Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Paying for University

I love it when those who had their degrees completely paid for by the taxpayer via the state pontificate about students paying more for their degrees. The CBI see nothing wrong, apparently, with saddling our 20-somethings with up to £20000 debt as they leave academe to try their luck in a jobs market ravaged by (amongst others) the CBI. Hypocrisy at many levels.
I know it has been said before, but if we really must recoup the money that we are spending on higher education, why not tax graduates when they are earning a decent salary and continue to do so throughout their working lives. This mess all comes, of course, from taking too many into university; from having universities grow too big; to over-reliance on student numbers and thus being hostage to fortune as demographics change.
I despair.
Poor bloody kids.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dowding Park

The title of this entry sounds like a leafy glade in Essex. They are, of course, the unpunctuated names of the two men who marshalled the RAF against the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain.
I always get a little misty-eyed around this time of year. The 15th September comes and goes without any recognition now. It was Battle of Britain Day when I was a boy.
Hugh Dowding and Keith Park (a New Zealander, incidentally) were in charge of Fighter Command and 11 Group (which did most of the fighting) throughout the Battle of Britain. They did not "win" the Battle of Britain by themselves. Fighter Command was a formidable "team" in every sense. Had they lost, our history would have been very different.
Yet nobody knows them now. A scant 70 years on and nobody knows them.

Anthem to Spared Youth

Sixty-nine years ago today we were reading the day-old news of the crushing victory by the RAF over the Luftwaffe. It was the day that - without histrionics - saved our civilisation. From 15th September 1940 onwards, Britain was not going to be knocked out of the war. It was not the day that the war was won. It was the day it wasn't lost.
The youthful faces who won that battle are nearly all dead now. Over five hundred died in the Battle of Britain. The grim reaper took a lot more throughout the rest of the war. Age is fast catching up on the remaining few of The Few.
Their counterparts today are getting ready to go to University or are part-way through their degrees. They will not be asked to make the sacrifices of 1940. They have the same cocky exuberance; the same jokes; the same Devil-may-care attitudes. However much we decry the youth of today - any "today" you want to mention - I remain convinced that these lads on the streets would be the equal of their grandfathers and great-uncles. These are the same lads who stood with Harold, died at Balaclava and Trafalgar, drowned in the mud of Flanders in 1917 and a million other times and places in British history.
There was nothing particularly special about the Class of 1940.
They were just given the chance to shine.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Interesting piece on today's breakfast news. Climate change (for a change). The first person interviewed was from the Campaign Against Climate Change (CACC) and the follow-up person was from the Committee on Climate Change (COCC). You couldn't make it up. Someone talking CACC, the other COCC.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Again. What?!

I was watching the Breakfast news on BBC1 this morning and a woman was on speaking about some major social issue of the day and she was billed as an "independent social worker". If that isn't a euphemism for "interfering busybody" I don't know what is. Quite frankly, I don't want my social workers being independent. I want them thoroughly locked into a rigid set of working procedures. Independent? Pah!
While we are on the subject of people I don't want in this life of mine: I don't want people who "fight fire with fire" to be firemen, I don't want those who look before they leap to be paratroops, I don't want neurosurgeons with strong Brummie accents, I don't want footballers who fall over in anything higher than 2 on the Beaufort Scale, I don't want money to make the world go round - angular momentum is fine, I don't want qualified people I want competent people.
There are many others...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I hate it when women go on about multi-tasking. They wave the multi-tasking card in our faces as though it is taken for granted that doing several things badly at once is better than doing one thing well. I beg to differ with the current female opinion on this. I would rather do one thing right at a time than run the risk of making a bollocks of several things at once. I simply don't buy into the notion that multi-tasking is the better idea.
And then...
I was let down by - of all people - a bloke in a bog in a pub.
I stood at my urinal steadfastly not multi-tasking. My mind/body combination was doing but one thing. The guy next to me was also doing this one thing but he was also doing another thing. He was texting on his phone. Bastard! A brilliant example of multi-tasking.

A-Level Results

With 97.5% of the nation's kids passing A-Level you don't need an A-Level to see why the whole system has become devalued. Here's a simple suggestion to regain some equilibrium into the situation. Stop giving grades; give percentages. Instead of the six grades ABCDEU we would have the 101 grades 100...0. Universities could then ask for realistic "levels" of entry.
So simple it won't be done.
Regardless of that: Congratulations to all those students who did so well at A-Level, AS-Level (an examination I abhor by the way) and GCSE. No-one may rate your qualifications but that is hardly your fault. The idiots in charge have screwed up, not you. Well done to you all.

I'll Drink to That

So, we have a new ASBO. This one is for getting pissed and behaving badly. Presumably 35 million of us will have one by the end of the year. This new ASBO (which sounds more like a Scout's badge) means that you can't go into any pub in the city where you were asboed (I asbo, you asbo, he she or it asboes...) or, indeed, licenced premises. So that's Morrison's & Tesco's out too. Blimey; I only wanted toothpaste m'lud.
So how is this legalistic heap of crap going to be policed? Will all publicans in a city have a list of who can/can't drink there? Will Sainsbury's require proof that you don't have an ASBO before letting you get food for the cat? Of course not. Like so much produced by this pathetic, puritan kakistocracy, it is completely pointless, completely unworkable and will wither and die.
Incidentally, if we are now so worried about binge drinking, why did we get rid of opening hours? Oh yes, it was Brown and his Merry Men tinkering again.
Ye gods.