Sir Michael Wilshaw via standard.co.uk
It would be a fair assumption to expect a former Head Teacher, Knight of the Realm and Chief Inspector of Schools to be in possession of a least a modicum of intelligence. Sir Michael Wilshaw is doing his level best to ensure that students, parents and teachers never make the mistake of assuming anything.
Sir Michael is obviously a very intelligent Chief Inspector of Schools and only says stupid things because of the perfectly understandable assumption that his audience of students, parents and teachers are stupid. His annual Ofsted report into the state of the nation`s schools is an impeccable master-class in how to undermine and discredit anyone involved in the education of young people apart from, of course, Ofsted, the Department for Education, his good self and various duplicitous government ministers. He is either dangerous or he is attempting a new career as a comedian. Sadly, the former seems to be the case. (more…)
Like hearts, dreams, ambitions, mobile phones and the best wine glasses kept at the back of the cupboard for special occasions, promises are easily broken. There is a long and contemptuous tradition of politicians promising all manner of goodies to a gullible electorate without ever having any intention of coming up with the goods. When challenged to explain the failure to deliver pie-in-the-sky promises, the rulers with more ambition than heart usually ignore the awkward questions or sometimes talk of a change in circumstances or trot out the tired excuse that the promise was misunderstood by stupid voters.
The hilarious shambles in the House of Commons over the vote to have a vote on not having a vote to vote to enact a bill to re-adopt the European Arrest Warrant is just the latest farce in a long line of duplicitous wriggling that stretches back to the Stone Age. This particular pantomime, however, is different in that apart from being the funniest, it is likely to be something of a watershed moment for this awful coalition government. (more…)
There is nothing even remotely funny about contagious diseases and Ebola in West Africa is just about as serious as things can get. It is so serious that western governments are now urgently deploying military personnel to fight the deadly virus. Cuba, it seems, are sending doctors.
Ebola is not funny; it was not funny last week or last month or back in December or even further back in 1976 when the virus began spreading in Sudan and Zaire. Similarly, it did not raise many laughs in 2007 when it killed more than 400 in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Only medical statisticians can tell us when an outbreak becomes an epidemic and when an epidemic becomes a pandemic but, according to some western governments and the feral media that supports them, we are now facing the end of the world. (more…)
Via Getty Images
There has been some rather lurid speculation that a small group of Old Etonians are formulating the manner, style and objectives of government but this conspiracy theory is as unbelievable as the outrageous allegations made against famous, white, wealthy middle-aged men and their innocent leisure activities. The power does not derive from Eton but from a little way up the M40 amid the dreaming spires of Oxford.
As sinister Conservative grandees, ambitious cabinet ministers, a scheming opposition and powerful media figures connive, plot and sharpen knives to see who will inherit Cameron`s mess, it is tertiary education rather than an elitist private school than is informing policy. When Boris Johnson was questioned about his feelings that David Cameron achieved a first but he was awarded a lesser degree, the Mayor of London helpfully pointed out that his degree was in Classics and Cameron`s degree was in the “Mickey Mouse” subject of Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Boris seemed to infer that a PPE from Oxford carried as much gravitas as a degree in Media Studies from the University of Oakham and Greater Rutland. (more…)
Diving for pearls
Of all the important things taught at seats of learning both great and small, how to be a parent stands little chance of being included on the curriculum. Like parachuting, deep sea diving and mating, all the manuals, theory and research in the world cannot replace the hands-on experience of on-the-job training. Failure seems inevitable as attempting to channel positivity, hope, compassion and basic human decency without imposing anxiety, fear and an all consuming ambition is a balancing act that is almost impossible to carry off. Thus, misplaced and erroneous reflected parental glory came a knocking on the door on AS-Level results day.
We have tried our very best not to impose pressure in the pursuit of top examination grades preferring to allow young minds to chart their own course. We failed on occasions and with hindsight comments such as “what do you mean you can`t grasp the concept of filial piety in King Lear” and “for heaven`s sake, child, it`s only a quadratic equation” barked across the dinner table did not exactly help. After a while, the stock question “have you done your homework” was always replied with “yes” even though we knew the answer was always “no”. As one wag many years ago wrote on the wall of the gents at my student union; “knowledge wilts in the greenhouse of academia”. (more…)