education

‘Never more relevant’

Rachel Reeves tells Richard Angell and Conor Pope the subject of her book, Alice Bacon, would have a clear message for today’s moderates

First publish in Progress magazine

The Labour party is full of people whose stories never get heard. Who put in the hours, sit in the rooms where decisions are made and make sure that change happens. They make the history, but are often not recorded in it.

Alice Bacon is one of those people. She was a Labour parliamentarian for almost 50 years, 25 of them as a member of parliament, was a minister in the Harold Wilson government of the 1960s and sat on the National Executive Committee for almost three decades. Having grown up in a working-class community in Yorkshire and working as a teacher before her election, she was an early and tireless champion of comprehensive education, as well as a feared operator – earning the nickname ‘terror of the Trotskyites’ from Denis Healey. She was firmly against attempts to liberalise drug laws but key – alongside her boss at the Home Office Roy Jenkins – to the big liberalising battles of the 1960s, especially on abortion. (more…)

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Rehashed, reheated and wrong

Three ways Jeremy Corbyn’s National Education Service fails on its own terms and lets the Tories off the hook

First published on Progressonline

Yesterday Jeremy Corbyn launched his National Education Service policy. Three things spring to mind. (more…)

‘Je ne regrette rien’

First published on Progressonline

We should not stop apologising to the voters who really wanted us to win, Mary Creagh tells Richard Angell and Adam Harrison

It is less than 48 hours since the deadline for nominations to be leader of the Labour party closed. Just a week ago Mary Creagh had hoped to have secured a place on the ballot by this point. But the shadow international development secretary pulled out of the contest last weekend, firing off a parting shot at the last leadership’s abysmal relationship with business as she went.

How is Creagh feeling now, in the wake of what must have been one of the most demanding episodes in her political life? ‘Je ne regrette rien’, she says, citing the ‘messages of support’ she has received despite stepping out of the race, and the stories party members and more communicated to her in response to her call to create ‘a Britain where everybody can get on’. (more…)

Sex and relationship education will enable young people to make informed choices

First published on Progressonline in the Young progressives column

The government in its wisdom last week announced that sex and relationship education will be a compulsory part of the school curriculum. This is fantastic news for young people and Britain more widely.

The reviewed guidance and the addition of compulsion are welcome steps in their own right and will do lots to help combat unintended teenage pregnancies, the sexual health epidemic we are facing and the low esteem of particularly young women and gay men that means people feel they cannot say ‘no’. (more…)