It’s possible today that the labour leadership may be struck down by triskaidekaphobia. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s the fear of the number 13…
Today the Labour party has hit that hapless number over it’s pledge to hike corporation tax to 26 per cent in order to fund schools and grants to college students. Quite apart from the fact that he promised the Federation of Small Businesses he wouldn’t do it and that it will hit investment in Britain when we need it the most after Brexit, Corbyn’s shambolic team has already made no less than 12 other promises that are funded by the same tax increase.
Now every housewife in the country will know from balancing the household budget that you can’t spend money twice, never mind thirteen times. And as a former accountant, even at my most creative moments I failed to a way in which to spend money that I hadn’t got.
Still, it sounds good, doesn’t it? Raise taxes on the greedy rich bastards and use it to fund better education, smaller class sizes and abolish tuition fees. A good soundbite until you hand over to your Shadow Education Secretary to explain the policy.
Following a car crash interview with Diane Abbott on policing, Nick Ferrari has scored another goal with Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner. Labour is promising to keep class sizes for five-to-seven year-olds below 30, while almost £5billion extra would be pumped into the English school system by 2022.
Ferrari asked her “whether she knew how many children would be affected by the class size pledge”. She responded: ‘There’s quite a substantial amount of pupils that are affected. I haven’t got the numbers on me to hand, but it is quite a substantial amount of children that are in class sizes that are over 30.’
Pushed by Ferrari on whether it would be 50 children or five million, Ms Rayner could only reply: ‘It’s a significant number. I’m not going to pluck a number out of thin air.” Frankly that does make a change for a Labour frontbencher.
Ferrari continued: ‘Do you not think it would be a good idea to have a sense of how many people you’re talking about? You are the Shadow Education Secretary. One of your key pledges is to try to reduce class sizes… I’m asking you how many this will affect and all you can tell me is it is a substantial number?’
Ferrari said that he knew the policy would affect 520,445 primary school pupils in England because he ‘did the research’. ‘Do you not think you ought to have had that number?’ he asked.