faster rate

  16. 16
    Anonymous says:

    I couldnt agree more, im so sick of hearing the Labour party being all “holier than thou ” how anybody could support EDs x2, Hattie, Yvette,Watson with a straight face, i have no idea !

  17. 17
    Anonymous says:

    Give it a rest with UKIP, FFS

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Moussa Koussa says:

    Your apologist stance is just getting worse Guido.

    Gimp hasn’t been stitched up; he has made the error himself.

    Wasn’t it the Tories who stated that they would end back yard, land grab, and school field sales….and since May 2010 have done neither. In fact have put in place planning law changes which will make such sales easier and quicker to complete .

  20. 20

    Conservatism or the Conservative Party?

    Or both?

  21. 21
    Must get a pseudonym one day says:

    Nothing to do with Gove’s rising popularity as one of the most successful ministers then……..?

  22. 22
    Ecuadorian Embassy says:

    Our doors are always open for Michael Gove.

  23. 23
    Just wondrin says:

    Which is more valuable gold or playing fields?

  24. 24
    JH says:

    I start to wonder if the most effective resolution to this is a full-blown economic crash, so these cun’ts at the DoE literally cannot be paid or spend money. It will be painful for decent, productive people too, but at least the monster will finally be starved.

    One way or the other, their economic never-never world is going to come crashing to an end. I can’t wait.

  25. 25
    Machiavelli says:

    Of course not.

  26. 26
    The Fog says:


  27. 27
    tube_thumper says:

    havent been here for quite a while

    its more boring thatn ever.

    I may be some time

  28. 28
    Swan Vestas says:

    Why wait, lets have another Great Fire.

  29. 29
    Widescreen2010 says:

    Bunch of arseh*les all round.
    Consevatives – the originators of this disgrace.
    Labour – continued apace.
    Consevative – more of the same.
    And they all protest about it while in opposition.
    Shameless Hunts.

  30. 30
    Ah! Monika says:

    Wrap up!

  31. 31
    The public says:

    Maybe the rate is affected by the number of fields available to flog off. Maybe the more lucrative deals have already been done and we are only scraping the bottom of the barrel where the opportunities for dodgy kick-backs is concerned.

  32. 32
    smoggie says:

    As soon as Assange lands in Ecuador I have this feeling that their cash-strapped president will have him on the first plane out to the US in order to claim his bounty.

  33. 33
    Dimwit says:

    I think the modern word is ‘predators’

  34. 34
    Gonk says:

    I can understand Labour’s frustration as one of their central beliefs is competitive sport.

  35. 35
    smoggie says:

    Brown didn’t know the answer to that one so he sold off both.

  36. 36
    The Abbottment says:


  37. 37 says:

    What is repeatedly and markedly ignored by all and sundry is that since all these state school playing fields have been closed down our sportsmen and women have excelled. 29 Olympic Gold medals. Best golfers in the world. Rated number one at cricket. Rated number 3 by FIFA at football.

    Clearly relying on the state to make our children good at sport was a total failure. The National Lottery and other methods have succeeded.

  38. 38
    Sane Person says:

    The truth hurts.

  39. 39
    albacore says:

    So you aren’t tired of the sick E U farce
    And LibLabCons licking communist arse?

  40. 40
    smoggie says:

    So it is an error to continue Labour’s policies. I think we can all agree on that one. Well done Moousie, you may go now.

  41. 41
    Axe the TV Tax says:

    Well done Mr Shakespeare :)

  42. 42
    Comedy scriptwriter says:

    Hey, I can use that line!

  43. 43
    The Civil Service says:

    Good idea. We can then set up a scoping committee for a new monument. Probably need to do a bit of fact-finding too. Rio is nice at this time of year. So is San Franciso. They had a fire once. And Moscow.. I think this will take a bout 6 months, and then I shall write a report, hold a consultation, a tendering process, maybe see a few mock-ups and have a party or two. Yes, we could have a nice little monument ready in about a decade.

  44. 44
    smoggie says:

    Who knows, we might have come second.

  45. 45 says:

    I’m going to draw a massive ballot paper on my cock.

  46. 46
    smoggie says:

    But who tried to pervert the course of justice using photoshop?

  47. 47
    The Public says:

    Yes. Keep PE teachers away from any potential sportsmen and women. More people are put off sport in schools than anywhere else.

  48. 48 says:

    Oooh a felt tip.

  49. 49
    Silly Seasoner says:

    That’s the trouble with you lefties, no sense of humour.

  50. 50 says:

    How many school playing fields can you save with £6billion a year?

  51. 51
  52. 52
    £££ The TV Tax Con £££ says:

    The BBC makes a considerable amount of money from their ‘commercial arm’ BBC Worldwide. DVD’s, CD’s, magazines, games, selling programmes to other countries… the list goes on. The BBC couldn’t care less what the public think as long as they can get away with their LibLabCon government approved extortion rackett that is the ‘TV License’.

    The BBC Trust’s phoney public surveys that they do every now and again are just to give the illusion that the BBC is listenening when in reality they couldn’t care less. Further proof that the BBC don’t care about the public is the amount of times the BBC have broken their public charter; the BBC accepting bribes/loans from the EU being a primary example.

  53. 53
    Anonymous says:

    Is anyone really suprised by this?

    The government is transferring billions of pounds of council owned land to private companies. The sell offs of playing fields is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Every Academy opened transfers the title deeds to publicly owned land to the private company running the new Academy.

    The state pays the legal fees for these transfers 25k a pop so far 1 billion in land has been transferred by Gove to private hands at a cost to the taxpayer of half a million. That’s right we pay for the privilege of giving away a billion in land to private owners.

    Who are these new owners of once public land? Phillip Harris is one who has millions of these title deeds, Tory doner and friend to teh PM. Stanley Fink co treasurer of the tory party is another.

    And already Stanley Fink via ARK is selling school land

    So public land is given away to tory doners at the expense of the public purse and then sold off for a profit to the private investors.

    Utterly Corrupt.

  54. 54
    Anonymous says:

    Wheels. Falling. Off

  55. 55
    When I was at school I was taught how to read says:

    According to the Telegraph article that Guido linked to:

    the identities of the panel members remain secret and their findings are not published


    council leaders — who have a representative on the panel

  56. 56
    Ivor Tapeworm says:

    CAVEAT re playing fields, Guido, it seems there was an error in recently released figures.

    Is your story based on the corrected figures?

  57. 57
    Smig says:


    How’s your public school educated spawn getting on?

  58. 58
    Jimmy says:

    Be fair. You can hardly blame Guido for the poor quality of CCHQ talking points he’s given

  59. 59
    Stephen Twigg - opportunistic twat says:

    Seeing as the missing data was school playing fields that were proposed for sale under the last Government but approved under this one, does anyone not think it odd that Labour are unable to remember the details of these until some bright spark at DFE suddenly remembers them?

  60. 60
    Anonymous says:

    So Greedo, I’ll put you down as a supporter of Gove’s secret plans to flog off school sports fields to his rich mates.

  61. 61
    Anonymous says:

    Of course the more lucartive and easy deals have already been done.

    That would be when Thatcher flogged off 10,000 of them. All of which will be returned to public ownership after regime change and the culprits who took them over will be punished.

  62. 62
    Anonymous says:

    Fair point.

    All the liblabcons are traitors and enemies of the nation.

  63. 63
    Anonymous says:

    ‘rising popularity’

    Only with fuckwits like you.

  64. 64
    Anonymous says:


    That’s the real objective of Gove.

    All this guff about improving standards, making schools better, getting better staff – it’s all bullshit to cover up wholesale looting of public assets for the benefit of Gove’s rich mates.

  65. 65
    Joe Public says:

    Can somebody please explain in simple language exactly what the Dept of Education is for? If it was closed down, who would miss it?

  66. 66
    Anonymous says:

    Before the election councils in England held the title deeds to schools and land valued at £billions
    But most people don’t know the very fine print of the academies bill means:

    1. The title deeds of the school and the very often the school land too are transferred to a private company when the school becomes an academy

    2. Michael Gove borrows £25,000 to pay the legal fees for the private companies to ensure the title deeds are transferred from the council (us taxpayers who paid to build the schools – to these private companies)
    So far £1billion of title deeds for schools have been transferred from taxpayers – with Michael gove increasing the deficit by £481,750,000 – just for legal fees to transfer ownership of the schools from councils to private companies.

    So who has the title deeds now?

    Tory party member Philip Harris has his hands on £millions worth of title deeds. (Philip Harris made donations to David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party. He is considered to be one of his personal friends)
    Stanley Fink, another friend of Cameron has donated £2.62m to the Conservative party and David Cameron made Fink a Lord as soon as he came to power, and David Cameron has since made him Tory Party Treasurer and also handed his company £millions title deeds for schools
    And today David Cameron has told us, as well as changing the law to transfer state assets to Tory party members (and I thought only China did that) – now he is changing the laws to allow them to start selling the land.

    Just so you know – Stanley Fink – his company states in their accounts – any extra money – his company has a policy to transfer the funds to the Cayman Islands – via a stockbrokers that Stanley fink just happens to be on the board of

    And already Stanley Fink via ARK is selling school land
    Eliot School becomes an ARK academy in September
    This article references ‘Eliot School’ in Wandsworth as one that is selling part of its land.

    The country wil never, ever get that land back (if hedge fund god and Tory Party Treasurer Stanley Fink has anything to do with it).

    Now if I remember correctly the directors of southern cross did the same thing with care homes – selling them off – the money disappears offshore the company goes bust and pensioners left high and dry (with taxpayers expected to step in)

    Well Cameron has just announced Tory party members who have their hands on the title deeds for our schools and the school land can start doing the same thing and just to be clear – Stanley Fink’s company accounts for the schools also state – if Stanley fink’s company controlling the schools, the school budgets and the title deeds goes bust – Stanley Fink (Tory party treasurer on the Times rich list) only has to pay £10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Academies are not about education – they are about asset stripping and English parents and children, will find themselves, just like the pensioners and their families who were left without facilities due to the very rich directors of Southern Cross selling off the assets and disappearing in to the sunset
    Do MIchael Gove and David Cameron shout from the rooftops that they are spending £25,000 per school to cover legal fees to transfer the title deeds to Tory Party members – no

    I wonder why not – could it be they don’t want England’s parents to know the real intentions of the academies bill – it’s not about education – it is about asset stripping by Tory Party members – thanks to David Cameron, Michael Gove, every Tory MP and every LIberal MP
    These are your schools – they do not belong to the Tory Party (well they do now).

    Ask Michael Gove if your council gets the money when they sell off school land
    Ask Stanley Fink (ARK SCHOOLS) – will this Tory Party treasurer be selling playing fields and as his accounts state, the money be transferred to the Cayman Islands (with his stockbrokers taking a cut along the way)
    Stanley Fink did not pay 1 penny for any of the schools he holds the title deeds for.Stanley Fink did not pay 1 penny for the playing fields he is now selling. We elected councillors to run schools and they did it for years without selling the land and the title deeds were kept in trust for you, councils have never transferred education funds to the Cayman Islands via Stockbrokers they own!

    Which is exactly why only democratically elected, accountable councillors can be trusted with the title deeds

  67. 67
    Stephen Twigg - opportunistic twat says:

    Like they were between 1997 and 2010?

  68. 68
    Double Tap says:

    Not the first time the DfE staff have given the Tories one set of figures and the BBC/Labour another. One might think that there were some Labour activists embeded in the DfE left over from Year Zero.

  69. 69
    ShowBizforuglypeople says:

    nice try Guido

    You somehow appear to have missed the stat that over 10,000 playing fields were sold off under the Tories between 79 and 97 whilst the NuLa disaster sold ‘only’ 226 between 97 to 2010, most of which were from schools which were relocated or closed.

  70. 70
    Govey says:

    Fields, shmields who needs them when there are generous Tory donors dying to build on them.

  71. 71
    Well, well, well says:

    A leopard does not change his spots after all.

  72. 72
    Tony Bliar says:

    We just continued what Maggie started.

  73. 73
    Osama the Nazarene says:

    Anonymong you are a DfE retainer and I claim my £5.

  74. 74
    Honest View says:

    They should sell off the lot. Schools are for lessons, and if the kids want to run around fields then they can go after school to the club of their choice, preferably at their parents’ expense.The whole crazy school sports business started at Marlborough as a means of keeping idle and disaffected youth occupied; then Arnold of Rugby turned it into a religion. O.K. for boarding schools, which have long days to fill; but the oiks who roll out of State schools at 3.15 should get some learning done in their few hours’ attendance.

  75. 75
    Anonymous says:

    Michael Gove reminds me of the snivelling little coward in my year at school who always got his mum to write him a note to say he couldn’t do PE this week while the rest of us got knocked down, muddy and bruised and learnt all life’s lessons.

    We seem to have an Education Secretary who keeps having flashbacks to when he was the little pussy at school who didn’t like getting his PE kit muddy.

    This seems to have driven his vendetta against sport in school.

    Great PR in the post-Olympics glow.


  76. 76
    Anonymous says:


    But there were only a few hundred then. Not 10,000. NuLab are still cυnts though.

  77. 77
    Pundit Too. says:

    Excellent – goes into my files for my current battle with the BBC.

  78. 78
    Stephen Twiggy 2 says:

    I dreamt of becoming a Tree, but due to my incompetence in government and losing a by-election had to reduce my aspirations to being a Branch; but alas I am still a Twigg and always will remain so.

  79. 79
    Pundit too too says:

    No AnyMouse is Owen Davies and I claim my seat in the House of Lords.

  80. 80
    evad666 says:

    From my understanding of this issue it hioghlights the deplorable state of Mathematics in the country as Labour overstates the number sold.

  81. 81
    Anonymous says:

    Stephen Twigg has a real cheek considering the number of labour-controlled councils that are selling off playing fields, like this one in Scotland, which requires the Labour-SNP coalition controlling East Renfrewshire Council to sell off a piece of land that is currently the only children’s play area and sports field in the village.

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