Monday, 19 October 2009
I'LL DO IT MY WAY
Another piece of democracy appears to have died in England, as the English Secretary of State for English Schools and Children, the charmless tubby bullying buffoon that is Mr Ed Cooper Balls, has overridden a committee of MPs and insisted that HIS choice for the Children’s Commissioner was the right choice.
Barry Sheerman, the chairman of the education select committee, said that it was a bad day for democracy when Mr Balls decided to override the body's recommendation and install Maggie Atkinson in the job.
The decision to turn down Ms Atkinson was taken unanimously without a vote by all eight committee members from all three major English parties.
Mr Sheerman is a Labour politician, albeit one opposed by and large to Gordon Brown (and presumably to his closest ally Ed Balls), but he knows a thing of two about children, being, outside of parliament, a trustee of the National Children’s Centre, as well as having had 4 of his own.
These parliamentary committees are a very important part of the democratic process where ministers are held to account and sent homeward to think again about policies and individual decisions.
The decision to reject Ms Atkinson was taken on the basis that the committee felt that she lacked the independence to stand up to a Secretary of State that liked his own way.
Apparently he likes his own way so much that he overrode their decision not to allow him to have it.
Mr Sheerman told the “Today Programme”: “Most of us know that Ed Balls is a bit of a bully and he likes his own way and we have seen a track record of problems over Ken Boston at the QCA and Bruce Liddington the schools commissioner, who was very independent - he has gone and the school commissioner has been abolished. Time after time, we see the secretary of state wanting to have people who will do his bidding. He is more of an executive man, rather than a parliamentary man and I think it is a bad day for parliamentary democracy when - if we are having these pre-appointment hearings - the very first one to say it didn’t agree with the appointment gets overridden.”
The pre-appointment hearings were introduced on a trial basis last year to improve accountability in the appointment of a range of public figures.
As a Scot it makes me very relieved to know that this unpleasant know all is nothing whatsoever to do with education or children in my country.