Saturday, 18 April 2009

Marks for effort

Midwife numbers in England are falling according to the Royal College of Midwifes. A shortfall of 1,600 is expected by 2012, yet their spokesperson said:

"We know the [UK] government is making a big effort to recruit more midwives and are putting money into maternity services...Their policies are good and are going in the right direction."

So things are going badly, numbers are going down, but the government (who have a large majority and can pass uncontroversial legislation without much in the way of problems let us not forget) is making an effort, so everything is ok?

How the SNP must wish they could get the same kind of leeway and get marks for "effort."

I won't be holding my breath for that though.

3 comments:

Sam 18 April 2009 at 12:46  

I hate this kind of thing. You cannot have an interview now without someone with "media training" firstly refusing to accept the premise of the question then going on about how good their policies are in correcting the problem that they just avoided admitting exists.

99% of political interviews these days are useless.

Neil,  19 April 2009 at 22:01  

Malc, your link to Labour criticising the SNP for a drop in teacher numbers by 1000 doesn't really equate to the premise of your story. While not wholly Labour are certainly largely responsible for the drop in teacher numbers. Glasgow City Council (Labour led as we all know) advertised for 68 full time teaching posts in 2006, in 2008 there were none advertised, they preferred to replace full time teachers with supply teachers. Why do that? Because supply teachers are not counted for teacher number statistics. Despite a record 5.5% increase in funding, giving them a record budget, GCC are responsible for the vast majority of the drop in 'teacher numbers'. And we all know what happened between 2006 and 2008 that so changed GCC teacher recruitment. So while Purcell has been quoted as saying he has no interest in class sizes and increasing teacher numbers to help reach a government target, Iain Gray can use Purcell good work in dropping teacher numbers to try and attack the SNP in parliament.

Malc 19 April 2009 at 22:24  

Neil,

I think we can all see Labour's hypocrisy on teachers and school closures (campaign vigoursly against in Edinburgh as an opposition; happily close schools willy-nilly in Glasgow as governing administration).

The reason I included it as a link was to point out that while in England an outside body can point out slipping numbers of midwives yet still congratulate the government on "good policy", in Scotland that doesn't seem to be the case.

As you point out however, there does seem to be some massaging of the figures by Labour-led councils in this case though.

I'm reminded of that old Ebbe Skovdahl gem - "statistics are like mini-skirts: they give you a good idea but they hide what is really important."

Maybe Labour's blackboard should read "I must not lie, cheat or email smear opposition politicians" - a la Bart Simpson...

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