Tuesday, 28 February 2012
I love Tony!
Education has been a burning subject lately, both nationally, and in the close confines of my own family circle. My eldest has just been through the GCSE selection process, and the whole evening was quite an eye-opener for me. Apparently, and perhaps I should have been - but wasn't - aware, the Coalition has introduced something called the 'E-Bac', or English Baccalaureate. It is (according to the DfE) not a qualification in itself; rather, it seeks to ensure grade 'C' or higher passes in subjects which are perceived as having more value than others. Namely: English; maths; history or geography; the sciences; and a modern language. The E-Bac was introduced to counter the steep rise in the take-up of vocational subjects (one assumes woodwork, hairdressing and such) especially among the lower income sections of society, which means that poor CT kids are not getting a fair crack of the whip when it comes to the Russell Group or a spell as an intern at Conservative Central Office. As a result, they become neets or stack shelves for benefit plus expenses for the rest of their worthless existence.
My daughter's school is one of the shiny new Academies, and as such embraces wholeheartedly any bilge the current crop of fuckwitted Ministers spew out. It is, additionally, a faith school. Nuff said. I have been impressed and surprised by the obvious wealth of resources in the place, and by the enthusiasm of the staff, even if they do seem a bit like drones, all power dressing and watches. My own references for teachers have always been along the lines of frayed cord jackets smelling of pipe smoke, tired cynicism a la Mrs Krabappel, and (with some notable exceptions - I'm looking at you, Mr and Mrs Waites) a strong leaning towards the Left. A bit like The History Man without the sex. Anyway, before nostalgia carries me too far away from the point of this ramble, I find the earnestness and sheer corporate feel of the school somehat overwhelming. Apparently, Business Studies is one of the most popular optional GCSE choices, and the fear of many parents is palpable as they strive to give their kids some kind of toehold on the future.
Worst of all, amidst this desperate grasping for a life, is the cold hearted cynicism of people like Michael Gove. In a tough field, he is a close contender for the vilest man in Westminster. His track record of a warehouse full of bibles and his refusal to include homophobic religious ranting aimed at schoolkids as discriminatory is bad enough. Now, we see just how cosy he has been with the Dirty Digger, seemingly lunching with the old goat and Rebekah Wade on an almost daily basis while Murdoch was laying his plans for a money spinning private education business. Given the most recent Leveson stuff, surely a thorough examination of just how close the Secretary of State for Education and Rupert and his boys were (are...) would be in order? Just the one quote (October, 2004) from Gove, referenced in the title of this post, is enough for me:
"I can't hold it back anymore. I love Tony!"
Although we mustn't forget that he is a millionaire who paid his mother-in-law thousands of pounds of expenses cash while flipping his homes. This is the kind of twat that is setting educational policy for fuck's sake. It has to stop.
So, on to the important lesson doled out to a thoroughly abject Blackburn Rovers, who were turned over easily after a slightly obdurate opening half hour. The team is looking good, with our attacking options as fluid and exciting as I think they have ever been. Bolton to come, and I'm always reluctant to tempt fate, but that should be another 3 points in the bag. Bloody United old boys staying the pace with another last minute clincher against the Canaries. Still looks as if the title's going all the way to the wire.