Posts Tagged ‘Radstock’

Crisis and Closures in the Academy Schools

September 13, 2017

One of the major issues is the Tories’ continuing attempts to destroy whatever remains of value in the British education system, all for the profit of big business. Last week, one of the academies closed only a week after it had opened. I did wonder what would happen to its pupils. Would they be thrown out and denied an education, as they had enrolled in the wrong school and there may not be places available in the other local schools.

Fortunately, that’s not going to happen. From what I understand the school will be kept open until someone else is found to take it over.

But it is still absolutely scandalous that British schools are now run by private companies, who can announce at any time that they are no longer interested in running them. Especially as tens of millions of taxpayers’ money is given to individual academies, far beyond the budget for the local LEA. In some cases, the amount spent on an academy can reach £40 million, while the budget for the LEA is under a million.

As for replacing LEA’s, from what I understand from talking to friends about them, the authorities dictate that schools can only join certain academy chains. This makes a mockery of the claim that they are outside LEAs, as these chains in effect act as them. But I suppose as the academy chains are all privately run, the government thinks this is just as well then.

I also understand that one of the academies in Radstock in Somerset doesn’t even belong to a chain based in the UK. The chain’s based in Eire, and all its directors live across the Irish Sea. I can’t say I’m surprised. Eire attempted to encourage investment by massively cutting corporate taxes, in the same way that the Tories are doing for Britain. Thus you find many businesses, that actually do their work in Britain, have their headquarters over there, using the country as a tax haven. And the ordinary people of Ireland have paid for this, just as we Brits are paying for the Tories’ self-same policy over here. One of the books I found rooting through one of the bargain bookshops in Park Street was by an Irish writer describing the way his country’s corporate elite had looted the country and caused its recession. Like the banksters in Britain and America.

The academies are a massive scam. They were launched under Maggie Thatcher, and then quietly wound up as they didn’t work. Blair and New Labour took over the idea, as they did so much else of the Tories’ squalid free market economics, and relaunched them as ‘city academies’. And then, under Dave Cameron, they became just ‘academies’.

They were never about improving education. They were about handing over a lucrative part of the state sector to private industry. They aren’t any better at educating children than state schools. Indeed, many can only maintain in the league tables by excluding poorer students, and those with special needs or learning difficulties. And if state schools had the same amount spent on them as those few, which are more successful than those left in the LEAs, they too would see improved standards.

In fact, academies offer worse teaching, because as private firms in order to make a profit they have to cut wages and conditions for the workforce to a minimum. And with the Tories freezing public sector workers’ wages, it’s no wonder that tens of thousands of teachers are leaving the profession.

And those companies interested in getting a piece of this cool, educational action are hardly those, whose reputation inspires confidence. One of them, apparently, belongs to Rupert Murdoch, at least according to Private Eye again. Yes, the man, who has almost single-handedly aimed at the lowest common denominator in print journalism, lowering the tone and content of whatever newspaper he touches and whose main newspaper, the Sun, is a byword for monosyllabic stupidity and racism, now wants to run schools. Or at least, publish the textbooks for those who do.

Academy schools are a massive failure. They’re another corporate scam in which the public pays well over the odds for a massively inferior service from the private sector, all so that Blair and May’s mates in the private sector could reap the profits.

It’s time they were wound up. Get the Tories out, and private industry out of state education.

Another Angry Voice on the Government’s Introduction of Fracking to the UK

July 21, 2013

The Angry Yorkshireman has another excellent article up, this time criticising the government’s policy promoting fracking here in the UK. Fracking is the use of pumped fluid to extract natural gas from shale rock that holds it. It has resulted in environmental damage in the US, and George Osborne wishes to introduce it into the UK. The Angry One tells you what fracking is, the dangerous effects on it can have on the environment, and the conflict of interest between the Tories and the fracking industry. Many of the Tories have links to the oil companies involved. The Angry One’s article can be read here:

I’ve posted the link to this article as there are proposals to start fracking in here in the West Country. Somerset did have a coal industry, and there were mines in Bedminister, now a suburb of Bristol, Pensford, and Radstock. There is naturally an intense debate on these proposals.

I’m interested in the debate as one of the people I knew studying archaeology was an industrial chemist. The man had been part of the geology faculty at a Canadian university, which was doing work on extracting oil from the sand layers for one of the petrochemical companies in the land of the Maple Leaf. He had a look at what his colleagues was working on the for the project, and concluded it was impossible. It violated the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which says that you can’t get more energy out of a process than you put in. He reported his concerns to his superiors. In fact he had uncovered a piece of academic fraud by some of the faculty to take money from the Canadian taxpayer for fraudulent research. The process developed for extracting the shale oil simply wouldn’t have worked, and had been concocted simply as a way of winning funding from the Canadian government, who were naturally interested in developing the process. The scandal tore the department apart. Many of the whistleblowers were penalised for their exposure of the fraud, including being sacked. My friend managed to escape this as he had been offered a place at a very prestigious French university.

My fear here is that something similar could be going on here. Fracking is now a favourite cause of the transatlantic right. It is being promoted as a way for America and Canada to be independent of the Muslim Middle Eastern oil-producing states. My concern is not just for the environmental damage, which may result from the process, but also that, after the above oil shale fiasco in Canada, flawed or extremely partisan research could similarly be involved in its promotion here.