My original blog was Hoses of the Holy (ca. 2003), which ended up being abandoned in the dark days of 2007. I started this one in 2011. Scroll down for the archives!

Budge It

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I truly hated the last government, but I admit I’d forgotten just how fucking horrible it can be to have a Tory government. With every move they make they show that they’re nasty, ruthless, and nakedly greedy. I’d never say they were out of touch with reality or real people because I don’t believe that they are. I believe that they know exactly what they’re doing, every inch of the way.

They know that a portion of the population will always vote against their self-interest; they know that a portion of the population will never vote at all; they know they can get away with all this because the political and economic argument has moved so far away from anything remotely resembling equality and social justice that nobody who expresses unthinkable socialist or egalitarian ideas would ever get elected.

First, they get their friends in the right-wing media to soften up the public by ranting about non-existent problems like immigration, benefit cheats, and terrorism; then they rant on about inefficiencies in the NHS and other public services, bad schools, poor teaching, and so on.Teachers are aways poor: even though the national exam results have shown continual improvement for year, somehow the teachers are always in the wrong. They’re gaming the system, or cheating, or teaching to the test, or turning students gay. Having poisoned the public debate with all these straw men, they then start to chip away at equality, ensuring at every turn that their rich friends benefit.

See, the wealthy got scared by the 2008 banking collapse. They realised that the inefficiencies of capitalism are no substitute for the sure thing of profiting from essential public services. While commercial businesses can always fail, there will always be a need for healthcare, education, roads, waste collection. So all these things are targeted for privatisation.

While the NHS changes have hogged the headlines, the government have set up education to be privatised. First of all with “Free Schools” – schools run by complete nutjobs independent of local authority control. Nobody cares about the kids in this scenario. The important thing is to get out from under the democratically elected local council and use a non-professional, non-unionised teaching workforce to babysit the kids for longer hours than a normal state school. Grateful parents will then move their kids to the school with the longer babysitting hours, and if they can afford it will pay for a private tutor to get the kids through their exams. 

Apart from nutjob free schools, there are sponsored academies, which pay their management boards enormous salaries to manage consortia of schools. Not “better” than local authorities, but “privately”. They may claim to be “not for profit”, but when you’re paying each other over £100k, you’re sure to benefit. Again, the babysitting hours are longer, and the terms and conditions of the teaching staff can be changed.

Finally, they send OFSTED in to make sure that state schools resisting the academy route (and facing competition from the nutjobs) are hammered into the ground. There are so many hoops to jump through that it’s a joke. Not a very funny one, though. Every single subject, from Art to Science, has to include literacy, numeracy, citizenship, moral education, and how to bake a cake in every single lesson. Furthermore, OFSTED will only observe you for 30 mins (max), whilst expecting you to demonstrate progress being made and hand over fifteen kilograms of paperwork to prove that you’re not a communist.

And in the middle of this Orwellian nightmare, we have to deal with their mathematically impossible insistence that everybody must be above average and that a satisfactory school is far from satisfactory.

Is it any wonder I’m getting fat?


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