Pearson’s Fake Think Tank is Commercial Front

Pearson plc, the owners of the FT, have caused a minor ripple today through their imaginatively named Pearson Think Tank. They’ve published a prophecy of doom about the state of primary education and teacher training:

“A perfect storm of falling teacher training applications, low staff morale and rapidly rising pupil numbers could easily create a future teacher workforce crisis in primary schools if left unchallenged.”

The Department for Education claim that the report “could not be further from the truth”. Crucially Pearson Think Tank recommends the way to solve the problem is for the government to spend more money on teacher training. So what was it that first attracted one of the world’s largest providers of education services to create their own in-house wonk-shop and produce knocking copy about teachers?

Nothing to do with their commercial interests, of course. Who could sweep in and fix the terrible mess that Pearson claim is blighting  the teaching world? Well these guys look like experts in the area:

Predictably Labour’s sub par education team have got all hot and heavy and are press-releasing quotes about the fake think-tank’s report. Without realising, of course, that they are mere pawns in a corporation’s commercial scheme…

Unions Funding Labour’s Left-Wing Dream Team

Militant Unite boss Len McCluskey is continuing his drive to take over the Labour Party by setting up a pressure group to rival Blairite faction Progress. According to the Guardian, the subtly-named Class will aim to “remind Labour of their working roots“. The new think tank’s members read like a left-wing dream team, with Paul Kenny of the GMB and Mark Serwotka’s PCS providing the funding and Seamus Milne, Jack Dromey, Owen Jones and Polly Tonybee sitting on the advisory panel. Sounds more like a union for the 1% to Guido…

The prolier than thou ethos of “class” is to articulate “an alternative that will resonate with working people”. Which must be why they are advised by the Guardian’s Winchester educated Stalinist Seamus Milne and by the three home-owning, multi-millionairess great granddaughter of the Earl of Carlisle. Polly Toynbee was also privately educated (Badminton), went to Oxford (St Annes) and on to the BBC. Toynbee is the daughter of the literary critic Philip Toynbee and grand-daughter of the famous historian Arnold J. Toynbee, his uncle was the philanthropist and economic historian Arnold Toynbee after whom Toynbee Hall is named. She was born into three generations of metropolitan elitists…

The downtrodden workers on minimum wage should be grateful that the likes of GMB’s Paul Kenny on £114,000, the PCS’s Mark Serwotka on £113,354 and not forgetting Len McCluskey on £149,312 are leading the charge for equality. Class act indeed.

Think Tank Lets Sponsor Co-Author Research Report

The link between think-tank research and its “sponsors” has always been opaque. A cynical man would say companies bung a load of cash to shape supposedly independent research, but wonks wil always stress that their final recommendations are free from the influence of their paymasters. Not only did PA Consulting “kindly support” the New Local Government Network’s “Antcipating the Future Citizen Report” but the NLGN even let PA Consulting’s ‘Local Government Lead’, Graeme Walker, co-author the piece. The NLGN deny that any money changed hands for the research and stressed they have contractual commitments to independence. The “kind support” was apparently staffing, but it does look a little odd…

Taxpayer Funded Lobbying of Dave Pays Off

Dave has come out in full support for minimum pricing on booze. He told the Manchester Evening News yesterday, and reaffirmed this morning, that he is “very supportive” of the campaign to have a 50p per unit minimum that Guido mentioned yesterday. No surprise that the taxpayer-funded lobbying firm Our Life have been quick to welcome the measure. Their chief exec Alison Giles was positively gushing with praise. What she didn’t mention though was Our Life’s previously lobbying of the Tories, while the taxpayer picks up the tab.

The NHS trusts that have channeled Our Life £509,000 to lobby the government (and the government to be,) have bought policy. Half a million quid of public money to get the PM to back your campaign – a necessary move in their eyes, in order to by-pass the Health Secretary who has comprehensively rejected minimum pricing. Regional NHS authorities are subverting the normal policy making process at a massive cost to the taxpayer. If they are doing it on alcohol what else are they doing it on? How many other taxpayer funding lobbying companies have the public sector set up?



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Quote of the Day

Janan Ganesh on Labour’s soft left

“Ms Cooper does not believe the previous Labour government was wrong to run a fiscal deficit after 15 years of economic growth. Both she and Mr Burnham think families should be entitled to tax credits for a third child. These views are not mad. They are just a bit too left-wing for Britain. For any serious party, that amounts to the same thing. The soft left is more electable than the hard left but then Mars is more habitable than Neptune: neither planet will host human life anytime soon.”

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