10 December 2020
Diary of a Corbynista
Schools being screwed up.
By Don Urquhart
In Shawsheet 258 JR Thomas made a strong case for a federal United Kingdom and in particular saw this as a way of resolving the Scottish independence issue. I was quite heartened as it seemed to offer a potential win-win. For it to work the Scots would have to see the Westminster representatives as capable and honest. Then I looked at the government front bench.
My Dad was a Unionist. As soon as he obtained his Master Butcher’s certificate his employer fired him rather than pay the going rate, so he got on his bike from Montrose down to London. I never heard him run down the English and on his 90th birthday his big treat was watching England beat the Germans 5-1 in Munich.
I don’t think my Dad was unusual in this respect. How things have changed.
My Dad was a socialist. My Mum’s Dad was a Liberal and threw Jock out because he sold the Daily Mirror when it was a campaigning newspaper. Like so many others, when Dad was demobbed he was inspired by the Attlee government and disillusioned when he was defeated by Churchill in 1951. He gave up on politics at that time and would often say:
The British working man is his own worst enemy.
No change there Dad.
My uncle was a big wheel in the Millwall Sports and Social Club. His lad had a trial with the league side. The Den was the first professional football ground that I attended although I did not as a result become a fan. It was too far for me to get to every fortnight. Most English football fans will be aware of the legendary ruggedness of Millwall’s followers. They have a famous chant:
We are Millwall we’ve got brains,
We push West Ham under trains.
They also had way back a reputation for racism. When their players took the knee to support anti-racism yesterday, many in the 2,000 crowd booed.
Millwall fans boo players taking the knee before Derby match
White English nationalism is alive and well.
One of the big success stories of Covid-19 has been the regulatory process of MHRA in approving the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine so expeditiously. So, for a change, I was looking forward to Andrew Marr’s interview with someone – MHRA Chief Executive June Raine. Ms Raine explained why MHRA succeeded so splendidly but I was disturbed to find that she had been infected by the linguistic poverty afflicting the other medical bigwigs and politicians put on the box to reassure us. Of these Matthew Hancock is the nonpareil. I wish I had a pound for each time the Health Secretary told us the pandemic was unprecedented or that things were incredibly something – usually difficult or complex. Ms Raine suffered from that one. MHRA had looked at the test results incredibly carefully and would follow up vaccination outcomes incredibly carefully (as distinct from their normal sloppy methods?) and also the working hard one. I am desperate to hear one of these great and good individuals confess that they are attacking crucial objectives in a casual, lackadaisical manner.
Diehard Labour Party members have seen many internal rifts. They are used to being asked to take sides but would rather just soldier on, doing good work and spreading the word. When Corbyn was leader they ignored the machinations of his opponents. Now he has gone they are happy to follow the new leader’s agenda. Corbyn is one of them. While the Starmer/Corbyn battle rages round him he is out there campaigning for what he believes in. Here’s some of his recent Twitter:
This crisis has shown why we must end all outsourcing and privatisation in our NHS.
My congratulations to the people of Bolivia for what they achieved in showing a better world is possible. Join me in showing your solidarity with progressive change in Bolivia.
This crisis shouldn’t be paid for on the backs of low paid workers. Join this call on the Government to introduce a wage floor in the furlough scheme to make sure that no worker gets paid less than the National Minimum Wage.
The economic crisis we now face is set to be the worst any of us have experienced. We urgently need to transform our economy and society to ensure people’s jobs; livelihoods and health come before private profit.
Andy Byers is the headteacher of Framwellgate School in Durham. His blog today encapsulates the frustration of many in the teaching profession. They have no confidence in the Department of Education. Because the Serco Test and Trace is too slow they are running their own version. It’s a long way from education and they’re hearing nothing but mindless instructions and platitudes from the Government. It is not a long read and I commend it to anyone who really cares about education.
Mr Byers tells us that the Government’s promise of laptops had no substance.
But yesterday the Schools Minister Nick Gibb asserted:
Free laptops scheme is a ‘great success story’
The Times Educational Supplement points out at some length how pathetically inadequate laptop delivery has been. Teachers are angry enough without government ministers uttering such obvious nonsense.