Via Peguin Books
Imagine inventing a new word to describe something undesirable only to find that the word quickly becomes part of common language but with its original usage completely reversed. Then consider the sorry experience of minor politician and sociologist Michael Young.
Credited with drafting large chunks of Labour`s 1945 manifesto, Young played a major part in securing a landslide victory for Clement Attlee and the almost unthinkable defeat of Sir Winston Churchill at the conclusion of the Second World War. The 1944 Butler Education Act established free and universal education and set the school leaving age at 15. It also introduced the tripartite system of education featuring grammar schools, secondary technical schools and secondary modern schools. In theory, comprehensive schools would combine features of all three streams. Allocation of school places was determined by academic examination when a child reached the age of 11. The results of a maths test, a general essay and a third test on general reasoning would define the child as a member of the elite, someone who could be trusted with expensive machinery or a basic manual labourer expected to be grateful for the chance at any education at all. (more…)
Regardless of the selection process or the suitability of the candidate or even a cursory nod in the general direction of decency and honesty, only the most cynical of observers would be so mean-spirited to condemn anyone starting a new job especially if that job happens to be the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Everyone should be given a chance and as our new PM has already stated, each of us should be judged by how “smart” we are and how hard we are prepared to work.
Apart from making a complete mess of controlled immigration targets and being made to look ridiculous by various extreme clerics and all that unpleasant and unfortunately illegal racism brought about by poster vans inviting foreigners to go home, Theresa May was a marvellous Home Secretary. She took the chance to scrap protection for victims of domestic violence and introduce a snoopers` charter to prove that any critic of government is, in fact, supporting and encouraging terrorism. Police numbers have reduced but the number of deaths in police custody has increased. (more…)
As August departs in a blaze of sunshine, with a resigned sigh we contemplate an autumn of discontent and a winter of absolute, all consuming misery. As seasons go; silly is too narrow a definition to contain the output of our noble, balanced and independent media. Based on current output, perhaps we should introduce a seasonal banding system for when politicians take August as a holiday to elevate silliness beyond the merely plain daft. In front of every silver lining is a bloody great big black cloud.
Super silly season would cover or, indeed, uncover any of the nonsense coming out of France at the moment. Mega silly season could define the USA in an election year and silly beyond the point of reasonable belief would characterise the actions of Labour Party members during another leadership election and the media`s utterly bizarre reporting of a political party running out of feet to shoot. We can, however, take comfort in traditional silly season hokum. (more…)
With a paucity of remotely sensible political analysis being made available to a bewildered yet cynical public, it is tempting to simply join in with the blizzard of outrageous allegations and smears against friend and foe alike safe in the knowledge that any factual evidence will never be checked. Even if some naïve soul investigates the veracity of various claims and counterclaims, we have rapidly realised that proof is irrelevant and irrefutable evidence is best ignored. With politics descending further into playground name-calling followed by little boys starting a fight and then running away, the most efficient way to stick the boot in is with the tried and tested personal anecdote.
So, my wife once met a man on a train who said he knew a woman who had a sister who knew a man that told this absolutely true story. (more…)
With a new Prime Minister, a new Home Secretary and a new if familiar front bench, it is reassuring to know that transparency, truth and justice remain at the heart of the British government. The inexplicable loss of three distinguished chairpersons resigning from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse appears to be a devastating if coincidental run of bad luck for a government committed to protecting children from perverts. However, to lose two distinguished chairpersons may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose three looks like carelessness. (more…)