Monday, 19 October 2009


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.


  1. I thought the whole point of committees was so that they can hold ministers accountable.

    Ed Balls will be lucky to be in a job this time next year, in fact in 8 months time. It is so typical of todays Labour party to rule with an Iron fist.

    Spivs, the lot of them...

  2. Spivs and Dictators Spook. She won't stand up to him, they reckon. That's what he likes. He's not bright enough for a real fight with a strong person.

    Watch out for a lot of this. Putting their people in place for the last few months so that they can have an easy life and concentrate of the important stuff of making sure they get every halfpenny of expenses in before they get booted out forever. It will be a case of counting the silver after they've gone.

    Spivs is right.

    Spivs and Scum. I'm just glad they have a limited control here.

  3. Thank God for Fiona Hyslop eh.

    This guy's days are numbered anyway and so is his Government. No matter what Mandy says: he can come back but I do not think that the Labour Government will.

  4. Yes. Altogether a better Education Secretary than that daft a*se.

    Mandy is going to come back... but this time as a Tory. (Once you're in the aristocracy you can do anything you want.)

  5. Mr Balls has done another great job ballsing things up.

    What astonishes me is the cavalier attitudes some of these people display. This is an important appointment and they treat it like rubbish.

    Shameful, this incidently is the Ed Balls who commented once during PMQs with "so what?" when Cameron talked about 3 millions unemployed and high inflation...lets hope Blinky Balls goes forthwith after the GE.

    It wont come soon enough.


  6. Tris...

    I like that word spiv, it rhymes with Labour.

    Yes they will coin out of the public purse what they can get. I can see the trucks being loaded up outside the Commons now.

    Balls is a wimp and only a wimp would not stand up to him. Easy 9 months for the guy..

  7. Dean:

    When he finds himself in opposition on half his current salary and with none of the perks, in a new parliament with much stricter rules on fiddling, and where he and his equally unlikeable wife will actually have to say that they live in the same house, we can all say "so what?".

    One of the fiddles that people pull on social security is a couple taking two houses and claiming for both; enjoying the perks of living separately whilst actually living together in only one of the houses.... Does that ring any bells with you? And Mrs Bowles (woops nearly typed Bowels...Freudian or what) is in charge of social security?!?!?!?

    You couldn't invent this couple.

  8. Aye Spook, spiv and Labour rhymes perfectly.

    I'm amazed Rabbie Burns never used the pair in any of his works. You're a true poet!

    But the good news is that it's only somewhere between 7 and 8 months by my counting before we are free of this disasterous government and this odious man and his bumped up ego.

    Did you see his speech to the conference. Truly I was emabrrassed for him. He tried to do it without notes in that cool trendy up to date way (first started I think by Ms Widdecombe a few years ago). But then, to be able to do that, you have to do it from the heart; you really need to mean it. Now for all you can say about Ann Widdecome, she means what she says. Clearly Balls
    didn't. To say he struggled through it would be an understatement of gigantic proportions. The pauses were longer than the speech. Zzzzzzzzzz.

    He's toast, and burnt toast at that!

  9. Didn’t Mr Balls and his odious fish of a wife not take the Boundary Commission to court in order to preserve their respective constituencies, both of which are due to disappear. They failed and he then got Gordon Brown to bribe Colin Challen with a peerage to step aside for Balls (it's handy that house of Lords). Oh and when he was at University he was a member of the Conservative Party!

  10. It's quite scary.

    He's only been in parliament since 2005 and within a year he was a junior minister and within another year was a Cabinet Secretary. And had Alistair Darling not had the "balls" to put Brown in his place, Ed would by now be Chancellor of the Exchequor! Amazing!

    Being a very very close friend of Brown's he'd already had some juicy work, paying huge amounts, put his way. Of course his wife, vinegar face Cooper has also achieved Cabinet Secretary status, doubtless on her abilities. It's something which in my opinion should not be allowed. (It isn't allowed for 'ordinary' people in the civil service to work in the same office as a close relative.)

    He's obviously clever: private school, Oxford, Harvard, and I believe that his expression "post neoclassical endogenous growth theory", just shows how much in touch he is with grass roots Labour concerns, like how much a pint of milk costs and how old people manage to cope when their savings pay 0.5% interest and the gas bill has gone up by 30%.

    You're right Munguin, a possible bribe to let him have a safe seat, involving a current member taking a seat in the upper house...

    Ah.... Labour.... the party of the working man .... Yeah right. Niko must be proud of them, I know the Orange Men are.

  11. Tris: I just love those bloggers who rant on about nepotism and corruption as if it’s something that is uniquely foreign i.e. President Sarkozy’s son getting a cushy job, or the EU riddled with corrupt politicians, in actual fact it’s the British that can give a master class in both. Witness the royal family where the Head of State’s son is to get the cushiest job in the world because he is her son, is that not nepotism? As for corruption: well that isn’t even en elephant in the room any more, or if it is it’s an elephant the size of the moon. The House of Lords seems to practically be a university of corruption, stuffed with the terminally bought off.

  12. LOL. Can't top that Munguin.

    I guess there is corruption almost anywhere that there are people, and unless you have rules that stop it, it gets rife.

    Fortunately, in Edinburgh we seem to have the rules quite tightly sewn up, othewise I'm pretty sure they would be at it too.

    But you're certainly right about the Scottish head of state's son. He did zip to get all the titles he has. There are wee wifies in Scotland that give up all their spare time to charities or looking after a neighbour and maybe if they are very lucky they get an MBE, and Chick gets born (I know, it's not easy) and gets a bucket full of titles handed to him as he lies in his cot.

    Fair innit?

  13. Yes I know, mummy recently gave big ears an award for gardening. I mean if I had the liberty to do practically nothing else all day but garden, had millions of pounds given to me by the state to garden and hundreds of flunkies to do all the actual gardening, I guess I would be getting an award too. She should give all her kids awards for their hobbies dont you think? Andrew could get the Order of the Golden Golf Club and Anne could get the Grand Order of the Horse's Arse. And Edward could get the Legion of It's a Knock Out 3rd Class.

  14. Aye Munguin, you have a point there. If I'm not mistaken Mummy gave him the house with the garden too... Now, I'm a bit keen on gardening myself and if my mum gave me a huge bit of land and then the taxpayer paid for the rest I guess I might get an award too. Damn, I went and got born in the wrong place!

  15. It is helpful that Charles promotes gardening. We still have a problem of sustainable practise in many parts of this country. Too much weedkiller, too much overuse of soil. I think it is helpful that our Prince seeks to raise awareness of best practise in gardening.

    He does a lot of good enivronmental work too, raising awareness is vital if we are to keep up momentum in this field. What better way to keep the political focus from slipping from the environmenal agenda during a recession than a personal intervention repreatedly by our Prince?

    Sorry Munguin but I welcome Charles ['big ears as you call him'] intervention in these areas. And where he makes a positive difference and impact he should be congradulated and provided with symbols of his personal merit.

  16. Speaking for myself, Dean, I certainly wasn't objecting to Charlie having and promoting gardening. But I agree with Munguin in as much as it is all about the privilige of members of that family.

    I have done a little bit of work with the Prince's Trust and it does amazingly good work. And I'm sure there are those who find his garden at Highgrove to be inspiring. It is. I wish like mad that I could afford one like it, or even a hundredth of it.

    For me it's the unending privilige that is not necessarily merited that is the problem. Other people break their backs to be awarded the smallest honours from the state (or sometimes they pay for it). He gets it for free. OK, he works hard... so do I. Lord of the Isles, Prince of Wales, Duke of Rothsay and Duke of Cornwall, Prince of Wales, Knight of the Thistle, Knight of the Garter... etc, etc. Did he earn all of these things? No. Has he got them? Yes.


    Nah, not really, I get embarrassed when someone calls me Sir in a restaurtant never mind bowing, scraping and agreeing with every word I utter, but it's not right in the 21st century.

  17. I also have no problem with Big Ears promoting an Environmental agenda, although I would distinguish between that and gardening. One concerns agriculture and growing food and the other is a hobby. As I recollect HM the Q gave her son an award for gardening not for agricultural best practice although no doubt our prince will be getting one of them soon enough. After all just wait around long enough and the Prince of Wales gets another title, award etc. If he works hard enough let him be rewarded the same as most “normal” people are for working i.e. they get paid. Wouldn’t it be great if everybody got the order of the Bathtub or whatever with their pay packet.

  18. Yes, I agree Munguin.

    Credit where credit is due. Charlie does good work with the Prince's Trust. I've seen guys do that course and come out like totally new people. It's to be praised.

    But, you know, there's an retired lady who lives down stairs from me. For years and years she has looked after another old lady (now 95) who lives just down the road, despite being ill herself.

    The joy she has brought to old Agnes is amazing. She should get a gong if there was any justice.

    The lad from my post a few days ago... Llyod Gardner, maybe he should get a gong too.

    They are the people who make our society work.

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