25 October 2018
Diary of a Corbynista
by Don Urquhart
I received an email from the Procedures Secretary inviting me to a hustings on 28th October. Voting for the Chipping Barnet Labour Party candidate will start after that with the result being announced on November 21st. The email told me that as well as Emma Whysall and Holly Kal-Weiss, there is a third contender called May Shafi. I asked the Procedures Secretary to let me have this lady’s email address so that I can send her the questionnaire.
The Procedures Secretary responded so I was able to send a questionnaire to May Shafi. I hope that at least one of the three completes it.
We were visited by Lucy and her 3 month old son Ed. She told us how when her waters broke she was ferried to Barnet General. They didn’t have room so she was moved on to the Royal Free in Belsize Park arriving nearly 2 hours into her labour. At Barnet General they had noted that she would probably need a Caesarean but the Royal Free let her push for 13 hours before taking the clinically correct but more expensive option. Her after care seemed to be a mixture of humane and brutal and was clearly way less than you would want for a member of your family. When Tory politicians talk about our wonderful NHS they speak from a vast well of ignorance. Starving it of resources for 8 years then talking the big spending talk is a long way from getting themselves off the hook.
A schoolteacher of my acquaintance asked a class of 14 year olds to research and write a history of The European Union. Clare compiled a learned and comprehensive piece ending as follows:
Britain is now leaving the EU because we are stupid. We had a referendum in 2016 but were lied to and now want another vote but can’t have one because it would cost too much.
What are we doing to these kids?
We look at each other in a bemused manner. Shell-shocked! What happened? One minute we are trolling along fairly nicely, we have something called a referendum then for 2 years are at each other’s throats in a Dantean purgatory. We rely on the great and good to interpret it all for us but, for me, the most telling analysis was provided by one totally lacking intellectual pretensions. It’s like X Factor she explained. The young and metropolitan people who like it never watch it live so don’t vote, while the oldies glued to the box in the grey wastes of the North do watch it live and phone their votes in. It’s the same people who voted Brexit. It’s also why the black singers get voted off first.
Five earthquakes have been reported in the area of Lancashire where Cuadrilla has resumed fracking operations. The company and the government will emphasise that these were small disturbances but we should mark the contribution of David Smythe, emeritus professor of geophysics at the University of Glasgow:
Recent research by Stanford University shows that these tiny tremors can be indicators of bigger quakes to follow—like canaries in a coal-mine.
The problem for Cuadrilla is that if it carries on regardless, bigger earthquakes may well be triggered. To quote Cole Porter, ‘There may be trouble ahead.’ Cuadrilla’s only safe option is to cease fracking.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that poorer students in the UK are almost three full years behind their wealthier peers academically. Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s director of education and skills said:
Currently you have regressive teacher allocation where the schools in greater disadvantage face greater shortage of qualified teachers.
Luckily the Department for Education is on to it. A spokesperson said:
We want every child to grow up healthy, happy and able to reach their potential, no matter what their background.