The British government wants to fire bad teachers. Most people would agree with the idea. A poor teacher can set back a child's life chances. But wait: why isn't David Cameron demanding that incompetent politicians are fired?
We all know the reason. It's easy to demand action from other professions than your own. And many members of the Cabinet would be out of a job if his happened - not least George Osborne, the man who's taking money from pensioners to make millionaires even richer. And what about David Cameron, who prompted panic buying of fuel before a tanker drivers' strike had even been called?
The politicos will, no doubt, retort that they're subject to firing by the electorate every five years. But that's hardly true. In many constituencies, the MP effectively has a job for life because they enjoy safe seats.
And the question of politicians' performance goes deeper. As many of them are regarded as professional politicians - because they've never held any other job - isn't it time for us to hold them to professional standards? Proper performance appraisals, for example? Coupled with compulsory training in professional ethics, so everyone is clear that you can't inflict a massive reorganisation on the NHS after promising the electorate you wouldn't.
And isn't it time for prime ministers to be trained in that most challenging jobs? And to be told firmly that it's unacceptable to appoint a new transport secretary (for example) every year? (We've had six in five years - shocking even allowing for the fact that one of these was prompted by the change of government in 2010.)
In short, politicians should never ask of others what they're not prepared to accept themselves.