March 11th, 2014

Gove v Clegg Proxy War
Free School Meals a “Rubbish Gimmick”, Part of Deal with Dave

Dominic Cummings, the ex-Gove adviser formerly known as @ToryEducation, has piled into Clegg’s unravelling free school meals policy on the World at One. He confirms it was part of a deal between Cameron and Clegg involving the Tory conference marriage tax break, that Gove told them it was “rubbish” and that DfE were only told about it an hour before it was announced:

“Clegg’s team tried to persuade us to do it in 2013. We refused. So Clegg said to Cameron in secret before party conferences, ‘you give me this and I’ll give you your marriage tax announcement for Tory conference, Gove refuses to do it so you’ll have to force him.’ The DfE wasn’t told until about an hour or so before the announcement. No policy work was done in advance. Officials in DfE were unanimous that it was a bad gimmick and introduced in a way that makes it hard to avoid implementation chaos. Officials were obviously right. 

It was a back of the fag packet number by Clegg’s spin doctors. We told them it was rubbish. It is based on a supposed DfE underspend that did not exist and they were told it did not exist. Because Clegg only thinks about politics – and starts every meeting saying ‘I haven’t been able to read the policy papers but let’s talk about the politics’ – he assumed that our opposition was because it was a Clegg idea but it wasn’t. Our opposition was because it is a dumb idea badly executed that shows why politicians should have less power over schools, and although I had many disagreements with Whitehall officials and the methods of the civil service, this is very firmly the fault of Clegg.”

Not like Dom to sit on the fence about something…


  1. 1
    Pat Rock says:

    Another liberal buggering up the kiddies.

  2. 2
    The horror, the horror! says:

    That’s one scary looking guy behind him.

  3. 3
    Paniagua V5.1 says:

    ‘he assumed that our opposition was because it was a Clegg idea but it wasn’t. Our opposition was because it is a dumb idea’

    Can anyone tell me the difference?

  4. 4
    Nick Clegg says:

    Nom, Nom, Nom

  5. 5
    jgm2 says:

    Seems like a good gimmick to me.

    We have a generation of pie-based kids waddling off to school with their lard-burgers, crisps and chocolates. It’d do ‘em good to get one decent meal a day and, in the broad scheme of things it shouldn’t cost that much.

  6. 6
    Saint Ella says:

    I like a free lunch or two.

  7. 7
    Awesome boobage says:

    I love travelling on the tube because there’s always lovely totty in short skirts or plunging necklines. Just recently I saw a tasty looking lass who was actually dressed quite conservatively except for a sheer top through which her bra and lovely melons were visible. That certainly perked me up on my morning journey to work.

  8. 8
    Sumfink ov da nite says:

    A younger Michael Howard?

  9. 9
    Anonymous says:

    No.3. Super deduction. Where is the billion pounds coming from to pay for this? My kids do not want school dinners- will I get some sort of refund?

  10. 10
    You got me all excited says:

    Are you on the correct website sir? Or madam (to be right-on, eh Hattie?)

  11. 11
    Pob says:

    Where are the photographs?

  12. 12

    The Co-operative Group said it has accepted Euan Sutherland’s resignation as chief executive, and that chief financial officer Richard Pennycook will act as interim boss.

  13. 13
    The Damnbuster says:

    We need an election now, get rid of these Lib Dem wasters and get a firm government in place.

  14. 14
    Ed Miliband says:

    It’s the cost of living dining crisis.

  15. 15
    Axe The Telly Tax & Religion & Kill All Eco-loons says:

    The best send off for Bob Crow would be for the gravediggers to go on strike, it’ll be just like the late 70s all over again :-)

  16. 16
    Michael Howard says:

    Hardly, given I was grown in a petri dish at Portland Down.

  17. 17
    Co-Op says:

    Our funeral service is still working.

    I think.

  18. 18
    Ed Sillyband says:

    The Co-Op is the future of banking, isn’t that right Reverend Flowers?

  19. 19
    Anonymous says:

    It`s not just the cost of the meals, many schools will be spending a fortune setting up new kitchens. A truly numbskull policy.

  20. 20
    I dislike socialists intensely says:

    Never never trust a Libdem, treachery is in their DNA.

  21. 21
    A very important question says:

    What children eat at school is actually Lunch.

    So why are they called Dinner Ladies?

  22. 22
    Awesome boobage says:

    Not of that particular lady, but this gives you an idea:

    Except the lady on the tube had larger melons.

  23. 23
    C O (Ξ6) says:

    Some interesting updates on the missing MH370 plane:

    Seems that the wrong area was searched. But if it went down in Malacca straits, someone must have noticed by now. The plot thickens…

  24. 24
    jgm2 says:

    When I was at school they all had their own kitchens.

    Don’t tell me those expensive glass and steel PFI-funded schools have nowhere to make a meal?

    For shame.

  25. 25
    John Bellingham says:

    I think that I have identified why Britain has become such a phuck-up in recent years. Hardly any of the homeopaths and paedal-cyclists who now run the show are smokers. Add to that that modern fag packets have shiny, not matt packaging and are covered with silly ‘elf warnings resulting in no room to do any calculations on the back and the impossibility of writing there with a ball-point or felt-tip pen.
    They are probably rather doing the sums on their gameboys.

  26. 26
    jgm2 says:

    If it went down in the Malacca straights it would have done well to avoid hitting a fucking ship. It’s like the M25 of shipping.

  27. 27
    Twats McTwatt says:

    Dominic Cummings all over Gove’s arse by the looks of the photo.

  28. 28
    Peter Mandelslime says:

    I love game boys.

  29. 29
    Tony Blair is a war criminal says:

    The way the BBC are acting you’d think the fucking queen had died not a union leader.

  30. 30
    Peter Mandelslime says:

    I love game boys ;-)

  31. 31
    Fishy says:

    The new tube trains on the circle line are particularly good for this. They are particularly well sprung and bounce about a lot more on the undulating track…so do the trains

  32. 32
    Tony Blair is a war criminal says:

    Lefty lesbian newsreader onBBC is almost wetting her knickers about Crowe. Reminds me if one of those old dogs from North Korea state news.

  33. 33
    Twampersand mk III says:

    We don’t need the Gov telling people what to eat, or assuming control of their diets when they tell them to mind their own business.

    How about everybody provides their own food instead of expecting others to give it to them for free?

  34. 34
    Awesome boobage says:

  35. 35
    jamie oliver says:

    pukka idea mate! “jamie’s dinner ladies”. basically it’s a tv show which features me and some dinner ladies. there’ll be a book, a supermarket clothing range, franchised exercise classes and a spin off show called “jamie’s dinner ladies babies”. see that is what the world needs… more of me. i tried getting cloned but they said that is only for presidents. so i shall do the next best thing which is to get loads of dinner ladies up the duff and you know me! always a angle to make some more wedge. maybe coldplay would do the themetune and i could play the drums… sorted!

  36. 36
    Nintendo says:

    I prefer XBox.

  37. 37
    Táxpáyér says:

    Parents should pay for their own children’s food (and education).

  38. 38
    Blue Peter Goldfish says:

    Must remember to stay clear of the BBC for at least a week (which I generally do anyway), the number of insincere tributes that will be pouring in from all sides will be predictably nauseating in extremis.

  39. 39
    Táxpáyér says:

    “It’d do ‘em good to get one decent meal a day ”

    You expect the extortion funded sector to provide something decent…

    Unusually gullible for you.

  40. 40
    Táxpáyér says:

    Exactly. The “food pyramid” with it’s emphasis on carbs, and low fat is a good way to encourage obesity.

  41. 41
    Twampersand mk III says:

    Dinner is at 12.00 midday, teatime is around 5.00pm and supper is around 9.00pm.

    Lunch is what public servants have for 2 hours a day, in expensive restaurants and at taxpayer expense.

  42. 42
    modernitis says:

    I think that nowadays the correct term is Culinary Ladle Operatives.

  43. 43
    Táxpáyér says:

    Can they dig themselves out of the hole?

  44. 44
    John Bellingham says:

    Coz they were introduced as part of the Butler reforms in 1944 and they were aimed at us poor working class types for whom a mid-day meal was “dinner”. There was still rationing then and the aim was to keep the kids nourished and ricketts and scurvy at bay. It was considered important as so many mums were working in the factories, decoding enigma cables or studying American culture down the US Army base.
    We proles of the 40s and 50s might get an early evening meal of “tea” with such luxuries as spam and government bread (and tea). Rationing probably accounted for the unique shittiness of the food, though not for the way it was served.
    Luncheon was for toffs and officers who had “supper” in the evenings.

  45. 45
    jgm2 says:

    In principle I agree. But then, in principle, children would go to school already able to recite the alphabet, write their name, read a simple story and potty-trained.

    In fact after 100 years of compulsory education you’d expect most parents in the UK to be able to teach their kids pretty much any subject up to GCSE level. After all, they’re not that fucking hard are they? GCSEs I mean.

    In theory we could shut down 75% of schools because most parents would be able to bring their kids up to GCSE level all by themselves. The other 25% we might need to keep open for ‘A’ Levels. Cos they’re a bit harder. In theory.

    In practice however we have an endemic problem of fucking useless parental plankton who seem barely able to feed and dress themselves let alone their kids. That being the case then free school lunches makes sense for the same reason we spend tens of billions every year teaching kids to read and write. Because if we didn’t there’s a real risk their fucking useless parents wouldn’t either.

    Plus it’s a ‘win’ in propaganda terms. Just as Labour never lets any fucker forget that they nationalised all the hospitals to create the NHS then the Liberals/Tories will forever be able to say that they ensured that all kids got at least one decent meal a day.

  46. 46
    Boris Carloffe says:

    Clegg must go. Not only is he useless but he is dangerous. The only good thing he does is to keep the more useless Cable in check

  47. 47
    jgm2 says:

    I’m emphasising the propaganda/gimmick side of it.

    As a gimmick it has legs. And is relatively cheap.

  48. 48
    Jack Dromey says:

    Boy games are better.

  49. 49
    Blue Peter Goldfish says:

    Vince is the only kind of cable that nobody would care about if it went missing.

  50. 50
    Jack Ketch says:

    If you walk out of your house and note that your car is missing and the alarm didn’t go off and no one saw it move and you check with the authorities and discover it has not been towed, there is only one answer. It has been nicked.
    Same with this plane–unless there has been one of those rare alien abduction, I would look to the druglords in Cambodia, after all they have already made some 200 ships including 75,000 ton tankers vanish.

  51. 51
    jgm2 says:

    I hope it has been nicked. It offers up the possibility that the passengers are still alive.

    My gut feeling however is that it is in thousands of pieces spread over a large area somewhere.

  52. 52
    Me says:

    I prefer something with a joystick.

  53. 53
    Twampersand mk III says:

    Free food, money, houses, etc, should only be supplied under stringent conditions and then only to those willing to be permanently sterilised. The rest can starve. You cannot allow chav-scum to hold the nation ransom by allowing them to threaten to either starve or overfeed the next generation of parasites if we don”t give them free stuff.

    That would eradicate the problem within 30 years.

  54. 54
    Twampersand mk III says:

    I’m afraid that being nicked does not account for the instant loss of radar signature and radio contact.

    I’m afraid that the religion of peace is more than likely involved.

  55. 55
    jgm2 says:

    It’s a fair point you make. And certainly shutting down 75% of schools would save us a hell of a lot of money PLUS it would free up all those teachers to get that better paying job in the private sector that they always seem to think they could get any time they liked. The economy would boom.

    We could do it step by step. Apparently Scandinavian schools are really good and they don’t start school there until they’re seven. So we could lose the first two years of teachers straight away. Then roll it back from there. Every (say) five years lose another two years of school until kids don’t start school until their ‘A’ Levels.

  56. 56
    Táxpáyér says:

    It’ll make things worse, as entitlement re-enforcement always does..

  57. 57

    It is time compulsory education came to an end , working and middle class children are having their education destroyed by the moronic, foul, violent offspring of the benefit class who don’t wish to be there, and by their constant brawling and interruption make teaching almost impossible.
    It follows that stupid parents will have stupid benefit brats and by keeping this scum away from the classrooms those from decent homes ,who’s parents take an interest in their future will be able to concentrate on their lessons.
    No parent worthy of the name would condone their children being fed state swill ,and the underclass brats can carry on being fed microwave chips at home .

  58. 58
    Twampersand mk III says:

    Strange how the tories suddenly think he was a jolly decent chap, now he’s dead.

    Very sad for his family and I take no pleasure from his death, but the fact that he has died should not detract from the fact that he was neither working class nor heroic, he was a parasite who skanked free holidays, meals, a house, travel and 140,000 quid a year out of gullible trots who thought he was going to ‘emancipate the proles’, or some such nonsense.

  59. 59
    jgm2 says:

    Of course it will make things worse. But as a gimmick, for propaganda purposes then it makes rock-solid sense.

    That said I think Gove and the Tories are missing a trick here. All we ever hear from ‘educational professionals’ is how good the schools are in Scandinavia. But they don’t start school there until they’re seven years of age. That’s 20% cut from the education budget right there.

    Just fire all those year 1 and year 2 teachers because obviously, as the Scandinavians have proved, there’s no fucking need for them at all.

    Plus we solve the problem of the immigrant baby boom and the new schools we need to build at a stroke. Now our existing schools have 20% extra capacity.

  60. 60
    jgm2 says:

    Yes. He was nothing more heroic than a gangster. Using extortion to screw insane pay and conditions out of a captive population.

    50K+ for a 35 hour week?

    Red light STOP.

    Green light GO.

    Any child who was potty-trained could manage that.

  61. 61
    Hugh Janus says:

    Never trust any of them!

    Still, says a lot about Smegg’s character and competence to hold high office, doesn’t it…?

  62. 62
    Hugh Janus says:

    Really, Mike? I could have sworn I cultured you at Porton Down, myself.

    Oh, well – every day’s a learning day.

  63. 63
    Garfield says:

    Maybe they are making another series of Lost.

  64. 64
    Anonymous says:

    I think this is a brilliant idea. Re-heated slop supplied by the lowest bidder is certain to help improve levels of literacy and numeracy in school leavers.

    I’m glad Clegg isn’t trying to spend money on text books or toughening exams and is instead trying to buy votes from feckless parents too lazy to pack a lunch for their offspring.

  65. 65
    Great Granddad says:

    Because back in the day we ate breakfast, dinner and tea. Only the gentry ate a light meal called lunch.In 1940 our mothers became involved in the war effort and those who were not, volunteered to cook our dinner for us at school, hence, dinner ladies.

    Interestingly, perhaps, sugar was very tightly rationed, there was no fruit juice, no fruit outside summer/autumn no soda pop, and we ate our chips and most other things fried in lard. Young hungry boys ate bread (freely available), liberally spread with drippings and lashes of salt. Fat adults were rare and fat children almost unknown. I never came across the latter in my school days either in London or in the remote reaches of Gloucestershire during periods of evacuation. Most of my contemporaries who are still with us remain slim or slimmish, and are still eating sausage, eggs and bacon for breakfast. We learned our three r’s and, incredibley, never had a media lesson, a sex lesson or a tick box question in our entire school careers. We have slim children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, all speak and write fair English and can manage to count their change. I am hoping that those in England who are old enough, will all vote UKIP next year as a start towards pushing the Conservative Party back to Conservative politics.

  66. 66

    We certainly will vote UKIP , but in order to destroy the NON CONSERVATIVE PARTY of Hague , Cameron, Clarke , May and Grove !!

  67. 67
    Baroness ashton ate my beaver says:

    phew ! glad your back co6 thought the CIA had sent you back to torture and kill harmless south american peasants.

  68. 68
    I myself and me says:

    ok, so long as we don’t have to keep on paying their benefits.

  69. 69
    meat and two veg says:

    Anyone with children of school age knows that state
    school dinners are useless anyway.

  70. 70
    I myself and me says:

    Oh those were the days. My regular supper was a few thick doorstep style slices of fresh bread and lashings of dripping (especially the gravy bit at the bottom of the bowl!), together with a glass of fresh milk. Never did me any harm. Do any mums serve their kids these delicious offering these days? Don’t know what they are missing.

  71. 71

    They probably don’t know how to roast a joint of meat !

  72. 72

    When the benefits stop they will die out within one generation.

  73. 73
    Kenny says:

    If Dhe deputy Prime Minister says its free school meals then it is free school meals.

    It is not the role of teachers or other employees to try and scupper the policy no matter how hair brained it might be.

    The remedy should be instant dismissal

  74. 74
    A taxpaying pleb says:

    Freezing Child Benefits for five years to pay for this seems like a fair deal to me.

  75. 75
    John Bellingham says:

    Interesting how the folks who grew up during and just after the war, eating stuff that nowadays looks like the dog’s scraps, smoking wild woodbines behind the bicycle sheds, climbing trees, learning to box (without headgear), swimming in outdoor public pools, playing on bombsites, walking to school in 2 foot of snow and getting a good clout when they were bad, survived and thrived (I have).
    We were protected from PDO files by neighbours who would half-kill any twisted bastard and ASBOs were a good clop from any neighbour, followed by good clop from Dad and if REALLY serious a good clop from the local constable.

  76. 76
    Anonymous says:

    £111bn more borrowed this financial year of the £700bn or so spent. If we are incredibly lucky, the OBR reckon there might be a balanced budget by the end of the next parliament. There won’t be of course.

  77. 77
    Anonymous says:

    Most adults could not pass GCSE Maths at Grade C and almost nobody has the sort of equipment at home necessary for GCSE Science or any of the practical subjects. Free dinners is a rabid extension of the nanny state following on from 8-6 schools where parents can relieve themselves of much of the responsibility for parenting.

  78. 78
    Anonymous says:

    Clegg doesn’t have the faintest clue how to do his job. (whatever it is)

  79. 79
    thostids says:

    The food fascists actually dictate what may not be included in lunch-boxes and confiscate what is deemed unacceptable.
    As for the Government’s decision to provide a hot meal for every primary schoolchild, they overlook that the State schools’ system removed and junked its kitchens a long time ago. I know that most schools have had to have new facilities installed as well as the personnel to make them function.
    Quite why we should expect the nutritional value and quality should be any better than the educative qualities of these Institutions is list to me.

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