18 Oct

University turns you mental

Today 18th October is St Luke’s Day. I am reminding myself of this fact because I suspect it might actually be April Fools’ Day. Why?

Because I have just read an article in that esteemed organ the Daily Telegraph  – by its Educational Editor, no less – that the whole staff of Buckingham University “from professors to cleaners and gardeners” are to be given a half day course to help them discover evidence of mental illness among their students: “the signs and symptoms of stress.” Quoted experts in the subject of mental illness advise us that “dropping off to sleep in class may be such a sign.”

Buckingham’s half day course looks like a typical example of the sort of barminess that we expect from today’s universities, so why do I suspect an April Fools’ joke? Because the university welfare officer’s name is given as Dee Bunker.

So have I been had?

For the moment at least, let me suppose not. In any case, certainly mental illness is widespread among young people, as the BBC and all the newspapers tell us every day. And I’m not surprised when “health professionals” and the fascistic operators of political correctness and social engineering tell youngsters they can be any “gender” they fancy; when the academic authorities redefine university as a safe space wherein students must never be challenged by what used to be an enjoyable rough and tumble of debate and argument; where on no account must the “vulnerable” little dears be offended; where they’re all obsessed with “saving the planet” but can’t so much as turn off the light or shut the door when they go out; who threaten their pet dogs and cats with vegan meat and fish substitute.

(By the way, do the youngsters have sex any more – or do they just hang out behind the university counselling centre for a bit of “gender”?)

In other words, a university in no way resembles what universities have been since the days of Plato and Aristotle. Therefore, to pay nine thousand quid a year to attend such an institution for three years is a complete waste of time. The cognitive dissonance produced by the pretence involved is enough to drive anybody crackers.

The modern university produces mental disease as surely as New Orleans brothels produce cases of the clap.

Dare I suggest there are other causes of mental derangement? Spending nine-tenths of your time on an electronic gadget. Imbibing and ingesting substances guaranteed to lead to confabulated consciousness. Staying out all hours to listen to head-banging “music” while partaking of such substances.

That there is mental illness among students is very evident. Here are some examples… There are students who won’t wear a poppy because they psychotically imagine that to do so glorifies war. Or again, Manchester University students have removed from their wall a copy of Kipling’s If because they say he was a “racist.” Others refuse to wear the sombrero for fear of the accusation of “cultural appropriation” – by which only Mexicans should be allowed to wear that kind of hat. How far do you want to take this sort of thing? It’s only a matter of time before such rampant insanities decree that no one should act in Shakespeare unless he actually is Hamlet, or she is Desdemona.

PS May I conclude with a personal reflection? In our quiet little Close here in Eastbourne we have endless trouble from these young intellectuals as they charge past our doors and windows in the early hours often shouting and screaming their academic language – “F****** and C******” at top decibel

It’s a long way from Gaudeamus Igitur and traditional high spirits.

I have complained twice – no reply of course – to the vice chancellor. I am sorry I did this and I repent. For now I realise that the rampaging mob are not insensitive, sociopathic yobs who have been spoilt to death.

They can’t help themselves, for they are mentally ill.  

12 May


The government has promised £50miilion to support the expansion of grammar schools. It’s small change when compared with the £2billion each week we pay to the EU. But, credit where it’s due, it’s a start

Naturally the socialists who run state education are against it.  The teachers’ unions have accused the government of pursuing an “elitist policy” during a funding crisis. Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: “The government cannot point to a single piece of evidence that shows strong educational benefit of this misguided policy. While it may benefit a small minority, it will not close the gap between rich and poor pupils and if anything will increase the divide.”

Let me interrupt Mr Brook’s secular sermon for a moment to say that education is not meant to be social engineering but about the business of teaching and learning.

Some perspective wouldn’t go astray: there are 3268 comprehensive schools in England and only 163 grammars. So, while grammar schools are certainly a good thing, they are a side issue.

The nub of the matter is that state education in this country is so poor that it amounts to a betrayal of our children, child abuse. The government actually comes close to admitting this fact. The department of education’s own statistics show that 43% of pupils leave school after eleven years of compulsory, full-time education unable to read, write and count efficiently.

In the OECD rankings, the UK comes 23rd in literacy and 24th in numeracy: behind South Korea, Japan, Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Belgium and…. Oh forget it – just about everywhere really.

The teachers’ unions have a single explanation for this abysmal showing and it is that “we” – by which of course, being socialists, they mean the state –  don’t put enough money into state schools. This is not the explanation. How can it be when education expenditure on junior and secondary schools has increased by 900% in the last fifty years – and that is in real terms, after allowing for inflation?

The problem is with the whole ethos and style of state education. Often it is informal to the point of formlessness. “Child-centred” – which seems to mean letting the children do just as they like. Here’s a bit more jargon from the educational pros: “open-plan”; “non-structured”; “non-selective”  and above all, in that verbal icon, “comprehensive.” This last word – “mixed ability” is a variant – connotes a classroom where children who find learning easy are obliged – by the lying socialist mantra “equality” – to be dragged back to the same pace as those who find learning difficult.

The concept of “knowledge” has been abolished as the traditional idea that teachers were supposed to impart information – actually tell their charges something – has been anathema for the last fifty years. Unsurprisingly, today’s children know nothing, or next to nothing – as indeed is revealed in those appalling OECD rankings in literacy and numeracy and the education department’s own figures which I have quoted already. If the children are not meant to be at school to be informed, why are they there? Answer, “To express themselves.” But no one has a self to express until that self contains something. And they are meant to be “creative.” But you can’t be creative until you’ve mastered the basics. Tell it to Mozart who said, “I had to sweat and struggle once that I might find it easier now.”

Or, as C.H. Sisson said, “We learn by rote before we learn by light.” The Collect for the Second Sunday in Advent stresses this truth and we are admonished to “Hear, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest, that by patience…” Impossible if you’re running about all over the place and generally “expressing” yourself. What self?

The awfulness is compounded by the fact that the highly-unionised teachers themselves know next to nothing too. How could they when, given half a century of comprehensive education, they have all come up through the same failed system? Moreover, the near anarchy of the comprehensive school classroom does not encourage intelligent and competent men and women to consider spending their working lives there. So, if they yet have a desire to teach, they go into the grammar schools or the private sector.

Whenever the subject of education comes up, the totalitarians – such as the Leeds Grammar School boy Alan Bennett – who want to abolish the grammars and all private schools, I am always told. “It’s all right for you: you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth.” Silver spoon? Wooden spoon, more like. I was brought up in Armley, that is in the same grimy Leeds suburb as Alan Bennett. A question: if grammar schools don’t improve social mobility, how did Alan “make it” then? By the way, Alan’s father had the local butcher’s shop and was widely known to be “a miserable bugger” – which might account for a lot. 

May I finish by telling you about my schooling in the 1940s and 50s, which was excellent? Armley County Primary School was a Victorian building between the jail and the Leeds-Manchester railway line. When trains passed, great clouds of white steam would fill the playground – what we called “the yard” – and we laughed as we momentarily lost sight of one another! There were forty-three boys and girls in my class. Our desks were in lines. I sat next to Josephine Wilson who was adorable and had very hairy arms. We learned times tables by chanting them out loud. We learned to read by phonetics, by being read to for hours on end and by being introduced to books – by being enrolled in Armley Municipal Library (Junior Section). Aged about eight, I read Hans Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, The Coral Island  and A Christmas Carol. By the age of eleven, we had learned fractions and decimals, parts of speech and the beginnings of clause analysis. No silver spoons, then: some of my classmates wore clogs. Others went hungry, so that if someone was eating an apple at playtime, a small crowd would gather round to beg the core. We had morning assembly – unashamedly Christian – every day: a Bible story read from The King James Version, a hymn and a prayer.We were taught to sing. And we listened to Handel’s Largo and the overture to The Marriage of Figaro on Old Macdonald’s wind-up gramophone. (I suppose Mozart wrote it to “express himself”!) We trekked beside the tram tracks to Armley Park to be coached at cricket. We were given a third of a pint of milk a day in a glass bottle 

By contrast with these poor but glorious beginnings – which amounted to a real start in life – today’s state education is plain lousy. What words can we use to evoke the intellectual, moral and spiritual bankruptcy of it? It is institutionalised child-neglect.

“Or what man is there of you whom, if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone.Or, if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent” – Matthew 7: 9-10

PS Some years ago there was an advertisement in The Times Educational Supplement for a post in a “grammer” school. Says all that needs to be said about the education establishment, dunnit? 

01 Nov

The New Janet and John Reader

“Look, “says Janet “I am a little girl.”

“And I am a little boy,” says John

Janet smiles: “I can be a boy if I wish.”

John pulls a funny face: “And I can be a girl!”



“Can’t” How do you know?”

“The gender man told me.”

“There’s no such thing as the gender man. It’s only the prime minister dressed up.”

“Does your dad dress up too, Janet?”


“My dad used to be a woman.”



“Didn’t! Then he would be your mum and not your dad.”

“I like your dress, Janet.”

“You can have it if you want. When I am a boy I shall wear short pants.”

“I am nearly ready to be a girl.”

“How can you tell?”

“I sit down to do a wee.”

“I tried standing up, but there was an awful mess.”

“If I don’t like being a girl, can I change back to a boy again?”

“Of course. You can change as many times as you like.”

“I don’t have to be a boy or a girl.”

“What will you be then?”

“I shall be Zie. The gender man told me.”

“What sort of girl do you want to be, John?”

“I want to be a gay girl.”

“What is that?”

“I shall kiss lots and lots of other girls.”

John starts to cry: “So then you won’t kiss me anymore!”

“Yes I shall – because you will be a girl by then. Why are you still crying”

“I’m so mixed up. And the gender man is scarier than the bogey man.”

“Yes, I wish they would just teach us how to read instead!”

05 Aug

Children of the Revolution

Our children and grandchildren will put Jeremy Corbyn into Number Ten.

They will do this because, while their parents and grandparents belong to the nasty  generation, the youngsters are the nice generation. They believe Corbyn.stands for  a future that will be kind, gentle and generous – in a word a nice future.

As a paid up nasty, I tell them that Corbyn is an extreme socialist demagogue, that socialism has never worked anywhere and that, when it is practised thoroughly as Corbyn intends, it will impoverish the people and compromise their liberty.

The nice young people tell me I’m only saying this because I’m nasty.

They complain about “austerity” and “the cuts.” Nastily, but truly, I tell them there have been no cuts and the country is spending and borrowing more billions now than it was five years ago, more in fact than it has ever spent and borrowed

They youngsters say that such truths as this are simply part of being nasty and that we ought to look for alternative truths, their truths, nice truths.

I say, “But that just means you’ve lost the meaning of “truth.”

“You’re just being bigoted and nasty again, granddad!”

I tell them that Corbyn is an IRA sympathiser, that he invited members of this terrorist group to the House of Commons only weeks after they tried to murder the British cabinet in the Brighton bomb. I tell them that Corbyn refers to the terrorists Hamas and Hezbollah as “our friends.”

They tell me not to say such nasty things.

I tell them that Corbyn is an admirer of Chavez and Maduro, that he agrees with their economic, social and political policies and he wants to see more of their sort of socialism in our country. I add that people in Venezuela are scavenging  dustbins for food, that the country is the most murderous in the world, that there is imprisonment without trial, torture and the kidnapping and illegal incarceration of the political opposition.

The youngsters reply, “Why do you say such nasty things?”

“Because they happen to be true.”

“True for you, perhaps, granddad, but not for us. For your truth is different from our truth. Because you are nasty but we are nice.”

Then the youngsters recite all the nice things which are now features of their lives but were not available in the nasty old days, granddad’s days: “We have safe spaces in all our universities, so we’re not exposed to the ideas and opinions of speakers who offend us.”

I  say, “But I thought the purpose of a university was to teach critical thinking – a place where ideas of all sorts are exposed and examined: in other words, an intelligent space which upholds the principle of free speech.”

They rebuke me: ”But we don’t want the sort of free speech which says all these offensive and nasty things!”

“Why do you want to pull down statues of the celebrated men and women of the nation’s past?”

“Because they had nasty ideas. They were empire-builders. They weren’t feminists. They didn’t support LGBT equality.”

“So you want to expunge their memory from the public realm, to make them non-persons as the Soviets used to do to those who had fallen from favour. You want to rewrite history.”

“Yes, because some of this history we find offensive and nasty, and we don’t want to have to hear about it.”

“But those who don’t understand the past will be compelled to repeat its mistakes.”

“No we won’t: because they were nasty people and we are nice people.”

“Why did you vote – two or three times in some cases – to remain in the EU and be governed by an unelected commissariat over which you have no democratic control?”

“Because the EU is such a nice idea.”

Finally, it’s the turn of the nice young people to ask me a question: “Why do you think we believe all the nice things we do believe?”

I am obliged to admit: “It’s my fault, that and the fault of my generation. For fifty years we have ensured that youngsters become sentimentalised and infantilised through a lousy system of state education.  Consequently you can’t think straight and so you’re at the mercy of all the propagandising and social engineering of Britain’s institutional leftism. I admit I am of the nasty generation and quite the nastiest thing we ever did was to inflict this sort of schooling on all you nice young people.”

11 Jun

All Infants Now

How can we account for Jeremy Corbyn’s success in the general election? It’s education – stupid!

The Jesuits used to say, “Give me a child until he’s seven and I will show you the man.” With socialism  it takes a little longer: “Give me fifty years of comprehensive education and I will show you a nation of idiots.”

The Department of Education itself admits that, after eleven years of compulsory state education, 43% of pupils leave school unable to read. write and count efficiently. Worse, two generations of teachers – who come out with such expressions as “I was sat” and “I was stood” – have gone through this system, so the result is dumber still and dumber.

Perhaps I’m not being fair. They have a curriculum, don’t they? They learn stuff? But the curriculum is devised by left wing educational commissars who boast of “increasing pupils’ literacy and numeracy.” Yes, their literacy and numeracy are excellent: it’s just that they can’t read, they can’t write and they can’t add up.

History? This is the slave trade – but carefully omitting to mention that this trade was abolished in British dominions by British toffs and policed by the Royal Navy. They teach the evils of empire and imperialism, without reference to the cruellest and most prolonged imperialism of them all, and that’s Islamic imperialism. Bits about Hitler. Nothing about Nelson, but loads about Nelson Mandela. Loads more about Martin Luther King, universal rights – especially for terrorists – and the pagan fantasy of global warming.

Literature? You don’t mean dead white males do you, and honorary dead white males such as Jane Austen and George Eliot? Try The Catcher in the Rye instead.

Music? Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and the repertoire of the classical tradition? Don’t be so elitist. We’ve got rock music and steel bands. Ethnic music. Peruvian nose-flute music. The teachers are all at Glastonbury anyhow.

Natural history? Windmills and cutting down trees in the US and shipping them over here to provide biomass to reduce the “carbon footprint.” Definitely no fracking.

Moral instruction? Wear a condom. How to become homosexual. And – brand new this one – how little boys can become little girls if they like and little girls become little boys. And you don’t have to be either if you don’t want to. Equality. Diversity. Multiculturalism. Political-correctness. Unilateral nuclear disarmament.

Religious education? Islam is the religion of peace and love. Christianity is mostly old bunk. The main thing is not to be “Islamophobic.”

When pupils have mastered this agitprop schedule of ignorance, they can move on to what is misleadingly called “university” where they will learn about safe spaces, “no platform” for anyone who disagrees with this rubbish, and how to abolish free speech

Provide a curriculum like this and you will produce –as we have – a generation that will idolise a Marxist Jew-baiter, a unilateral disarmer who doubles as a friend of the IRA, Hamas and Hezbollah.

The most disturbing aspect of all this is that, whereas in 1983, when the loony leftie Michael Foot produced a manifesto similar to Corbyn’s, the people threw him out on his ear.

But today such dangerous idiocy is applauded

That is the extent of our infantilisation over a mere 34 years. 

10 May

Waste and void, waste and void, and darkness at the heart of our schools

The Labour party and the Lib Dems are competing with each other to discover which party can spend the most taxpayers’ money on the most useless project.

Spending on state education is higher today than it has ever been, while nearly half of the pupils leave school after eleven years of full time compulsory schooling unable to read, write or count efficiently.

I can at least count sufficiently accurately to know that this does not represent value for money.

Now Labour have announced they will spend an additional £4.8billion. and the Lib Dems £7billion more. This is a scandalous misappropriation of public money. 

Labour say this increase will be paid for by increasing corporation tax from the current 19% to 26% by 2021, But even at its present level, corporation tax is far too high and a blight on industry and commerce everywhere. Corbyn and his gang ought to be made to understand that exorbitant business taxes aren’t just a wonderful example of socialists’ politics of envy and their obsession with bashing the bosses: companies employ workers – a few of whom might even be foolish enough to vote Labour  – and every corporation tax rise means more workers will get the sack.

A further increase in teachers’ salaries is included in Labour’s calculations. I would say teachers are generously paid already compared with most other workers. A head teacher (outside London) can earn as much as £108K – more, given extra allowances for special responsibilities. Senior teachers receive up to £59K and heads of department £38K. The average pay for a classroom teacher is £33K and even unqualified teachers receive £26K. There is a pension scheme more generous than most others can dream about. All this while a teacher spends 195 days each year in school when most workers turn up to the job on 241 days annually.

State schools are not only educationally incompetent and intellectually abysmal: they are also chaotic, violent and dangerous.

A recent survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) showed that four out of ten teachers had been physically assaulted by children over the previous year. More than three quarters said they had been pushed or shoved, around half were kicked or had had an object such as a piece of furniture thrown at them, and more than a third had been punched. Just under half said pupil behaviour gets worse year on year; and the figures back them up. According to the Department for Education 18,970 pupils at primary and secondary schools were temporarily excluded in 2013-2014 because of physical attacks on teachers and other adults – obstruction, jostling, biting, kicking, hair-pulling – compared with 17,190 the previous year. There is some dispute about the number of assaults in more recent years, but all available surveys reveal that these have increased still further. Three-quarters of trainee and newly-qualified teachers are considering leaving the profession, according to a 2015 ATL survey. Of those, 25% said challenging pupil behaviour was the reason. Meanwhile, a 2014 joint survey by the ATL and ITV News found that more than a quarter of teachers had faced aggression from a student’s parents or carers in the past year.

Does anyone think this moronic,  violent shambles should be handed even more of our money?

06 Feb

Suffer the little children

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) says that many youngsters aged 12 to 15 are suffering severe mental illness, with girls almost seven times more likely to seek help than boys.

There has been a 36% increase over four years in young people seeking help for depression and other disorders, while there was also a rise in the number of children and young people feeling suicidal.

One young person who called Childline said: “I’m struggling to cope with bipolar. One minute, I feel so low, like I’m trapped, and all I want to do is disappear. Then suddenly, I feel the complete opposite, and I’m really happy and I start thinking about everything in a really positive light. I feel like I push away everyone that tries to help, I tell them I hate them and blame them for everything. I just feel like I’ve turned into a monster.”

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said he was “deeply concerned” by the figures. As well he might be. As well we all should be.

The only surprising thing about these shocking revelations is that anyone should be surprised, for the causes are all around us.

We give our children no moral guidance, no etiquette and no notion of how to conduct their daily lives. Then we let them loose in a crazy electronic world of whirling images, wilder than the wild west. We curse them with the absolute freedom to decide matters that are really beyond them. This “freedom” amounts to enslavement.

Let me start with an example of this living hell taken from the NSPCC report itself. The “young person” quoted is actually a girl. But we’re not allowed to call her a girl. Neither is this undoubted girl referred to as “she.” She, a singular individual, is referred to as “they.”

This is insane and wicked. For a girl and an individual is what she is.

Identities are not, in the first place, chosen: they have to be assigned. Or donated or bestowed, if you like. That’s what the Christening and Confirmation Services used to do.

We tell them from primary school upwards that they should choose not only their sexuality – whether to be hetero or homo or any combination of this, that and the other – but even their sex, which we describe by the misnomer gender.

We instruct them from their earliest years in the physical mechanics of sex, while giving them no teaching about sexual ethics. This is tantamount to putting someone who has had no driving lessons at all behind the wheel of a high-powered sports car and ordering her to drive off at full speed in heavy traffic.

We used to provide the children with religious education and this meant basic Christianity: the parables of Jesus, his life, death and resurrection and our duty towards God and our neighbour. Now the children get none of this, because we have elected to contrive for ourselves a multicultural babel in which all religions are said to be equal. But there is only one perspective from which such a syllabus can be taught and that is the secular perspective. The unwritten subtext is not only that all religions are equal, but that all religions are equally false. The secular educationists claim they must at all costs avoid “indoctrination.” Then they indoctrinate the children with secular dogmas.

Children, say the educationists, must be free to make up their own minds. Yes, but they don’t have minds until their heads actually contain something. Something has to be basic. For hundreds of years this was a simple outline of the Christian faith and elementary ethics. Give children this start, provide them with a few fixed points of reference in an ever-giddier world and then, when they come to the age of discretion, they can give it all up and become atheists or satanists if that’s what they fancy.

Not to do these things – out of whatever perverted notions of “equality” and “diversity” we nowadays profess – amounts to our dereliction of responsibility.

For which we should repent and return to common sense, to our right minds.

It’s not the kids who are mentally ill: it’s the adults

08 Jan

The uncritical critics at SAOS

I don’t usually find myself in agreement with fascists and book-burners, but I do agree with the students of the University of London’s School of African and Oriental Studies (SAOS) – who are fascists and would-be book burners – when they say, “White philosophers should only be studied from a critical perspective.”

I would go further and say that all  philosophers should only be studied from a critical perspective.

The SAOS students’ statement only goes to show that they have no understanding of what philosophy is. Criticism and argument are the very substance of philosophy. In fact they are the requirements for the pursuit of the knowledge of every subject.

Of course there is a subtext here: the demand that white philosophers should be singled out for critical study implies that black and Asian ones should be studied uncritically.

Actually, it is not possible to study anything uncritically. When we begin to study a topic, the first question – I mean first in the sense of logically prior to – must be, “What is this subject about?” This opens up the critical process as one participant replies, “It is about X” and another one chips in, “No, it is about Y”

The SAOS students do not study black and Asian philosophers critically simply because they are not capable of doing so. They have proved their incapacity by their failure to understand the meaning of criticism.

Give these SAOS ideologues, bigots and thickos the credit for practising what they preach. For indeed they do not study black and Asian philosophers critically: instead they sit at their feet and swallow whole every half-baked morsel which emerges from the mouths of their heroes.

In fact their heroes are not philosophers at all, but ideologues and political propagandists and sloganisers just like the students themselves.

I began by expressing my agreement with the students of SAOS. Let me end by doing the same.

Yes, they should study more black and Asian philosophers. Let them start then with St Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430)

15 Dec

A degree in social engineering?

The BBC newsroom today describes Bristol as a “leading” university. I should like to know within what field is Bristol a leader or, to put it another way, where is it leading us?

Bristol is to increase its intake of disadvantaged students by offering places with reduced grades. These pupils are also described as being “from  schools with poor A-level results.”

Vice-chancellor Hugh Brady said this would be a “step change” in admissions. I don’t know what the vice-chancellor’s phrase “step change” indicates – except that he is rather adept in the use of jargon.

The Bristol project, to be launched by Education Secretary Justine Greening, is described as “an attempt by the university to drive social mobility and attract a wider range of students.”

More jargon. Being translated, it means that Bristol’s wheeze has nothing to do with education but is rather a political project in the dubious area of social engineering. Again I must ask for some clarity: just what is meant by “a wider range” of students? Lower exam grades show that some students are not as academically competent as those scoring more highly. If they don’t show that, then we might as well abolish all exams for then the whole business of grading would be meaningless.

Let me use a dirty word: exam results provide the authorities with criteria which allow them to discriminate between those for whom a university education would be suitable and those for whom it would not.

In fact this “leading” vice-chancellor’s levelling down project is a betrayal of the character and purpose of the university itself which is meant to provide intellectual excellence for an elite. If universities no longer exist for that purpose, then they, along with the exams, should be abolished.

Fastidious social engineers scream when you say these things, though I can’t see that they have any cause to scream. Those who oppose the policy of dumbing down and levelling are not claiming that intellectual excellence is the only sort of excellence: merely that it is the sort of excellence for which the idea of a university was formed in the first place.

Many who take readily to reading literature, history, philosophy or physics admit to being utterly useless when it comes to the exercise of practical and mechanical operations. To learn to become master of a trade is also something worthwhile – that’s why we used to provide five years’ apprentices so that, when they arrive at maturity, young people might be equipped with high skills as plumbers, electricians, carpenters or dressmakers.

We should ditch these social engineering projects and embrace the existence of different aptitudes. University standards will be damaged and ultimately destroyed by such politicking. And students who acquire their university places by this means will not be happy there.

And now for something similar… The BBC also reports that from 2017 all recruits into the police force will be required to hold a university degree. Why?

07 Dec

Edukashon Edukashon EduKashon

When it comes to edukashon, the UK is still lagging behind many countries and has made little progress in international rankings since the results of three years ago.

The widely respected Pisa rankings, run by the OECD, are based on tests taken by 15-year-olds in over seventy countries.

The UK is behind outstanding performers such as Singapore and Finland, but also trails Vietnam, Poland and Estonia.

The OECD’s edukashon director, Andreas Schleicher, describes the UK’s results as, “Flat in a changing world”.

In maths, the UK is ranked 27th, having slipped down a place from three years ago – the lowest since it began participating in the Pisa tests in 2000

In reading, the UK is ranked 22nd, up from 23rd, having fallen out of the top 20 in 2006.

We can augment this information by consulting our government’s own shameful statistics. The Department of Education reports that, after eleven years of full-time, compulsory state education, 43% of pupils leave school unable to read, write and count with even moderate efficiency.

And this given an annual edukashon budget of £85million. Neither Estonia nor Vietnam nor most of the featured countries can boast edukashon spending at even a fraction of that sum. And the UK has been in the game for a long time. Free state edukashon was made compulsory in 1880. Since that time, “systems” – actually fashions and fads – have come and gone, yet the performance is always depressingly the same – or worse.

Literacy and numeracy were actually better in Victorian times when the “system” was talk and chalk. Even in the late 1940s, I did most of my work with chalk and slate. My grandmother left school in 1894 aged twelve, able to read the Bible and Dickens’ novels. She also knew by heart all the Collects from The Book of Common Prayer. The lumpen intelligentsia, the highly unionised teaching force, would regard a knowledge of the Bible and the Prayer Book as child-abuse, and the novels of Dickens as disgraceful elitism.

Those who can, do; and those who can’t teach. And those who can’t teach are promoted to become edukashonal advisers. One of these – there are thousands of them reinforced by tedious bureaucracies such as OFSTED – was being interviewed on television yesterday and he said, “We shouldn’t emphasise rote learning. Children must be encouraged to be creative.”

Look, mister bureaucrat, if you try to be creative before you have a smattering of the basics, you’ll end up in danger of winning the Turner Prize.