which he failed to get into law in the dying days of the Labour government. I can assure Balls that his policies on Licence to Practise and school report cards would have made as little contribution to raising standards of teaching and learning as Gove’s free schools and new academies are likely to do.
The politicians seem to be unable to move away from grand gestures which they think will impress the electorate rather than consider the fundamentals of what makes the kind of education system that the public wants – good local schools in every neighbourhood.
We now have a government little different to the last one. If you really believe that teachers should be trusted, Gove, then invest in us and don’t waste valuable resources on castles in the air. Philip Parkin General secretary, Voice: the union for education professionals
GP power In response to ‘Carry on Doctor (TP, Oct), the Nuffield Trust believes that the central proposal of the white paper to give clinicians greater responsibility over NHS budgets is a good one. However, there are important issues to address in taking these proposals forward. First, primary care trusts who currently commission care have struggled to control expenditure on hospital care.
The government needs to carefully consider how consortia can be supported to be effective commissioners, particularly in light of a 45 per cent reduction in expenditure on management by 2014. Second, the biggest challenge facing the NHS is caring for older people and people with long term conditions. GPs acting alone will not significantly affect care in this area. They will need to work closely with hospital specialists, patients and local authority services. Third, there’s a risk to cost control and quality with fast paced reforms. Vidhya Alakeson Senior fellow in health policy, The Nuffield Trust
Ben Duckworth on the much respected, if not admired, figure of Lord Mandelson
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The last TotalPoliticsof 2010 is an absolute cracker. Ok, I promise no more rubbish Christmas-themed jokes. As 2010 begins to draw to a close, we feature some of the key figures from the last 12 months. Step forward Peter Mandelson, the man who either helped the Labour government continue in power for long as possible, or spent considerable time on his memoirs when he should have been fighting the election. He denies the second point in our superb interview on p22 and reveals that he has “made up” with Ed Miliband after his criticisms in the leadership campaign. A man of his political skills – does he ever turn off? – is respected if not admired across politics. Mandelson also says he wants to become an uncle figure to the new generation of Labour politicians. Is he thinking of retirement? You must be joking.
The coalition talks were political drama of the highest quality. Now comes the definitive accounts of what happened. We feature articles from David Laws, the former chief secretary to the Treasury, who discusses his book 22Days inMayon why the Conservatives and Lib Dems were able to form a coalition. Rob Wilson, who has interviewed many of the leading players for his book, 5Daysto Power, also gives his perspective. Turn to p28 for those articles.
Election time was also a bonanza for the media. Were reputations made or enhanced in the manic, sleepdeprived days? Turn to p32 to find the TotalPoliticstop 100 journalists poll. We have the overall results, and the results broken down into votes by politicians, readers and journalists rating their own colleagues. There’s nothing like a popularity contest.
We also have Alex Stevenson examining whether the coalition government is really working on p17. We’ve heard plenty from the likes of Oliver Letwin about how marvellously all the various committees are working but are those process producing good government? If you need some policy ‘meat’ then Andrew Hawkins analyses whether Andrew Lansley’s NHS reforms have the support of doctors on p8. Since they’ll take far more power in a new system, it seems he has work to do. Also, look out for the top-notch regular opinion, history, campaigns and light-hearted content too.
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December 2010 | Total Politics | 5