Saturday, April 13, 2013

Was it worth it?

It hardly ranks as activism but I hope that my "clicktivism" project has put Stephen Twigg and the labour party under some pressure to act. This has been a very puny attempt - but a few hard core tweeters have started to get attention. Twigg finally sent a tweet to a teacher whose emails has had previously refused to respond to. Labour party members have agreed to ask questions.

 So on reflection I think it was worth it because

1. It was barely any effort
2. Always better to light a candle than curse the darkness
3. I have met some fantastic twitter education folk who remind me that change is possible.

 So here is what I propose. Every time an education story appears we RT it with phrase what does Twigg think with hashtag #GoTwiggGo. We follow Stephen Twigg on twitter and ask him direct questions. Even though he clearly has no idea of how twitter works surely labour party spin people will start to pick up on his failure to reply.

 There has been some debate as to whether the problem with Twigg is ideological or incompetency. I suspect both but that shouldn't stop us. Gove is a dangerous man and it is completely unacceptable that labour provide no opposition to him. Below are just a few of the tweets that appeared. Search #GoTwiggGo on twitter to see the rest

Why aren't the Labour party making these points?… #GoTwiggGo
— Helen Rogerson (@hrogerson) April 11, 2013
History plan: 'list-like and narrow' More crit of Gove's Hist NC @stephentwigg -your thoughts on this? #GoTwiggGo…
— Julie Wright (@Julestheteacher) April 10, 2013

"@wonderacademy: Breaking News: Michael Gove is still privatising Education" & will continue to so unless Twigg stands up to him #GoTwiggGo
— The Govertaker (@Bedtonman) April 8, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What could Twigg be doing?

Well I hadn't reckoned on Thatcher dying yesterday which rather distracted me from pestering teachers to spend on time on twitter pushing the hash tag #GoTwiggGo. Despite my impatience I fear that this is going to be a slow burn. Many think I am wasting my time because they fear that Twigg is actually in full agreement with Gove and happy to watch from the sidelines. But that isn't good enough. There are thousands and thousands of labour party who despise Gove's mayhem and want to see him stopped. As a democratic party surely Labour should be representing those views? I have no great illusions in the labour party but we shouldn't let them off the hook. They have access to all sorts of resources and contacts that they could be using right now to make the case for a different vision of education. Look at what Owen Jones manages to do with no staff and few resources. Just imagine if the shadow education team actually started digging around some of the dodgy deals emerging from DfE. If they took the time to investigate who is behind the disgusting tweets emantating from @ToryEducationnews. They could do some of the maths behind the scandal of the free schools offering extra provision where none is needed where other areas are dangerously short.

Please leave your suggestions in the comments blow about what you think Twigg should be doing. So I may be wasting my time - but it is not exactly onerous posting tweets and who knows! Maybe if a few more of start to pressure labour we could start to get things moving.

 In the meanwhile I have met some brilliant teachers online.

 I urge you all to support Debra Kidd and your name to a letter she is sending Gove Click here to read and sign

 I also found out about the Charter for Primary Education Conference on Sat 15th June in London. Click here for details

 However bleak and miserable I feel about this government knowing that there are good people prepared to stand up and take action cheers me up no end. Please do something - no matter how tiny - NOW! You will be feel better trust me. It could be just the banana skin we need


Monday, April 8, 2013

What I did in my Easter holidays

Like many people I was utterly outraged by that appalling Daily Mail front page that attempted to cynically exploit the deaths of 6 young children in order to advance its own anti welfare ideology. I despaired that this nasty shameless journalism would go unchallenged except by the good folk on twitter. Then I saw Owen Jones on ITV.  He had done his research, he came up with sound reasons to condemn the Daily Mail, he gave examples of other crimes which could be spuriously linked to different policies. And he won the argument. Not just with the usual suspects but call after call that came in from viewers. It struck me - it sometimes takes just one person making a good case to turn the tide of popular opinion. I began to imagine what it would be like if we had someone like Owen Jones as shadow education minister. Someone who did research, exposed lies, spoke with passion, described an alternative vision to the one currently being thrust down our throats. Thats when it struck me - we don't have to put up with an absence of policy from the labour party.

If everyone who is is dissatisfied with labour education policy demands that labour actually does something we stand a chance of at least seeing some opposition to Gove. So that is when my holiday project was born. It is teeny tiny in the scale of things but I want to help challenge frustration and anger from education folk directly at labour.

Yesterdays targets:

1 to get a twitter hashtag started #GoTwiggGo (Thanks to @Julestheteacher)
2 to persuade Alan Gibbons and Michael Rosen to write blog posts about it
3 to start a conversation with labour activists

Todays target:

1. to set up simple blog
2. to persuade 100 tweeters to devote 30 minutes a day for the rest of the holidays on twitter spreading #GoTwiggGo

So there you have it. No doubt many will think I am stupid and wasting my time but I cant sit idly by. We can't clone Owen Jones - we have to create new ones. Stephen Twigg has been ineffective and allowed Gove an easy ride. No more. Lets put some pressure on him and Labour until we get some decent opposition.

I have one week til my Easter holidays are over.