Friday, 30 July 2010

Khyra Ishaq and Ed Balls

Hmmm, I have tried to avoid commenting on poor Khyra Ishaq. So many people have commented on the case and so much better than I could.

Of course, I say case because it's easier and more comfortable for me to say than to acknowledge that a young child died in dreadful circumstances at the hands of her mother and stepfather.

I think we're all guilty. Us, all of us, as human beings we are a community. We are all guilt-bearers. So many of us could have acted. Some few did, but their fault was to leave it to others to sort out. We should all be sorting these things out. We are all responsible.

Every man's or child's death diminishes all of us.

A young child's demise is always a tragedy.

Even more obvious to me is the tragedy was preventable, and caused by fear. I think that the people who dealt with Angela Gordon were frightened of her. They were afraid that she would sue them for harassment.

We have to decide what kind of people we are. If we have social workers who can intervene in a situation where they have a strong belief and a definite reason to believe that a child's life is in danger, then that is what they must do. But they must not knock on doors and hassle ordinary people trying to do the best job they can do.

We should hang our heads in shame that Khyra's death and her siblings' torture is now a game to be played between factions in Parliament.

Ed Balls is off again: 'Ed Balls, the then education secretary, wanted to force home-educating families to accept annual visits from local authority inspectors, a move that led to home-educators demonstrating to parliament. Balls, now shadow education secretary, said he strongly urged Gove to re-introduce the legislation on home education as "an urgent priority". "He will have our full support," he said.'

Sure that would suit your sub rosa plans, wouldn't it, Mr. Balls?

It would, however, remove the scapegoat that Birmingham SS used to justify doing little or nothing to help Khyra.

All despicable.

And Balls should be told straight that for all the Khyras who may or - as is overwhelmingly likely - WILL NOT be helped by a visit by an overworked and clueless local government person, many more children who were driven to distraction or near suicide by unsafe practices in schools WILL be forced back to those institutions of torture.

And that man will be guilty of advocating that the only escape those children, children who are suffering torture and degradation and isolation every school day, shall be denied to them.

He has been told all this. He doesn't care. It's a hobby horse. It's a dead hobby horse, flogged to death and lying in splinters on the floorboards. But he doesn't care. So long as he gets his way. So long as the game is played on both sides of the House.

Vile people.

Whatever evil did we do to deserve them?

Monday, 26 July 2010

Children's Commissioners

The Children's Commissioner - frankly a terrifying combination of words and what would it mean to a child? - for Scotland is a chap called Tam Baillie. He was chosen by children.

"Since the Commissioner works for young people, he was chosen by them through a series of interviews. The interviews included questions about what he was going to do to help. There is also a website set up that enables young people to contact SCCYP."

(From Wikipedia)

Good idea since he was going to represent their views. Let the children choose.

Who chose Maggie Atkinson, the Children's Commissioner for England?

The ever-lovable Ed Balls.

"England's Children's Commissioner says she has had official confirmation that her £135,000-plus-a-year post will survive the Government-commissioned review into its value for money.
Maggie Atkinson is "extremely optimistic" about the way the independent inquiry is being carried out and says the Prime Minister's office "has already confirmed" that her post will not be abolished."

This is from

So Maggie Atkinson believes that her role will continue.

What does this mean?

Well, I analyse it this way. Either Maggie is a fantasist who thinks that telling people her job isn't going in the abolition of overt quangos is the route to securing her cushy number for a few more years.

If she is mentally disturbed I think she is not eligible for such a role.

If she is telling the truth; however, we have proof that this government is promising reviews, carrying them out and then doing what they wanted to do in the first place. Just like the last government.

In either case, it is bad news.

In the first instance, we have a possibly delusional woman confronting children.

In the second case, this government is behaving exactly like the last government with promises to engage people and listen to what they say but, in the end, lying.

Tech does a wonderful job revisiting the charming Maggie Atkinson here:

Can't we do better than these dreadful people?

Anyone could do better. Anyone with moral standards that is.

Sunday, 18 July 2010


Apologies. When I was young I made apologies for being young and being here.

Now I'm not so young I find that the world does not apologise to me for the times it stands on my toes.

I will not apologise for every problem or fault - mine or not - like I did when I was younger.

I will not creep around this earth seeking to have people agree that it is my right to live and be.

If they don't like it, tough.

I'm getting hard. I'm getting too old to not do things I want to do that won't hurt anyone. I am getting past apologising for my being and my dreams.

I am sorry but I don't do apologies anymore.

I do try to tell my children to be themselves and make no apologies for it. Don't live as if you are trying to please someone/anyone/everyone else.

Don't say you're sorry unless you have a genuine cause.

Don't take the weight of the rude world on your shoulders.

Live your own life. Do not live the life I might desire for you (although I try not to desire things for you and push you towards some goal that I desire). Do your own thing. The thing you have to do.

And don't apologise for doing it or being successful at doing it.

For the world is jealous and will be spiteful.

And it won't apologise because it doesn't care if it hurts you while attempting to remake you in the shape of everyone else.

My little ones, sing when you want.

Fly when you can.

Dance if it's in you.

And never apologise for your song, your flight or your dancing.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Thought you might like...

Some John Taylor Gatto.

From my friend's kindly lent book, 'Weapons of Mass Instruction'. Thank you, I, for parting with it, entrusting it to me and letting me read it.

'Weapons of Mass Instruction' will blow your mind while making you cry. It is such a relief to read John Taylor Gatto's complete and utter understanding of what school is and what it is meant to do and the damage it can cause.

"School is about learning to wait your turn, however long it takes to come, if ever. And how to submit with a show of enthusiasm to the judgment of strangers, even if they are wrong, even if your enthusiasm is phony." p. 62

We're so well-mannered, aren't we? Waiting, just waiting to have our ship come in, to hop on the show boat of life, bolstered up by the Cheryl Coles of this world who happen to hit big paydirt. Yet not everyone can hit the bigtime. There isn't enough big time to go around. It's a falseness like the enthusiasm with which you fooled your teachers that you felt for their classes (if you bothered).

School teaches you to wait in line for something you're told will happen if you're good, if you behave, if you toe the line. Something that doesn't happen for most people, can never happen because there is no something to drop into the palm of your hand, even if you've laboured all your life.

You wait because that's how you were taught. We are all Englishmen and women here. We don't push to the head of the queue. We don't grab opportunities or chances because we are silently standing waiting for the right time to be told to start. The opportune moment.

We'll always be waiting.

It's a farce.

Those who refuse to wait, who go and do, who dive in; the ones who get in are the ones who get on.

Entrepreneurial. Business-like. Positive. Thrusting. Puissant. Go-getters. High flyers.

School teaches you to wait.

Home education teaches you to carpe diem, seize the moment, grab the big fish with both your outstretched hands. It instructs you in doing because you do for yourself and, in doing for yourself, it causes you to verify that your enthusiasm is genuine.

At the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2010, fifteen year old James Callicott is the youngest designer to participate. He's already designed gardens for family and friends. James is home educated, and he is seizing the day.

James is a bright, young thing according to the Telegraph. An escapee from school, he has the time to concentrate on his designs and sees himself 'doing questioning gardens'. Severely dyslexic, he learned to read gardening magazines because he was interested, and otherwise he watered the strawberries in his own garden and, generally, pottered around.

I can't see James waiting in line for permission to start his life and no one is forcing him down a road he finds dusty, empty and barren.

Home education - seizing the day.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Maiden voyage

Today is going to be a blog full of pain.

Today is a blog of screaming anguish.

Today is a blog of anger. Real gut-churning rage.

Today, H met an old friend from council days.

O is a man who has conducted himself always with dignity and extended friendship and kindness to everyone. He is a good man, an ordinary man.

He was made redundant today.

He wasn't given much for so many years of service. He wasn't given anything actually. He was told to leave after a meeting, all of his work is in places he knows, but nobody has asked him where his files are.

We know from this that his projects - seeming so important at the time - are to be abandoned. So he cannot even congratulate himself that he left with a loincloth of dignity, that he left with the thought that something he had given to others will help them. He cannot think that what he ever did there mattered to anyone.

His manager has gone too, having been promised a new job in the new stream-lined council - a more monied post - in the poor new council. The hit squad of bullies who were managers of people who had worked for that council are chortling today because they are accomplishing their most cherished dreams. They are getting rid of the folk who had grafted there for years. Getting rid of the 'old'. The 'old' who worked, who knew the value of a day's work for a day's wage, who cared about the people in the borough that they served.

No golden handshakes for O. No ugly clock to stand on his mantel. No fond farewells from colleagues. Nothing but emptiness for him. Shock in his kind eyes. Bewilderment. Hurt. A deep, deep pain that won't be soothed any time soon.

The ex-manager has been trying to rid the department of the 'underlings' and now he's done it. Thanks to the Coalition government.

Thanks to them, the bullies have got their way; they are happy tonight, secure in the knowledge that they have hurt a decent man, decent men and ordinary women. Families. Folk.

In the days of work, the manager-bully would never have a meeting with his underlings. He'd email them. Even though he sat five yards away. He'd use technology to distance himself from the people he was supposed to guide. Why was he a manager? Someone so useless at managing.

Why was he a manager?

Why has he been promised a job after the re-structuring?

Why are the senior staff with the big salaries staying? Why are they allowed to stay on? Haven't they done enough? Isn't it time to let them go with shock in their eyes? With no handshake, no provision for the future, no hope of another job when you're half way through your fifties because there are millions of young ones to do what needs doing and you're scrappage.

Is it all starting again? Those who are privileged ridding themselves of others who are not. Those who have much starting to kick to death - and they will cause death - those who have little.

Do we have to endure this kind of world?

Do we have to put up with it?

Do our children?

Today in Parliament, all those new people who were elected recently have been giving their maiden speeches. What they said is largely irrelevant. For what will they do to stem the pain? Will they speak for the ordinary people? The ones in shock from being scythed away from something they have known for so long, that gave them an importance of a small type? Will they change anything? In that most indifferent of chambers.

'"On reducing the deficit, Mr Dromey, a former deputy general secretary of the Unite Union, declared: "I will resist any notion of asking those who are least able to bear the burden to pay the price of the misdeeds of the bankers."
He also warned that cuts to university funding would deprive "young working-class kids" from his constituency "of the chance to become the first in their family to go to university". '

How strange it is that Harriet Harmon's husband has to be the one to say what we little people are thinking, to care what we ordinary folk are feeling, the dread we are experiencing, the bleak, black pain...

The quote is from

A website called democracy live. Ironic.

'I will resist any notion of asking those who are least able to bear the burden to pay the price of the misdeeds of the bankers.'

We have to band together - we have to commune - we have to protect not just our children, but each other - we have to stop punishing the innocents for the guilty - we have to open our sleeping eyes WIDE - we have to think of money as serving US not US serving money - we have to ask if men who are staggeringly rich SHOULD have the job of 'rescuing' this silly country - we have to think, and grow, and know, and change and wake up and never ever ever be fooled again.

Are we awake yet?