It is understandable that many people find the use of the F word deeply offensive, inside and outside of Parliament. However its use inside Parliament leads to certain arrogant individuals and the Government, preventing good policy changes from taking place because they don’t like the idea of being told what to do by other people. Indeed this is why many thousands of democrats signed a petition calling for it to be prevented which sadly got nowhere. The use of this can have a very serious impact on our lives and the communities we live in. As this article in the Independent explains, way back on the 20th November 2015 the Government asked Sam Gyimah, one of its Ministers (who is no longer a Minister) to speak during a private members bill for long enough that the Bill would be ended. During his time as a Minister Sam was a well rehearsed user of the F word as I have written about in my blog on many occasions. Sams prolonged speech was part of the process which Philip Davies played a key role in which was organised to prevent a Bill proposed by Teresa Pearce, the Labour MP for Erith. Her Bill was intended to make teaching first aid a requirement for Schools, a matter that was supported by many other MPs which is why preventing them from voting is so deeply wrong.
However it appears that the Government has finally woken up to the sense of this bill, the news that their approach has been reversed appeared on Thursday when Paul Farrelly MP asked “the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans for all secondary school students to receive compulsory first aid training, resulting in a formal qualification” and the response which came from Nick Gibb was “The draft guidance for the new subjects of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education is currently being finalised following the public consultation that closed in November 2018. The Department has set out in the draft statutory guidance that health education should cover first aid and emergency lifesaving. Schools will have flexibility to determine how the content is taught, including options to work with expert organisations such as the British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross, that offer a range of specialist lesson plans, some of which may result in a recognised qualification. Subject to making the regulations, schools will be required to teach the new subjects from September 2020, but they will be encouraged and supported to start teaching them from September 2019 on a voluntary basis.”
It may seem trivial to point out that had the private members bill been passed back in late 2015 that a number of lives might have been saved since that cannot be reversed and indeed the appalling behaviour by Gyimah would have been avoided and the Government would have looked far less incompetent at the time. That said Davies would no doubt have carried on as he is an ongoing opponent of democracy. However at last the arrogant use of one of the recent filibusters has been overturned. Let us hope some of the other cases will also be revisited and adopted and that people like Sam, Alistair Burt, Philip and Christopher Chope who have all participated in a number of filibusters will be forced to apologise to the nation for their appalling behaviour and that the Government will remove the use of such silly powers from being used on private members bills.