I met Philip Hammond on a train once. I’d been working in a lovely primary school in Bolton. It was a tough school with predominantly asian and white working class kids but the atmosphere was wonderful, warm and welcoming. The headteacher was an amazing woman whose work was her life and she knew the name of every child in her school.
It was about 12 years ago when he was shadow chief secretary to the treasury. I noticed him because of the way he was slithering up and down Bolton railway station waiting for a train into manchester – People from Bolton don’t slither like that. He stuck out like a sore thumb. A septic one at that.
I spoke to him on the train – I said, Your Philip Hammond aren’t you?” and he said, “Yes, how do you know?” He was visibly shocked and looked intimidated by me.
I told him I studied politics and took a keen interest. I asked him for a bit of financial advice but he couldn’t give me any. He was in a different league. He also told me that he couldn’t be bothered talking to me because I lived in a Labour stronghold. I also noticed him because of the way he looked. He looked “Thatcherite” and i knew he would one day be politically influential.
I didn’t like him – he left me feeling cold.
Watching him yesterday made me feel sick – the way he swanned around the Tory front bench with the Theresa May sat behind him chuckling like a Maidenhead Witch and scorning Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party whilst massively cutting funding to the type of school I’d been working in in Bolton the day I met him.
The budget he introduced yesterday will further the divide the haves and the have-nots. In terms of education schools are being asked to cut budgets, reduce staff and beg parents to come in and help out with the cleaning of the schools. Have a read of this guardian article by Sally Weald and Sarah Marsh that expresses the dire situation much more eloquently than i can – https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/mar/07/headteachers-write-to-parents-over-school-funding-and-job-cuts?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=216383&subid=7644349&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2
We can not just sit and watch while Philip Hammond and Theresa May, two Oxford educated Multi Millionaires, fundamentally reshape the education system in favour of the rich. I urge you to write to your MP and ask them what they are doing to fight these cuts.
I work in schools on a regular basis and I see hard working, committed people working in conditions they never expected to be in. Schools are so poor they are asking parents to help with cleaning and ex students with funding. This can not continue. What are you going to do about it?