The Plastic Hippo

April 13, 2014

Careless in the community

Telegraph.co.uk

Telegraph.co.uk

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…)

February 21, 2014

Last orders

Park Tavern 9-00am

Park Tavern 9-00am

In those far off mid-summer days, when the sun was shining and England had a manly test cricket team, this blog mused on the sudden and mysterious closure of the Park Tavern on Broadway North in the sleepy, picturesque village of Walsall. The mystery is now solved; the boozer is to become a granny farm.

Granny farming has become rather lucrative since both national and local government abandoned any responsibility for the care of senior citizens in their twilight years. Caring for pensioners is expensive and time consuming as they do tend to go on and on about how they defeated fascism, how they created the NHS, how they fought for employment rights, a decent education for their children and how much tax and national insurance they have paid since starting work in factories, mills and coal mines at the age of seven. No longer paying tax and now claiming state benefits; Derby and Joan are becoming something of a burden on an economy that requires greater profit margins and increased bonuses for bankers. (more…)

January 16, 2014

But for the grace of God

Grace and danger

Grace and danger

When a school or, more significantly, a chain of schools feels that it is necessary to appoint a Director of Corporate Development, you might be forgiven for wondering how such a post might improve teaching and learning.

Grace Academy Darlaston is a Specialist Business and Enterprise Academy and seems to have been specialising in diverting government funding into the pockets, wallets, purses and bank accounts of the enterprising business folk that recognise a money tree when they see one. Usually, newspapers tend to employ Freedom of Information requests as an alternative to actual journalism in order to fill columns with faux outrage, but the Guardian has managed to dig up some dirt that a lot of vested interests would prefer to remain buried. Academies, it seems, and especially Academy chains might not have the interests of pupils as the number one priority and instead might be more focussed on corporately developing the financial wellbeing of sponsors and trustees. The actual definition of the words “sponsor” and “trustee” at Grace Academy might be challenging for even the brightest A Star English student. (more…)

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