17 May 2018
Diary of a Corbynista
Irish Eurovision Scandal
by Don Urquhart
The “smoking gun” I referred to in last week’s Shawsheet was picked up by a senior Labour politician.
Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, seems to share my opinion of the Debbie Abrahams sacking.
It feels to me like she’s almost been kind of hounded out of her position.
If Debbie is saying the investigation hasn’t been fair or thorough then I believe her. I think this matter now has to be put to the NEC to have independently adjudicated.(sic)
The Education Minister has found £50 million for the expansion of grammar schools and faith schools. It would be better spent providing basic teaching materials and teaching staff to state schools in general. As for faith schools I don’t want to spend money teaching children to be better Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs or whatever. Whatever the benefits of inculcating religious values they are offset by the far greater benefits of social integration in schools open to all denominations, races and creeds. Don’t get me wrong – I am all for parents bringing religion to their children. I just don’t want it done on my dollar.
President Trump has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal. The main concern of Macron, Merkel and May is that the deal’s business opportunities for France, Germany and the UK might be snatched away. Trump’s rationale appears to centre on characterising Iran as a disruptive force in the Middle East regardless of its compliance with the nuclear side of the deal. Well, as disruptive forces go in the Middle East, Iran will have a long way to go to match Saudi Arabia, still bombing Yemen indiscriminately. Or, heaven forfend, Israel, which is continuing to kill unarmed protesters in Gaza. And when historians come to write of the early 21st Century in the Middle East, and tot up the death and destruction caused by the various countries, the United States will figure high on the list.
It is reported in today’s Observer that organisations representing 1 million students are demanding a people’s vote on the EU withdrawal terms. I am a fan of representative democracy, electing people to give considered thought to the country’s problems and opportunities. Many of us are experts in our fields and well-intentioned towards others but it is given to few of us to be well-versed in the arts and sciences of state governance. My wife received a privileged education, worked for many years as a schoolteacher and has devoted much of her life to performing good works. So it is appropriate that she delivered to me yesterday a compelling argument in support of my antipathy to referenda. We always watch the Eurovision Song Contest and are gripped by the scoring delivered nation by nation. When the chap from Dublin reported the scores of the Irish jury giving the UK “null points”, her indoors spoke for many of us I’m sure when retorting “You know where they can stick their (expletive deleted) border.”
Ahead of next week’s trade talks with Beijing, President Trump announces that he is relaxing his ban on sanctions busters in respect of the Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE. European leaders are scrabbling round to mitigate the effects of renewed sanctions on their economies but have not received a sympathetic response from the White House. Does the EU have enough clout? And when we are out of the EU why on Earth should the USA give a fig about the problems of our pathetic backwater? We Corbynistas do not want us to be in that position but are more fervent about engineering the demise of the Tory government, so an ambivalent stance is optimal resisting all attempts by Theresa May to depict Brexit as anyone’s problem but hers.
The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) reports that one in three councils in England are planning to cut deaf children’ support services this year.
NDCS chief executive Susan Daniels urged the government to step in urgently:
By not acting, this government is putting the education of too many deaf children at risk, and letting their futures hang in the balance.
Deaf children can achieve anything other children can, but to do this it is crucial they get the right support.
She accused ministers of “woeful complacency”.
Along, on cue, comes the children’s minister Nadhim Zahawi to churn out the approved factoids:
The budget for pupils with special educational needs is at its highest on record at £6bn.
We have announced new contracts worth more than £25m to help children with special educational needs and disabilities, including those who are deaf or have a hearing impairment.
We’ve got no GCSEs, government’s not giving us no job so we have to get it ourselves.
I got no college, no nothing, so I had to go to the ‘elders’ and they brought me in.
They sent me up a few times, I made good money. Then I got arrested and then I came back and set up my own line and now it’s running… made good money man.
These words were spoken by “County Lines” gang members in a BBC Wales Investigates documentary. Their sound business model involves recruiting young people from the city streets and sending them to build drugs franchises in the provinces.
Whatever your gut reaction to the self-justifying utterances of the gang they make a strong case for ditching austerity and putting more police on the streets.