The wife of a Conservative MP has held the funniest and possibly the most ridiculous protest ever seen. And what’s worse, she didn’t even get her facts right.
Felicity Cornelius-Mercer, whose husband Johnny Mercer was the MP for Plymouth, staged a one woman protest outside her child’s primary school in Launceston, Cornwall. She stood outside with a placard for the local Conservative MP, Scott Mann. Cornelius-Mercer was objecting to Tim Farron visiting the school to launch his education policy:
— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) May 10, 2017
Didn’t you get the memo?
Cornelius-Mercer claimed she was protesting because:
That particular school is seeing a 5.2 per cent increase under the national funding formula. So I wanted to highlight both how misleading Tim Farron’s visit was and how I am not happy with my children being used as a political prop to launch Lib Dem policy.
But the school in question, Lewannick school, is set to lose money under current government funding. According to the school cuts calculator, the school is set to lose £35,417 by 2019. This is the equivalent of £308 per pupil and one teacher.
And Cornelius-Mercer doesn’t have the excuse of not knowing. That is if she reads the letters from her child’s school, of course. Because headteachers of every single school in Cornwall wrote to all parents detailing the impact of government cuts on local schools.
The letter stated:
Over the past three years, the Government has imposed real terms funding cuts on schools by freezing the amount of money that is allocated to schools for each pupil.
Some Cornish secondary schools have already made staff redundancies over the last three or four years and class sizes have already increased.
And it gets worse
Johnny Mercer was quick to defend his wife’s actions. But he did so with the most ludicrous statement, saying:
School shouldn’t be used in campaigning.
Which is strange given he thinks that visiting schools is the “best part” of his job:
And while it could be argued that this school visit was part of his role as an MP and not on the campaign trail, it still ignores the fact that schools are often visited during election campaigns. Generally by politicians looking very awkward and not knowing how to interact with children. Such as when David Cameron visited a school in Exeter on the campaign trail in 2015.
Save our schools
In fact, schools should be at the centre of the election campaign. Across the country, schools are suffering massively from real terms budget cuts. As one experienced headteacher wrote:
Just to come in on budget this year, I’ve laid off or not replaced: my librarian, a receptionist, my counsellor, a premises manager, an attendance officer, a head of year and three teachers.
I’ve halved the department budgets, stopped subsidising school trips, reduced CPD to virtually nothing and stopped the school paying into my pension (I’ll be dead by 50 at this rate, anyway).
Schools are seeing increased class sizes, teacher redundancies, the stopping of support services, leaky classrooms and more. Things are so bad in our children’s schools that headteachers are resorting to sending begging letters to parents. The Education Secretary is so scared of headteachers that she refused to appear at their conference. Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, received a standing ovation.
Cornelius-Mercer’s pathetic little display is out of step with what schools across the county and across the country are telling us. If we want to save our schools and guarantee a future for our children, we have to get rid of the Tories.
– Register to vote in the 8 June general election. If you don’t have a national insurance number, a 5 minute phone call on 0300 200 3500 will get it sent to you in ten days.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
– Also read more Canary articles on the 2017 general election.
Featured image via Flickr
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?