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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The noble Baroness is right that Ofsted will be involved. The Secretary of State will take account of advice from Ofsted in approving the plans. If the Opposition suggest that Ofsted should take over the whole process it is perfectly open to them to propose amendments to do so. But the Opposition have not done so. Education development plans having been prepared, the Opposition's proposal would leave those plans completely in limbo.
The answer to the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy, is that if a local education authority refuses to obey its obligations under this clause it will be in breach of its statutory duty. Although I cannot conceive of this happening, in the end it could come to the courts. I am perfectly prepared to argue a serious case about the involvement of Ofsted, but to take out Clause 7 does not make sense.
Baroness Maddock: I support the Government on this issue. I am a little mystified as to why we have had such a long debate about it. I raised the matter earlier in a debate on this Bill. To the best of my knowledge, much of what will go into an education development plan already exists in most local education authorities now. It is not called an "education development plan" but it exists. Good education authorities work in that
We on these Benches often accuse the Government and others of too much centralisation, but there is a point in having central information when one is trying to target resources effectively to a service that is being provided. That is particularly true of education. On that basis, it is important for the Government to have a grip on what is going on in our schools so that they can ensure that the resources go to the right place. We had discussions earlier this afternoon as to how we target money for school buildings and so on. I believe that this type of information will enable better long-term thinking in planning budgets for education. If the Government move to budgets that cover three years, such information will be very important.
I was somewhat surprised by the concern that the department could not deal with 150 plans. There may have been times when people thought that it was not possible. Businesses regularly deal with that kind of situation; they believe that they can deal with 150 plans, or whatever, coming in. It is the same for the Department for Education and Employment.
There may be problems ahead when the department falls out with a local education authority. The idea behind these plans is that schools can work with local education authorities to help them develop standards. It will be a useful tool. From that, information will go to the department to enable it to deal with future planning, particularly financial planning.
We have not been inundated with representations from groups and local education authorities, including teachers, who normally say that they do not like what is going on. We have been inundated with briefing notes. The reason we have not been inundated with representations from local education authorities and others is partly because the Government are putting the issues out for consultation, although that is about to finish. It may be that at some future stage we shall need to return to these issues. We may receive representations from local authorities, teachers and other bodies when we reach Report stage.
The clause should stand part of the Bill. As I was rising to speak to the Question that the clause stand part of the Bill, I was reminded of the time when I arrived in this place. I could not understand what that meant. People used strange language. I am pleased to say that I now know what it means and I wish that this clause stands part of the Bill.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I welcome the noble Baroness to our debate today. I agree with everything she said. We have designed the education development plan process in order to build on and develop existing processes and not to add unnecessary layers of requirements. As the noble Baroness said, most LEAs already prepare and implement strategic plans. Education development plans will serve to sharpen and refocus that activity on raising standards in schools. In practice, EDPs should reduce LEA bureaucracy since they will co-ordinate and streamline
Lord Pilkington of Oxenford: It has been a long evening. The noble Lord may remember Amendments Nos. 32 and 33 where I suggested that Ofsted should take over. I thank the noble Lord for his invitation to bring the matter back at Report stage. I shall give that consideration. I still believe that Ofsted would best fulfil the ideals behind these education development plans. It would fulfil the hope of the noble Baroness, Lady Maddock, of having central information. It would also provide the expertise which has been gained from detailed knowledge. But for the moment, I shall withdraw my opposition to this clause. I shall consider the noble Lord's strong urging to bring back a strong amendment at Report stage. I am glad that he is so keen for conflict.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, 1998 is a special year for British-Japanese relations. Most importantly there is the state visit by the Emperor and Empress of Japan which takes place during next week. This will be the first visit by a reigning Japanese Emperor since 1971. The intervening 27 years have witnessed an enormous broadening and deepening of our relationship with Japan. In January the Prime Minister visited Tokyo and opened Festival UK 98, a year-long programme of events and activities designed to bring British culture, business and scientific achievement closer to the Japanese people.
I look forward to hearing the speeches to be made by other noble Lords, in particular that of my noble friend Lord Howell of Guildford, who makes such a positive contribution to British-Japanese relations through his chairmanship of the UK-Japan 2000 Group. I also look forward to hearing the reply of the noble Baroness, Lady Symons of Vernham Dean, to whom I am grateful for her interest.
On the one hand Japan and Britain have much in common. We are both island nations situated close to great continents from which we have imported most of our cultural traditions, including much of our language,
There are also many respects in which Japan and Britain are different. I believe that Japan's enforced isolation from the world, which lasted for more than 200 years and ended with the Meiji restoration in 1868, still has some lasting effect on Japanese society. The excessively consensus-orientated decision-making process and individual reluctance to state publicly an opinion on any specific subject prevent the emergence of "leaders" in the western sense in politics, business or other fields. Indeed, there is a well-known proverb, deru kui wa utareru--the stake that sticks out will be hammered down. Japanese society is extremely corporatist and an individual's social position and his or her very identity own much to the company or institution to which he or she belongs. Recent years have seen a rapid increase in "twinning" arrangements between Japanese and British schools and universities, involving the exchange of students and in some cases teachers. There are at any one time about 1,000 young British graduates in Japan, spending at least a year on the Japanese Government's Japan exchange teacher scheme.
Japan's recovery from the ashes of defeat in 1945 has been remarkable. In several industrial sectors, such as cars and electrical appliances, Japan's great companies have become household names almost everywhere and their products, of high quality and sold at affordable prices, have done much to improve the living standards of many millions of people. The structure of its government, civil service and business has provided a stable framework for what we were beginning to call "the Japanese miracle" until the "bubble" burst in 1990. The Japanese Government last month adopted an economic rescue package involving the injection of £77 billion into the economy through public works spending and fiscal stimulus; 1st April 1998 also marked the beginning of Japan's version of "Big Bang", involving the liberalisation of financial markets and the abolition of much cumbersome and bureaucratic regulation. The objective is to ensure Tokyo's future as one of the great financial centres of the world providing efficient, free, innovative and transparent markets, a centre in the Asian time zone to complement London and New York.
Confidence and optimism are commodities in short supply in financial and business circles and it is not clear who is able to provide the commitment and strong leadership necessary to complete the reforms. What is necessary is for the government to take bold and radical action quickly, for example in completing their privatisation programme and reforming the post office savings system.
In the year ended March 1997, Japanese investment in Britain amounted to more than £800 million, representing 40 per cent. of Japanese investment in EU countries in that year, and created or saved 8,000 jobs in total. There are more than 1,000 Japanese companies operating in Britain, including 271 manufacturing companies which employ 65,000 people directly and secure the continued employment of many others. Investment by Japanese companies in certain regions of Scotland, the North East of England, South Wales, and elsewhere have played a significant part in their regeneration.
British-Japanese co-operation in third countries is, of course, not a new phenomenon. It may not be widely remembered that Japan and Britain were military allies from 1902 until 1923 and fought together in the First World War. Many former Imperial Japanese Navy officers remember to this day with pride and affection the links that existed with and the traditions that they inherited from the Royal Navy. The letter from Mr. Sam Falle published in The Times on 29th April, describing his treatment at the hands of the Japanese navy as its honoured guest, on being taken prisoner in 1942, bears witness to the fact.
Unfortunately, the Anglo-Japanese alliance did not last longer. As your Lordships are well aware, Japan's disastrous involvement in the Second World War led ultimately to its catastrophic defeat that followed the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by atomic bombs.
I believe that history shows that mankind is capable both of great bravery and savage cruelty in war. In the Second World War, prisoners of war and civilian internees suffered horribly in both Asian and European theatres. The treatment of British prisoners in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps was often atrocious. The San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951 recognised the extreme nature of suffering endured by allied prisoners and, in addition to the customary sequestration of overseas assets, required Japan to make direct reparations to former prisoners, which was a new departure in a peace treaty and I think remains the only case of direct
I believe that many Japanese still feel an obligation to redress the wrongs inflicted on their prisoners. The Japanese Government have recently instituted a scheme to provide scholarships to grandchildren of former prisoners of war for sixth-form education. They have organised a number of successful reconciliation visits to Japan for former prisoners and their families which have been welcomed by the Royal British Legion, which is itself involved this week in a joint memorial visit to Burma and Thailand. Many Japanese companies operating here are exemplary corporate citizens and make a full contribution to deserving causes in their localities. The community obligations observed and constructive social participation shown by managers of Japanese companies here have been a tremendous force for good in many cities and towns across the country. Their conduct has helped to heal the wounds which remain so deeply felt by many, in spite of the passage of more than half a century since the end of hostilities.
As a trustee of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, I am pleased that we were able to disburse £14 million in direct charitable expenditure during 1997. Of course, what we and other similar organisations give is not enough and our beneficiaries' needs are increasing with their age. We will continue to try to give more and we depend on the continued support and generous benevolence of the thousands of individuals and companies who give us donations regularly year after year. Among our supporters are Honda and Mitsubishi Motor which save us several thousand pounds a year by providing courtesy vehicles at the Royal International Air Tattoo.
I do not think it will encourage them if those they wish to help insult their own head of state while he is here as a guest of our head of state. I suggest that to be discourteous to the Emperor at his welcoming ceremony would certainly be discourteous to the Queen. I agree with the views expressed by the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Bramall, who is unable to be here today, in his letter to the Daily Telegraph of 24th May. The noble and gallant Lord expressed the hope, with which I hope and trust that noble Lords will agree, that when the Emperor arrives in London he will be received with the courtesy and understanding for which this country is renowned.
We will not, and we must not, ever forget the appalling suffering endured and the sacrifice made by British and allied prisoners during the Second World War. There are those who, understandably, cannot forgive or forget. However, I hope that they will not feel it right to attempt to put their interests above those of the country as a whole. It is not in their interests or those of any of us to jeopardise the development of closer relations between our countries as we look forward together to the new millennium.
There are still those who will not accept the sincerity of the apologies given on various occasions by Japanese Prime Ministers. The point was addressed in another place on 29th April by the honourable Member for Reading East. Miss Jane Griffiths is, I believe, correct in her statement that the word used by the Japanese Prime Minister to express apology, owabi, is an appropriately strong and serious word. The representatives of the prisoners of war who want the word shazai to be used may be misled or they may misunderstand. Shazai is a rather legalistic word not commonly used in the spoken language. The actual words used by Mr. Hashimoto expressed his "deep remorse and heartfelt apology" and should be taken as sincere and at face value. I hope that the noble Baroness the Minister and other noble Lords will agree with Miss Griffiths' call for all of us to accept that the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty cannot be reopened.
Your Lordships may have noticed, and I trust will have welcomed, the investiture by the Queen of Mrs. Keiko Holmes, a Japanese woman, with an honorary OBE on 28th April. Mrs. Holmes has worked tirelessly over the past seven years to bring about reconciliation between former British prisoners and their captors.
We have heard that the Queen has decided to invest the Emperor as a member of the Order of the Garter, an honour also granted to his three immediate predecessors. I believe that the granting of this singular honour to His Majesty should be seen by the Japanese people as evidence of the importance we British attach to the relationship between our two countries and that it will inspire many to continue to work for national reconciliation and the further development of good relations.
I cannot agree with the opinion expressed by Mr. Simon Heffer in his recent articles in the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph in which he attempts to draw similarities between the award of an honorary GCMG to the late former President Ceausescu of Romania and the award of the Garter to the Emperor. I cannot think of a less apt parallel. Ceausescu was a communist dictator who ruled his people with a rod of iron. The Emperor of Japan is a constitutional monarch, as was his late father, and acts only on the advice of his Ministers. The Emperor was 12 years old at the end of the war and reigns over a state which has renounced the right to use military force except in self-defence. His interests include the protection of the environment and wildlife. To link his name with that of Ceausescu is quite absurd. The Emperor and Empress are coming here as the Queen's guests bearing the goodwill of the Japanese people. I believe that your Lordships' House and the British people will give Their Majesties a warm welcome and that the visit will lead to the further enhancement of the close relationship between Japan and the United Kingdom.
Viscount Slim: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Viscount for introducing the debate. I am a little perturbed that noble Lords have been gagged to the extent of having only five minutes each in which to speak. This is a big economic, commercial and political subject. It involves the people of our country who fought for our country, who suffered and who made great sacrifices. They are the veterans. No one understands better the word "veterans" than Members of your Lordships' House. There are many in your Lordships' House but hardly any in the other place. No one sitting here, in the other place or in Downing Street would be doing the jobs they do today had it not been for the great sacrifice made by the veterans and their will to win a war against probably the most courageous enemy in Asia that Britain has ever fought.
No one is ever rude about the courage of a Japanese soldier, sailor or airman. What is resented is his behaviour. Many believe that this leopard has not changed its spots. The veterans require more proof. One can quibble over the use of Japanese words. It is difficult to find a word for "sorry" as we understand it. But I hope that we can come to terms with a proper apology as we see it, not as the Japanese see it.
There is the question of the loss of face if the Japanese use our terminology for "sorry". I believe that the Japanese would gain great face world wide and in this country--certainly with the veterans--if they made a proper, strong apology at the highest level. The omens should be good. Of course, we veterans support closer commercial and political relations. Veterans behave with great dignity and are also wise. They are more experienced than many of the young people involved in commerce, industry and politics today. They see a need for change, so little is required to bring them on side. But their resentment goes deeper because Britain today does not appear to bother about veterans. Naturally, it is the young who get into the frame.
The Government should pay greater attention to the veterans. I believe that since the end of the Second World War this nation and successive governments have lost face. We do not look after our veterans as countries like America, Canada and Australia do. We do not have veterans' hospitals, villages or all the other things provided for veterans. A man who has managed somehow to cling to life is brought back, given a tin of 50 cigarettes, a new suit and a railway warrant to his home. We send him off and forget about him. I speak completely non-politically. No government of Great Britain since the end of World War II have paid the degree of attention to the wellbeing, care and recognition of veterans that they deserve. I hope that this Government will listen and do something about it.
I support anything that furthers relations with Japan. I am a businessman. I also spend much time helping veterans in a small way. I believe that we should concentrate very much on the young. Young Britons and young Japanese should get to know each other. We should not preach to the veterans about whether to stand and shout or behave with their usual dignity. No one in your Lordships' House, the other place, the Church, or
Only those among the civil internees are pushing hard for some form of compensation. I am worried. Most of the people affected are now dead and will not get compensation. Therefore, it is perhaps a rather pointless exercise. Maybe they were prisoners who suffered in a harsher and more barbaric way. For a number of political reasons of which noble Lords are aware perhaps compensation has had its time.