Politician: Quick! Find some studies that show smaller class sizes don’t make any difference to learning. And hurry!
Minion: Just a moment, sir. I’m on Google now.
Politician: There’s no time to lose. We can’t let Labour steal a march on us. Parents will love the idea of smaller classes. Damn and blast those conniving socialists! It’s a stab to the heart. I bleed! I bleed!
Minion: I’m just on Wikipedia now. Yes! I’ve found one, sir. Do you want to have a read of it?
Politician: We don’t have time. Does it say that class size is less important to learning than other factors?
Minion: Yes, but—
Politician: Then put a press release out. Do it!
Minion: But the study says—
Politician: I don’t care what the study actually says. Who has time to read these things? Wait, is that the phone? Oh, look, it’s XXXX from the press gallery calling. They’re probably after our reaction to the policy.
Hello? Yes, no, we’re against it. Terrible policy. Ignores all the evidence. Teacher quality is far more important than class size. Will make it worse. Tricky Cunliffe. Costings all wrong. Team Key. Brighter Future. Keep up the good work. Cheerio!
Politician: Yes, how’s that press release coming along?
Minion: I was just thinking. We haven’t read any of these studies we’re about to quote. I mean… what if it turns out that the studies are a bit more complex than “smaller classes make no difference”? What if the findings are a bit more complicated than that?
Politician: People don’t like complication, so we won’t give it to them. Write the bloody release. Quick, before the newspapers write about Labour’s policy in a way that doesn’t start with “National says…”
Minion: Can I use the line “evidence-based policy” when attacking them?
Politician: Of course. Why would you even need to ask?
Minion: Well… um… charter schools… national standards… Are you sure we want to suddenly claim we’re all in favour of evidence-based policy?
Politician: But all our policies are evidence-based.
Minion: They are?
Politician: Look at the poll results. They’re the only evidence that matters.
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