It’s in our nature to nurture.

Just listened to a rather lively debate on Start the Week centred on the old nature/nurture debate. Seems that it’s currently shifting towards nurture and I must opine that I’m more of this opinion, but then so was my dad! Anyways, I was brought short and straightaways began pounding these keys with the ending comment by one Joseph Bullman, a documentary maker who’s latest offering ‘Secret History of our Family’ is on telly next week. He asserts that where we end up in life is totally dictated by who we’re born to and he backs this up with compelling historical evidence. For example, the family he documentarises who’s only members escaped poverty when they went to Van Diemen’s land and their descendents who became upper class members of the newly formed Tasmanian society. When Mr Bullman was asked at the end of the programme about how things might be changed he immediately said that we need to get rid of private schools! Oh how my little heart leapt on hearing such sweet words.

To imagine that we might have a world not dominated by an ever increasingly dominant group of kleptos. That we wouldn’t have to suffer the obscene spectacle of boris bunter and condom cameron prancing and preening in their pre-allotted roles. That the recent publication of the continuing obscene amounts of loot being pocketed by the wankers even though their banks don’t perform so well with the only metric they use i.e. profit. That the taxes paid by the FTSE 100 companies has fallen by 25% since 2010 which was when who became prime minister? Ad infinfuckingitum.  And we all suck it up.

And yet inadvertancy throws up lovely truths: Channel 4 News subtitle quoting the new head of fifa, gianni infantino: “fifa will not be run as a private thiefdom”. Sums it all up really.

And my soccer team the mighty Foxes get ever closer to the most unlikely win in premier league history. And England rugby team looking ever better under the stewardship of a talented gentleman of convict origin, again confirming my burgeoning belief that much of what rots this benighted country is class-based. Interestingly it’s not only the rugby union team with an Antipodean coach but also the rugby league and cricket teams, and also the Irish, Welsh and Scottish rugby union teams. Not so much co-incidence but affirmation of my theory that our class system promotes the mediocre.

 

Keep on nurturing on, love Duncan.

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Whither Education?

Education has been, and remains, one of the dominant features of my life even after my retirement from the teaching profession. Being out of ‘the system’ affords me the opportunity to now take an external view and it saddens me greatly to not only have all my fears and concerns confirmed but in many ways shown to be but the tip of a social catastrophe. My rants and rages about ofsted, governmental ignorance, selection, private schools and more are but egregious examples of the overall appalling state of our education ‘system’. It is a peculiarly English affair.

Despite my wide ranging reading and interest in things educational I am occasionally brought up short and made newly aware of the utter awfulness of it all. Such an occasion has just happened whilst reading Danny Dorling’s essay in today’s Education Grauniad: “We are the extremists of Europe”.

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/feb/23/england-schools-extremists-europe-tests-excludes-elitism

We too often simply read stuff that confirms our prejudices and I began reading expecting my educational prejudices to be confirmed. But, an early point of his essay caused me to stop reading, think awhile and then start writing this. The point was about the numbers of children currently being excluded from our schools, the latest figures from 2013-14 show that well over 100,000 secondary aged students with special educational needs were excluded, for primary aged children the total was over 36,000. These are enormous numbers and are of great concern.

Initially, like Mr Dorling, I think of the more obvious reasons for these egregious numbers. The governmental obsessions with testing, the massively distorting effects of ofsted and their inspections, the consequent grading of schools and teachers resulting in schools focusing almost exclusively on their ‘ranking’ in the league tables. It all results in schools excluding those poor souls who will not perform well in the purely academic tests to try and boost schools rankings. What a sorry state of affairs.

Beyond the simple exclusion of those who will lower rankings, the parents of the lower achievers are encouraged in various ways to keep their offspring away from school, certainly during testing times.

What exacerbates this is that there is no official, certainly national, recording of what happens to those who are excluded. Some will find other school placements, some may be home-schooled, yet others go to ‘pupil referral units’ or similar. But many will simply disappear from official records and yet it takes little imagination to know where they will move on to: unemployment, prison, crime, mental health institutions, homelessness, vagrancy, and the like. All not only costing the state more and putting ever greater strain on already creaking state organisations but oh so many individual stories of despair.

And yet I continue to think of the deeper, more nationally ingrained reasons for this appalling state of affairs. Mr Dorling certainly does as he discusses the relative low levels of educational spending in this country; even including the exorbitant costs of private education our overall spending is lower than other western european countries. This only highlights the relatively little spent on state education. (Seems to me that as less is spent there is more accountability and scrutiny, unlike for the private companies that steal ever greater amounts of common wealth and are increasingly unaccountable.) And with the tts class attack there is ever greater exacerbation of the problems with more testing, greater break up of local control and accountability, introduction of dodgy free schools and overt privatisation through the ‘academy’ programme.

And yet what underpins this class attack? It is being perpetrated by a class of very privileged people, highly educated in an increasingly narrow and particular way. Why even the current EU debate has very recently been dominated by 2 alumni of the same school, it is an increasingly rarefied state of affairs. What we now have is an apogee of the english class system (Scotland and Wales wisely decided not to impose the recent tt educational changes); an ever reductive system that keeps out more and more of us huddled masses:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

The ‘golden door’ is letting increasingly less of us through, enough I say, let the pitchforks fly.

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Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Poor Boris, needing his daddy, diddums.

Ah, poor de pfeffel twatface, needs his daddy to defend his selfless decision to come out for leaving the EU. It’s firmed up my decision with that narcissistic, sociopathic bully opting to join the grinning gargoyle’s gang. Watched the last episode of the current series of Vera last night and the ending was a beautiful riposte to all the racist little englanders.

And the night before went with Hector to see Mr Richard Hawley and his excellent band. The band are one of those groups/performers who sound better live. Whilst listening to ‘Tonight the Streets Are Ours”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCsKRbChILA      thought that Labour could use this as the tts and kleptos privatise ever more public spaces, increasingly restrict and make illegal any public assemblies/protests, generally make life worse for most of us. I’m sure Mr Hawley would be OK with this unlike many artists who find their songs being appropriated by the likes of rug of the dump who very scarily seems certain to be the republican candidate.

Anyway reading the brilliant piece by Zoe Williams today brought a ray of clarity to the current tsunami of swivel-eyed baying and a braying. It’s now a given truth that all immigrants are parasitic and only come here to take our money, housing, school places, medical treatment; just listen to what comes out of so many mouths, even from recent immigrants. The cognitive dissonance is deafening. One of the many insidious tropes is that which conflates with our home-grown scroungers who are ‘getting something for nothing’ with all these bleedin’ immigrants coming over here and getting thousands of pounds in handouts and living in million pound mansions whilst our heroic veterans are forced to live on the streets because they’ve been used and spat out, hang on you’ve gone too far Duncan, should have just stopped at streets. No mention of how the tts have introduced more favourable tax conditions for inherited wealth which is far and away the biggest scrounging of the lot, well maybe not the biggest as that might be contested by all the financial shenanigans of the current crop of kleptos. Ho hum.

And what can we do to save Helen from the very evil rob?

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Existential PR Bollocks

So the gaps between blogs get longer as the initial rationale for it becomes less imperative, at least for the immediate future until something else comes along. My latest abdominal pains are keeping me awake at night, but mainly with worrying about what they might be. So I’ll cook another dinner, have a few drinks and maybe they’ll go soon.

I am getting other pains as I read and listen to various folk go on about things economic, highlighted by the crude and warped EU discussion. Se de pfeffel twatface is playing his usual stupid games, why is he given so much oxygen of publicity? Because he’s a convenient sideshow used by the powerful kleptos to entertain the plebs, boris and circuses.

Anyway, I was incensed by a youngish person on last night’s question time. When a young man in deep toryville (Stratford upon Avon) dared to ask why nationalisation of the energy companies is not being considered, youngish panelist immediately said “that ship has sailed”. Says who? Why the dominant narrative the kleptos have been fine tuning for the last 40 years or so, such that we now have an unbelievable, barely credible cognitive dissonance as their dominant narrative with regard to things economic means that when someone like the young man dares to question the ‘new clothes’ they are immediately dismissed even though it is a perfectly reasonable question to the neoliberal bollocks we’re sold.

And sold it has been for many years now, since the major western powers, notably the USA and Britain, have developed ‘soft power’ in the form of ‘public relations’. It started in the late 60’s when ‘the establishments’ were scared that folk might see through them and create a new order. As I’ve quoted before Hunter S Thompson had it:

“It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era — the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run… but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant…

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning…

And that, I think, was the handle — that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply PREVAIL. There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave…

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high water mark — that place where the wave finally broke, and rolled back.”
― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

And so the class war continues. Sometimes feels like we’re all a load of frogs in a giant vat of water slowly heating so we don’t notice we’re all going to be boiled alive. An apt metaphor as the actual world is warming in our anthropocene era, which is of course denied by the kleptos.

Listening to my 1966 playlist right now, going to have a 1966 themed dinner party soon.

And steve wright can fuck off with his ‘serious jocking’ bollocks. The corollary is that the rest of his ‘jocking’ is bollocks, which is true.

And Tom Clarke banging on about us needing a ‘new language’ (in today’s Grauniad) to that in current usage by politicians and the kleptos economic and media lackeys. Some of us knew this all a while ago, I think Chomsky had it covered years ago.

Anyway I’m off to finish cooking chicken bourride and open a bottle of Coteaux de Languedoc, bleedin’ shiraz socialist.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

 

 

Come on farage, man up now.

A little rushed with my earlier blog and didn’t include my favourite story of the day. Prince John Zylinski is a Lewisham born property developer of Polish aristocracy and is standing for London’s mayor. He has challenged the grinning gargoyle to a duel in Hyde Park because he’s had enough of his racist bollocks, particularly criticism of migrant workers as “benefit scroungers”. Despite my pitch fork rallying I’m not a man of violence, but this would be one duel I’d love to see.

Keep on duelling on, love Duncan.

If you’re swivel-eyed don’t read on.

Thank you AYM for reminding me about the wonderful Doug Stanhope, good one about making the Occupy lot being more effective and inventive. I then listened to his take on nationalism and it briefly rekindled my absolute loathing for the grinning gargoyle who sadly we’re going to see and hear a lot more of in the next few months. I think if anyone’s wavering about how to vote in the looming referendum then simply look at the swivel-eyed twats in their different gangs spouting their narrow nationalism. I know there is the argument about the way that too much of the eu supports neoliberal capitalism, but just think about the unfettered , or what they imagine to be the unfettered, way that the swivel-eyed twats will be. It will be their one-eyed take on ‘sovereignty’, which in itself is dodgily suggestive of the swivel-eyed royals.

Anyway, if you can be arsed listen to Mr Stanhope:

 

 

 

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.