"This rope is fun, kids. Maybe the CES would like it after I've had a go..."
This article reveals much about the political psychology of Ed Balls. So, if you are, say a Bishop with direct interest in Catholic Education or, say, the Chief Executive and Director of the CES then take note. You see, it demonstrates that Mr Balls, like most politicians will not do something which is not politically expedient.
He says that the Children's Commissioner, Dr Maggie Atkinson was "ill advised" and wrong...
'...to have suggested that the killers of James Bulger should not have been tried in an adult court. But, he also said that, 'Jon Venables - who was recently re-arrested - and Robert Thompson, who were 10 in 1993 when they were charged with the two-year-old boy's murder, were not "intrinsically evil".'
The same article reports that...
Referring to Mrs Fergus as Mrs Bulger, Mr Balls said: ''I thought it was ill advised, not just for Mrs Bulger but for many people, the scars of what was done to James Bulger are very deep.''
In other words, it may be that Mr Balls may even agree with the sentiments of the Children's Commissioner, but he cannot say so because it is not politically expedient to be honest due to public outrage. He's clearly open to the suggestion of the baying mob, a bit like the political leader with the 'problem' of how to deal with the Son of God. So, in order to appear on the side of right, he ensures that the media portray him as a defender of justice by criticising her remarks for being insensitive and washes his hands of the whole question of true justice.
Therefore the idea that the CES could not have stood its ground and firmly defended the Church from the Governments incursions into Catholic education is patently false. The children, families and schools bill came the Government. There was no public demand for it. Among the 'faith communities' there was certainly no public demand for it. It is purely a creation of the Department for Children, Families and Schools, as much as the smoking ban was a creation of the Department for Health. There was no great public demand for that either.
I would wager that as long as a political move is deemed to be unpopular that Ed Balls will not go for it. In other words, if the CES had stood firm, if the Bishops of England and Wales had stood firm, if schools had stood firm and all involved in this debacle had stood firm and promised a protest on a hitherto unforeseen scale, then in all likelihood, Mr Balls would have backed down. Catholic schools, as we know, do not only serve Catholics. They are, largely, places of academic excellence, which is why non-Catholics want to send their children to be educated within their walls.
Therefore, if the Bishops and the CES had said, "One false move and we close our schools!" then the Government would most likely have pissed its pants and backed away. If say, prominent Bishops had encouraged every Catholic school in their Dioceses to close down and have parents, teachers and children demonstrating in the car park for two hours a day and invited the press along, thanks to the brave and courageous leadership of the Shepherds of the Church, I think the Government might have taken the Church a little more seriously, since, where, exactly, would the Government have placed all of these anti-CFS Bill children? Call me naive, if you like, but there is a reason why the Church on Earth is called the Church Militant!
You can email Bishop MacMahon at firstname.lastname@example.org