The CYPN reports that Tim Loughton, the Children’s Minister has been asked to step down. Interestingly the piece features lamentations from leading lights across the youth sector about his demise. In the same vein Ravi Chandiramani bemoans his departure, going so far as to claim that “his axing is a big loss to the sector and crucially, to the children and families of this land.” Given the Coalition’s assault on the poorest in our land the latter is stretching the eulogy a mite too far. Ravi ends his piece with a nice ironic touch. Referring to Loughton’s successors he conjectures, “In Laws we must Truss.”
If you read the CYPN political obituaries it is clear that Tim Loughton was personable. Indeed his charm was such that no reference is made to the decimation of local authority youth services under his watch or his wholesale rejection of the Youth Services Select Committee’s proposals. His magnetism was so beguiling that he seduced the voluntary sector into the embrace of the market and persuaded young people that his government was serious about democracy. From the point of view of his masters the lad was doing alright. His axing says something about Cameron’s opportunist and bullish incompetence. From afar I suspect Loughton’s appeal will be missed. As for those replacing him, the David Laws and Liz Truss of Ravi’s couplet, the first at best is a formidable hypocrite, the second is described as the Iron Lady Mark Two. If they prove less astute than Loughton in handling relations with the field, it might well be a welcome wake-up call for those still sleep-walking under the spell of TINA. Certainly, for better or worse, a long period of continuity under Loughton is broken.