Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

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Archive for the category “education”

What Do They Expect?

Figures just out report unemployment has risen to the end of November by 49,000 to 2.5million. The number of 16-24 year olds out of work is at the highest level since records began. These figures are just the beginning with the effects of the VAT rise and public sector redundancies yet to come to fruition along with reductions in benefits and pensions.

The current bunch of boys playing at government with their half baked, half thought out ideas appear at first glance to just be idiots but I’m beginning to wonder. The Torys have always liked to have high unemployment as it tends to keep wages at low levels thus creating more wealth for their business compatriots. Changes planned for the Health Service will eventually cost far more than the suggested £3bn but will virtually privatise the NHS with vast profits going to you know who. Education will be similar.

Of course, paying off the necessary debt that the country has, at such a reckless rate will undoubtedly mean that come the next election, in about four years time, there will be quite a bit of cash sloshing around in the nation’s coffers so that ‘the boys’ will feel happy to bribe the electorate with gifts from on high. The expectation being that voters will reward them with re-election. As the public so quickly forgot the eleven out of thirteen years under Labour, of vast improvement in public services and exceptional improvement in living standards it wouldn’t surprise me if the ruse worked.

 

Student Protest

I admit to having mixed feelings about the student protests. I fully support their outrage at what is happening under this appalling coalition government; it’s not just the huge increase in student fees but the huge cuts also in university funding, particularly in social science and the arts. We are the 6th richest nation on Earth and no one can convince me that we can’t afford to invest in our future through educating our young people. The figure of £9000 keeps being bandied about but it’s not just nine grand, it’s nine thousand per year, plus I’d guess at a minimum of another £6000 per year to pay for living expenses. So we’re looking at around £45000 debt for a three year degree, so imagine a couple of graduates going along for a mortgage and starting negotiations with a joint £90000 debt around their necks. What hope?

In general I oppose violence and it was fairly obvious that some at the demonstrations were there just for that. On the other hand one of the advantages of 24 hour news is that you can watch events unfold rather than the three-minute snippets on news bulletins and I saw police provocation and a charge by mounted police that seemed completely un-called for. The small attack on the car carrying Charlie and Camilla of course became the news of the day rather than the student’s cause but they came to no harm and will serve to shake them a little from their complacency of wealth and influence by birth rather than the ballot box. The coverage though does raise another thought. Most of the cabinet (18 of which are millionaires) went to so called ‘public’ schools with Eaton being prominent and then to Oxford or Cambridge university. So too did the top journalists and newspaper editors and media executives.

As I stated earlier, in general I am opposed to all violence but I can’t help recalling history. Would the governor of the Bastille have handed over the keys to a sit down protest and would Britain have given independence to the United States or many of our other colonies unless they fought us for it? I am not advocating violence but the power resides with the people and not with the few who seize it and abuse it and unless they recognise that then violence is almost inevitable.

 

Manifesto You Wont See (Mine)

DEFENCE: We believe that threatening the annihilation of millions of fellow humans is wrong so we are getting rid of all nuclear weapons. This will make us less of a threat and so reduce our risk of attack. We will also save billions of Pounds.

We will have a review of the past few hundred years to see just why we have rampaged around the globe engaging in acts of aggression and stop doing it. Our military services will have only defensive weapons and therefore we will finally pose no threat to any other nation thereby further reducing our risks to near zero.

HOUSING: No further second homes will be allowed and existing ones will pay treble Council Tax until there are no more homeless or sub standard housing. All private property will become State owned on the demise of the current owners. (This will reduce house prices enormously and make them affordable places to live in and not investments for profit)

ENERGY: Rail, Electricity supply, Gas and Water will be re-nationalised.

WAGES & BENEFITS: All State benefits (except unemployment) will be cancelled and in their place the national minimum wage will be raised to a level fit to live on, along with pensions. There will be no unemployment benefit on leaving education until at least two years of employment have been completed. Benefit will be earnt by community service to prevent drifting into benefit dependency. No one will be allowed to earn more than ten times the minimum wage and bonuses will be outlawed. A fair days pay for a fair days work will be the norm.

TRANSPORT: Cities and urban areas with good public transport will be subject to an extra vehicle tax similar to the London congestion charge. Money raised will offset fuel reductions to those in rural areas where personal transport is essential.

DEMOCRACY: A good idea which will be adopted starting with an elected Head of State rather than an unelected monarchy. The second chamber shall also only have elected members. A fair voting system will be adopted where no vote is a wasted vote.

All connections between religion and the State shall be severed and all tax advantages currently applied to churches, mosques etc will end.

CRIME: All drugs will be de-criminalised and available on prescription thereby cutting up to 70% of crime. This will have the added benefit of slashing the prison population which doesn’t work anyway and saving huge sums of money.

The creation of a more fair and equal society would of itself reduce the incidence of crime. The current method of sentencing is ineffective, there being no point in a fixed time inside, therefore custodial terms will be opened ended. That is to say when it is considered the offender is ready to take his/her proper productive place back in society then they are released with adequate support and not before.

EDUCATION: Management costs will be no more than 1% of the budget and teachers will revert to running the schools and colleges. Choice of school will be abolished and all schools will be of an approved standard in all areas. University fees will be abolished but a small lifetime increase in income tax will enable graduates the satisfaction of repaying society for the privilege.

Private education establishments will be abolished by ever increasing taxation.

HEALTH: Management costs as for education. Medical staff taking more responsibility for running hospitals and clinics etc. A State pharmaceutical research facility will be set up and tight controls put on those in the private sector. Drugs which are highly expensive and merely prolong life by months will not be available.

Private health care will be abolished by progressively rising taxes.

LAND: All land will be nationalised without compensation and a rent paid for all private property upon it.

Time to End ‘Faith’ Schools?

Amendments proposed by Ed Balls to the Children, Schools and Families Bill will allow ‘faith’ schools to more or less opt out of the requirements on sex education that will apply to all the State schools.

These schools will have to teach children aged seven to 11 about relationships including marriage, same sex and civil partnerships, divorce and separation and Secondary school students are to learn about sexual activity, reproduction, contraception and same sex relationships. So far so good but there is a but, a very large but. The teachers in these schools can then go on to say for example, that in our religion using condoms is wrong and sinful and we ban their use. They can say that homosexual relationships are an abomination to God and that in some parts of the world where our religion is practiced they are killed for it. It doesn’t take a genius to see where this could lead.

I guess in a democracy it would be virtually impossible to ban faith schools but there is no reason that they should be funded by the state. It is time, surely, that state funding should be withdrawn and those that want to educate their children in weird beliefs should pay for this dubious privilege.

Student Costs £250,000

Princess Eugenie, duaghter of the Duke of York, is off to University and is going to cost us tax payers another £250,000 per year in extra police protection. See

The cost of the Royal Protection Squad is never included in any figures relating to the royals but runs into millions of Pounds per year. This squad of armed police officers is provided by the Metropolitan Police and is to be increased in number by 150 additional officers to cope with holidays and gap years for this over indulged family.

Jade Goody Grand Slam

The death of Jade Goody is front page news and is even the lead item on the BBC web site today. Of course I’m sorry that a mother has died of cancer at a very young age and I am pleased that she raised awareness of cervical cancer resulting in many young women going for tests which may save lives.

_45589930_goodyb282_bbcJust pause for a moment though. Just why has she such a high profile? To be honest I had to do a little easy research to find out, as she has been nothing but an irritating news link for a very long time. Apparently Jade shot to fame and yes, fortune, by being a contestant on ‘Big Brother’ a ridiculous voyeuristic TV programme. Yes, I have seen it, or at least about ten minutes of it before changing channel. Her claim to fame was her almost complete lack of general knowledge and that’s it! Exhibiting a failed education and making a virtue out of ignorance, millions apparently made her into a celebrity. What the hell does that say about the kind of society that we live in?

In the same weekend that Jade died, Ireland won the Five Nations Championship with a Grand Slam for the first time since 1948. Ireland, in the case of Rugby, means all of Ireland, north and south working together. images2Particularly given the recent murders in Northern Ireland threatening the long awaited but still fragile peace building process, this amazing event should surely have been news item number one rather than pushed well down the news rankings.

Worship at Schools

A head teacher at a primary school in Sheffield found herself in the middle of a protest when she wanted to introduce a single act of worship rather than the separate assemblies that were happening before her arrival two years ago. Parents complained about her intention to scrap separate assemblies for Muslim pupils and the head teacher, Julia Robinson, has now resigned.

Two issues emerge from this. Firstly, should there be separate acts of worship for various religious groups? I think not as this will engender feelings of difference rather community and this born out by the education act 1944 which states that a single act of worship be carried out each day and mainly of a Christian nature. Parents though have the right to opt out and keep their children away from this assembly and of course maintain a ‘difference’.

A more fundamental question would be; should our children be subjected to an act of worship at all? The job of our schools is to educate and so, yes, they should be informed about all the different religions and their practices. They should not though be indoctrinated into any religious practice.

I hope the time will soon come when our education system will make a fundamental change and become purely secular and teach only what is known to be true.

Leave Our Kids Alone

One can’t but help notice at this time of the year young school children dressing up as middle Eastern shepherds of a couple of thousand years ago and also as strange beings with wings! A virgin who has had a baby….What! As if this wasn’t enough three kings who ride camels and ‘follow’ a star, yeh right!

This nonsense is actually taught by our teachers in our State schools and then just a few short years later they are expected to study science and mathematics, arrive at facts which are verifyable by experiement, learn the origins of the Universe and Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Personally I would abolish all faith schools but we should certainly ban teaching of any religious fables in our State education system.  There must be a clear separation between Religion and the State including the role of the monarch as head of the Church of England before we can have true freedom.

I can’t for the life of me recall at the moment who’s quote this is but:-

“There can be no freedom until the last King is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”

Now that might be going a bit far but I get the sentiment behind it.

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