It wasn`t exactly a JFK moment or an Elvis moment or even a John Lennon moment but the day after Bastille Day 2014 is now carved into memory.
Tuesday morning was always going to be “challenging” as a long scheduled three hour meeting starting at nine would require concentration and the certain need for some agile thinking if I had any hope of a successful outcome. It was the sort of meeting that requires you to switch off your phone. Emerging into the sunshine feeling quietly confident and more that a little smug, I resorted to a nearby hostelry to collect my thoughts over a pint of fine English ale. Finding a seat outside and sparking up a gasper, I switched the phone back on.
A stream of about a dozen text messages broke the peace and quiet of the beer garden. This was most unusual as text messages are rare and are normally confined to simple pleas from the homestead to “buy cat food” or an attempt at further extortion from the tax dodging bandits calling themselves my network provider. (more…)
The full English
Enjoying a breakfast consisting of a croissant and a cup of strong Turkish coffee, a person from Scotland informed me of the news of the day via a radio manufactured in Taiwan. With an elbow resting on the Swedish worktop, I poured another cup of Yemen`s finest from the stainless steel Spanish percolator and considered the question being asked on the radio. British values, it seems, are to be promoted in British schools and the questioner was asking what defines British values.
Responding to a non-existent plot to indoctrinate children into the ways of terrorism, Michael Gove now insists that British values will be actively promoted in schools. He helpfully added that British values include respect and tolerance and liberty and without any sense of shame or irony, the PM chimed in with talk of responsibility. The mouthful of coffee ended up all over the Chinese wok. (more…)
Illustration by L. Leslie Brooke 1871
The notion of rote learning as espoused by Michael Gove suggests that if you memorise and recite something often enough, then dull repetition will be miraculously converted into knowledge. With sincerest apologies, I will repeat that Michael Gove should face arrest and charges of criminal damage and appear before a court of law with the power to impose a custodial sentence. This man and his apparatchiks are extremely dangerous. (more…)
With the best will in the world and summoning up all remaining reserves of compassion, empathy, forgiveness and basic humanity, it is impossible to like anything about Michael Gove.
Any redeeming qualities this Secretary of State for Education might once have manifested now languish in the ruins of his credibility, venal dishonesty, incompetence and abject failure. The latest shambles brought about by the right dishonourable member for Surrey Heath revolves around an alleged plot to infiltrate Birmingham schools with warped ideology and barking mad extremist dogma. (more…)
In imagined nostalgia, there was a time when a community was defined by its pub, church, post office and school and life in merry old England revolved from cradle to grave with reassuring certainty. In present reality, however, dark forces are at work hatching dastardly plots intended to subvert our culture by infiltrating communities with hard line, fundamentalist extremists hell-bent on imposing warped dogma and alien ideology.
The pub is now a Tesco Express and the church is falling down but remains a lucrative long-term real estate investment opportunity. The post office is long gone and has been replaced with a food bank next to a loan shark. The school is now an Academy named after an unfamiliar sponsor and the community is now defined by hedge funds rather than hedgerows. (more…)