Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

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Archive for the tag “education”

Only 10% Cut So Far and still in Recession

It’s not good is it? Officially back into the recession that we’ve barely left for two years, despite the Con?Dems austerity program. A program I might add that has so far only implemented just 10% of their planned cuts to expenditure.

This government, with no real mandate from the people is the most vicious I can ever recall, yes, worse even than Margaret Thatcher and particularly bad because they are utterly incompetent, arrogant, out of touch with reality and unable to listen. They were warned, not just by me and assorted other bloggers, but by many financial experts, that their plans pointed towards disaster. Not of course, disaster for them personally as most are millionaires well cushioned with their tax havens and trust funds but disaster for countless citizens of our lands.

Unemployment and fear thereof in the millions and rising including huge numbers of our young people who now may never get a job, hospital waiting lists getting longer, home repossessions on the increase and poorer tenants being compulsory moved from London and South East to the North, leading towards a North/South divide like never before. Thatcher left little public assets untouched but now even the jewel in the crown, our NHS, is being sold off for private profit along with our schools. It didn’t take a genius to predict all this would happen so it has to be assumed that these are deliberate policies conjured up for the sole benefit of those who have manipulated themselves into power.

The current situation tends to lead the electorate into a depressed condition whereby apathy takes over along with a feeling of individual isolation which in turn leads to a sense of powerlessness. We are not though powerless if we collectively recognise that the power is ours and we can take it back from those to whom we unwittingly lent it. We can demand change and change we will get but only if we work together for the benefit of us all. We must remind those who say they can’t be bothered with politics that politics is health, employment, education, social services, the cost of fuel, pensions or whether your sons or daughters are going to war.

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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.

What Now for New Labour?

It’s anyone’s guess at the moment whether Gordon Brown will be able to survive the current political crisis although I suspect that he may hang on until the bitter end next year and the end will indeed be bitter.

When New Labour with Tony Blair were elected in 1997 the electorate would have given power to anyone rather than the Tory’s and at that point a golden opportunity was lost. With a huge majority Blair, with Brown as Chancellor, could have transformed the UK into a far better nation. Together they wasted the first two years by sticking with the economic plans put in place by the previous administration and then proceeded to expand the ‘free market economy’ and embraced and encouraged the money grubbing, me first culture of  profit before people. They increased the gap between the rich and the poor by deviously cutting the taxes of the wealthy and increasing the taxes on the less well off. They believed their own spin that the City of London could go on creating money from thin air and that house prices would increase exponentially for ever. They took us into an illegal war costing billions of Pounds and tens of thousands of lives and into another futile and expensive escapade in Afghanistan from which we have yet to be extradited. They have progressively introduced draconian state control of our citizens by way of surveillance, police powers and data linkage. Yes, they have done some good things and improvements to the NHS and Education spring to mind but even they are tarnished by the Public/Private Finance Initiative which will result in a huge outpouring of money into the private sector over many, many, years.

So what now for Gordon Brown and New Labour? The next election is lost so with nothing to lose why not make some real change in the time that is left. The MP’s expenses must of course be sorted out and pushing through some form of PR in time for the General Election would be mostly popular and have the advantage of limiting Labour’s losses. Abandon the ridiculous and unpopular ID Card Scheme along with Trident replacement and huge aircraft carriers, thus saving tens of billions of pounds. Recognise that killing Afghan tribesmen and devastating villages is an unwinnable war and in any case will do nothing to protect us from terrorist attacks here and in fact will make such attacks more likely. Some of the cash saved could be used to increase pensions towards the poverty line (£165) per week as pensioners are more likely to spend it and so help in the recovery of  industry and employment.

All of this could be done prior to the General Election and may go some way to ensuring a wiser Labour re-election in maybe five years rather than our nation suffering once again under a Tory government for ten or fifteen or more years.

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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