Labour Spied for the Communists

Even when I have referred to the Labour Party as pinko commies, I wasn’t anticipating ties quite as close as have been recently revealed.

Labour was rocked by a Cold War spy scandal last night over allegations that a Party activist linked to two members of Tony Blair’s Cabinet spied for the Czech Government when the country was controlled by the Soviet Union.

Left-wing activist Cynthia Roberts, who stood as a Labour Parliamentary candidate, worked for the Communists under the codename Agent Hammer, according to documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday.

Mrs Roberts was running Labour Action for Peace (LAP) from an office in the House of Commons. As you might expect, the socialist peacenik group had ties to Soviet Russia, the regime that had nuclear missiles pointed at UK. In the twisted logic of such groups, it was okay for the Communists to have weapons and threaten the West, but it was not okay for the West to likewise protect itself.

LAP was not a fringe group and this was not the 1960s. This was the 1980s and members of the group included future Blair Cabinet ministers Robin Cookand Gavin Strang, as well as MPs Dennis Skinner and Jeremy Corbyn. Tony Benn, former MP and Cabinet Minister in the Wilson and Callaghan Governments, later became chairman of the group and was a member in the mid-80s. When asked about Mrs. Roberts, he said, “I do not recall meeting Cynthia Roberts and there is no reference to her in my diary, which I have checked.”

Nope, never heard of her.

Dennis Skinner was an member of the LAP executive committee at the same time Mrs Roberts was the secretary. The usually candid Mr Skinner said “Don’t know the woman, never heard of her, don’t know what you’re on about.”

Nope, never heard of her.

It is fortunate that Cynthia Roberts stood for Parliament in the safe Conservative seat of Eastleigh. Otherwise there would could have been a Communist spy serving in the House of Commons. On the other hand, since Roberts’ connections have raised questions about those with whom she was closely associated, perhaps she wouldn’t have been the first.

Sacrificing Education to be a Good School

In English primary schools, children sit Standard Assessment Tests (SATs) in May of Year 2 and Year 6. Children in those years (the age equivalent of 1st and 5th grade in the US) spend much of the year preparing for them. This is not because they benefit the child in any way. The tests are one of the Government’s way of judging whether a school is doing well.

Academic accomplishment these days is assessed with the use of imaginary levels. This is not just in primary school, but through most of secondary school as well. In each subject, the Government tells us what skills are required for attaining which levels. The SATs assess these levels in English, Maths and Science. The expected level for 7-year-olds is Level 2.

At a recent parents’ evening we discussed the Older Child’s upcoming SATs. The school wants him to do well… but not too well. This is because schools at all are judges very heavily on what’s called “value added”. They have to demonstrate how much better pupils are performing from one test to the next. As long as Older Child gets a Level 2, he can get a Level 4 at age 11 and the school will still look good. If he were to get a Level 3, a Level 5 at age 11 is only average progress. If he only gets a Level 2 now, a Level 5 at age 11 will look that much better.

Government policy fails to take into account that children develop mentally at different times. It can only deal with uniformity. Everyone must progress at an accepted pace. The Government needs to create league tables, ranking schools from good to bad. Ofsted inspectors need data, especially since the new inspection regime is based much more on paperwork and spreadsheets than ever before.

If Little Johnny (or Older Child) is not the right number of pedagogically indefensible socialist all-must-have-prizes imaginary levels above the last assessment than the school has failed. Is it any wonder that schools and teachers are pressured to get children perform in such as way that benefits the school over the education?