Monthly Archives: April 2010

Our Education System – Twenty Years of Meddling & Incompetence

Education, Education, Education became the mantra of the New Labour age, when Tony Blair famously described his three main priorities for government. David Cameron too, has declared his aim of making the teaching profession unashamedly elitist once more. While both these statements make impressive soundbites, they do however continue to ignore a fundamental problem; one which encapsulates what is wrong with so much of our state school system; namely the vested interests of a particularly unholy alliance; Whitehall bureaucrats, local education officials and teaching unions.

It is no co-incidence that those schools that often thrive best in any sector, are those where the influence of central government and local authorities is minimal. In particular, voluntary aided faith schools and those academies that so far have retained their independence, despite the efforts of Ed Balls and his LEA co-conspirators. At the start of this year, Ofsted – was there ever a more superfluous organisation – announced new inspection rules that will effectively fail schools if they are not seen to actively promote race relations, gender equality and human rights. For many parents – and employers – our state education system now seems more interested in political correctness, where individual thought and ability are sacrificed on the alter of fairness and equality; rather than ensuring our kids can read, write and count properly.

In recent months many business leaders including Tesco’s Sir Terry Leahy and CBI director-general Richard Lambert, have castigated the state education system for “academic underachievement among schoolchildren”. I have to confess some degree of sympathy with this view. Over the years, I have been employed in various managerial roles that required reading and checking of application forms, daily reports and other hand written material, and which for the most part, contained appalling standards of legibility, accuracy, punctuation and use of grammar.

A state education system, which has effectively promoted a culture of low aspiration allied with general government incompetence, has now resulted in at least two generations of educational failure since the last Tory government passed it’s so called Education Reform Act in 1988.

The future of our country depends on it’s ability to continue to turn out the scientists, skilled craftsmen and engineers that we need, if we are to continue to remain one of the worlds major economies. Our major international competitors are already reaping the benefits of a world class educational system – many ironically modelled on one we used to have. Until and unless, the next government corrects this situation, they will condemn yet another generation of kids to a life of benefits or dreary dead-end jobs, vacuous soap operas and mind numbing computer games, with the resulting knock-on effect to our economic competitiveness. The story of our state education system over the past twenty years, can be characterised as one of constant meddling by both Conservative and Labour governments. This has resulted in the single most important method of advancement becoming a political football, used by both the left and the right, and those with their own self-interests at heart.

By all means teach respect for others and to recognise the diversity and equality in our society today, but the future of this country cannot be built on the alter of political correctness: our international competitors will simply smile as they leave us further behind.


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Filed under The Political View

Bureaucracy & Incompetence In Walsall

Having previously worked for Royal Mail for almost twenty years, I have remained an interested observer of  it’s performance, and like most people, rely heavily on a cost effective and efficient service with which to carry out my business.

Twice in the past month, I have been put to some inconvenience, whereby Crozier’s Fusiliers have managed to lose one item of post, and misdeliver another, both of which contained official documentation. No surprise there you might say; however, what was particularly frustrating, is that both items of mail had been posted and were due to be delivered, within the same 1.5 mile radius of my home address.

As both items were not subject to Royal Mail’s extortionate “signed for” service charges, I cannot even claim cost of postage back as compensation, thereby subsidising Postman Pat’s next trip to Specsavers!

What made the second incident equally frustrating, is that it contained my opt out form NOT to be included on the National NHS Database – the £12bn white elephant which proves Government really should’nt do IT. Yesterday afternoon I received a phone call from another GP’s Surgery in the same area informing me they had received said opt out form. The monotone speaking receptionist, having taken several drawn out minutes to establish that I was in fact not a patient at that practice, then proceeded to tell me that the form would have to be destroyed and I would have to complete another. When I asked politely, would it not be more convenient to forward it onto my current GP, I got the full repetoire as to why this simple task could not be done (you’ll be relieved to know elf & safety was not included this time).

When I asked that as an alternative, they return it to me and I would personally take it to my GP, back came the robotic response; ” I’ll have to see what my manager says, I’m not sure if I can do that” and then she signed off. 

So in conclusion, to avoid having to rely any further on myopic postmen and uptight NHS receptionists, I will print off and complete another form and take it to my GP personally – it’s a nice day outside today and the walk will do me good.

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Filed under Jobsworths & Bureaucracy

Hello world!

As Black Country Londoner, I blog on those issues where an alternative but humorous take is often called for, particularly with the increasing bureaucracy and jobs-worth types we seem to come across almost daily.

 After almost a quarter of a century of exposure to the public and private sectors, I had my fill of the cliché-ridden, teeth jarring, corporate management speak which so infects both the business and political world these days.  This blog firmly believes in the power of Plain English as the most effective means of communication.

 If asked to describe myself in a few short sentences I would put it like this-;

 Independent of mind and incorrigible of manner; libertarian by nature and sceptic by experience; despiser of bureaucracy and irreverent toward authority; a connoisseur of humour and avowed enemy of all management speak!

 Comment is free and always welcome: so please, if you have something to share, let’s have it, and help put the smiles back on our faces.   




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Filed under Funny Side of Life