I wasted an hour of my life listening to the Farage/Clegg debate yesterday. Clearly, it was a real win for Farage. Perhaps they are, as they claim, the party of the people. Perhaps a march on parliament is inevitable.
The format was reminiscent of the television debates before the 2010 General Election. This similarity made it easy to miss the obvious difference. This debate rested on one topic: the EU. This is UKIP’s area of expertise, and so it should be unsurprising that Farage performed well.
But if we want to take UKIP seriously as a political party in its own right, and not simply as a protest group to the EU membership, we should take a look at all of their policies. As a teacher, I was interested in what they had to say about education.
So here is UKIP’s full education policy:
“Allow the creation of new grammar schools.”
Of course, we’ll be treated to greater exposition in the upcoming full manifesto (we’re not, Farage tells us, supposed to look at the ‘drivel’ in the previous effort) but if recent form is any guide, we’re likely to see surprising neglect in the area that Blair used three times to take the premiership.
Is this a glaring political oversight? Ineptitude and lack of expertise? Or is it the laissez-faire policy approach that the teaching profession has been screaming out for?