Why Cameron can't win over school sport

Cameron tries and fails to jump on the Olympic bandwagon.

While politicians jostle to turn the Olympic legacy to their advantage, Cameron seems to be falling ever further behind the pack.

This morning he clashed with Ed Miliband over school sport, continuing to claim that activities like Indian dancing would be used to fill proscribed time set aside for PE, defeating the object of having the two hour targets in the first place. Milliband defended the requirement, telling BBC News:

“I think at least two hours of sport in school a week, that was the idea that the last Labour government had, I think it was the right thing to do and we saw a dramatic improvement in the number of kids doing two hours sport – from something like 25 per cent to 90 per cent."

The figures are on Miliband's side, according to today's Guardian

"It is worth noting that when the coalition came to power, 90 per cent of children were doing two hours of sport a week... Under the present government, however, funding for organising school sports under the School Sport Partnerships is in the process of being cut from £162m to just £9m next year."

But it seems Cameron has been worked into a corner where he really can't win - the same Guardian article compared his (vague) plans for compulsory competitive sport in schools as "com[ing] out of the same box as his desire for all 16-year-olds to do national service."

The problem for any Tory trying to jump aboard the Olympic bandwagon is that the conservative legacy for school sports is fairly poor (the worst decline in school sports participation came under John Major), and Labour are pressing their advantage. Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, will today announce a series of policies that Labour is to include in its manifesto, focusing particularly on women's sports. Labour has criticised the BBC for its "negligible" coverage of female athletes before the London Olympics, and demands that this be corrected as part of a wider scheme to get more girls involved in sport.  In the current wave of enthusiasm the proposals are likely to go down well - and will highlight just how much better Labour are doing at the Olympics.

Cameron. Photograph: Getty Images.

Martha Gill writes the weekly Irrational Animals column. You can follow her on Twitter here: @Martha_Gill.

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Diane Abbott tweeting the fake lesbian quote won’t detract from Theresa May’s gay rights record

The shadow home secretary tweeted a quote about lesbians which can’t be traced to the Prime Minister.

Diane Abbott has deleted her tweet of a quote that’s been whizzing around Twitter, supposedly attributed to Theresa May.

The meme suggests that the Prime Minister, when a councillor in Merton and Wimbledon in the Eighties, once said: “Curbing the promotion of lesbianism in Merton’s schools starts with girls having male role models in their lives.”


Twitter screengrab

But there is no evidence available to prove that May ever said this. The quotation was investigated by Gay Star News and BuzzFeed when it started being shared ahead of the election. Just like Dan Hannan's pictures from his country walk and erm, pretty much every pro-Leave politician suggesting the NHS would get £350m extra a week after Brexit, Abbott’s tweet was a bad idea. It’s good she deleted it.

However, this doesn’t take away from Theresa May’s poor track record on gay rights, which has been collated by PinkNews and others:

1998: She voted against reducing the age of consent for gay sex.

1999: She voted against equalising the age of consent, again.

2000: She voted against repealing Section 28, and Vice has uncovered an interview she did in her forties with a student paper when she said “most parents want the comfort of knowing Section 28 is there”, referring to the legislation stopping “the promotion of homosexuality in schools”.

2000: She did not show up to another vote on making the age of consent for gay people equal to the one for straight people.

2001: She voted against same-sex adoption.

2002: She voted against same-sex adoption, again.

2003: She did not vote on repealing Section 28.

2004: She missed all four votes on the gender recognition bill. (But she did vote in favour of civil partnerships this year).

2007: She missed a vote on protecting gay people from discrimination (the part of the Equality Act that would prevent b&bs and wedding cake makers discriminating against gay people, for example).

2008: She opposed IVF for same-sex couples, voting in favour of a child needing a “father and mother” before allowing a woman to have IVF treatment.

Since then, May has softened her stance on gay rights, apologised for her past voting record, and voted in favour of same-sex marriage. “I have changed my view. If those votes were taken today, I would take a different vote,” she said.

But your mole can think of at least one politician who’s always been on the right side of history regarding gay rights. Diane Abbott.

I'm a mole, innit.