Multicultural and really keen on house points watch: sorry we didn’t pick this up earlier, but there’s only so much time I can spend reading the Daily Telegraph’s blogs. Katharine Birbalsingh’s piece defending EMA cuts is quite astonishingly offensive, fact-free, and just generally unpleasant. In fact, it doesn’t really attempt to defend them rather than just libelling their recipients.

The IFS, for instance, insists that “the costs are offset by economic benefits”.Does that have any practical meaning? Or is it just plucked from the air in some meagre attempt to make some sense of EMA?

Apparently there was a long, detailed, and elegantly argued economic analysis following this that supports the attack on the IFS but the sub-editors cut it out. No. I should lay off the pills on weeknights. That’s the whole of the argument. That’s it.

But the reality is that many of these children own wide-screen televisions, trainers that cost over £100 and several fashionable mobile phones.


We are essentially bribing them to come to school. Because let me be clear: some of them don’t want to be there. They are forced into going to college, partly bribed and tricked into it by the EMA carrot, to put bums on seats, because bums bring funding. Some colleges are literally dragging kids in off the street.

Which ones?

You didn’t make our requirement for entry of 5 C grades? No matter that our baseline was ludicrously low and you didn’t meet it. No matter that you cannot spell, can barely speak and are unable to sit quietly in a chair and listen – your bottom brings cash, so come on in!

Which ones? I said, “which ones”. Which are these institutions? Where are the links? Where is the data? Coward.

I ran into the father of a boy I used to teach yesterday. He has three children, all with different mothers. His boy is at university, doing a course in goodness knows what, at a university that would be better off razed to the ground.

Which university? Which boy? Do we dare suspect he doesn’t exist?

But my favourite bit is this:

When I say the system “keeps poor children poor” because of what the “well-meaning liberal does them”, this is exactly what I mean.

Spare a thought for the kids - being taught by someone who thinks this is a sentence must be trying indeed.

Although with any luck, in a couple of years’ time it will be entirely accurate to talk about “the Liberal” rather than the Liberals, because there’ll only be Clegg left…