Archive for the ‘Radio’ Category

Striking Teachers Describe Lack of Resources and Underfunding

February 6, 2023

Last week Britain’s teachers joined the other workers in taking strike action over decades of poor pay and increasingly deteriorating conditions. And naturally, the right-wing media and YouTubers sneered and complained. One berk who phoned up Mike Graham on LBC radio claimed to have been married to a teacher, but that they were actually well-paid with plenty of spare time and holidays. This was pounced on immediately by various left-wing YouTubers, who pointed out that teachers don’t have plenty of spare time, because they’re still required to work after the official end of the school day, on things like sports and so on. Plus they have to take the kids’ schoolwork home for marking. This means that in practice they’re working much longer than their official hours. I know, as my mother was one. Another pratt appeared on GB News or some other right-wing internet news channel to claim that they were being selfish and should put up with low wages like others were doing. But, he said, he would have been prepared to support them if they had been striking over the poor conditions and state of Britain’s schools. Michael Walker of Novara Media pulled that one to shreds, stating that teachers couldn’t actually do that by law. Current British legislation states that workers can only strike over pay and conditions, not over anything else.

But the state of Britain’s schools has always been a major concern to teachers aside from their own personal interests. It was one of the reasons behind the teachers’ strike when Thatcher was in power in the 1980s, and it’s a major cause of their discontent now. I also found a video on YouTube, in which they describe how underfunded schools are and the shortages of necessary teaching equipment and resources this causes. I can’t put it up here, as I’ve since lost it unfortunately, but I hope you’ll accept what I’m saying.

Schools have been underfunded and teachers poorly paid for a very long time, because Thatcherite ideology doesn’t like state education. Hence the transition of schools from the state sector, run by the local authority, to academies, managed by private companies. The companies owning them are often in tax havens, and these schools are frequently no better than the state management they replace. In fact many were so dreadful themselves that the chains running them collapsed and they had to be taken back into state management. But this hasn’t deterred the Tories. A few years ago, mad-eyed Nikki Morgan wanted to bring back grammar schools and but that was quashed. The idea is still out there, however, floating around on the right.

The point here is that teachers aren’t just striking for themselves, but because they are acutely aware of how poorly the state education sector is being treated by decades of Thatcherite mismanagement, cuts and underfunding. They aren’t striking because they want to harm the education of the children they teach by stopping work, but to force the government into treating schools fairly.

There’s also a class element there as well. Private school fees have rocketed while funding of state schools has remained level. This means that the rich are receiving a much more expensive, and presumably better education, than state pupils. This may allow them to position themselves as in a natural position to take up top jobs and social positions than all those pesky state students.

So when you hear the Tories whinge about teachers, remember: they want state schools and their staff to be poor, so that their pupils will always remain, compared to them, at the back of the class in terms of jobs and prospects.

Right-Wingers Outraged at Trans/Gay Pop Video, But It’s just a Return to the ’80s

January 31, 2023

Now for a bit about the latest right-wing rage about pop music. This morning there were a number of videos on YouTube by various pundits, right-wing and otherwise, discussing or denouncing a pop video. I honestly don’t know who the pop star who made it is, and have actually forgotten his name. I gather he had quite a successful career a few years ago, after which he came out of the closet and revealed he was gay. A little while later he said he was non-binary and now he seems to have gone a bit further in declaring his sexual identity. The video showed him in a revealing dress or robe, surrounded with dancers wearing chaps to expose their rear ends, during which he mimes various sex acts. Right-wing American YouTuber Matt Walsh was outraged, while somebody on GB News defended it, and claimed the video’s critics were homophobic.

What struck me, as someone who grew up in the 1980s, was how familiar it all was. I can remember when Frankie Goes to Hollywood were shocking the press and provoking scandal and outrage with their single ‘Relax’. It’s video seemed to be about a man in suit being pushed and pulled about the dance floor in a gay club by people dressed as gay bikers, watched by a fat bloke dressed as Nero. The single was banned, so say, by the BBC, although I’ve heard since that it was simply that one particular DJ refused to play it. This was entirely counterproductive, as the moment people heard it was banned they went out and bought it, with the result that it got to No. 1. And then there was Divine, an overweight drag queen and friend of American underground filmmaker John Waters, who starred in several of Waters’ deranged productions. Divine also had a hit in that decade, ‘Walk Like a Man’. Of course, Divine was a drag queen, rather than trans, but he wasn’t too far away from this latest attempt to climb the charts. The video’s shocking now, but it’s little different from what people were listening to and watching in the ’80s.

And the worst thing that came out of that decade was Margaret Thatcher. Her policies have done far more damage than anything that came out of the charts ever did.

History Debunked Suggests We Need Nazi ‘Heroic Mother’ Policies to Halt Demographic Decline

January 25, 2023

This is a response to a video Simon Webb put up some days ago. I meant to review it earlier, but there’s only so much fascism you can take, especially in today’s miserable economic situation and the Tories telling one lie after another. Webb’s video was prompted by a speech from the Japanese premier declaring that there was an existential crisis facing the Japanese the people. If they didn’t have more babies, they would die out. Webb notes that in the Beeb report about this, they stated that it could be solved by the Japanese importing people like other countries, but that the Japanese were firmly against this.

The Japanese have been worried about this for a very long time. Back in the 1990s the-then Japanese prime minister announced that if the country didn’t halt its declining birth rate, then they would be extinct in a thousand years’ time. That really is looking at the long term picture. To solve this problem, successive Japanese governments have suggested and embarked on various policies. One was that husbands should spend more time with their families in order to develop a closer relationship with their wives, with the unspoken implication that this would lead to more babies on the way. This provoked sharp criticism from one housewife, who complained that marital relations wouldn’t improve simply because the husband was at home more. The Japanese government has also set up a state dating agency to bring men and women together.

I suspect Japan’s demographic problems are partly due to particularly Japanese problems. There is, or was, a high rate of divorce among Japanese pensioners. This is caused by the Japanese work ethic, in which men work all the hours that God sends in order to support their families and make their country prosperous. The result is that they barely see their wives and families. When they retire, they find out that they have nothing in common and divorce. It’s a theme that was reflected in Japanese business novels. These featured loyal, hardworking sararimen, whose lives fall apart. They’re laid off by the companies they’ve loyally served and their families break up until they end up left behind running a small shop somewhere, lamenting that they’ve missed out on seeing their children grow up.

There’s also a trend among young Japanese not to date and have children. There was a Radio 4 programme, which I sadly missed, discussing this issue. It reported that this aversion was so severe that many young people even find the act of love itself repulsive. I wondered if this was a reaction to Japanese sex education and whatever Japanese youth is taught about sex outside marriage. If the attitudes against it are too harsh and the insistence on purity so strong, then it’s possible that this could lead to some impressionable people developing such a strong revulsion to sex. I remember from my schooldays that the sex education we were exposed to, with its clinical description of physical development and reproduction, as well as fears about the rising divorce rate, could almost have been calculated to put kids off sex. I also wonder if it’s due to the unavailability of contraception in Japan. This isn’t due to moral scruples, as in Roman Catholic Ireland. It was demanded by the Japanese medical complex, in order to protect the doctors that made money from performing abortions. Buddhism and Shinto have a series of three gods or kami, who preside over the souls of dead children. According to the anthropologist Dr Nigel Barley in his study of cultural attitudes to death and the dead across the world, Dancing with the Dead, the shrine to these gods are particularly supported by women, who’ve had abortions. I’m not criticising women’s right to abortions here, just noting that in previous decades over here the lack of contraception and the strong societal disapproval to births out of wedlock was a very strong disincentive to people, and especially women, having premarital sex.

In fact birth rates are declining across the world, mostly significantly in the developed west, but also elsewhere. One demographer interviewed a few decades ago in New Scientist predicted that in the middle years of this century the world would suffer a demographic crash. This is in stark contradiction with the 70s fears about the population explosion and ‘population bomb’. In many European countries the birth rate is below the level of population replacement.

Webb suggested that we might try to copy the Nazis, who gave medals to women who had large families. There were different medals award according to how many children they had. In fact, all the totalitarian states had similar policies. The Russians had their Heroic Mother awards, duly covered by Pravda, and Musso had a similar policy in his ‘Battle for Births’ campaign. If reproduction is a battle, it means people are doing it wrong. And if it’s a real physical battle, then it’s rape. But I think Musso meant it metaphorically, as everything was a battle in Fascist Italy. The campaign to increase cereal yield in agriculture was labelled ‘the Battle for Grain’. But Musso included in his policies to increase the birth rate various welfare benefits to make it easier and support women, who chose to have large families.

Webb has been followed in this by Laurence Fox, who gave a sermon on GB News yesterday, about his instinct that society was coming to an end because of the low birth rate in the west. This was breaking the social link Edmund Burke had said existed between the past, present and future generations. Of course, as a man of the right he has no sympathy for people demanding expanded welfare rights, accusing them of being ‘entitled’. They’re not. They’re people on the breadline demanding not expanded welfare provision, but proper welfare provision restored to adequate levels.

Plastic priest Calvin Robinson similarly discussed demographic decline in another piece for GB News. He was much more open about the provision of proper welfare support for families, arguing that Britain should follow the lead of Poland and Hungary. And then comes the element of racism. Because if we did this, like those countries we would not have to import people from outside.

And this is part of the problem.

Underneath these fears of demographic decline is the particular fear of White demographic decline. Other ethnic groups have larger families. Hence the stupid, malign conspiracy theories about ‘Eurabia’, that Muslims would outbreed Whites in the west and so eventually take over society. The French National Front let the cat out of the bag in the 90s. This was the mayor of one of the southern French cities, who had set up a system of welfare payments to encourage his citizens to have more babies. Except that this was a racist policy that applied only to Whites. Blacks, Asians and Muslims not allowed.

It’s why such a system would also have severe problems being introduced over here. And rightly so, as while I dare say that some members of ethnic groups don’t want to integrate or adopt British culture, others identify very strongly with it and see themselves as English, Welsh, Scots whatever. Such people shouldn’t be excluded from receiving these welfare payments simply because of the colour of their skin, whatever else one thinks of race relations and immigration.

Of course, the right blames the demographic crisis squarely on feminism and the way modern women are encouraged to pursue careers rather than raise families. Hence the Lotus Eaters put up a piece commenting on a report that half of all women are childless at thirty. To be fair, some left-wing feminists have also complained that feminism, for all its good intentions, has also denigrated the vital role of motherhood in society. But traditional attitudes towards gender roles may be part of the problem. In the New Scientist article I talked about earlier, it was noted that the countries with lowest birth rates had the most traditional attitudes towards childrearing, in which it was seen as primarily the responsibility of the mothers. This extended across cultures, from Italy in Europe to Japan. The countries which had the highest birth rates in the west were the Nordic countries, where men were being encouraged to help their wives with domestic chores and raising the sprogs.

That, and welfare policies designed to help working parents, seem far better solutions to the crisis than simply doling out medals based on the attitudes of totalitarian regimes.

38 Degrees Email Appealing to Public to Write Letter Supporting NHS Pay Rise to Jeremy Hunt

January 18, 2023

I’ve just got this email from 38 Degrees requesting people to writer to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt asking him to abandon his opposition to the NHS workers’ demands for a pay rise. I’ve written an email as they’ve requested. If you also feel that our great medical professionals and the other staff deserve their rise, please feel free to do so as well.

David, today and tomorrow, nurses in England will be striking. [1] We know they don’t want to do this – but government inaction, pushing our NHS to breaking point, has left them with little choice.

The good news? Things might be swinging our way! Reports are emerging that the Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, is working with NHS unions to try and get more money for NHS staff. [2] But it’s also claimed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt are refusing to budge. [3]

The Chancellor holds a HUGE amount of power over the purse strings. If we want him to stop dragging his heels, thousands of us need to speak up now.

David, you are one of 75,000 of us who signed the open letter in support of striking NHS workers. [4] If all of us bombard the Chancellor with messages telling him to listen to his colleagues, and invest in our nurses and NHS staff, we’ll be impossible to ignore.
David, will you email the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, today to demand he ends his holdout and offers NHS workers a proper pay rise? It only takes a couple of minutes and there are some pointers to help you write your message.

EMAIL JEREMY HUNT NOW

Thanks to pressure from hundreds of thousands of 38 Degrees supporters, in 2021 we helped force the Government to triple its pay offer to NHS staff. [5] We can do it again, but only if thousands of us speak up together in support of striking NHS workers.

If you’ve never sent an email to an MP before, don’t worry, it’s easy and even a short message could make all the difference. Here are some tips for what you could say:

  • Share your story if you are an NHS patient: if you’re waiting for treatment and are happy to talk about this, it will be even more powerful.
  • If you work in the NHS, you could mention it – personalised stories will go a long away
  • Talk about why you back our NHS heroes: even if it’s a line or two, the Chancellor needs to know why the public are backing NHS staff
  • Remember to be polite: There’s a real person at the other end reading your email!

So, David, will you join in and send one of the thousands of emails landing in Jeremy Hunt’s inbox on the day NHS nurses go on strike? It only takes a couple of minutes and there are some pointers one the page to help you write your message

EMAIL JEREMY HUNT NOW

Thanks for all that you do,

Jonathan, Mike, Veronica and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:
[1] BBC News: Nurses’ strike: New dates as union escalates dispute
[2] The Guardian: Revealed: cabinet split over NHS pay disputes piles pressure on Sunak
[3] See note [1]
[4] 38 Degrees: We support striking NHS staff
[5] 38 Degrees: Pay Rise Posters
Times: 38 Degrees full-page ad
BBC: NHS workers in England offered 3% pay rise

John Bird and John Fortune Skewer the Iraq Invasion: Yes, It Was All About Oil

January 10, 2023

The satirist and actor John Bird passed away just a week or so ago over Christmas. As well as appearing in the short-lived BBC comedy series Chambers and Absolute Power, he and John Fortune appeared on Bremner, Bird and Fortune on Channel 4 as ‘The Long Johns’, whose satirical dialogues expertly lampooned the rich and powerful. This had the same view Private Eye’s Ian Hislop stated on a radio 4 show some time ago, that satire should also have a serious intent and show what was really going on underneath the surface. It was incisive, witty stuff that revealed the reality behind the fine words uttered by politicians, businessmen and elite bankers to show the greed, double-standards and predatory exploitation underneath. Many of the dialogues had a simple formula. They took turns playing George Parr, who changed his profession to match the topic of the day. One week he could be a general, another an admiral, or a senior civil servant. Other characters included Washington diplomats and the dictator of an anonymous African country, who was happy to see his people mired in starvation and poverty so long as he could take the money from the Chinese building his nation’s infrastructure. The other John would play a journalist interviewing him. The questions would result in bizarre denials from the official, which would show the contradictions in the official’s story or decision and lead to them actually revealing the real reasons for the decision or policy in spite of themselves.

In this piece from 2007, posted on theDossier’s YouTube Channel, the two discuss the-then recent admission by Alan Greenspan, the head of the Federal Reserve in America, that it was embarrassing to have to admit it, but yes, the Iraq invasion really was all about oil. As everyone knew. The official denies that this was the case, pointing out that before the war Blair had passed a resolution stipulating that the oil reserves should stay in Iraqi hands. This was revoked a year later after the war, when Blair passed another resolution saying that the allies should have it for safekeeping or something. As a measure of generosity, the allies allowed the Iraqis to keep 17 oil wells out of a total of 80, and promised to give 20 per cent of the profits from their oil fields to the Iraqi government. Iraq nevertheless contains an extremely large proportion of the world’s oil, whose worth is in the trillions.

The former Guardian journo Greg Palast amply demonstrated in his book, Armed Madhouse, that the Iraq war was an attempt by the American and Saudi oil industries to seize the Iraqi oil fields and their wealth, as well as the Neo-Cons attempting to seize the country’s state industries for America and create the kind of low tax state founded on free trade they wished to see in America. The result was the absolute collapse of the Iraqi economy with soaring bankruptcies and unemployment. Not to mention the chaos and bloodshed caused by the war and the sectarian violence that followed it, and the unrestrained, murderous, Nazi criminality of the private military contractors – read: mercenaries – who were hired by the Americans as part of the peace-keeping forces.

This is political satire at it’s best, and some of the commenters on YouTube have compared Bird and Fortune with the superb BBC comedy, Yes, Minister, which is also still relevant even after all these decades. John Fortune died some years ago, and was much missed, as John Bird will be, for his part in these dialogues. You wonder what they’d have to say about Sunak and the present government. It, and it’s equally incompetent and corrupt predecessors, would have been excellent material for them to send up.

Did Gordon Brown and Jackie Smith Really Order the Police Not to Investigate the Pakistani Grooming Gangs?

January 8, 2023

One of the stories going around the right, and especially the Islamophobic right, is that Gordon Brown and the-then Home Secretary Jackie Smith not only knew about the Pakistani grooming gangs, but ordered the police not to investigate them. It’s alleged that in 2008 they sent out a circular to the police forces stating that the victims had made a lifestyle choice and that, in order to preserve the peace, they were not to investigate them. I tried to do a bit of investigation into this rumour just using Google yesterday. They allegation is supposed to have been made by Nafzir Ali, the heroic prosecutor, who was behind the campaign to get these gangs arrested for their heinous crimes and put away. Ali is supposed to have made the allegation during an interview on Radio 4, which was then edited out and never broadcast.

If this is true, this would be a damning indictment of Brown and Smith, and their critics and opponents would be entirely right in calling for them to be jailed for a very long time. I don’t find anything particularly incredible about the allegation. The governments can and do stop investigations that are felt not to be in the public interest. With a serious allegation like this, it may well be that the Beeb would edit it out of an interview fearing legal or political repercussions. Tory critics have claimed that there is a strong bias in the BBC against them. I don’t find this entirely credible, but they have been able to support it with evidence that some elements of the Beeb were connected to the Labour party at the time, whose reporting was unfairly biased towards Blair’s Labour party. But as Blair at the time was turning Labour into a neoliberal party of the right, this doesn’t mean that it was a socialist or pro-working class bias.

The problem with these allegations is that they were made by a woman at a Tommy Robinson rally. It’s possible that she was telling the truth, though I didn’t find out what her background was that allowed her to know about this supposed interview and its suppression. Not everything Robinson says is a lie, and he was interviewing the gangs’ victims and promoting their stories while the police were still trying to silence them. But Tommy ‘Ten Names’ Robinson, as one of the great commenters here has called him, does not inspire confidence. As I’ve said, he’s a violent thug, who was in the BNP before supposedly become non-racist and deciding instead to pick on Islam. He has convictions for assault and mortgage fraud, as well as contempt of court and attempting to sneak into America while banned. He lost a libel case against a Syrian lad, who he claimed was the real bully after the lad was the victim of a racist attack by other boys at school. He claims to be some kind of citizen journalist, but his reports made at the time of these gangs’ trial violated the rules of journalistic impartiality and threatened to cause a mistrial. In which case, the trial would have to have been abandoned and the gangs, if guilty, let off.

The fact is that unless there is a public inquiry, we don’t know if this really happened. 38 Degrees did post a petition calling for one, but it hasn’t happened yet and I doubt that it will.

GB News’ Mark Steyn Coming Very Close to Pushing Fascist Conspiracy Theories about Covid Vaccine

January 5, 2023

GB News, the self-proclaimed alternative to the ‘wet, woke BBC’, is in this fortnight’s Private Eye. The broadcaster apparently has overtaken Sky News in ratings, and has taken to pushing stupid, and potentially dangerous conspiracy theories. These include myths that the vaccine doesn’t work, or is responsible for deaths, and that there’s no need for the lockdown. Pretty much staples of the wider right-wing anti-vaxxer fringe. But one of these conspiracy theories comes very close to fascism. Mark Steyn has apparently told his viewers that the coronavirus vaccine is the cause of the falling birthrate in the west of the ‘Aryans’, who built civilisation. Firstly, as the 19th century linguist, who used the term ‘Aryan’ for what are now termed the Indo-European languages, George Muller, it’s a linguist not racial term. A dark-skinned Indian, who speaks Hini or one of the other languages descended from Sanskrit, or an Urdu-speaking Pakistani can both be fairly described as Aryans, because their languages are derived from that introduced by the Aryans, who invaded Indian c. 3000 BC. But both would be targeted by the Nazis over here because of their race. Muller stated quite clearly that conflating Aryan with race was dangerous, and it’s a pity more people didn’t listen to him otherwise the carnage of the Third Reich might have been avoided.

He’s right that the birthrates in the developed west are falling along with the sperm count of western men. This is alarming, as there have been predictions by respectable magazines and newspapers that if it continues, by 2050 half of western men will be considered clinically infertile. No-one really knows the cause of this, but it’s been suggested since the 1990s that a type of plastic, phthallates, may be responsible. Other causes are probably the industrial pollution responsible for the reproductive deformities in amphibians, which Alex Jones notoriously declared were ‘turning the frickin’ frogs gay’. These chemicals are believed to mimic female hormones, hence their damage to those animals. I’ve also seen claims that it’s all due to female hormones from the reproductive pill getting into the biosphere, but I haven’t seen any scientist make this claim. In my opinion, it comes from that part of the right which is anti-feminist and so pro-life as to condemn contraception as well as abortion. I also got the impression that all western men were affected, including Blacks and Asians, and not just Whites.

Steyn’s claims resemble the conspiracy theories that were going around the Black communities in America and possibly apartheid South Africa back in the 90s. These claimed that the government was putting chemicals in Coca-Cola to sterilise young Black men. That was totally wrong, though it was understandable given the persecution of Blacks in both those countries. Steyn’s is a first-world, White version of this. It comes very close to all the stupid and murderous conspiracy theories about the machinations of the Jews to enslave and destroy the White race, although as far as I know Steyn isn’t an anti-Semite.

He is, however, an Islamophobe. About a decade ago he was a partner with late Reaganite bloviator Rush Limbaugh and his radio station out in New Hampshire. Much of the content Steyn put out on his blogs and columns on the internet were attacks on Islam, including some of the weirder rulings made by Iran’s late Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini. He was one of those pushing the ‘Eurabia’ fear. This holds that Muslim birthrates are outstripping those of indigenous European Whites to such an extent that they will become the dominant race and religion and impose sharia law. A friend of mine told me he did some calculations, and that’s simply not going to happen. I don’t doubt that the Muslim population will expand immensely in the next decades, and this will present serious problems if the radicals and Islamists extend their influence over these communities, but it won’t lead to their population overtaking everyone else’s.

Steyn also tried to warn or scare people with the example of Feyenoord in the Netherlands. This is a majority Muslim town where some decades ago the Muslim dominated city council publicly invited the non-Muslim population to convert. I don’t know, but I think their attitude would be unremarkable, perhaps even ordinary in very pious, hardline Muslim countries like Pakistan, where non-Muslims can come under very intense pressure to convert. But obviously in the context of the non-Muslim, secular west, where religion is considered a matter for the individual’s private conscience, it’s totally unacceptable. The problem is, I don’t know how common such political moves by Muslim-controlled local authorities are. As far as I know, it only happened in Feyenoord, although I’m sure that non-Muslims living in solidly Muslim areas are under pressure to conform to their standards of behaviour.

Away from Steyn, the article describes how GB News, like Fox over in the US, threw in their lot with Donald Trump, talking him as US president until it became the ‘MAGA channel’. Their predictions of Trump’s eminent suitability for the Oval Office was definitely born out by the Orange Buffoons massive greed, incompetence and disastrous policies towards blue collar workers – more attacks on their rights, further decimation of their welfare provisions to enrich Trump’s friends and donors, and more outsourcing. As well as attempts to muzzle federal climate and environmental scientists for the benefit of the oil industry. And I could go on.

As for GB News’ attitudes over here, it’s solidly behind Farage and Brexit and resolutely against the welfare state and the NHS. If you’re a member of the working class, GB News is not your friend. But the stupid conspiracy theories about the coronavirus vaccine threaten to do real harm. We’ve already seen instances where people have refused the vaccine, then caught the virus and died. And Steyn’s story about birthrates and ‘Aryans’ threatens to encourage real Nazis and Fascists, who’ll target not just Muslims but Jews.

Calvin Robinson Uses Fears of Left-Wing Indoctrination to Push Private Schools

December 28, 2022

I know it’s still the Christmas season, but we’re in those days between Christmas proper and New Year when there’s a sort of lull in the festivities. I’m therefore going to post one or two pieces about politics. And one of the issues I want to tackle is a video from GB News’ and the New Culture Forum’s Calvin Robinson, which stated that the way to prevent your children from being politically indoctrinated in schools was to support free school. The thumbnail for the video shows the message, and says that children were told by the teacher to vote Labour.

This comes from an interview Robinson did with a woman, who was suing her local school because of political indoctrination. According to this lady, the school was teaching the gender ideology and Critical Race Theory. One teacher told the class to vote Labour and the children were also encouraged to sing ‘Our prime minister is a racist’. This was presumably back when Johnson was in power. If all this is true, then I think the woman’s quite right to complain and sue. It is political indoctrination. Gender ideology and Critical Race Theory aren’t facts, although a poll cited by various right-wing media channels claimed that 75 per cent or so of those polled said that this had been taught in school, and 68 per cent said it had been presented as fact. There is an organisation set up to combat the teaching of the gender ideology, the Safe Schools Alliance, and there is a similar organisation to fight indoctrination by Critical Race Theory. And while I believe that people should vote Labour and that Johnson is racist, this shouldn’t be taught in school any more than the lie that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite.

There have been fears and scandals over left-wing indoctrination in schools since as far back as the 1980s, when the Scum was running stories about teachers in Brent teaching kids to sing ‘Ba Ba, Green Sheep’ as an anti-racist revision of ‘Ba ba, Black Sheep’. There were also stories in the Scum and Depress about Communists indoctrinating children with the new-fangled subject of Peace Studies, and ‘English’ being renamed ‘Language’. Their solution was to take failing state schools, where all this was going on, out of the control of the Local Education Authorities and transform them into City Academies. These were the Thatcherite precursors of Blair’s academies. They didn’t work, and Thatcher’s education secretary, Norman Fowler, wound them up. Then Blair won the election, took the idea out of the bin, and relaunched them. And the result has been the part-privatisation of our schools for corporate profit, many of which are still failing.

If children are being indoctrinated in schools, then it isn’t just in those schools left under local government management, but also in the academies. One of the other victims of ‘woke’ ideological censorship interviewed by the New Culture Forum’s Peter Whittle was an Anglican chaplain at a private school. He’d been sacked after raising questions in his sermon about some of the LGBT teaching that had been delivered to the school by an outside activist. According to the chaplain, the man had made them out all chant ‘Smash heteronormativity!’ during a meeting in the headmaster’s office beforehand. The clergyman had been alarmed by this, and in a following sermon simply said that students should question this for themselves. Such independent thought wasn’t allowed, and he was censured and sacked. Smashing heteronormativity, the social status of heterosexuality as the norm, goes far beyond teaching tolerance for gays. The EDIJester, a gay critic of the woke ideology, states that heteronormativity should continue, as without straight people breeding there would be no more gays like him. But beyond the specific nature of the radical indoctrination is the fact that this happened in a private school.

This is also going on across the Atlantic. James Lindsay, another fervent critic and opponent of the woke ideology, did a piece on his New Discourses YouTube channel about a paper published in an American education journal by a radical activist about indoctrinating the children in private schools to be woke, anti-capitalist, anti-racist activists. If the goal of privatisation is to stop political indoctrination, then it clearly isn’t working.

I’m very sceptical of these stories about ‘woke’ teachers, at least in Britain. My mother was a teacher, and I did my first degree at a teacher training college. My own experience of teachers is that the vast majority of them aren’t in it to indoctrinate children to be young communists or radical LGBTQ+ and race activists. They’re there simply because they want to stand in front of a whiteboard and teach. If radical doctrines are being taught in schools, then most likely they’re coming from the headmaster, the LEA or the academy chain. The teaching staff may not be aware how radical they are, as these doctrines are presented as just a form of conventional liberal teaching about tolerance to gays and transgender people and anti-racism.

And there is already a solution to the problem of indoctrination in schools. It’s banned by law, introduced by Blair. Teachers may not present political or religious ideas or opinions as fact. If they do tell the class their personal view of a political or religious issue, they have to make it clear that this is only their opinion. A teacher that tells their pupils to vote Labour or any other party is breaking that law.

But Robinson isn’t interested in such legal niceties. He just wants to push right-wing fears of evil, left-wing activist teachers in order to promote the establishment of free schools. This is another right-wing Tory idea. Toby Young was behind an attempt to set up a free college a few years ago. That collapsed, and I don’t doubt that any attempt to set up free schools will go the same way. But it’s all an attempt to privatise education and make it two-tier, with the state-educated poor at the bottom and the rich elite, who are able to pay private school fees, at the top. All under the guise of protecting children from indoctrination.

Privatisation isn’t working. The academies are terrible and free schools are going to be worse. Renationalise schools, give them proper funding and make sure they obey the rule of law when it comes to political or religious indoctrination. That’s the way to improve education.

Oh yes, and don’t listen to Calvin Robinson.

Cassetteboy’s Foul and Funny Satirical Assault on the Tories and the Christmas Charts

December 26, 2022

Okay, I said that as it was the Christmas season, I wanted to leave politics and post different, lighter material. But this latest video on YouTube from the audio satirists of Cassetteboy and the Kunts is far too good to ignore. And so I feel myself reacting to it a bit like Dave Allen on his Christmas show in the ’80s. The great Irish comedian said, ‘The producer said to me, “Dave, it’s Christmas, so leave religion out of it.”‘ He then looked at the audience, letting than sink in for a moment, before ending, ‘Well, I would, if I could….’ A few years ago there was a campaign to embarrass the Beeb by everyone playing Rage Against the Machine with their expletive-filled lyrics in order to get it to No. 1 at Christmas. The track would be far too strong for the Beeb, who wouldn’t want to play it but would be faced with the problem of not wanting to ignore it either. Something similar was going on in the minds of Cassetteboy when they put together this festive assault on the Tories and their wretched legacy of incompetence, poverty, mendacity and greed.

The song begins in a suitably seasonal way by singing about the 12 years of Tory rule like the 12 days of Christmas, and how terrible it has been for the country. It began with Dave Cameron, who introduced austerity, but party before country with this Brexit vote and then ‘shat the bed and ran away’. This continued with Tweezer, who couldn’t sort Brexit out despite her thin red lines, then Boris Johnson who lied to get himself elected and partied while everyone else was in lockdown. Then we get to Liz Truss, who killed the Queen before being given the heave-ho and finally Rishi Sunak. Along the way there are clips of other Tory ministers, edited to make them say how terrible they are, including Jacob Rees-Mogg. The refrain is ‘F*ck the Tories’. It ends with the message that the individual Prime Ministers may differ, but they’re all the same really.

The video came out a week or so ago. I don’t think it’s got to No.1, but it’s crude, vulgar and entirely accurate. I hope it gives everyone a bit of fun during this ‘orrible Winter of Discontent.

CBC News Report on Infant Lambs in Experimental Artificial Wombs

December 15, 2022

I found this video on YouTube after the reports the other day about the company, EctoLife, unveiling its concept of a mass hatchery for the artificial gestation of human babies. This video is five years old and comes from the CBC/ the National, and is on experimental artificial wombs, ‘biobags’, created by Dr Emily Partridge and her team at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. These appear to be clear plastic bags filled with a fluid closely approximating the amniotic fluid of the womb. The animals being gestated in them are infant lambs taken from their mothers by C-section, and fed through an artificial umbilical cord. The experiment is being done to see if this technique can be used for severely premature human babies that have been born after 23 weeks. At the moment a great number of these babies die, and those that survive need special care, such as being put on ventilators because of their delicate, undeformed lungs. They may also experience health problems for the rest of their lives. The report notes that the lambs in the biobags appear to be breathing normally, even developing wool. After being used in the experiment, they are euthanised and the bodies dissected as part of the experiment.

I knew that there were experiments on goat fetuses in this direction, as it was discussed in a ’90s issue of Scientific American, but was unaware of this experiment. While this isn’t as chilling, nor as far-fetched as EctoLife, and there is a genuine, medical purpose behind the research – the artificial gestation of premature babies, rather than the mass manufacture of human infants – it still nevertheless brings the prospect of the artificial hatcheries of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World a step closer, with all the ethical questions that brings.