David Willetts - shadow education secretary - apparently told the audience at a Daycare Trust Conference that if the government wants to encourage mothers back to work, then it needs to provide a high quantity of care for long hours.
If it wants to help children's cognitive development, on the other hand, then what's needed is a high quality of care for a shorter period.
So, let's just break that down a bit. If it's long hours that are needed, we should just focus on quantity, not quality. So what will that actually be like for the children in nurseries for those long hours, then? Does anyone really think that if you are going to put a child in nursery for 10 hours a day so a parent can work, only the quantity of hours matters, not the quality of the nursery?
And if we want to help children's cognitive development then we should offer them high quality care. So whatever happened to high quality early education? Isn't it education - with good care, of course - that helps children's cognitive development?