Issue 161: 2018 07 05: Diary of a Corbynista

5 July 2018

Diary of a Corbynista

Education, Education, Education.

By Don Urquhart

Mug shot of Don Urquhart28 June

Today the EU leaders meet in Brussels with immigration the main agenda item.  Several countries have closed their borders and now Bavaria seeks to join them in defiance of Angela Merkel’s “open door” policy.  Horst Seehofer is the leader of the Bavarian CSU which has a majority in the regional government.  It is likely that the two leaders will come up with some sort of compromise in order to keep CDU/CSU control of the Bundestag.

Bavarians are demonstrating nationalism chillingly reminiscent of earlier times, but Germany as a whole is the great liberal hope for Europe so all is not lost.

There are practical difficulties in absorbing new arrivals.  The flow seems to have slowed down and those who advocate a more proactive approach to eliminating poverty in developing countries are on the right track.  This will involve a major shift in resources from Europe and hopefully other well-fed countries and it will happen sooner or later, hopefully in a peaceful way.

29 June

The Department of Education reports that teacher numbers have not been lower since 2013.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the largest teachers’ union, the NEU, said qualified teachers leaving the profession outnumbered new recruits.

We are losing teachers too quickly, undoubtedly because the government is burning them out with an excessive workload and they can earn more and have a better work-life balance in another profession.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT union, said that the teacher shortage coincided with evidence of increasing class sizes.

A spokesman for the Department for Education pointed out that:

Teacher recruitment will always be challenging in a strong economy with record numbers of jobs.

So there you have it – teachers are leaving the profession to be baristas, Uber drivers or one of the other fulfilling professions created by this government.

Or could it be, as Benjamin Zephaniah suggested on Question Time some 2 years ago.  He had met many happy British teachers but they were all working abroad and thrilled to have escaped the British treadmill.

30 June

Last week I explained why I would not join the protests against Donald Trump.  A reader took me to task, pointing me at the website Stop Trump .  This would explain why I needed to take part in the demonstrations on July 13th.

They sent a Letter to the Guardian last year urging the government not to normalise Trump’s agenda.  I was a bit concerned at the list of signatories which included many of the great and good, like Owen Jones and Paul Mason, who are usually on my side of the argument.

On the big day a countrywide “Carnival of Resistance” is planned.  Apart from the fact that I love big parties and also the infectious enthusiasm and humour such events engender I am struggling to support it.

Two of the group’s leaders, Shaista Aziz and Asad Rehman, paradoxically encapsulate my objections:

But this has never been about one man, but about combating a politics of bigotry and hate that the far right is peddling all around the world, and which is increasingly being normalised to horrifying effect.

Trump is President because he convinced the poor and dispossessed that the political establishment, immigrants and foreigners in general were at the root of their problems.

You can stop Trump but the bigotry will continue unabated.  He is a symptom of the sickness not its cause.

I would suggest that the real targets of our anger should be the world’s 1%, pulling every string to keep their wealth intact at the expense of the rest of us.

Seeing a lot of good people focusing their anger on Trump will have them laughing all the way to the bank.

1 July

Know them by the company they keep.

John Bolton, Trump’s National Security Adviser, met last week with members of the European Research Group (ERG), which comprises the hard Brexiteer Tory MP’s.  Sir Bernard Jenkin, Sir Bill Cash and Iain Duncan Smith were among those with whom he discussed life after Brexit.  Apparently the American reported that his boss was very positive about Brexit and commended the opportunities presented by a trade deal with the US.  Trump was also reported last week to have urged President Macron to take France out of the EU and into the arms of a similar slap-up trade deal.

2 July

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee, has urged cabinet ministers to unite behind Mrs May, warning the party was risking the “disaster” of a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn if it did not.

Downing Street has a new plan for handling customs after the UK leaves the EU.  Details have not been revealed publicly but it will be a cornerstone of Olly Robbins’ draft White Paper to be discussed and agreed by the War Cabinet on Friday.

The final White Paper is to be published next week with Friday the 13th as the deadline.

Will all be clear to the EU and the rest of us?  No chance!

Will May, Gove, Johnson, Hammond et al walk off into a glorious sunset holding hands?

Probably they will for the reason evinced by Sir Graham Brady.  It worked with Dominic Grieve and when push comes to shove the War Cabinet will also fall into line.

3 July

Speaking at the Conservatives’ annual summer fundraiser at the Hurlingham Club in West London, Mrs May warned Brexit was the biggest challenge of her lifetime and could yet destroy them.

We each have a choice to make.

Will we come together and stand together as a party, as a government and as a country?

Will we find the boldness, the courage and the discipline to unite as one for the good of our nation and fellow citizens?

I think Olly Robbins will come up with something that everyone in The War Cabinet will support because it will skate round any issue of substance.  For a day or so the PM will claim success and Davis, Johnson, Gove will take a low profile.

Then it’s down to business as the EU and every stakeholder with half a brain dismisses the White Paper as a fudge and we settle down to a “no deal” future.

At the weekend Corbyn spoke seriously about a General Election being imminent.  If the Tories in Parliament are serious about doing what is good for our nation they will take that route.

Fat chance! I hear you say.

4 July

Football’s not a matter of life and death, it’s much more important that.

Thus Bill Shankly, Liverpool Manager in the 1960’s.  Watching England squeak by Colombia yesterday I couldn’t disagree and it is the lead story on most of the media.

But some way down the BBC News there is an article which is much more important, describing the travails of the school with three hundred holes in its roof .

Apart from the structural problems of its buildings, King’s Church of England School is having to cut staff, music lessons and arts events including the school play.

The Department of Education’s reaction:

School funding has been protected.



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