James Forsyth

The right message and the right messengers

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The Coalition’s plan to let teachers, parents and voluntary groups set up their own state-funded free schools has had a particularly good run in the media. The package on the Six o’clock news was one of the most positive pieces I can remember being done on Coalition policy.

The free schools idea is a good one and has been well thought-through. That’s definitely part of the reason it has come across well today. But it has also been boosted by the fact that the most prominent advocates for it today have not been politicians but the parents and teachers who want to set up their own schools. On the Today Programme this morning, Mark Lehain, an assistant head who wants to open a free shcool, was particularly effective.

Voters are now so cynical about politicians that they tend to tune out or discount much of what they say. But when people hear parents or teachers talking with enthusiasm about this new policy they are more likely to give it a fair hearing.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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