Education Secretary Michael Gove stood alone today clutching blueprints for a new examination to replace GCSEs as everyone around him gave them nought out of 10.
MPs, unions, teachers and other educationalists told him loud and clear that while changes might be needed what he proposed was not the answer.
Mr Gove announced plans last year to axe GCSEs in favour of new English baccalaureate certificates (EBC) in English, maths and science - presumably trying to emulate the French exam system invented by Napoleon.
To the horror of teachers already trying to cope with the logistics of a complicated system of exams he said the qualifications would be first taught in September 2015.
EBCs in history, geography and languages would follow at a later date and GCSEs were set to remain for other subjects.
But in a report on the proposals the cross-party education select committee said they failed to prove a case for scrapping GCSEs and called for a slow down in "reforms."
Exams regulator Ofqual has previously raised concerns about the timetable for reform.
Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said: "This risks leaving schoolchildren with a badge of failure. He needs to go back to the drawing board."
Teachers' union NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: "Michael Gove and the coalition government's position on examination reform is now surely untenable. The Education Secretary is totally isolated."
And National Association of Head Teachers general secretary Russell Hobby warned that the government's proposals would relegate non-EBC subjects, such as art, drama, sport and technology, to second-class status.