Williamson Formally Drops Plan for Primary Pupils Return Before Summer

Gavin Williamson has announced to the Commons the Government’s ditching of plans for all English Primary pupils to go back to school before the summer, after previously having declared an “ambition” for every year group to return for at least four weeks teaching by June 21stIn light of this, Williamson’s new ambition of hoping to see all children back at school in September sounds far less certain…

mdi-timer 9 June 2020 @ 14:50 9 Jun 2020 @ 14:50 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Rees-Mogg Gets Brandon Lewis’s SpAd Leftovers

A couple of quiet SpAd moves have gone on amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, with Guido revealing this morning that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has scooped up ITN’s Angus Walker after 20 years with the broadcaster.

After No. 10 scooped Hugh Bennett from Jacob Rees-Mogg’s office, Guido also learns Rees-Mogg is bringing Fred de Fossard – formerly of PRU and currently at Public First – on board as his replacement. Jacob wasn’t the first SpAd job Fred went for however; back in February, @PoliticalPics snapped newly-appointed Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis leaving No. 10 with a CV in his arms.

There’s aren’t many Westminster wonks who were event coordinators at Pong Cheese Ltd…

Keep up to date with Guido’s rolling SpAd list here

mdi-timer 2 April 2020 @ 12:30 2 Apr 2020 @ 12:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Gavin Williamson Announces School Closures

Children of NHS staff, Police and delivery drivers will remain in schools, as will the most vulnerable such as children with social workers and children with special educations needs. Exams are also cancelled…

mdi-timer 18 March 2020 @ 17:33 18 Mar 2020 @ 17:33 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
What Boris Believes About IQ

In this morning’s briefing the Prime Ministers’ spokesman Jamie Davies spent ten long minutes taking questions from Lobby hacks on Boris’ views on IQ. The repeated answer to all lines of inquiry was that “the Prime Minister’s views are well documented.” What are those views?

The best answer we have is from the speech Boris gave in 2013 to the Centre for Policy Studies, where he touched upon the subject. In the speech entitled What Would Maggie do Today?’

Boris said:

“No one can ignore the harshness of that competition, or the inequality that it inevitably accentuates; and I am afraid that violent economic centrifuge is operating on human beings who are already very far from equal in raw ability, if not spiritual worth.

Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests, it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16% of our species have an IQ below 85, while about 2% have an IQ above 130. The harder you shake the pack, the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top.”

The speech causes a furore at the time, with Boris having to defend his comments, claiming by way of explanation that “What I was saying, actually, is that there is too much inequality, and my speech was actually a warning, as correctly reported by many newspapers, against letting this thing go unchecked.” Which seemed to Guido at the time to be a bit of a reverse ferret…

The point fits with his regular refrain in contemporary speeches that ‘talent and brilliance is equally distributed across the country, but opportunity is not.’ Discussions of IQ are a minefield, the left explodes when it touches on race, whereas most of the right is deeply convinced that IQ is relevant to achievable outcomes. It goes to their respective fundamental beliefs in human nature.

Incidentally, has anyone noticed that “super-forecaster” Andrew Sabisky, whose musings have triggered this latest round of outrage, described Penny Mordaunt and Gavin Williamson as “morons“:

Guido wonders if the autistic Sabisky can forecast what their reaction will be to finding this out?

mdi-timer 17 February 2020 @ 12:21 17 Feb 2020 @ 12:21 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Cameron’s Own PPS Refused to Buy his Book

It was thought that Cameron having to reduce the price of his book at Tory conference would be the low point of the former PM’s literary career. However, Guido now hears that the aversion to forking out for his book extends well beyond Tory Party members – to the education secretary, Gavin Williamson: his former PPS…

In a recent meeting with the PM, Cameron asked Williamson if he’d purchased his book, to which Gavin had to sheepishly admit he hadn’t yet (and as a Yorkshireman was holding out for a larger discount). Cameron promptly responded by throwing a copy of the book at him. Guido imagines Theresa will feel a twinge of jealousy over Cameron’s ability to lob something heavy at the former Defense secretary…

mdi-timer 23 October 2019 @ 15:00 23 Oct 2019 @ 15:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Chris Grayling Wanted to Blow Up Pacer Trains

Before he left the department the former transport secretary, Chris Grayling, wanted to publicise the phasing out of the Pacer trains so despised by commuters. Grayling joked that he wanted to ‘blow up’ a Pacer train in a populist move to demonstrate the government’s understanding of the public’s widespread detestation of them. In response, Gavin Williamson, who was at the time Defence Secretary, offered to lend him a tank…

Whilst the photo op would have secured an incredible redemptive legacy for the former minister, the explosive imagery was never sanctioned, with the government instead looking at turning the hated “buses on train wheels” into public spaces for social enterprises. The Department of Transport is running a competition to award 3 carriages to the best 3 community projects put forward. Always trust the civil service to ruin everyone’s fun…

mdi-timer 19 September 2019 @ 17:15 19 Sep 2019 @ 17:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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