12 August 2012

Another fine week passes us by. Fine in the sense of “well, at least it didn’t rain all week long and was only grey and gloomy for much of it.” Indeed, the end of the week included some absolutely lovely days with some bright sunshine and some blue skies accompanied by moderately warm and pleasant temperatures. The ritual incineration of the Best Hamburgers in the World took place on Thursday evening and very fine they were too.

Michael GoveThe Education Secretary, Michael Gove, made the news again this week with another of his fabulously bonkers ideas. On the one hand, some commentators feel he may have been disappointed to see his name in the headlines again, suspecting that he was trying to sneak the news out when everyone’s attention was distracted by some sporting event being held in east London. Indeed, as an opposition politician declared:

These kind of announcements should be presented to parliament, not sneaked out hours before the Olympics opening ceremony.

On the other hand, it’s such a completely daft idea that he must have known there would be some coverage, even with the news overload from the Olympics.

Gove is the chap, you will remember, who, in his short spell at the Education Department so far, has made a name for himself by introducing a whole raft of barmy ideas. One of his first acts on taking over the portfolio was to cut loose those “failing” schools from any form of available local support by compelling them to become “academies” and separate them from their local educational authority. Then, he announced a “fast track” for former soldiers wishing to become teachers – his hope was that they could bring some discipline to schools, the lack thereof being clearly responsible for most of society’s ills. He previously announced his intention of removing the bulk of the ICT curriculum, thus throwing away twenty or thirty years of good, innovative use of technology by bright kids and teachers up and down the country. He’s also responsible for the brilliant move of axing £162 million per year funding for School Sports Partnerships, just in time for the government to be hammered on its aspiration that the Olympics would inspire a generation to become involved in sport. And then, of course, he buries research which doesn’t support his ideology, and don’t forget his proposal that the tax payer should buy the Queen a new yacht for her jubilee, just as the government’s austerity measures were starting to bite.

So, it should come as no surprise that he’s off again, this time with the proposal that schools which have become Academies (many of them formerly “failing” schools mentioned above) should no longer be required to hire teachers who have successfully gone through an accredited programme of teacher training and have gained what’s called Qualified Teacher Status. Enough of all this trendy, leftish mumbo-jumbo about needing specific training, qualities and skills to teach the youth of Great Britain – it’s a job anyone can do.

I’m guessing that Gove, like many other ill-informed moronic idiots, is of the view that since he went through the education system in some form, he could do a better job than whomever happens to be standing in front of the class at the time. In a sense, it’s merely an extension of his proposal to fast-track former soldiers to the front of the classroom. Funnily enough, we’ve not heard much of that since its announcement probably because most soldiers would much rather face another tour in Afghanistan than try to explain quadratic equations to 9E on a rainy Friday afternoon. They’re not fools but clearly Gove is.

And speaking of political fools, poor old David Cameron. I hadn’t realised this but apparently he was urged not to attend any more Olympic events due to his uncanny ability to jinx the aspirations of the British athletes at whichever event he happened to attend. Steve Bell did a series of cartoons in the Guardian summarising his impact:

Going for Gold

So, his minders at Downing Street suggested that he stay away from future events but show his support, at the same time, by Tweeting a staged photo of him watching the sports from the comfort of an armchair in Downing Street.

A Twit

As the article in the Guardian says, “Cue a flood of resounding ridicule on Twitter, where spoof versions of an image ripe for manipulation were circulating within hours.” As one Labour politician tweeted, “I almost feel sorry for you sitting there all alone in your new T-shirt with just you and the photographer.” Others castigated him for sitting too close to the television and still others PhotoShopped the image on the television screen to one of, shall we say, an “XXX” rated site. It’s like the joke I shared a few weeks ago – “Do you realize how many politicians it takes to get a pound of brains?”

Liar liarAnd speaking, as we were, about stupid politicians, I laughed out loud at this image which I saw on Mary McComb Pena’s Facebook page. Wouldn’t it be absolutely grand if whenever a politician told a lie (come to think of it, basically any time a politician made a comment of any sort), his/her pants would indeed burst into flames?

“We have no plans to raise VAT.” Oops! Fire extinguisher required!

“I pledge not to raise tuition fees.” OMG – a conflagration!

“I promise there will be no top down reorganisation of the NHS under a Conservative government.” Bells, sirens, fire alarms and a general evacuation!

Kind of an interesting article on the BBC web site this week – 20 lesser-spotted things of the Olympics so far. It’s a bit of a long read but contains some fascinating titbits such as why do athletes run anti-clockwise and why are the Olympic announcements always made in French before they are repeated in English? And, they’ve added to it with another twenty things you wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

And finally, Penelope and I saw the following on the canal at Banbury the other day. Most of you will recognise the significance but, if not, listen to Robert W Service reciting The Cremation of Sam McGee.

Alice May

And finally, finally, I meant to include this last week but lost track of it. It came from one of Nick and Lucy’s friends on Facebook.

Breast Stroke

And finally, finally, finally, our heartiest congratulations to my niece Carol Anne and her husband Zach on the arrival of Azalea Charlotte last Thursday.

Love to you all,


2 thoughts on “12 August 2012”

  1. Automatic sprinklers go off during Mitt’s latest speech and the entire town meeting had to be evacuated. Mitt is looking into asbestos trousers, possibly carcenongenic, but keeps him off the hot seat

  2. Dear Greg and Penny,
    Was an avid watcher of the Olympic games, and very impressed with the talent; no matter what country and gender. Ironic that McDonalds and Coca Cola were the food venues within the stadiums and contest venues. Worst food in the world for development of the athletic build. Both “food” sources are major contributors to the obesity epidemic in the world! Sure, those companies made the highest bids for the rights, and helped made the games economically possible, but God, how ironic.
    Delighted with the birth of our little cousin, Azalea Charlotte . I might get a chance to see her when at the Lake, Sept 8, for the wedding of Emily Adler.
    Interested in your comments about your Education Minister and his “policies”. Don’t know much about the education problems in the U.K. but, change the politicians names, and it sounds similar to the U.S. Politicians want to cut the deficit in the U.S., yet they will spend close to a billion trying to get elected. And, I believe the Koke (sp?) brothers, head of the Coca Cola Company are the major contributors to the Republican party. Our priorities are truly screwed up.
    Love your Blogs, including the cartoons! Bunny W.

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