This afternoon I managed to catch bits of a Westminster Hall debate by MP’s that concentrated on the Education Select Committee report on Careers guidance for young people and the subsequent Government response.
It was heartening to see the majority of the members of the Education Committee present, including the Chair Graham Stuart, and the Minister for Skills Matthew Hancock. It was positive to see MP’s from outside the Committee also there such as Simon Hughes who I remember speaking vigorously in defence of careers guidance for young people in a debate in the Commons in September 2012. It was positive to note that the loss of a statutory need for Careers education and work related learning was also covered by the speakers.
It was not, however, positive to hear the dismissive conclusion given to the debate by Matthew Hancock.
Mr Hancock sat, sometimes scribbling determinedly, through lengthy and repetitive speeches from MPs from across the party divide that all condemned the Government response to their inquiry. He listened as even Graham Stuart, Conservative member for Beverley and Holderness, interjected into speeches to reinforce the conclusions of others that the loss of funding and the poor design of the statutory regulation had caused a decline in the quality of IAG and that, even in the pockets of the country such as Bradford where collaborative working was attempting to offer a service, it was still a shadow of what was and what could have been.
Those who have followed this whole drawn out process know those arguments. Those that have watched the evidence sessions and read the written submissions and kept up to date with the blog commentary and read the actual report and the following response know those arguments.
Within a few moments of phaff from Mr Hancock about “determination and inspiration” and “role models” those arguments were dismissed and the members were shuffled out of the room ready for the next session leaving the Government free to continue the course set.
To see such evidence and weight of comment fall onto predetermined deaf ears is so disheartening. It’s stuff like this that makes even interested and committed onlookers disengage with politics.