Wither Democracy, part 2.

Came across this piece ‘Democracies end when they are too democratic’ by one Andrew Sullivan in New York, news and politics, nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/04/america-tyranny-donald-trump.html  :

“the longer a democracy lasted the more democratic it would become. Its freedoms would multiply; its equality spread. Deference to any sort of authority would wither; tolerance of any kind of inequality would come under intense threat; and multiculturalism and sexual freedom would create a city or a country like “a many-colored cloak decorated in all hues.”

This rainbow-flag polity is, for many people, the fairest of regimes. The freedom in that democracy has to be experienced to be believed — with shame and privilege in particular emerging over time as anathema. But it is inherently unstable. As the authority of elites fades, as Establishment values cede to popular ones, views and identities can become so magnificently diverse as to be mutually uncomprehending. And when all the barriers to equality, formal and informal, have been removed; when everyone is equal; when elites are despised and full license is established to do “whatever one wants,” you arrive at what might be called late-stage democracy. There is no kowtowing to authority here, let alone to political experience or expertise.
The very rich come under attack, as inequality becomes increasingly intolerable. Patriarchy is also dismantled: “We almost forgot to mention the extent of the law of equality and of freedom in the relations of women with men and men with women.” Family hierarchies are inverted: “A father habituates himself to be like his child and fear his sons, and a son habituates himself to be like his father and to have no shame before or fear of his parents.” In classrooms, “as the teacher … is frightened of the pupils and fawns on them, so the students make light of their teachers.” Animals are regarded as equal to humans; the rich mingle freely with the poor in the streets and try to blend in. The foreigner is equal to the citizen.

And it is when a democracy has ripened as fully as this that a would-be tyrant will often seize his moment.”

Of course on reading this one immediately thinks of drumf, even his latest recruit the grinning gargoyle and his brexit bollocks and gove’s derision of ‘experts’. Excepting the ‘foreigner is equal to the citizen’, although thinking about it that is what many of the racist brexiters are unhappy with and drumf is against everyone except himself.

And yet it comes from Plato’s Republic, plus ca change eh?

And I’ve also recently added my name to faceache, not to actually use it on a personal level but to try and separate my business bollocks from Kate’s page and we were singularly unsuccessful. Only the other day Hector and I were decrying how with computers, smartphones and the like when you ask how to do something instead of people working with you and talking through how to do something they take over the bit of hardware do lots of screen jabbing and you’re left none the wiser. I’ve been guilty too of this, but that was a while ago when floppy discs actually existed.

Still, must away now to load the car for another day’s selling tomorrow and Kate’s being very busy and I’m just sat here tapping away.

 

Democracy - one of the drawbacks.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

PS my new team the Blues had a good win yesterday, I’d stick a few quid on them getting promotion.

Who’s side you on? beardy ransom or Mr Jeremy?

So who to believe eh? beardy ransom or Mr Jeremy? Now in an attempt to be objective in our confirmation biased world I find it difficult to find any objective, let alone balanced pieces but patterns do emerge in my reading. The main stream media is generally anti-Corbyn. Much of the anti-Corbyn stuff is personally aggressive and tends to reinforce the dominant narrative of his unelectability and being a rerun of dear old Michael Foot, even the ‘balanced’ BBC is highly subjective and generally supports the anti-Corbyn stance. And I’m finding the Grauniad’s confirmation bias increasingly less appealing.

What does seem to be the case to my subjective eyes is that much of the pro-Corbyn stuff is less vituperative and does try to get meaningful and important stuff across beyond crass personal attacks.

So maybe this reinforces Angry Young Man’s take on the corrosive effects of the ‘dark forces’ and simplistic visceral attacks win over more thoughtful, considered stuff.

Anyway, beardy ransom has broken the law by releasing video footage of named individuals to preserve their commercial reputation. Also ransom was very quick to personally respond, it’s all the kleptonic twat has, his ‘virgin brand’, and probably says much about what Mr Jeremy is trying to get across such as renationalising the train service that actually really hurts the kleptos, their outriders and their acolytes. And as ever it is simply about money and power. We, the taxpayers, support ransom. He is not an ‘entrepeneur’ he is a thief and the only record he had when he started flogging records under his ‘virgin label’ was a Cliff Richard disc.

HUMBUGBYJEF070222BRANSON

PS I do suffer from BCB (branson  confirmation bias)

love Duncan and keep on keeping on.

My blog is awash with confirmation bias.

Thank you my Scottish friend; confirmation bias, as you so rightly assert very difficult to overcome as Mr Brandreth’s Guildford trip demonstrates: https://youtu.be/W7lsRbDKOXg

Although maybe this isn’t a good example of confirmation bias but just good old cognitive dissonance, I don’t know my chemo addled brain is getting confused. Anyway I’ll be voting for Mr Jeremy, and if anyone can provide a good argument against his pledges I’ll put aside my confirmation bias and reconsider.

Whilst reading the Huffington Post I came across this which seems eminently sensible to me:

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As I have often said to various people there is no proper research evidence, and certainly not the dodgy stuff various dodgy politicians and demagogues use like beardy gove and *unt, that supports the thesis that homework improves performance. And yet cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias will do their work on the populace.

Have you heard or read how effective duncan’s unction is?

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Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Irony.

So, as wordpress has it: “your stats are booming, you have lots of traffic”, well I did ask for it as I wrote my diatribe about Purbeck View School and cambian. This brief episode also exposed me to my first bit of trolling with a few crude and vituperative comments. The most common phrase involved me “whacking off”, which oddly mirrors my being moderated by the Grauniad commentariat for calling djokovic an onanist. I actually replied to one of the trolls but they seem reluctant to carry on. They also suggested me getting a life, what, like that of an internet troll? Now there’s irony.

Whilst flogging my unction on Friday I was checking my blog on my new smartphone, quite remarkable what can be done with them, and up pops this bleedin’ virgin ad, does beardy bransom now owe me some of his loot? And on the subject of advertising we mistimed going into the cinema yesterday and so sat through all the poxy ads, poor Kate then has to sit next to me muttering away about my loathing of advertising when on comes this ad advertising an ad free thing. More irony.

Well, didn’t GB do well in Rio. Apparently we’re now an “olympic superpower”. Now this causes some little consternation to the likes of me as we were brought up on a meagre olympic diet with the occasional British gold. Whoever won the gold instantly became a household name and how we liked to cheer the odd plucky Brit up against the might of all those drug-fuelled cheats from USSR, East Germany, USA and the like. Not much irony here but I think I’m going to support Burkina Faso in Japan. And Birmingham have made an indifferent start to their campaign, but they did beat one of my ‘old’ teams, Leeds, and that causes some interesting, but brief, emotions. What price loyalty eh?

Now there is irony aplenty in the way that various factions in the Labour Party are out to get rid of Mr Jeremy. I will be voting for him as will many others and one does wonder what these twats will do when he wins again? It is so sad that they follow the very circular media line that he’s ‘unelectable’. There’s an interesting Gyles Brandreth thing where he questions people in the tory heartland of Guildford whether they would support various policies. When they all said yes Mr Brandreth then told them they were Mr Jeremy’s policies at which point they all changed their minds, or rather with a crude reframing they unthinkingly rejected them. Such is the depth of political awareness and understanding of politics in this country. So simple, mucky murdoch and co don’t want anything like Mr Jeremy in power so us folks is brainwashed.

And who the fuck is Owen Smith? He is very simply the right wingers in the Labour Party coup candidate. Why doesn’t bliar and his acolytes like Liz Kendal just piss off and join the tts?

And my old mate Invers (that’s what his rugger mates called him, although I only called him John) is continuing to court controversy in his Olympic coverage. Now I’m not sure John Inverdale actually deserves all the shit that’s been dumped on him and a few theories are around to explain how his stock has fallen. My take is one I learned during my rugby playing days in that a player can do one thing wrong or badly, or someone makes an observation about their performance and it sticks. That player is then viewed through that prism. An example is Ray ‘Butch’ Wilkins who’s play was described as ‘crablike’ as ‘he always passed sideways’. So when people watched him any forward or backward passes were ignored and any sideways passes would be seized on to confirm his crabbiness. I’m sure there is some psychological term to explain this. Likewise with Invers, his commentary is now viewed through a different prism and any real or even imagined comments or behaviours are exaggerated and negative reinforcement continues. I do remember one time driving to training at Esher RFC listening to a hilarious episode of Alan Partridge on the radio then asking John if he’d listened to him, John gave me a dismissive no in reply. And I did laugh at his “looking through rose cunted glasses” at Cheltenham last year.

Got very excited last week about the idea of hiring a small medieval village in south west France next year for 60th birthday celebrations but it would’ve been too difficult for too many folk so the search for a suitable venue continues.

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Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

 

 

 

The dark side of all our gold medals.

Haven’t been inspired to write this last week since my longest blog last Monday. That was inspired by righteous anger at the leaving of my friends from Purbeck View School and how for me it captured much of what I believe wrong with our current capitalist country. I was also a little disappointed that despite my invitations there were no comments let alone anyone bothering to develop any discussion. Apart from the obvious reason that few people actually read my blog, that fewer still who actually read the piece have anything to do with the school and that people have better things to do with their lives than comment on my rabid bollocks.

Anyway,  I’m with Tony Judt who was of the opinion that our problem is discursive, we simply don’t know how to discuss the dysfunctions and inequalities that beset us. Reasons for this are numerous and sometimes complex. For example Mr Judt’s analysis is that for the last 30 years or so with any proposal or initiative there is no discussion about whether it might be good or bad morally or socially but rather only consideration of the narrow economic terms of profit and loss.

Right now we are amidst the greatest circus the human world has ever known,the olympics. There was an Olympian Ideal of bringing together people from around the world to be together and compete and it’s evolved into a corporate-faced monster. It provides many like myself a wonderful sporting spectacle, long ago the Greeks and particularly the Romans learnt that providing the masses with sporting spectacles was a very useful political tool. It’s now been finely tuned in the modern era and with modern communications and the likes of mucky murdoch become a grotesque capitalist cancer.

And so I stay up late into the night enthralled by magnificent sporting endeavour and am caught up with ‘team gb’, a term I abhor, reaching the dizzy heights of second in the medals table as our sporting boys and girls gather medals at an unprecedented rate and amidst it all a young South African produces an amazing run in the men’s 400 metres but it goes almost unnoticed as it hasn’t been scripted within the ‘team gb narrative’ and happened only a short while before the now godly Usain achieves Olympian immortality.

Shut the fuck up you miserable bastard duncan, how can you cast any aspersions when we are witnessing the greatest flowering of British sporting endeavour in the whole history of the world, when the magnificent Andy Murray and almost equally magnificent Juan Martin del Potro serve up an incredible gladiatorial duel in the Rio night and even sexist, moribund, middle-class golf is extolled through the medium of Justin Rose who has embraced the Olympic Ideal and we win our first ever gymnastic golds; gymnastics the purest form of human sporting physical expression, the sport that provides (or at least it did when I did my PE PGCE) the core of the physical education curriculum.

And so I crudely segue into my rant of the day, inspired by an interview on this morning’s toady programme as Harrumphries interviews sporting folk about teamgb’s success and that there is some disparity between the funding of different sports, he uses the example of basketball, who apparently had their funding cut a few years ago. The one sporting interviewee seemingly blithely ignorant of any political bollocks talks of ‘role models’ and these sporting heroes inspiring young people to emulate them. All well and simplistically good except: school playing fields sold off (except for those at private schools which are magnificent, extensive and expensively supported), PE now very much a secondary part of state school provision (not so in the private sector), many sports facilities owned by us through councils cut, sold off in the name of ‘economic efficiency’ and so on ad bleedin’ infinitum. Ever more of our sporting heroes privately educated. Shame harrumphries didn’t back up his basketball example as which young people mostly play basketball?

Our Olympic sporting success is a chimera for so many of our young people. Still, it will all be better with more grammar schools.

Kate and I went to a hotel in Wales to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of our first wedding, on our way back we stopped off to have a lovely lunch with the lovely Julie and Nick, we really enjoyed ourselves. We discussed the possibility of some of us late-middle aged folk getting together next year, perhaps renting a whole chateaux in France, to celebrate our 60th year on this dear Earth. Sounds like fun; eating, drinking, being silly, playing games, doing stuff we all enjoy.

olympics

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

To those that have more shall be given and for the rest of you “it’s my way or the highway”. The sad demise of Purbeck View School.

It’s 2 years already since seeing my GP and her sending me off on my crabby journey (I prefer the term journey to battle), and it’s almost 2 years since I last performed as a teacher. So it’s not too long before this bleedin’ blog is 2 years old.  2 years of writing about kleptos, education, mismanagement, politics and other bollocks. Today I am going to try and channel much of that into a piece emanating from the powerful emotions raised in me at about 9 o’clock last Friday evening.

It was at that time that Jo, who’d been a teaching assistant in my various classes for many years, came up to me to give me a goodbye hug with tears streaming down her face. Despite my slightly inebriated state I knew and felt in that moment how much it meant to her leaving the job she’d done for so long with incredible energy, passion and love.

Last Friday was the last day of employment at Purbeck View School, an institution for young folk with autism and part of the cambian group overseen by kleptasaria, for over 20 staff and many had gathered at a place called Sandpit Field, the heart of Swanage Carnival week, to say goodbye. This was by far the largest number to leave at the same time in the school’s history and was caused by changes in working conditions imposed from above with no proper consultation, let alone employee participation. For those with nothing better to do in life will know from reading this blog that cambian are going through a rough patch. Since kleptasaria and co took over the school the company has expanded in adult mental health and children’s special needs provision at a rapid rate. As in much of the previously publicly owned world such as the railways (think southern railways) and the public utilities (think british gas and cedric the pig) cambian make their money from health and education, i.e. from the public purse, our taxes. A couple of years ago cambian did an IPO and offered shares to the public to, in the words of kleptasaria, expand the business further and retain staff. He gave himself about £9 million’s worth of shares because his retainer is obviously the most important.

A couple of years ago cambian shares were worth over £3, they’re now worth about 60 pence, maybe kleptasaria should take an 80% pay cut? Don’t be silly Duncan, you’re not living in the real world where ceos give themselves a 10% increase in the last financial year and earn a mere 130 times the average employee’s stagnating wage. Anyway, cambian ain’t doing so good and they’ve had to shed their adult services and look for other savings to keep their shareholders and bankers happy. And there was I remembering how private is so much better than public, so much more efficient with the invisible hand of the market ensuring all will be well.

So, why have Jo and so many others left? Well, as for many companies, the largest costs are wages, especially for ceos and directors, and as these obviously can’t be cut the burden must fall on the poor bloody employees. So despite supposedly already having contracts and agreed working conditions structural changes are imposed and, instead of teaching assistants being teaching assistants and coming in at 8.45 a.m. and doing their classroomly and educational duties for which they signed up for and have done very well for so many years, they now have to come in at 7.15 a.m. and be care workers for a couple of hours caring for the young people before changing their hats and becoming classroom assistants at 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. They do get a lunch break of half an hour (unpaid of course). Management have stated that none of this is at all financially driven, even though staff working the new conditions will be working significantly longer hours for no pay increase. Management have also claimed that it will ease the staffing shortage situation; good start losing over 20 staff. Still, that’s over 20 less salaries to pay and more work for those left to pick up.

When I was a teacher I always respected, involved and valued my teaching assistants and generally things went well and we worked well together. One thing that was needed for this to happen was having time together to discuss, plan and put together stuff for the students. Seems to me that with the new system any time teachers and their classroom staff will have together other than when the students are actually in the classroom will be in very short supply. Likewise time available for assistants to do their other classroomly duties will be in very short supply. Still, good old teachers will be expected to pick up any slack and work even longer unpaid hours preparing classrooms and work for students, clearing up at the end of the day, ticking and filling in sisyphean amounts of bureaucratic bollocks and generally running round and round a giant hamster’s wheel wondering whether they’re there yet.

Any comments which can counter my discourse gratefully accepted.

So Jo walks along the main school corridor for the last time, she passes the open door of the head’s office to be called in and verbally thanked for all those years she’d put into the school. Jo was not only an excellent teaching assistant and very child-centred, she was also a force of nature. With her startling red hair she’d organise the Christmas Fayre, a carnival day, red nose and children in need days, whole days activities for those bank holiday days when we’d be in school, day trips to Paulton’s Park and the zoo,and so much else my frazzled brain couldn’t keep track.

And all she got was a brief bit of verbal thanks from a head who was sat in her office surrounded by a plethora of gifts as she also was having her last day before going off on maternity leave. So certain people at the institution put the effort into making sure the head went off on maternity leave feeling loved and valued whilst Jo and others left with……………….?

Another of my long standing teaching assistants was Tania, she too was a brilliant person to have in the classroom and she taught me a lot about communicating more effectively and much more. After 22 years working at the school she left last Thursday, she had a lovely card from a senior manager and a brief letter from the head. There was, despite ample opportunity, no effort made by senior management to properly mark her leaving and contribution to the school. At the Friday’s leavers assembly there was a brief powerpoint about the staff leaving, they spelt (spelled you twat Duncan, can see why you’re an ex-teacher) Tania’s name wrong. Still the head got all her maternity presents, cards and I’m sure flowers. To those that have shall even more be given.

And the head of care keeps insisting it’s nothing to do with money, but then she’s done a great deal to undermine the education at the school. I remember her many years ago when talking about the care side being more important than the education side, I responded that the clue’s in the name: Purbeck View School, she scoffed and continued to deepen the divide between care and education staff. She now has much of what she wanted in terms of the school’s organization and already many have left and others have a bad taste left in their mouths with the way the reorganization has happened. Just as today’s news reports about the klepto ceos could be kept in check by having employee representation I’m sure that greater employee representation, that’s proper representation not just the extremely tokenistic bollocks like staff joint consultation meetings or ‘ask kleptasaria’ (why are you so inept asaria?), would be an improvement. But management knows best. In the old days the saying was: ‘those that can do, those that can’t teach and those that can’t teach teach PE’ (I taught PE). For a while now the mantra is ‘those that can do, those that can’t manage’ and they keep on reinforcing the Peter Principle: ‘The Peter Principle is an observation that the tendency in most organizational hierarchies, such as that of a corporation, is for every employee to rise in the hierarchy through promotion until they reach the levels of their respective incompetence.’

When I hugged Jo last Friday her upset was palpable, it made me very upset hence this blog. I hope at least a few who know about Purbeck View School might read this and add their comments and I’m more than happy to have any discourse with ‘senior managers’.

Keep on keeping on Jo and Tania, love Duncan.

Sorry I’m too angry to add a cartoon, although having written about my anger I feel a little better so:

Corporate-school-Hadje

PS please share this with local folk, I really do want a proper grown up discussion about this.

The farting trump.

Just reading more shit about the drumf when this comes to me:

Trump; verb to give forth a trumpet-like sound; spec. to break wind audibly (slang or vulgar).

Whenever drumf holds a finger and thumb of his right hand together it signifies that the mouth end of his alimentary canal is emitting what my youthful friends and I called an ‘sbd’. This is a fart that is ‘silent but deadly’ in that people don’t hear it but they certainly smell something deeply unpleasant. Although of course we do hear the shit from drumf’s mouth.

drumf has evolved into a narcissistic, sociopathic alimentary canal and when he breaks wind, or trumps, through his mouth he emits words and simplistic thoughts that are deeply, deeply unpleasant. To most sentient beings this causes a gag-like reflex, much like an ‘sbd’, and they recoil in horror. To those who either love wallowing in the shit humankind produces or those who unfortunately live in the shit humankind produces this trumping of drumf makes them squeal with delight.

A fart might be in charge of the most dangerous nation the world has ever known.

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Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.