23 September 2012

Good morning on what looks like it might be a somewhat disappointing day after the gloriousness which was yesterday – bright, bright, bright blue skies with not a cloud in sight and a wonderful autumnal crispness. Today is overcast with a forecast of rain for this afternoon. Oh well, it’s a good job we have plans.

This afternoon we are off to Stratford to see the latest incarnation of The Comedy of Errors at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with our good friends Sue and Stuart and Dave and Sue Walton. Sue and Stuart came up yesterday afternoon and Dave and Sue are expected momentarily for an early lunch (barbequed butterflied leg of lamb). Then, we’re all off to this afternoon’s matinee – I’ll give you a full account next weekend (if I remember).

I had a fun outing on Tuesday this week – I visited The Treehouse School, a free, alternative primary school founded by some friends, and delivered a personalised playchute produced for them by Ms Playchute. The Head of the school, Lee Ryman, I’ve known for many years. She was a headteacher at an Oxfordshire school and I worked with her on many occasions and her sister, Jo, was one of my colleagues at the ICT Centre. Lee became increasingly fed-up with government mismanagement of state education and decided that she could do better. So, she and another colleague resigned their posts and set about trying to raise sufficient funding to get an alternative school off the ground. They applied, I gather, to found a Free School along the lines championed by the current Education Secretary, Michael Gove. However, when the Department for Education read in their submission that they did not propose to enter their pupils for the much-maligned and heavily criticised standard tests for children, they were informed that they would not be receiving any further consideration. And one wonders whether the current government’s education policy is based on evidence or ideology?

In spite of numerous obstacles the school opened this term with a handful of students and much good will. Since they are determined that the school should be “free” to those who use it, I do wonder how they are going to be able to sustain it moving forward but good luck to them.

As you can imagine, the playchute, complete with school logo, was a huge success.

The Treehouse School Playchute
The Treehouse School Playchute
The Treehouse School Playchute
The Treehouse School Playchute
The Treehouse School Playchute
The Treehouse School Playchute
The Treehouse School Playchute
The Treehouse School Playchute
The Treehouse School Playchute
The Treehouse School Playchute

Bless this Playchute and all who play with it!

I’ve decided not to have a rant this week – I had material for two! It seems that the government has sent a memo to all unemployment call centres instructing staff to keep unemployed callers on hold while they listen to a recorded message encouraging them to use online services. The fact that many unemployed are unable to access online services surely has nothing to do with it.

Second rant which you will have to do without this week – in spite of receiving a detailed report from his own advisers enumerating reasons why the current government’s welfare reforms won’t work, the minister in charge says he is determined to see them through regardless. Now what was I saying about an evidence-based approach as opposed to ideology? (Interestingly, the minister in charge, Iain Duncan Smith, refused to be re-shuffled in David Cameron’s latest cabinet reorganisation. What does that say about Cameron’s authority?)

So, consider yourself fortunate – two rants avoided this week. But, finally, spare a thought for our Chancellor, poor Osborne, the Tit. The latest borrowing figures show that the deficit, that pesky inconvenience that Osborne committed to reducing by 4.6% this year, has actually increased by 22% due to his austerity programme and the double-dip recession his actions have created. Poor old George.

And finally, finally we’ve had several enquiries in recent weeks asking if we would be publishing any of the photographs of the royal family in, shall we say, various stages of undress. Some of you, it seems, want to see Prince Harry in the altogether in Las Vegas while others of you are more interested in seeing the former Kate Middleton topless. Well, I am pleased to say that we will not be publishing such scandalous and obscene photographs which serve no purpose other than to invade the privacy of these imminently popular public figures. You want photos of naked Royals, search elsewhere!

We won’t publish photographs of a naked Prince Harry or a topless Duchess of Cambridge. Instead, we have secured the following image which shows the entire royal family in a state of undress. Enjoy.

The Royal Family - Topless

Love to you all,

Greg