Saturday, 25 August 2012

Twisting Children's Futures - GCSE & A Levels

Over the past week we've seen the hands of Michael Gove and David Willetts reach out and twist the fate students who had sat for A Levels and GCSEs. There is a name for this twisting action. It is called 'grade inflation' and along with it goes the deflation of hopes and dreams for young people. It is very neoliberalistic. The Government has manipulated the result indicators to produce top results. It is very artificial. Teachers who followed the set patterns of previous years are now faced with a redesign of the exam system after the game has been played. Never mind the fact that it is human beings who are involved in this whole ugly grade deflation.

It seems as if the Government is trying to phase out education as a public good and only those who go to good private schools can do well. Not only have the Government been elitist and neoliberalistic over GCSE results but also over universities. My sources have revealed to me that red brick universities are under subscribed because the Government will not allow students with lower grades to apply.

Michael Gove gave an interview to the Times on 15 August in which he said, 'The Left saw the pursuit of excellence as narrowly elitist'. How? Very high university fees, grade inflation and not reforming the comprehensive school system will only allow the elite to survive in education. The left was guilty of selling false dreams to youngsters. People were told by Brown and Blair that if a youngster went to university their lives would be better off.

All Three Parties have left the youth down in education. Indicators and using education as a something of a measuring tool will only work if there is a level playing field. There isn't. We are the jilted generation. I turned 13 today and wonder what the future holds for me. 
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Thursday, 23 August 2012

Of Course, The Sun

The Sun has just announced that it is going to publish photos of Prince Harry naked because people in Britain deserve to see what others in the rest of the world have already viewed. How gallant of The Sun. While other journalists travel the world to report on war, famine and corruption to inform us of what we would not otherwise hear, The Sun has picked what it only knows best to do - publish pictures of naked bodies. Is there any use for this newspaper other than to line the cat's litter tray with? 
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Saturday, 18 August 2012

Mitt Romney is Lazy


Mitt Romney may present himself as a man of action given his umpteen expensive fast cars and a jet ski but an element of intellectual policy substance was missing. Then Mitt did a Disney. He waved a magic wand like a fairy godmother and conjured up a plan. Oh, it wasn't one he had made earlier but one that Paul Ryan had made earlier but that is irrelevant. Now Mitt has a plan. 


Perhaps I am getting my Disneys mixed up. Is Mitt being Cinderella instead who can now go to the ball (Republican Convention) because he has his dress (the Ryan budget)?

Either way Mitt was being intellectually lazy by not working up an economic policy and then parachuting in the Ryan plan.   Laziness? Now, that is another Disney movie  - Sleeping Beauty? Dopey the dwarf?
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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

A Video for America's Ageing Population

Is this Paul Ryan's no cost way of dealing with the ageing population?
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Monday, 13 August 2012

Will America become the new Greece?

I read Paul Ryan's budget called ' The Path to Prosperity' today and, if I was old enough, I would have had a stiff gin and tonic straight afterwards. What he sets out as conditions for a 'Path to Prosperity' could easily be translated into a 'Path to Poverty'. It is a slash and burn budget that can only be described as widening the gap between rich and poor so much that both groups will only bear a ridiculous resemblance to each other along the lines of martians from Mars being taught by humans on how  to pilot spaceships. 
 

He has seven categories  in which he sets out his fiscal vision: spending, taxes, defecits, debt, size of Government national security and health security. What is this Republican obsession with defending one's self? Yeah, yeah, I know it's all about the second amendment but should this be done at the expense of people's health and jobs? Paul Ryan states that he will spend $554 billion on national security while bringing the budget deficit below 3% of GDP by 2015.

Is this Greece in the making or worse than Greece? By this I mean that people will lose their jobs by the millions, have no access to state services like social security or health and will go hungry too because he wants to cutback on food stamps. Greece's overspending led to its' financial problems and austerity cutting solutions but their lot does not seem to be getting better. They seem to be suffering more than before. The same solution  applied to a huge country like America would result in millions more suffering. 
  
Apparently Paul Ryan's ideology of self-reliance came about when at the age of 16 he found his father dead. He then had to work at McDonald's to help the family survive. I am sorry about his loss but similar happened to my father and he didn't turn out to be a gun-wielding number cruncher for the rich. 
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Friday, 10 August 2012

I love the Olympics But I Still Hate Sport










The Olympics has been inspirational. Watching people win makes you want to compete for the sake of it just to be able to know what it feels like. Watching Usain run makes me feel that if I had tried harder at nursery I would be up there too. There is no doubt about it. It has been tremendous fun just sitting on the sofa and watching hours and hours of TV knowing all the time that it is for a good cause - supporting Britain. It isn't often that one gets to be a slob while supporting one's country. I normally get told off if I watch too much TV, just to put things in context.

Yesterday I went to the women's basket ball at the Greenwich Arena. It was Australia vs USA (USA won). I play netball at school and hate it but wondered if I would be converted after watching an Olympic ball game.The atmosphere was great. Seeing Wenlock jump up and down was better than hugging the stuffed version at home. There have been so many articles written about how the Olympics have inspired people to do sport. I have noticed a greater number of Boris bikes being used, not by Boris, and a greater number of joggers pounding pavements. BUT, I feel like a charlatan for saying this, I still hate sport at end of the day, any day in fact.
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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Clegg Was Not Throwing a Tantrum

I am well qualified as a child to know what a tantrum is and I feel quite able to offer an opinion on Nick's supposed "tantrum" as many of the press are calling his actions over boundary reform. Forget what the dictionary or Wiki has to say about the definition because it is the child's version that counts. Tantrums are a child's domain.

A tantrum is the result of somebody arguing without reason and who has not been allowed to have what they wanted. It does not involve the breaking of agreements or exist within a structure of mutual expectation.Nick Clegg is not throwing a tantrum because there was an agreement between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems about the House of Lords reform and that agreement was broken. Tantrums are thrown over smaller things that a person knows they cannot get but argue anyway for. For example, a toddler who has eaten chocolate all day would throw a tantrum if they were not allowed any more chocolate.

A chocolate cannot be compared to democratic reform. Those who accuse Nick of throwing a tantrum are belittling the significance of constitutional reform. It is a term being used by the right wing press to stigmatise the Lib Dems and characterise our actions as being childish. Constitutional reform is long needed to address the lack of trust by the public in Parliament. 
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Monday, 6 August 2012

A Sad Day For Coalition Politics

Following Nick Clegg's statement on Lord's Reform, it seems as if the Lib Dem's dream of proving that coalition  politics can work is in tatters. Nick Clegg campaigned on a ticket of coalition politics being the way forward. He wanted to break the monopoly of two party politics and for a time it seemed as if coalition politics was working. Over time coalition politics is starting to reveal cracks. Individual parties are so entrenched in their own ideology that coalitions cannot function properly. Parties have become so position centric with beliefs based on economic and political philosophy. The call of shifting economic situations or the hardship of people due to austerity cuts has little bearing on ideological positions which are mainly shaped by MPs who want to retain their seats at the next election. If true democracy were to be practised in this country it would be based on coalition politics which represent a larger amount of people who voted for those two particular parties. 

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Friday, 3 August 2012

Palestinian Children's Suffering

A child who died in Gaza because of the war

Imagine having to grow up in a conflict zone where you were constantly in danger. Where your parents could be taken from you at any time. Where soldiers surround your house at night. And where you don't have basic human rights like clean water. It is bad enough that these children have to suffer war but it is terrible that they have a lack of resources.



Did you know that 90% of the water in Gaza is unsafe to drink? And that 10 Palestinian children have been recently chased and stoned by Israelis and that one of those children had a severe anxiety attack? And that there are currently 192 Palestinian children in detention?



Having a lack of resources and growing up with war and death does not just affect a child in the short term, like that child who had a severe anxiety attack, it also affects children in the long term. Think of the mental damage that the Palestinian children could have for the rest of their lives because of what they have seen and then think about children who will be physically handicapped for the rest of their lives.



I wrote a poem last year for the children in Gaza and I read it at an event to support the Palestinians. Here is the poem.



Children of Gaza

It’s just the luck of birth,

That keeps us at separate ends of the Earth,

That doesn’t mean I forget you,

I won’t just sit and stew,

I will try and fight for you,

Try not to feel too blue,

Whatever happened to your life?

It’s all just suffering and strife,

The poor children of Gaza.



Why at such a young age,

Are you in a cage?

Always hiding,

Your confidence is sliding,

Surrounded by sadness,

Chaos and madness,

It really isn’t your fault,

That all your happiness was locked up in a vault,

The poor children of Gaza.



Where is the democracy?

You are shot at with accuracy,

You stand no chance,

When the soldiers are in a trance,

A trance to kill,

There’s nothing for you to leave in a will,

Many people have died,

You have cried,

The poor children of Gaza.



You don’t want the blockade,

Or the grenades,

It’s wrong you have to play with bullets,

Which rain down like comets,

Your siblings are dead,

You don’t like to think how much they bled,

You still have nightmares,

Where no one ever dares,

To save you from the soldiers,

The poor children of Gaza.



There’s still a bit of hope,

That one day there’ll be a rope,

That’ll pull you out of all this,

Wouldn’t that be bliss?

Your friends are always there,

Or someone who cares,

But there’s death lurking,

Soldiers are working,

At least you are still alive,

One day happiness will arrive,

For the poor children of Gaza.
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