With his recent New Statesman article, the Archbishop of Canterbury has stirred up a hornets' nest of controversy, but, to quote the Church's guidance manual:
"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, 'Look! This is something new'?" Ecclesiastes
Archbishops Carey, Runcie and Becket before him have also courted controversy by criticising those in secular power, even resulting, in the case of the latter, brutal termination of his contract of employment. Archbishops currently sit in the House of Lords so politicians can't really complain if they sometimes become involved in politics.
Some of the Archbishop's concerns echo those of many involved in education, including those previously expressed by Voice:
"The widespread suspicion that this has been done for opportunistic or money-saving reasons allows many to dismiss what there is of a programme for “big society” initiatives; even the term has fast become painfully stale."
See: Voice: Big Society or Small Society? (July 2010).
"With remarkable speed, we are being committed to radical, long-term policies for which no one voted."
The Liberal Democrat Coalition ministers have backed policies on free schools, tuition fees, taxation etc that they opposed before and during the election:
"In an election, the various candidates set out their policies and the electorate vote for those they prefer. Therefore, are those who voted for candidates who pledged to vote against any increase in tuition fees, and aimed to abolish them altogether, not entitled to query the integrity of those politicians who, once elected, do the opposite? Are they not entitled to ask, 'are politicians' promises worth the paper they are written on?' 'Why bother voting?' If they witness the extraordinary spectacle of a secretary of state agonising over whether or not to vote for his own policy, before deciding to toe the party line, are they not entitled to ask 'what on earth is going on?'?
"What example does all this set for this country's young people, particularly first time and future voters? Is it any wonder that students, full of the idealism of youth, are angry?
"Those Liberal Democrat MPs who vote for an increase in tuition fees will be making a Faustian pact that will devalue their own standing and that of politics as a whole.
"Do we really want an age of cynical politics where MPs know the price of power but the value of nothing?"
Voice has expressed alarm at the "breakneck speed" with which the current Government is rushing ahead in allowing more schools to become academies, calling for a 'less haste, more speed' approach and urging the Government to implement its programme within a practical and fair timescale, allowing a proper period of consultation with staff, parents and local communities before schools decided to change their status.
"What does party politics cost education?" (January 2011): "What schools need is stability and long-term planning. What they get is chop and change, with politicians desperately falling over themselves, and frequently making mistakes in the process (BSF etc), to make tomorrow's headlines and their mark before the next general election."
"Government badly needs to hear just how much plain fear there is."
Voice has warned about:
".., as so often, there is a warning in history ..But, of course, headteachers and most politicians are too young to remember this a case, perhaps, for including a course on contemporary history for those aspiring to 'headship'."
Even some of today's education 'news' isn't new.
TES's "Gove compare" compare with this Blog's "Go despair" (January 2011) and "Big summer signings? Gove in free-school talks with top football clubs" see "Premier League schools idea should be relegated” (August 2010).
Do let us know your thoughts…