Saturday, 22 October 2016

Tory Fudge on Grammar Schools

Tory Fudge: sweet, sticky, rots the body politic.
Grammar Schools
1. Tories say that at present there is selection by post code with schools today. Perhaps there is. Why do they never tell us how much? Just how significant is it? Why do they never share with us the ways in which local authorities have tried to mitigate that?
2. Tories do not tell us that many schools are operating covert selection by exclusion. This was revealed from the research about headteachers who get success (Newsnight 'exclusive). If there is abuse of all-ability comprehensive education, and holding people back, that would be a good place to start.
3.. Tories say that grammar schools are great and every area should have them. Why do they not tell us about the other schools in areas where there are grammars? Are they good for those pupils? Do the pupils in those schools do better than pupils in comprehensives? No.
4. The Tories say that Grammar Schools are popular. Are the non-grammar schools in areas (where there are grammars), popular? Do people in those areas say, that they want those schools rather than schools for all? Do they say, "We love the idea that some kids went off to the grammars but ours didn't"?
5. The Tories say that these new Grammars won't be like the old ones because they will have to show that they are educating poor kids. If these new Grammars have to admit poor kids on other grounds other than the entrance exam, they won't be Grammar Schools. The whole point of Grammar Schools was that they had an entrance exam which decided if you could get in or not. Yes, there were some kids who got in on 'headteacher's recommendation' but that was for kids who the headteacher claimed had scored high on tests throughout the year the children were 10/11 years old, (the old fourth year juniors), and were therefore the Grammar School type. It was nothing to do with poverty. So, if these schools are forced to admit poor kids (in some kind of phoney show of 'fairness', they won't be Grammar Schools!

Money has no passports

Money has no passports.
It whizzes across borders
untroubled by journalists or politicians
not noticing it
closing industries,
ending jobs.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Blame the 'other' to control all.

Pause a moment
politician, journalist.
Think of the times you have
hinted or suggested or stated
that the problem yes the problem
is foreigners, migrants, immigrants,
Think of the times you have hinted
or suggested or stated
that hard times were caused by the people you call foreigners, migrants, immigrants, refugees,
as if hard times were not caused by
bankers gambling with trillions,
not caused by governments
deliberately holding down pay
and sacking people or cutting
social services public services
and the health service.
Think of those times that you thought you could shore up your position, garner more support,
get more power by saying these things,
using the excuse you are 'listening to
peoples concerns'
the very concerns you stirred with your headlines and speeches which blamed foreigners for people's hard times, rather than your own part in the shenanigans that let the bankers run off with billions, or the government say that the people had to pay for that with their wages, and how chasing tax avoiders is too, too difficult.
And just watch what you unleash.
See what voices rise to the surface after your hints and suggestions:
people emboldened by what you said,
People emboldened to put forward plans to dismiss, fire, exile, intern, detain, deport .
And in so doing win and use powers to control, contain, restrict, deprive, intern, detain everyone.
That's how it works: blame 'the other' to control all.
Blame the other to control all.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Listen up, students, only study what you know will get you a job.

Listen up students:
only study what you know will get you a job.
we don't know what will get you a job
but only study what you know will get you a job.
We don't know what will get you a job
for two reasons:
1. We can't read the future.
2. We've got rid of many jobs because we don't
think we should make things in this country.

This leaves accountancy, banking, insurance
and people who make it all possible:
company lawyers.

Those are jobs.

Listen up students:
only study what you know will get you a job.
We don't know what will get you a job.
What's more
we don't even know if those jobs I mentioned
just now will be jobs
because maybe the firms that have those jobs
will disappear off this island too.

Listen up students
only study what you know will get you a job.

Pity of War - Poems on the Underground, Nov 2.London Transport Museum

Poems on the Underground and Apollo Chamber Players, conductor David Chernaik, with guest poet Michael Rosen present THE PITY OF WAR at London Transport Museum, Wednesday November 2, 6.30 for 7pm.

Tickets: £15/12 concessions (include wine) from LTM Box Office 020 7565 7298 or email:

We hope you can join us for the premier of WAR POEMS by the composer Evelyn Ficarra, for chamber ensemble and recorded sound, including poetry by Wilfred Owen, Sassoon, Apollinaire and other war poets. Our guest poet is the well-known children’s poet and novelist Michael Rosen. The programme opens with Bach and ends with Strauss’s searing lament for the destruction of war, Metamorphosen, arranged for chamber ensemble.

Financial services: 'Having gambled and lost..."

Having gambled and lost,
our financial services waited to see
which way the vote would go
and, then, as a next step
thought it wise to pack their bags
and head for Frankfurt.

Our leaders who had
made financial services
the core of the nation
even though their reliability
and stickability were always doubtful
then responded by
blaming anyone poor and foreign
for our troubles.

Housing: Rich and Poor (Newsnight)

According to the Tory chair of the all-party committee on housing, trying to house everyone is very difficult, very complex, very, very, very difficult. He knows because he once worked for a charity that tried to house people. And it was very, very, very difficult. We heard all about it on Newsnight. And it was very, very, very difficult.

Earlier in the programme, a Tory ex-pensions minister explained that the consequence of economic policy (the banks apparently, not the government) was that the rich had got richer and the poor poorer. She didn't quite put it like that. She said the policy had favoured those who held assets (the rich) and had been hard on those who had no assets. She described this as a 'side effect'.

Anyway, trying to house everyone, is very, very, very difficult.

(At the height of council house building in the 50s, they were building over 250,000 council houses a year.)
(The glory of the council house sell-offs was alluded to as a policy which had helped home ownership.)