The skills secretary faced boos when he agreed to meet campaigners against cuts to evening classesHe is quite right, of course. The state should have no role in funding unnecessary education from taxes.
"People have been changing dramatically how they learn in the past 10 years," he said, and there was a need "to capture" this. If he had to choose between funding courses for people who could not read or write, or "subsidising people who want to learn Spanish for holidays" ... The end of the sentence - words to the effect that the decision was a no-brainer - was immediately drowned.
Interesting, then, that the BBC report the over-promoted Cathy Ashton to be 'considering' taking French lessons at the behest of French EU affairs minister, Pierre Lellouche.
The EU's new foreign policy chief, Baroness Ashton, is considering whether she can squeeze some French lessons into her busy schedule.Well, according to EU Observer/The Times, she is past the considering stage, and has somehow found a couple of weeks in her packed desk diary which are totally blank.
EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton has accepted France’s playful offer to teach her thе ‘language of diplomacy.’Polish President, Jerzy Buzek was also invited, but was either far more busy, or thought it a bit of a daft idea, or both.
“I hаνе just been talking to Pierre. I’m delighted. In fact I hаνе already accepted,” she said.
Mr Buzek's spokeswoman Inga Rosinska told the BBC that he would not attend a French course any time soon because he was "extremely busy".Not necessary, but the highest-paid female politician in the world can take time off for non-essential personal improvement, following a 'playful' offer, while more parochial Labour politicians are using the same kind of superfluous language lessons as an example of profligate spending.
She explained that for work in the European Parliament: "It's not 100% necessary to spend weeks learning French."
And the cost to the EU taxpayer of a two week course, on Ashton's £328,000 salary, just to satisfy some equally underworked Frenchie? Approximately £12,500.
Meanwhile, back in the UK, David Blunkett defends John Denham's stance on state-funded educational jollies with a spot of fairly standard economics.
No one matched the devastating impact, however, of the former education secretary David Blunkett, who began his contribution by declaring that Denham "does give a damn about adult education" but had a difficult balancing act with finite funding.Isn't it fortunate for Ashton that the EU, being the bottomless tax money pit that it is, doesn't appear to suffer from such financial constraints?
It's all just a big, tax-funded, Brussels-based country club really, is it not?