A spirit of cautious optimism is abroad among many of those opposed to the implementation of the Badman Report's recommendations. The feeling seems to be that if only home educators can fight a desperate rearguard action and delay any new legislation until the next election, then they will be home and dry. After all, this is a Labour government inspired piece of nonsense to which the Tories are opposed, isn't it? Well yes and no, but mainly, I am afraid, no.
New laws are seldom brought in these days because they are wise, prudent and principled. All politicians piss in the same pot and both the main political parties in this country are essentially populist in nature; they play to the gallery, rather than operating according to any abstract notions of justice and the good of mankind. Two things must be borne in mind about this proposed new legislation. Firstly, there are very few home educators, compared with the vast number of people who do send their children to school. Secondly, the average individual finds the whole thing somewhat fishy, grossly unfair and probably another middle class craze. After all, everybody else has to send their kids to school to be tested to destruction, why shouldn't these people do the same as the rest of us? What's special about them? Names like Victoria Climbie and Eunice Spry also resonate in the public consciousness in connection with home education, however irrationally. In other words, cracking down on home education would not be at all unpopular with most people and many would actively welcome such a move.
As a matter of realpolitic, Cameron would be mad less than a year before an election, to alienate perhaps a hundred thousand voters who have children being educated at home. His party have accordingly limited themselves to bland and anodyne statements to the effect that they support the right of parents to choose home education for their children. Since this is what Ed Balls and Graham Badman are also saying, this is not particularly reassuring. I imagine that the word has gone out from above that the official Conservative line on this is, "Keep it vague, make sympathetic tutting noises about this iniquitous government and for God's sake don't promise these lunatics anything definite".
My guess is that even if new legislation does not reach the statute books before the general election, then the next Conservative administration will introduce something very similar of their own. Opposition parties often pinch good ideas in this way as soon as they are in power. Remember that anything involving the protection of kiddies and old folks makes a government look caring and concerned. I should think that mid term, as they are slipping in the opinion polls would be a good time for such a move. Wait until some kid unknown to the local authority is neglected or even murdered by his mother and then pounce. Bear in mind that the majority of home educators are probably left leaning, so this would not damage the Tories' core voters.
In short, change is coming and it will not be particularly affected by the political complexion of the cabinet. Relying upon any Conservative assurance now, short of a manifesto pledge, is sure to end in disappointment for those hoping to avoid this change.