Jacqui Smith MPMay 1997 and the euphoria of Tony Blair’s election victory feels a very long time ago. Blair suffered his first parliamentary defeat a few weeks ago over 90 day detention of terror suspects, and it seems that the tensions inherent in that debate are likely to burst forth still further as Parliament debates the controversial education white paper.

I happened to watch BBC1’s Politics Show today, and I have come to the conclusion that I just cannot bear to listen to the government defend its views. Jacqui Smith, the schools minister (pictured), tried to defend the white paper in a hectoring and unpleasant fashion simpy by continually repeating the same old arguments that the white paper was designed to boost standards and seemingly ignoring the concerns of most of the Labour Party and teachers.

It’s a pattern repeated across government as far as I am concerned at the moment – I simply cannot bear to listen to the government try to defend anything as they immediately turn on the patronising and unpleasant tone as if only they know what is correct. Now, if I can’t bear it, and my whole life revolves around politics in one way or another, what hope that members of the public are going to find what the government is saying interesting or aspirational? And would a Gordon Brown government be any better?

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