Tuesday, 28 August 2012

I Want to Apeel Against My Inglish Grayde

The annual kefuffle about GCSE grades and standards has got a bit more exciting this year, with several schools suing the exam boards for raising standards. It seems that several thousand candidates who might have expected to get a Grade C - indicating virtual illiteracy - have now ended up with a Grade D - indicating total illiteracy instead.
I knew a family with a child who was very slow to learn to read or write. She was always far behind the average for her age. Books did not interest her and SATS were always a problem. She failed the eleven-plus (they were living in one of the few areas where such things still existed in the 1990s) and went to a secondary modern where she entered for six GCSEs. There were no exams, just course-work, which could be downloaded from the internet and the results were marked by their own class teachers, who were allowed to see the first draft and correct it.
Not surprisingly, nobody in her class failed in any subject. To my surprise, the parents encouraged her to stay on into sixth form. She failed AS levels, which included an exams after one year, but then was allowed to sit them all again. After three years, by dint of rote learning and coursework instead of exams, she emerged with something they called A-levels. There were many jobs and training courses she could have applied for at that point. Yet still the parents did not want her to retire from academia. She applied for university, and the universities ignored her poor grades on the grounds that her year was the first to take this curriculum, and were the "guinea-pigs". So she did a degree in media studies, and very soon afterwards, without ever having read a book in her life became... a teacher...of English.
For years the exam system has been in free fall and levels of literacy among school pupils have been plummeting way down out of sight. It's not just that standards are abysmally low, but cheating is also absolutely rife. If have just looked on a some local websites here in Oxford and there are many advertisements like the following:-
"Essay Assistant. We can write your essays for you on any topic. Ring Hassan on 07717XXXXXX".
Many more specimens, for submission as "course-work", can be downloaded from the internet and they are even sold on E-bay. Qualifications obtained in such a way are worth just about as much as an old sweet wrapper. Of course one of the reasons why course-work has taken the place of exams is that it is getting harder and harder to find qualified people to act as examiners - and no wonder, since the job is pressurized, complicated, poorly paid, and not supported by proper training. In the old days, they used teachers who were already teaching the subject in question. Nowadays teachers are far too disaffected and weighed down with paperwork to take on extra marking. When I was an examiner the main thing impressed on all of us was not to fail anyone. If schools find that their pupils are failing, they will simply switch them to another exam board and you go out of business. So it is literally a race to the bottom.
Most children I meet can read, but writing is an almost lost skill. They have no idea of grammar, they can't spell, they can't punctuate and many of them don't even know how to hold a pen or pencil. They grasp it in a simian fashion or knot their fingers around it in a way that ensures the least efficiency. When required to do homework, many of them write a couple of paragraphs and call it an essay. Anyone who knows where to start writing on a page, which direction to go in and how to use capital letters could until recently be fairly confident of getting a C grade in GCSE English.
It is high time to make some effort to restore standards no matter how painful the process. But will the exam boards be intimidated by litigation? Wee will have to weight and sea.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Ed Jumps On the Olympic Bandwagon

Only last week Ed Miliband was in France drooling on (as best he could with the aid of a translator) about how important it is to remain in the EU regardless of cost.
Now, on the advice of his latest Australian spin doctor, a 28-year-old with an unpronounceable name, Ed has decided to play the PATRIOT card. Labour has noticed a lot of people waving Union Jacks to support our Olympic team and Labour wants their votes. Surprise, surprise. So now he is trying to cash in by saying the Britain is great and Labour stands for national pride and traditional values. What nonsense.
Yes, the team called Great Britain did brilliantly and got an amazing lot of medals - but unfortunately Great Britain doesn't exist any more. It is just a province of the EU. Our Prime Minister takes orders from Brussels, and so will the Prime Minister of any future "independent" Scotland.
The athletes did well because every single one of them was psyched up for competition. Competition brought out the very best in each of them, competition on a tough, ruthless, global scale. They slogged for years under the eye of their coaches to get the nerve to go out there and compete with the whole world. Competition is cruel but it results in excellence.
And competition is not a Labour value. Competition is contrary to everything that Labour stands for. Labour has done everything it can to remove competition from our culture, our education system and even from our school sports. Labour has imposed a doctrine of mutual co-operation and mediocrity, a doctrine that "everybody must be made to feel like a winner". The result is that nobody does particularly well, nobody achieves excellence and standards slip below mediocrity into sheer awfulness. When nobody is allowed to fail, we all end up failing.
Labour's party machine is busy issuing meaningless blurbs as ever:- "Jon Cruddas, the head of Labour's policy review and a long-term friend of Soutphommasane, said the Olympics had helped to crystallise Labour's mission to "rebuild Britain" and showed that conditions were in place to build a sense of national purpose through civic participation." But what national purpose can we have if we are not a nation? We don't govern ourselves, and millions of the people here are just passing through. What does he mean by "civic participation"?
The hard fact is that the EU has compelled us to privatize our NHS and Royal Mail and will continue to compel us to privatize everything else so that we can keep our figures for public spending down in line with EU policy.
Ed the Red is a fraud. He is not just capitalizing on the Olympics. He is capitalizing on people's ignorance and naiveté.


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Worst Windmills

Berchtold Rordorf, the owner of the Chateau d'Epanvilliers, near Civray in central France, has got a problem.

He bought the chateau, a relatively modest one as chateaux go, a few years ago and opened it to the public as a museum of antique games. Mr Rordorf, who is a Swiss businessman, has been collecting these for much of his life and has a vast and fascinating array of old board-games, card-games, chess-sets, draught-sets, games of skill and games of chance from past centuries and even some from ancient times. Did you know, for instance, that the game of Snakes and Ladders evolved out of a game played in ancient Egypt and for many centuries always had to have exactly 63 squares?
It is a wonderful idea to attract families on holiday to come and see his chateau. Many of the games are works of art. There are also some instruction books about bridge and poker that give an enjoyable glimpse of the inter-war years. However, just when Mr Rordorf hoped to start welcoming the public in hordes to his door, a plan to build a windfarm adjacent to the chateau was announced. Previous owners, impecunious and struggling to survive, have sold most of the original estate so that the windfarm is going to be right on his doorstep. The massive turbines, 200 metres high, will totally overshadow the beautiful chateau and ruin the view of the landscape from every direction.
Driving up to the chateau now, you see a large sign on the front gates "NON AU PARC ÉOLIEN" - No to the wind-farm. Mr Rordorf is trying to persuade all visitors to the chateau to sign a petition on his behalf. In fact he has organized an exhibition showing what impact the turbines will have and arguing that they don't generate enough electricity to be worthwhile.
Funny, isn't it, that wherever you go in Europe you find people
agreeing with UKIP's policies, yet they call us "Little Englanders".

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Milliband Stutters His Non-Policies

I bet Ed Milliband never thought he would be leader of the Labour Party. He still hasn't got over the shock. He only stood for the leadership to annoy his elder brother and was taken aback when the peculiar voting system chose him instead of David.

On his recent trip to France to meet Francois Hollande, Ed repeated about twenty times that he believed Britain belongs in Europe, although he himself could not make even one short speech in French. Couldn't he just read out a few paragraphs written for him by somebody else? Nope, it seems even that is beyond him. The oh-so-europhile Labour leader is as poor a linguist as Lady Ashton, our blushing head of the EU diplomatic service. Indeed he struggles to express himself even in passable English. When you work out what he is saying it's a bit short of meaning to express.

Speaking at the Elysée Palace, Milliband said, "The points of agreement we have were around the fact that the tide is turning against an austerity approach, that there needs to be a different way forward found."
In other words, he and the socialists want to spend more money, but don't really know where they will get it from.

Milliband went on, "What President Hollande is seeking to do in France and what he is seeking to do in leading the debate in Europe is find that different way forward."

That's great, so what is it?

"We are in agreement in seeking that new way that needs to be found and I think can be found."

Er...yes. I see. But you haven't found it yet, Monsieur Milliband. So socialist policy means that both Ed and Francois want to spend more money and hope that it will just magically fall from the skies. "Leading the debate in Europe" means, "we want to be naughty and defy Angela Merkel." But if the French-German alliance that is the backbone of the EU falls apart, what's left?
Just a collection of disparate countries all sinking deeper and deeper into a quagmire of debt.
The Labour leader's speech assured his French comrades, "You have a sister party that wants to work with you, work for a much fairer system of capitalism, that works for all working people, not just people at the top, and a party that is committed not just to be in Europe but to work in Europe."
Fairer system of capitalism? Committed not just to be? And what actually is the difference between Britain "being in Europe" and "working in Europe"? Top marks for empty blather!
I wonder if Ed has ever read the details of the European Stability Mechanism. He probably thinks it's something you put on the back wheels of your bike to stop it from falling over sideways.
Milliband's policy on the EU is "We're totally committed to staying on this sinking ship because we think we can find a way to stop it sinking, because we hope and need to find a way to stop it from sinking, so that's the same thing. As soon as we find a way we will tell you. But just stay on the ship till we do. OK?"


Monday, 6 August 2012

Warsi Bends the Rules

It seems there is one law for Sayeeda Warsi, the chairman of the Conservative Party, and another for everybody else.
She has been found guilty of breaking the ministerial code of conduct by taking a friend on an expenses-paid official trip with her. Mr Abid Hussain, who accompanied her in February 2011 on a visit to Pakistan, is a cousin of Warsi's husband and a co-director of a company in which Sayeeda Warsi has an interest. This business interest should have been declared. It wasn't, nor was it declared when Mr Hussain was invited to a reception at 10, Downing Street in 2010.
Yet David Cameron has taken no steps against her and insists that it was a minor violation. He accepted her excuse that she did not profit financially and is "stretched" to comply with the complicated ministerial rules. No such excuses were accepted last year in the case of Dr Liam Fox, who was forced to resign as Defence Secretary because he had taken a personal friend, Adam Werrity, on official trips and allowed him to call himself a government advisor. It seems there is one law for Baroness Warsi and another for everybody else.

Warsi, who has from time to time made cheap gibes about UKIP being "racist", is still under investigation for irregularities in her expenses claim relating to a London flat in 2008. She has little to fear, because it is very plain that the rules don't apply to her.
In 2010, David Cameron removed a Conservative candidate, Philip Lardner, the approved candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran, for defending Clause 28. Lardner was actually suspended from the Conservative Party. Yet Cameron seems to have no objections to Conservatives who are Muslims and believe homosexuals should get the death penalty. Political correctness works in mysterious ways...



Sunday, 5 August 2012

What Lib Dems Really Think About Clegg

The following posts about Nick Clegg were made not by UKIP members but by Lib Dem members on their own Facebook page in the last couple of weeks:-

John Redmond The Only ship I`d Love to see Clegg on:- "TITANIC", although his party can now be truly viewed as being one that has already "Hit an Iceberg" and will sink "Out of View at the Next Gen Election" <-8
28 July at 01:57 • Like
Alistair Brown he's lost an entire generation of voters by cocking up the student fees thing.
1 August at 20:26 • Like • 1
John Yates shared a link.
15 July
A strange comment coming from Clegg.['Stop apologising,' says Clegg.]
He should be on his knees begging forgiveness from the people of Britain and his own Party members and supporters, for the treachery and evil cynicism that he has been guilty of since the ConDem coalition came into existence. Clegg has condemned the Liberal democrats to political oblivion for decades to come by his own lust for "power" and personal ambition.


Daniel Phillips Clegg is an idiot.
15 July at 14:51 via Mobile • Like • 1

Julian Mildren Isn't one of the Sheffield seats that of a certain Deputy PM? Another nail in the LD coffin
15 July at 12:27 • Like • 1
• Darren Cxf He should be arrested and charged with TREASON.
13 July at 17:28 • Like • 1
• Mark Doran I think he's on the lookout for a new job..

Graeme Mount Good to see the LibDems were beaten by the Monster Raving Loony Party in St. Ives East last night. The rout has stated!
Darren Nelson Nick Clegg came to power by joining hands with a right wing party, I voted Lib Dem and got Conservative. He told us he was shocked by the budget deficeit,but now it's well known that all three parties were campaigning with promises they wouldn't be able to keep.Many voted for LD because of their supposed stance on human rights issues,but since coming to power they have flagrantly disregarded their "commitment".If you disagree,I will be most pleased to show you why.
Steve Brind ‎" a time for reflection". Best take that advice then Nick. On I forgot. You're a) an atheist and b) lack integrity (ref actions since the election) so I guess we can add this video message, together with the the rest of your religious festival videos, to the bulging file labelled 'hypocrite'
Keith Comber You are so right Steve, Clegg reinforces my opinion that politicians in general are liars and hypocrites. They will tell you what you want to hear then as soon as they are in power will do what is best for them.

Sam Gage Good news, but I like how the banner at the top still shows Clegg lying to a bunch of students.

Jim Mooreposted to Liberal Democrats 16 July
Why don't Clegg and Cameron accept that the best benefit the country would have if these two fools stepped down
Like •
o 2 people like this.
Nick Wale Haha they live in a dream world Jim... Dream world.. I think Cameron still thinks he will win the next election haha :)
16 July at 20:22 • Like • 1

Like • • Share
o Sarah Headland likes this.
Vote for the Liberal DemocratZ, putting the Z in Zombie, this is the party of the living dead .... it died a long time agos but shuffles on not realising
16 July at 22:53 via Mobile • Like
Jim Moore shared a link.
15 July

Nick Clegg's new song-and-dance act
Chris Riddell on the Liberal Democrat leader's Lords reform woes.
They complain Clegg could have blocked the NHS reform bill but preferred to go for Lords reform instead.
A lot of Lib Dems were critical of Nick Clegg’s friendly gestures to the Muslim community and queried why he is hostile to other communities:-

Sherlia Aziz That is a very nice gesture by the Nick Clegg. [referring to his greeting for the start of Ramadan]
Sandra Lanigan Yes, let us hope he will be similarly forthcoming at Christmas and Easter, for the benefit of the Christians who live in UK
20 July at 09:37 • Like • 3
Michael Koropisz a big thank you to the libdem council of stockport for the refusal of the proposed muslamic mosque in reddish

Now if that was found on a UKIP page people would be screaming “islamophobic! Nazi!”
Same with this:

Linda Leighton
16 July
BOYCOTT HALAL - Join Us & protect British Traditions

Boycott Halal
We aim to Boycott all companies and organisations that promote or use Halal products and services in order to reduce demand and slow production. We aim to avoid Halal Farm or Fork or Finance. We aim to support our own country's economy by seeking out and buying mainstream traditional products and u...
Page: 6,743 like this.
Like • • Share
o Idag Torpedo Hen likes this.
NOTE Six Thousand seven hundred people agreed with this.
Lower down a loyal Lib Dem suggests a referendum on EU membership!!! Yes, this comes from the same people who call UKIP xenophobic and racist!!!!

Alan Will shared a link. 15 July http://www.peoplespledge.org/

The People’s Pledge
The People’s Pledge is a new campaign to secure a referendum on Britain’s relationship with the European Union.

And the page includes this delightful piece of conspiracy theory:
Paul Smithposted toLiberal Democrats
13 July via Mobile
What the public needs to know is both Romney and Obama are CFR members, agents of the Rockefellers, an agent of the Crown of England. Their goal is the same, bankrupt the USA and destroy the US Constitution, and subdue the country for England. It's time for the American people to rise up and fight.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

How Soon will Gender Madness Destroy the Olympics?

It's funny how some people still make a fuss about doping in sport and regard it as cheating for an athlete to use drugs or hormones.
What triggered suspicion in the case of the Chinese swimming champion Ye Shiwen was not just the fact that Chinese swimmers have previously won gold medals by cunning concealment of their use of a chemical fix, but the fact that on the day, Shiwen swam faster than a man.
Wait a moment, what's a "man"? Why are the Olympics still divided into these archaic categories that have been abolished in modern European law?
In June 2012, the Council of Europe announced its new guidelines for definition of sex and gender. Among these, was the announcement that everyone can change their sex and nobody is compelled to identify with their sex as assigned at birth. "Gender" it seems is entirely a matter of option for the individual. So what is to stop any male athlete from competing legally in the women's category of any sport? Swimming, running, jumping or anything else. Why can't a female athlete take male hormones? Why can't a male athlete have a little op and then compete in the women's swimming?
These laws are out of date, aren't they? If sex has been abolished and gender is a matter of choice, the Olympic committee is in violation of the rules of the Council of Europe. When the rules catch up with transgender nonsense legislation, no woman will ever again stand any chance of winning any event in the Olympics.
Personally, I don't think that Shiwen looks like a man. Suggestions that her hands are rather large or her chin stubbly don't correspond to the pictures I've seen. Whether or not any Chinese athlete has used drugs, I really would not like to say, or even to imply. But then I am an old-fashioned person who thinks that a man is a man and a woman is a woman. You not only born with a sexual identity, you have one at the moment of conception. Taking artificial hormones to deceive the onlooker or having bits removed looks like a pointless sham to me, in the sporting arena - or anywhere else.


"3.2 Legal recognition of the preferred gender
Article 8 of the European Convention states that ‘‘everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence’’. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that failure of a state to alter the birth certificate of a person to the preferred gender constitutes a violation of Article 8 of the Convention.21 Member states are thus required to legally recognise the gender change of transsexual persons.
A common feature of most gender recognition procedures, if in place at all, is the combination of cumbersome legal and medical requirements, the borderlines of which are often blurred. Lengthy processes of psychological, psychiatric and physical tests are characteristic features of such procedures. Some, like genital examinations by psychiatrists, amount to non-respect of the physical integrity of the person. Often transgender people choose not to enter the official procedures at all due to discriminatory medical processes and inappropriate treatment, or due to the fact that only one course of treatment is available. They are then, in turn, denied legal recognition of their preferred gender and name, or gender reassignment treatment that fits their own wishes and personal health needs. Despite ample case law from the European Court of Human Rights in favour of recognition, legal recognition remains a challenging process for many transgender persons in the Council of Europe member states."

From https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1476365#P101_20803