Media coverage of strike…


Hello Good People who read this blog….

I just want to write a little thing,because I am so furious and shocked about the media coverage on the imminent strike in the UK for people working in  public services. I just saw that great educationalist, role model for good behaviour and well-known feminist, James Whale ( please realise I writing with extreme sarcasm!), and to my shock  and horror Miriam Stoppard, both criticising the strike, and teachers in particular,in no uncertain terms for striking and depriving children of their education.

I am so furious with them and the media coverage I have seen so far.

I will just speak about the teachers as education is something I know about. First of all , correct me if I am wrong, but by the end of June all the essential teaching, main exams, have been done and dusted and frankly the last 3 or 4 weeks of the summer term, are taken up with end of year tasks, days out, sports days, school concerts, award ceremonies etc. Many children disappear on cheap holidays with their families at this time. You can more or less write off the last three weeks of the school year in terms of serious academic work . Also most private schools are either closed or closing by the start of July while the state schools run for another couple of weeks. If you wanted to close a school for one day this is not a bad time. In fact I hope all young people will support their teachers and join the march.

Secondly in the past, successive governments have totally disrupted the entire state education system in several ways.The government has closed down schools not for one,but many days during term-time, for years now in order to re-train teachers.Originally called “Baker days” teachers have been constantly forced to change the way they teach , what they teach, how they teach in order to please successive governments , and this has meant many days when schools were closed down.In terms of working parents, frankly there is very little consideration or help at any time of year to cope with school hours, school holidays etc., so an extra day of trying to find childcare for a good cause to will ensure quality of education for one’s children, is no big sacrifice.

The government’s implementation of the National Curriculum , league tables, and adding more and more non-academic responsibilities to the work of teachers, has been far more disruptive to children’s education that one day’s strike, at the end of the school year.

The teachers I know get up at 6. a.m. and sometimes work into the evening planning lessons, they also work at the weekends and holidays correcting work and planning lessons. The lessons planning becoming increasingly ludicrous with the ever-changing  demands of the National Curriculum.

For example one primary school teacher I know, who teaches in a very “rough” area of London, explained how she had to create a lesson teaching the painting technique of “Pointillism” , illustrated with famous paintings by Seurat which included rivers, sea and pools of water, so that this could also double-up as a science lesson on water.

I like creative  education, and I am all for teaching art in schools, but considering many of these children do not have books at home, and come from very economically deprived backgrounds, I think maybe Seurat would not be my  priority  if I were in charge of my own teaching.

Getting back to my point, this teacher retired at 60. But even though she worked tremendously long-hours, she loved her job so much,that she decided to stay on beyond 60 as a supply teacher within the same school.  However by the age of 62, she found her energy level were just too low to keep it up indefinitely, and  even though she is incredibly fit and energetic, at 62 she is forced to retire altogether at the end of this term. She can because she has a pension!

Teaching is demanding physically, emotionally, spiritually and one can expect to work a 60 hour week. It requires great commitment to children and to the future of society. Teachers are under-valued and their teaching is constantly disrupted with each changing government’s new policy, no matter which one is elected.

Therefore I am furious at the media coverage that seems to criticise teachers for wanting to retire before the age of 68  and  who expect to have a good pension to live on.

If I were not a hippie, and I was a dictator who ruled  Britain ( which I can be  in my blog), I would seize the private assets of  bankers and politicians, and their power-mad fantasies, and make them do community service: a couple of years of teaching for free in state schools, also forcing  all their children to attend the schools they work in. If they failed their OFSTED inspections then they would have to try and claim benefits and see how far they got before they would almost inevitably give up!

I would also not allow such bias in the news and other media coverage against the strike. Maybe all these critical media people could do worse than spend a couple of years working in a state school as well and then see if they thought they could still do it at 50 let alone 60 or 68.

I feel this government is trying to re-create class differences in the UK  and prohibit social mobility by creating two types of education. I doubt if private schools would employ full-time 68 year old teachers! If the teachers did not strike it would show that they didn’t understand the nature of their job and that they did not care about the quality of education for children.

Love and Peace

Born2rant

( will be joining protests soon in support of them. I had both a private and a state education, my best school  teachers were without question from the comprehensive I attended.)

My Metaphorical Comfort Drug: Gong and a bit of Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah


Hello good people who read this blog

Are you sitting comfortably?

Well before we begin since I don’t have anything specific to urgently talk about let us listen to our first hippie anthem of the day to warm up our cockles on this cold evening ( dancing or waving arms about or playing along with wild and wonderful percussion instruments is optional)

Gong and “Builder” from the You album

The cold season was approaching  and as usual I was conned by the local nurse a few weeks ago into having a ‘flu jab as I come into one of those categories where they insist you have it due to low immunity …

Naturally just  like last year  ( see my blog entry around this time ) this meant within 24 hours I had what my doctor would call  “a  reaction to the ‘flu jab “as it “doesn’t contain any live viruses”.

My “reaction” started off by being weak, having no appetite and aching all over with a high temperature and a sore throat shortly followed by three weeks of coughing day and night, being too ill to go out , losing my voice completely for 10 days,  more fever and now a month later being still very weak and needing steroid medication to  breathe.

So next year I think I’d like the opportunity to catch the ‘flu the  conventional way rather than have it directly injected into my bloodstream. But every year I give in to doctor’s pressure ….

More music to cheer us up the excellent Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah band

In the Canyons of your Mind

Well lots going on in my life, busy,busy,busy,ill,ill,ill, busy,busy,busy…..

The bad thing about being busy is that it actually stops you from thinking , if you have lots of other things to occupy your brain and your time  then there is just no time to watch TV, read the news, think about the usual stuff let alone do anything creative like write music or blogs or even talk to friends and relatives.

In some ways this is a good thing as the news is so bleak. I feel that when I watch the news on TV it’s a similar activity to pulling out your own eyebrows compulsively or practising some kind of self-harming activity.

Watching and actually listening to the news is like a neurotic compulsion which serves to deepen that  sense of helpless lack of control over anything and everything…

“Expect to lose everything” the newsreaders and commentators insinuate “job, home, savings, pension, expect not to afford food, heating.. maybe not right now but in a couple of year’s time”...and then on top of it to hear that some companies are making record profits ………..and then there’s still the youth crime and the end of the world through climate change…and ARGH!

Gordon Brown’s smug face and even smugger statements about how Britain isn’t really responsible for all this ….. Get out the bottle of whisky now .

I don’t drink whisky but it’s a metaphorical bottle of whisky to deaden the senses and worries and sore throat all in one.

The news is scaring everyone to death and surely that’s in part what is causing the economy to fail.

The  music in this blog entry is my metaphorical bottle of whisky or metaphorical old fashioned joint (without skunk and just strong enough to make me mellow and creative) ..more music from the lovely gamelan-influenced Gong . “Love is How You Make it” from one of my favourite albums of all time Angel’s Egg ( every track is a gem):

I cannot embed it anymore sorry!

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=O-QuwUWySG0

“The Rich” behaving like “The Poor”

Just one or two little local observations about the economic crisis and then upwards and onwards to something better.

As my regular readers may know I live amongst the wealthy of Notting Hill although I am pretty poor myself. One thing that has always puzzled me if why I never ever see my rich neighbours and acquaintances in the local supermarkets.

After years of puzzling over this question the simple answer is that generally speaking they wouldn’t be seen dead in a supermarket. Sometimes they send their housekeepers off to the supermarket with long lists of luxury foods or they just order everything from Waitrose who deliver.

So imagine my shock when on Saturday afternoon I saw not one but TWO of my rich neighbours in the local Tesco! I tried to make eye contact with either of them and smiled but found them unwilling to reciprocate ( I am poor scum after all and should not be living in a rich area ….maybe I am being paranoid but after 20 years of saying hello to these same rich neighbours and getting nowhere that is my paranoid conclusion).

One of them who owns a penthouse suite with roof garden etc… had ventured bravely into a supermarket to buy one thing only.

He left the store with a  small bag of  economy rice under his arm. I was shocked..I bought that same rice myself and it really is poor quality , I ended up throwing mine away and I never throw away food.

Also …. one of my very very very  rich acquaintances was not her happy self the other day and was complaining that her husband’s investments were all in the States and that he had told her “No more spending” these  people are normally a fountain of money, spending and investing in wild, expensive and often totally useless things.

So although 4 to 6 weeks ago the cracks were not showing amongst the very very very wealthy they are very acutely apparent now.

More cheerful  music needed urgently

Love is a Cylindrical Piano  – Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah band and Eric Idle again…

I guess we have to live from day to day rather than worry about the future but when I was at my poorest with my sensible female hippie friends we used to pool our resources. One friend of mine used to buy a huge sack of rice and one of red lentils from somewhere cheap and then we would give her money and petrol money and share the cost ( as well as the food of course). Ah petrol money! I used to go everywhere by petrol money, to festivals and camping and shopping trips. I was not a hitcher or a driver but someone willing to pay petrol money .

So many things are possible when people co-operate and collaborate and life can actually be a lot more fun and less lonely too  when resources are pooled together.

Being ridiculously wealthy tends to make people more selfish, although for some the guilt or the fear of ending up in hell or occasionally just kindness makes them incredibly generous .

I think we all need to pull together ( sounds like WWII ). I also think as a society in the UK people have lost their sense of being able to do anything for themselves long ago. There’s always a law or a rule to stop you from doing something creative and empowering so the general mentality in response to being terrified by the news of recession is to sit at home and listen to more and more and more bad news. Like monitoring impending doom as it happens from a cosy armchair and waiting for someone else to make some kind of miracle legislation to sort it all out.

As for me, I’d rather we started sorting things out ourselves without being told what to do or prompted by idiotic hypocritical politicians.

Why don’t we find out who our real friends are and start to buy big bags of rice and share our cars, share costs, swap childcare, swap services.

We need to empower ourselves and to take pride in the things we can do collectively instead of waiting for a miracle law or a miracle sack load of money to save us. ( now I sound like a Tory ARGH!!)

Anyway here is some more music.

Music is my chocolate, my wine , my spirit, my drug and my hug.

Zero the Hero:

Sorry I can’t embed it anymore go to:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjDo073HzlM

Music is addictive but it’s better than pulling out your eyebrows and sitting watching the news waiting for poverty to set in.

I’m looking forwards to people being collaborative again. If rules and laws are made to stop people from finding creative and empowering ways to survive the law-makers will be turning positive action into helplessness. Let’s hope change will be change for the better, but more than hope let’s make it better and start up our own economic collaborations.

We need lots of comfort music..Love and Peace

Born2rant

Gong ….The Isle of Everywhere

See Also…

Gong Live Now and Then

“Credit Crunch” your favorite cereal for breakfast or brunch (registered Trade Mark)


Hello Good People who read this blog

a little rant this time to change the theme a bit

” Credit Crunch” your favorite cereal for breakfast or brunch (* please see p.s./ footnote)

Morning news first thing upon waking  and I have my first tasty helping of ” Credit Crunch“( no relation to Kellogg’s).
Whenever I hear the term ” Credit Crunch” I automatically think of a bowl of tasty healthy crunchy cereal with dried blueberries and raspberries etc…or maybe some ” Credit Crunch ” bars,  sticky muesli things full of honey designed to rot your teeth in a totally new healthy way.
I used to have the same problem with “hamas”, if I was watching Channel 4 evening news and I hadn’t eaten yet I’d think to myself in a Homer Simpson type way ” Hmmm,  HOUMOUS!”
Yes I know I sound moronic but if you didn’t have a sense of humour ( or houmous ) you’d just have to kill yourself each time you heard the news.

Whoever invented the media term ” Credit Crunch” missed out on the opportunity of earning millions by not adding a copyright or trademark sign next to it.


It’s one of those terms that doesn’t actually tell you anything because they don’t want to panic you.
They could have called it ” The Great Depression” or ” a major recession on a scale we have not known since the 1930s” or ” Everything’s gone tits up – buy cans of food and head for the hills“.

But “they” the big  businesses and those who indirectly or directly  influence the news we hear and read , those who actually OWN the newsagencies, those who OWN the government who in turn influence the BBC news etc… “They” have managed to get the story over as :” Oh yes but, well it’s not so bad everything will be ok in a year or two, back to normal, possibly even better!”.

The news is confusing. They tell us  we are not in recession instead we have a “Credit Crunch” , there is no long term problem, you must keep spending and not worry…and yet we also hear of major banks crashing , no one can get a mortgage, no one can sell their house, people losing their jobs etc…..I think the game is up.
So what IS actually happening?
Well I think our although “they” can influence our news and create nonsense propaganda it’s comforting to know that some of the actual facts do leak through from time to time. There are still committed journalists about,  although most of them have no idea what real long-term poverty is like and always write from a priviledged point of view.  They haven’t gone through a winter without heating , phone,  or proper shoes as I have done in the past and as many have done and will do.

So I am going to write about the limited things I see.

The Rich
I have to say from the extremely  rich people I know, they don’t seem at all phased by this “Credit Crunch” yet.

I have to add that the ridiculously rich people I know are not very  close friends who might otherwise confide in me, but I can tell by their optimism, the cars, the houses, the holidays, the clothes, the new furnishings, the staff, that nothing has changed much in their lifestyles. If they are worried it certainly doesn’t show.
However in the street where I live there have been signs that some of the rich people are trying to sell or rent out their houses. One house across the road from me is empty.
The residents were an American family, but since the mother always avoided making eye contact with me ( like all the other neighbours)  and used to dress in fox-hunting gear wherever she went in a bizzarre attempt to show she was at one with the British gentry, I can’t say that I miss them.
I hope some friendly not too noisy squatters move in although I know they would be ejected or maybe beaten up very soon by the locals ( gentry of course).

From my point of view, I have adapted to the fact that everything is hugely expensive while my limited income is the same.
Everything in my local Tescos  is on average  about 25% more expensive but at least that has stabilised for now.

My phone bill has trippled with my rubbish phone and internet company charging me for  all kinds of calls that I never made.  I then spend hours on the phone trying to sort things out unsuccessfully. With my gas and electricity providers the bills were inaccurate and no matter how many meter readings I gave the bill was always for something much higher. So I changed companies with uswitch, now the new ones I signed up with are playing exactly the same games except now I spend hours phoning an expensive phone number to try to get it sorted, I would have been better off with the previous crooks…sorry company. I now buy much less food and don’t take so many baths, use special prefix numbers to make phone calls, and because I have no children it’s not hard to cut some expenses without suffering.

People who I have spoken to with shares tell me that although some have plummetted that the oil shares are doing very well thank you very much ( well I’ve heard they have plummetted too but considering the world oil shortage they are bound to recover) and that the oil companies are working the market. Basically the rich aren’t getting any poorer it seems because they are using their guile to make sure others are making up the deficit.

Anyone who lives on the kind of small budget where virtually all their money goes on food , utility bills and rent or mortgage are in trouble but those who can afford new handbags, golf clubs and holidays are probably fine.

In the future…well having less money has it’s good and bad points.
We are so much richer than so many countries around the world, obscenely rich, that I think it could be a good thing.
I feel sorry for all those living on “credit” and those who have been habitual shopaholics or huge boozers and who ran up massive bills. But if they can clear their debts then maybe they can live a lifestyle than is based more around the free things in life and gain and maintain self-esteem through non-material or alcoholic pursuits. Unfortunately a lot of naive people have been taken to the cleaners, they were encouraged to believe that being in debt was a good thing and even a trendy or essential thing to do. This includes students with massive loans and of course those with huge mortgages to repay.  Those who were not tempted to spend money they didn’t actually have are the lucky few.

Of course we do have a lot of people in London who are lost, separated, lonely, violent, depressed, don’t believe in anything but consummerism. How will things change for them?  Will some gangs become more violent with increasing poverty?
As it is the gap between the rich and the poor is wider in my experience than it had ever been before in my lifetime.

Will there be more violence on the streets or will there be a revolution?
If enough people are discontented will they just emigrate to another country or invade another one and acquire its wealth?
I am hoping that music will improve, culture, writing, thoughts, everything will deepen.
“Necessity is the mother of invention” they say.

When people feel powerless, poor and without any voice, that’s when they start to express themselves and to be creative, that’s when the big plastic void in the brains of consumers might start to clear and start to think again.

If you’ve something to say what are you waiting for?

I’ll leave  you some music

Love and Peace

Born2rant

* p.s. footnote I just found out that Kellogg’s have actually got a crunchy cereal with dried fruit as I described called ” Credit Crunchy” I promise that I had no idea of this! My brain is on the same wavelength as those who invent new brands of Kelloggs’s cereals! Frightening!