Voice’s Old Susannah takes a look over the past week’s events in the ‘Deen and beyond. By Suzanne Kelly.
Tally Ho! Happy New Year!
I trust everyone is happily settling down to the 9-5 routine after having time off for the holidays. The sales continue, despite dire warnings that the city council has to build something to save the retail market. Amazing.
Over the holidays I took a little walk around the Menie Estate; the friendly security guards patrolled in unmarked white vans. Someone seems to have planted gorse on a footpath or two, and the beautiful entrance gates have been decorated with a rusted-shut padlock and a few boulders.
Having sealed this gate to the parking lot, the area is further made inviting by more sand and dirt piled up on the sides of the gate, topped with dying squares of loose turf.
Mountain goats will have no problem going around the sides of this gate.
But don’t worry: Aberdeenshire’s Access Officers have been working on improving the situation. Since last March. I’d hate for them to feel embarrassed into enforcing the laws they are paid to enforce. For that matter, the bunds still remain in place; no doubt the council will want to save itself further embarrassment and get this situation rectified sooner rather than later.
As much as I admire the boundary/pushing spirit that BrewDog embodies, I’ll be happy if they can stay away from a new beer fad emerging from whaling –happy Iceland. I’m sure no one will have anything to do with Brugghús Steðja who have decided to make whales into beer. This is apparently been marked as ‘beer for real Vikings’. I personally think it is beer for real %!£$(@ #!!^&$£ “£$&*£”!# s, but there you go. While most of the rest of the world is trying to eliminate unnecessary cruelty, there are still some nations happy to make a go of making money out of it.
I’ll stick to my BrewDog, many thanks. BrewDog have in the past used a small number of road kill animals for taxidermy; I wasn’t mad about it – but no animals were killed deliberately. Companies like Stedja are probably why I’ve gone vegetarian again. By the way, congratulations to the makers behind excellent documentary ‘Blackfish’ about the cruelties of Sealand towards orcas and other creatures – they’ve been nominated for a BAFTA.
One of the more charming stories over the holidays was the discovery of mice, wasps and bedbugs in Aberdeen’s schools. I guess this puts the schools on a par with the local hospitals. With recent stories in the news about the state of our schools, dodgy teachers, educational league tables, vocational education and so on dominating local and national news lately, it’s time for some timely definitions.
Left Wing Academics: (modern Eng. phrase; plural noun) Educators with political views less conservative than the views of the ruling Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition government.
Perhaps home schooling is the only way forward for caring parents who would shield their children from what Michael Gove , Secretary for Education calls ‘Left Wing Academics.’ These sinister figures may tell your children to question authority, and to question the accuracy of what they are given to read. Remember, if something is in print, then it is true – just pick up a copy of the latest Press & Journal, and you’ll be ahead of the class for the latest factual information.
No, the class structure and the elite had no part in the War to end All War
We need to be careful what sort of revisionist ideas are being circulated, and Gove has bravely stood up to left-wing entertainer, Sir Tony Robinson. This left-winger has been involved in archaeology which can lead to an interest in history. If that weren’t left enough, Robinson is an actor who appeared in an anti-war satire.
You won’t have heard of the little-known Blackadder comedy television franchise, but one of its series suggested that World War I might have been in some ways flawed. Gove says: left-wing academics:
“were using Blackadder “to feed myths” about World War One.”
Our education supremo went on to display his grasp of history and command of the language as he explained:-
“The conflict has, for many, been seen through the fictional prism of dramas such as Oh, What a Lovely War!, The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder, as a misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite.
“Even to this day there are left-wing academics all too happy to feed those myths.”
No, the class structure and the elite had no part in the War to end All Wars, which was the crowning achievement of military strategy. The shooting of shell-shocked, mentally distressed deserters ordered by officers had no class struggle in it at all. Perhaps there were one or two little military awkward moments like Gallipoli, the Allied defeat at the Dardanelles and all those front line attacks , but a google search on ‘World War 1 blunders’ only got me 949,000 results. One of the websites had a very left wing slant indeed:
“In Britain alone one third of the male population were casualties. We should learn from these costly mistakes of history so that we will not make similar errors.” http://hornherald.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/military-mistakes-of-world-war-1-part-2.html
That kind of talk is no way to get the next generation ready to sign up for the next war, is it?
Robinson told left wing media news agency the BBC:
“I think Mr Gove has just made a very silly mistake; it’s not that Blackadder teaches children the First World War. When imaginative teachers bring it in, it’s simply another teaching tool; they probably take them over to Flanders to have a look at the sights out there, have them marching around the playground, read the poems of Wilfred Owen to them. And one of the things that they’ll do is show them Blackadder.
“And I think to make this mistake, to categorise teachers who would introduce something like Blackadder as left-wing and introducing left-wing propaganda is very, very unhelpful. And I think it’s particularly unhelpful and irresponsible for a minister in charge of education.”
Gove’s people countered:
“Michael thinks it is important not to denigrate the patriotism, honour and courage demonstrated by ordinary British soldiers in the First World War.”
These men both unselfishly do all they can to help their spouse’s careers
So there you have it. On one side, an uneducated, demented man known for his silly clowning around and being the jester to his superior. And on the other side you have Sir Tony Robinson.
So, keep your children away from those left-wing academics. And to help you do so, thankfully we have the wise words of Sir Ian Wood.
Footnote on Family Values:
There is a similarity between P&J editor Damian Bates and Michael Gove that I’ll briefly mention in passing. These men both unselfishly do all they can to help their spouse’s careers, and if that isn’t love, then what is? We have seen the factual pieces in the P&J extolling the virtues of Mrs Sarah Malone-Bates’ employer Donald Trump – world’s greatest golf course, world’s biggest sand dunes (well, it’s written on a plaque Trump designed, so it must be true), and a restaurant rated 6/6.
Then we come to Mr Gove’s devotion to Mrs Gove. In testament to her rapier-like wit, she’s been given a newspaper column to write (nothing to do with her husband’s position of course). She’s such an independent, honest woman that she writes under her maiden name, Sarah Vine. This is like the modesty Sarah Malone shows, working for Trump not as Mrs Bates, but as Sarah Malone. Sarah started a wee company to help the rest of us look as beautiful as she does; and conveniently on Facebook, it has a link to a government Department of Work & Pensions.
According to the Mirror:
“The Department for Work and Pensions’ Facebook page includes a link to Get the Gloss under a post advising how to “dress for success”.
Get the Gloss was co-founded by the Tory Education Secretary’s beauty journalist wife Sarah Vine. It offers products such as Creme de la Mer serum at £230 and Gypsy Water perfume at £130. The website’s beauty expert Judy Johnson also shares her words of wisdom on the Facebook page.
“The first impression you make with a potential employer is the most important one.”
“Make sure your eyes look perky so you don’t look all sleepy – people will hire you more if you look awake! (A good night’s sleep usually helps or a good under eye concealer).”
Labour’s Teresa Pearce expressed surprise that the DWP was suggesting people on jobseeker’s allowance of £71.70 a week could afford such items and accused ministers of being “patronising” and demeaning”.
“It is a cheap marketing ploy designed to exploit female body insecurities and the anxieties of those seeking work to make a quick profit.
“The reason so many people are unemployed is the lack of available work and not because they need pricey beauty products. Having ‘perky’ eyes won’t change that.” http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/michael-gove-wife-sarahs-beauty-2999455
I wonder if these two power couples, the Mr Bates and the Goves shouldn’t get together?
Want to know what kind of educated citizen is valued and rewarded by Sir Ian? Old Susannah is happy to oblige.
Honorary Doctorate: (Eng. compound noun) A person whose achievements are so considerable that an institution of higher education confers a diploma on them without their having attended courses.
Think of successful businessmen, model citizens, virile hunters of African game and if you don’t first swoon with admiration you think first of Donald Trump. More accurately, Donald Trump, Doctor of Business Administration (Hon DBA).
Sir Ian, who will be chairing a committee to shape your children’s future, is of course Chancellor of RGU. He conferred this title on the deserving Donald.
Mr Trump’s behaviour in north-east Scotland has been deplorable
Alas! Not all were happy. One disgruntled academic returned his degree to RGU. Dr Kennedy had probably been jealous; Trump had earned lots of money and didn’t therefore have to go through the usual hard work of getting a degree. Kennedy, who is probably some kind of left wing academic like Sir Tony Robinson said at the time:
“Mr Trump is simply not a suitable person to be given an honorary degree and he should not be held up as an example of how to conduct business.
“Mr Trump’s behaviour in north-east Scotland has been deplorable from the first, particularly in how he has treated his neighbours.”
Sounds like envy to me.
Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce: (Scottish Government Quango) – Body created one year ago by central government, chaired by Sir Ian Wood “tasked with bringing forward a range of recommendations designed to improve young people’s transition into employment”.
Let’s face it, the real purposes of education are to learn how to pass tests and to learn how to do some task that will make you money. It’s wonderful that Sir Ian Wood will be passing on all of his ethics, philosophical, architectural and cultural skills to upcoming generations. If we stick to vocational education and business studies, we’ll have a better society. I’m sure Sir Ian means to also call for more young minds to study philosophy, ethics, environmental protection, fine and performing arts – but it seems he’s not got round to that yet.
There is coincidentally a skills shortage in the oil industry: this means that you have to pay people more than if you train lots of people up to do specific energy industry jobs. We need to train people how to do manual labour. We also need to train people how to look for tax loopholes. For those of you interested in the vocational training they want to roll out from an early age to your children (presumably there is more time for this now that music, sports and arts have been cut back), here are some details.
Some final thoughts on education:
There are still some people out there who think that the purpose of a good education should be to let children explore all of the arts and sciences and then let them decide where their talents and interests take them.
there are many different views and no religion can claim superiority
There are some who think there is value in learning a musical instrument, in learning how to play, and enjoy physical activity. Still others believe that if you teach a child how to use logic so they know how to frame an argument, weigh up facts for themselves and reach conclusions, you make them better, more informed citizens.
Others believe that the environment and nature should be experienced first hand and studied (perhaps this would have helped the police in the borders who mistook skinned roe deer they found for badgers. NB – I hope the poachers will be caught, but alas, they never seem to be).
Some people believe that studying art and nature will lead to creativity and a sense of aesthetics (I’d like to know where the granite web’s architects studied form and aesthetics).
There are proponents of comparative religious studies, so people can realise that there are many different views and no religion can claim superiority. Some believe that if you teach children about history, they may learn from the mistakes and triumphs of those who came before and learn about their own culture and therefore identity (I wonder where the property developers and obliging Central Government Reporter who will allow building on the fields by Culloden studied history?).
There are those who feel if girls learnt about the struggles women made in the recent past to be able to vote, to own property and to study, they would be empowered (and then there is the Taliban, who had teenager Malala shot in the head for going to school). And there are even those who believe children studying all of these arts and sciences with the tools of logic and philosophy engrained would build a better, gentler, happier, cleaner world.
Thankfully, all that nonsense will soon be gone when upcoming generations are taught how to make money and hang the rest.
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