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Eddie Mair | 17:57 UK time, Friday, 9 July 2010


Every night at 6pm, the PM production team gathers in a large glass box to talk about how the programme went.

THIS is your opportunity to do the same. Please leave your comment for tonight's editor Lucy Sheppard to read.


  • 1. At 6:08pm on 09 Jul 2010, Galahad wrote:

    Its very sad to see that Russia is still employing spies.

    I wonder why they didn't follow the example of those nice people in the CIA and MI6? Now that Russia is considered a friendly nation, I'm confident that the CIA and MI6 would never dream of spying on them...

    Oh look! A unicorn!

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  • 2. At 6:13pm on 09 Jul 2010, MoC wrote:

    Well done, Lucy - congratulations on surviving the madhouse :)
    My favourite comment of the programme was Eddie's repsonse to the woman who wants BBC TV on her computer in San Diego: "I'll get Michael Gove on to it right away" :)))

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  • 3. At 6:14pm on 09 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    I hope that the civil servant who actually got the list of schools so badly wrong has been fired.

    Yeah - looks like a unicorn to me...

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  • 4. At 6:17pm on 09 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Well done, Lucy - party starting on the beach.

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  • 5. At 6:26pm on 09 Jul 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    Well all this technology aside, there is one thing I do want and that's to hear the pips at the o'clock. Not a bit before the clock or a bit after depending on my technology.

    What's the point of pips if they're only as accurate as time checks on the Today programme?

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  • 6. At 6:30pm on 09 Jul 2010, MoC wrote:

    Alan_N@3 - do we know it was a civil servant's fault? I'm seeing a scenario something like ... spreadsheet on civil servant's PC, Gove's "special advisor" asks for data, looks at it, does some calculations, adds some variables (is this school in Labour constituency etc...), calculates priority list, deletes some variables, gives spreadsheet back to civil servant and tells them to produce list, Civil Servant tidies up and corrects errors on s/sheet, no proper versioning or security control on spreadsheet, list produced and discussed with Gove, Gove requests changes, advisor makes changes on his PC without error corrections, some botched combination s/sheet then emerges with incorrect data. Complaints followed by political attempts to correct. No-one is obeying proper data control rules...etc etc. I'm not saying that's what happened, just that that is what usually happens in my experience.

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  • 7. At 6:51pm on 09 Jul 2010, ClivePhoto wrote:

    I think it's about time we started a campaign to do the decent thing by DAB to have it put quietly to sleep. It doesn't work now and I can't see how it ever will.

    I've tried various DAB receivers in various parts of the country over the years and I currently have two DAB radios, of which have ever worked apart from a few rare exceptions. The rest of the time the station is "off air" or rendered in dalek-like babble in comparison with which the worst FM hiss in a poor reception area is a positive joy to listen to.

    FM works almost anywhere and frankly if it's not possible to make the DAB signal strong and reliable enough to work in the outskirts of London then what chance in more remote areas?

    When they switch off FM they will be dealing a fatal blow to radio in this country, I know I will not be a radio listener after that day.

    Surely there must be enough people out there who feel the same to make someone at the BBC see sense and stop pouring good money after bad into the Betamax size hole that is DAB?

    Money is short and should be put into things which work and which will give radio a future, not propping up the egos of faceless bureaucrats who made a bad decision and refuse to lose face by admitting their mistake. They've obviously never had to suffer an attempt to listen to BBC a radio programme on a DAB receiver.

    Let's get this campaign off the ground now!

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  • 8. At 6:54pm on 09 Jul 2010, DiY wrote:

    9.3%, yer 'aving a larf!

    I would like a 9.3% increase in my BT Broadband connection speed.
    They (BT) say it is because I live some distance from the exchange

    Utter rot, I can climb on the roof of my bungalow and see the telephone exchange, it is because the 'local loop' is made up of bits of wet string and rotting aluminium cables first provided in the 1930's!*

    Come on BT unbundle the local loop and let the competition in!

    * I know, because I was a Technical Officer with the GPO / BT for a good many years and still have my ear to the ground!

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  • 9. At 7:06pm on 09 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    7. ClivePhoto
    "Let's get this campaign off the ground now!"


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  • 10. At 7:20pm on 09 Jul 2010, cherrytree wrote:

    Was that Quentin the bloke that used to do a very hard music quiz late on a Saturday night in the very early days of Classic FM? (Sorry radio 4 to mention another station but it was a good quiz. I won a bottle of chamagne once.

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  • 11. At 7:58pm on 09 Jul 2010, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    Moaning minis?

    What's the difference between the BBC paying £Millions to their star presenters and spending £Millions pushing DAB?

    Paying stars excessively is bad, spending money pushing on a very late techmological change that offers no benefit is good?

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  • 12. At 9:39pm on 09 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    As soon as he moves the gun away from his neck the police shoot him on the grounds they thought he was about to fire on them.

    We need civilians in the situation now, to save life.

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  • 13. At 9:40pm on 09 Jul 2010, Redheylin wrote:

    If the BBC would just send a telegram to the people who really matter, to inform them when there's any news, I am sure it would be sufficient. If we want music, the vicar has a phonograph. However, please ensure that the boys have proper bicycles; I dislike this modern BMX design.

    You know - up in Serpentine Woods in Kendal they used to let off the cannon every day at one o'clock. Till the bloddy BBC came along and put a poor old bloke out of a job. Thing was, as sound takes a second to travel 1000 feet, you had to know how far you were from t'cannon. Then dad would put the sundial right. Eee. We were poor, but we were.... oh, no we weren't. But we were poor.

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  • 14. At 9:42pm on 09 Jul 2010, Redheylin wrote:

    I mean, it's worth considering: if you're, say, ten feet from your radio when you set your watch, it's going to be ten milliseconds slow, innit? That's no way to run a railway.

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  • 15. At 10:52pm on 09 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Oxbridge tosh of the day:

    Cameron. A sort of Prime Minister.

    He said he talked to a headmaster 'the other day'. (Familiar - there was tosh like it in his election campaign, do you remember? The claim panned out to Dave having met someone before he was born) The headmaster was helping implement an improvement programme for another school which was failing utterly. The project would cost 30 million. The head told Dave he, the head, could give the school such good advice and such good help that the Committee planning the improvements was completely unnecessary. He, the head, would do the job for nothing. So Dave, naturally, told that Gove cove he'd found a way of saving 30 million. So they've scrapped the quango Committee and the head is improving the school for nothing.

    This sort of tosh is courtesy of Braesnose where Dave got a first for it, taught by Bogdanov who was congratulated for his capacity to produce it at Queens.

    A wholly failing school, needing careful re-examination of the head, the deputy, departmental heads, the school's finance etc from start to finish which you'd think would need a team, can be turned round by some for-free advice from a neighbouring head.

    No need to have Free Schools then. All the failing schools can be redeemed by that twerp Dave's new best friend sending a few emails.

    'Quango? I could do a better job on my own for free' On such boasts are this farce of a government's arbitary dictatorial policies made.

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  • 16. At 01:28am on 10 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    A bad business.

    There are even worse conceits, central to the policy.

    Unpack the macro modelling and you will find that the huge increase in private sector jobs, 2.3million in five years, is CAUSED by government cuts according to the ideological assumptions of the modellers.

    Its the usual neo-classical tosh. For those ideologues government spending drives out private investment. In fact it is the private affluent spending of the rich (funded by borrowing costlessly against the equity they themselves create by their own inflation, by simple declaration, of their own assets) that drives out government spending - via the political demand for government cuts that private capital constantly makes.

    The very mechanism by which these jobs will come about given government cuts is completely wrong headed too. The theory is that firms will start up, thus creating demand via workers pay, profits etc for other firms' goods. But that whole process needs pump priming and government cuts do exactly the opposite, discouraging private sector investment.

    Some say this is just a conflict of narratives, that only time will tell.

    But the protagonists to the conflict have different aims, not just in what we should spend our money on, schools for the many or yachts for the few, but also precisely in how much employment there SHOULD be.

    For our right wing government's ideologues unemployment is good. It disciplines labour, reduces demand for the goods of competing capitals - China and India, and allows for a shift in the wage-profit bargain in favour of profit. It's the view of banksters and aristos.

    Who are exactly who are running the government now.

    So.....no need to wait, Mary Beard and others who should know better, UNemployment is the AIM of this disgraceful government's disgraceful policy.

    Sequestering the PAPER assets alone of the richest 20 per cent here would cut the National Debt by half. Putting the intergenerationally idle rich toffs and banksters to honest labour would allow us to pay off the rest with ease.

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  • 17. At 02:25am on 10 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    The government's lies about electoral reform show no relent.

    We are told lies about AV and STV. Both are amenable to strategic voting.

    STV simply crudley replicates in Parliament the pattern of argument - the different positions taken - in the country.
    If governments usurp our right, qua the people, to decide what is to be done in the light of those expressed disagreements, they become dictatorial. Indeed unless we are allowed to vote on which coalition shall form, on which compromises are to be made and which all-or-nothing risks are to be taken, we are not living in a democracy at all. But that is what this House of Commons is doing - depriving us NOW of those rights.

    Indeed, STV without those rights acknowledged and exercised by us, the voters, makes our society vulnerable to the same charges of 'irrationality' which those interested in establishing a dictatorship always raise against it. The 'irrationality' of the rest of us is of course the sine qua non of the right wing Oxbridge elite. (The notion begins with the very elitism that Oxbridge thrives on)
    Mark my words, reforming the way we vote, the House of Commons, etc, in the name of 'rationality' will lead to dictatorship unless we, the people, can exercise a richer expression of political opinion than just recording what our party or philosophical allegiance is and unless we resist the pervere 'rationality' of elitism.

    Strategic voting by us is of course one of the ways we can express that richer view.

    Paradoxically a slim hope remains for us precisely in the fact that the methods of voting, lied about by our government and proposed for reform, are, contrary to what they say, amenable to tactical voting.
    This is true of AV, STV, D'Hondt, etc, as examining the results of the European elections here, of those of elections in Northern Ireland and consideration of the logic of all such voting systems readily shows.

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  • 18. At 09:39am on 10 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Mac Enterprises! Get your cheap voting systems here! Amateur advice on hostage systems (no charge - no guarantee)! Buy one wonky political idea, get another free!

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  • 19. At 7:45pm on 10 Jul 2010, SirStarryKnight wrote:

    It's sad that the vilification of the police started even before the gunman was dead.

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  • 20. At 11:24pm on 10 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Oxbridge tosh of the day.

    The clogged mind of Nick Clegg puts his Heath Robinson miseducation to work on coalitions in the Grauniad today.

    We will no longer feel the alliegances of political belief, instead we'll have coalitions.

    At which the Grauniad did not ask the twerp what he ever will coalesce into the coaltions.

    And how exactly can we vote for coalitions, Nick, and how do you know which ones we voted for, Nick?

    In future elections with tribal Labour, tribal Tories and the motley crews, the pro-Tory and pro-Lab Lib Dems factions or parties, who from Labour and the Tories will defect to vote for either under STV? But given that Lib Dems who incline to a coalition with the Tories would prefer a Lib Dem coalition with Labour to an absolute majority of Tory members (and you know what the Tory orientated Clegg thinks of absolute majorities in Parliament), strategic voting WILL occur under STV with such separate Lib Dem factions. By Lib Dems. So, Clegg's claim that coalitions will come out of thin air is nonsense as is the Lib Dem claim that STV is strategyproof

    Without such separate Lib Dem faction (or party) lists of course we are left with the black box dictatorial model of Brtish politics Clegg espouses. 'Vote for us. We'll decide which coalition suits us!'

    The high standards set by the Failed Schools Minister, that Gove cove, were maintained by the Grauniad which backs the collusion. We were told on Saturday morning by the Clegg interviewees that, that evening, Nick and his wife would be watching Holland v. Spain.

    Given the fantasy world they live in I expect they think they did.

    Anyway, spout words like fluidity, flexibility etc and you can conveniently forget how the poor are so, because of the rich of wehom you are a part. Courtesy of a Robinson Crusoe Island view of the world.

    (Nick Clegg went to Robinson where his name appeared on the Tory Party membership lists)

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  • 21. At 11:28pm on 10 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    I am tribal Labour in Nick Cleggs typology.

    Sadly HE pursues the most unpleasant tribalism of all, the smallest narrowest and meanest sort, that of one's own family. For he advances the interests of bankers and aristos - and the interests of aristos are alway in part those of aristos dispossessed and their dispossessions

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  • 22. At 09:30am on 11 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    Your paranoia becomes worse every day, doesn't it?

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  • 23. At 09:49am on 11 Jul 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    Sorry Alan, but I feel obliged to refer you back to your own comments regarding name calling (directed toward a political party in my case).


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  • 24. At 10:17am on 11 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    Kind, but no need. I haven't forgotten them. Suggesting that someone is paranoid, even in jest, is not name calling.

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  • 25. At 11:59am on 11 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    I thought Hyde had it exactly right yesterday about the Failing Schools Minister.

    It wasn't just the administrative mess up which must have impacted like a redundancy notice.

    It is also, and will be for years, the fact that classrooms will have dangerous floors, plaster work and ceilings, the buildings bad drains and guttering and the toilets an unhygenic air.

    The areas it happened might have been penciled in, in some over-optimistic Lib Dem Con collision briefing document and so 'saved' until political realism struck. (Always a shock to this government of Concordia (complete with a Ustinov dictator with Romanoff sympathies), part PR pantomime Archie Rices, part hard nosed capitalist ideologues, part ex-expenses artistes)

    A fine governnment whose mistakes are better than its intentions.

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  • 26. At 12:17pm on 11 Jul 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    When I was at school in the 80s many of my classes were in run down cold huts and pre-fabs. School books were tatty, out-dated and shared between two, we were encouraged to replace the disintegrated covers with wrapping paper or designs of our own. On many occassions we were handed photocopies of text books which the school counldn't afford, something that would never happen in this day and age - corporations must never be made to suffer. And we were told it was all in the name of 'cuts' which we didn't understand.

    In a sense I'm glad that I don't have kids to put through such a system on the verge of return. Neither, of course, do the tories ... they may have children, they just don't put them through the system which they're intent on emasculating.

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  • 27. At 12:18pm on 11 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    25. ExpectingtheEnd
    "It is also, and will be for years, the fact that classrooms will have dangerous floors, plaster work and ceilings, the buildings bad drains and guttering and the toilets an unhygenic air. "

    You'd think Labour would have done something about all that, in 13 years, wouldn't you?

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  • 28. At 12:52pm on 11 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    If we bash the failing schools minister and this collision course of a government hard enough, will the Oxbridge toffs in the Cabinet, Lib Dems and Tories both, have a word with their friends in the Oxbridge Colleges and give a few more places to working class kids?

    So they can save capitalism, instead of destroying it, in thirty years time, just like Mervyn King did?

    The son of a BR railway clerk should have done better by the people he came from.

    But Oxbridge rots the soul. As it did, in fairness, to Gove himself, of course.

    As for the rest it merely confirmed their prejudices about themselves.

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  • 29. At 12:55pm on 11 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    28 - Mine too. Maths with Mrs Prout and French with Madam Smith, both in pre-fabs on the lawn outside the headmaster's office. Passed both. Would I have got a better mark in French had I been in a 'real' classroom? No, I would have got a better mark had I not spent all my time gazing forlornly at the girl sat next to me.

    I too remember having to put wallpaper on our textbooks to save the covers. I don't recall being offended, just peeved because that would divert my attention from said girl, albeit temporarily. Actually, decorating the text books was fun – how often were you otherwise allowed to write on a text book cover?

    We can have 10,000 brand new 'state of the art' schools, we would all just have to pay 60% in income tax. Any takers? No? OK, I guess we'll just have to live within our means then, a lesson in economics obvious to any child but seemingly lost entirely on the previous government. It is a shame that so many projects must be deferred for so long, but utter humbug for the Opposition to make political capital out of someone balancing their books.

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  • 30. At 1:06pm on 11 Jul 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    28 EtE
    I see what you say on very many posts about Oxbridge, but you focus rarely on the far greater evil in our education system ... public schools.
    At least Oxbridge is a state institution whose elitism is as much intellectual as it is class or wealth based. Its intake is certainly majority from private schools but I'd argue that the fault there lies to a large part in the existence of such schools. Working class and lower middle class kids still have a better and more egalitarian opportunity of Oxbridge entrance than they do enrolment in a fee-paying school.

    To my mind the existence of this alternative system of schooling does far more to perpetuate intergenerational unfairness and inequality; but I suppose it all depends on where you're coming from.

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  • 31. At 1:06pm on 11 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    28 - Like Mervin King you mean?

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  • 32. At 1:08pm on 11 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    30 - Good God, lucien - we are agreeing about something! ;-)

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  • 33. At 1:14pm on 11 Jul 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    32 Alan
    Only if you're for the abolition of fee paying schools.

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  • 34. At 1:18pm on 11 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    Err - No, that goes a wee bit too far for my taste. I am for the reintroduction of the state grammar school as a means to maximise opportunity for all though. Bet that deosn't get me any points!

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  • 35. At 1:30pm on 11 Jul 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    34 Grammar schools may have increased opportunity for a tiny minority. In a modern context they would work only for the pushy middle classes looking to save themselves a few quid on school fees.
    It's the many, not the few, who have been let down by our class demarcated education system and grammar schools would only amplify the unfairness.

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  • 36. At 1:54pm on 11 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    Yes and no - they have increased opportunity for a tiny minority only because the opportunity to try and get into one is not available to all. Address that problem and there might be a rather different outcome.

    Put them all in state primary school, let them all take the 11+, send the top ones to grammar school regardless of background and the, as you rightly observe above, open the doors to the Oxbridges of this world. Seems to have worked OK for that Mervin King chap and, a bit closer to home, for my dad and his brothers who were brought up in the worst area of their home town, but all passed the entry exam for the local grammar. Much to their father's disgust, I might add, who had a real working class chip on his shoulder.

    Concentrate funding for the ones that don't go to the grammar on giving them the best chance possible and directly addressing their needs instead of trying to work some experiment in social engineering that sees the full spectrum of educational and intellectual ability being sat side by side in the classroom; everyone suffers.

    Leave a door open for the late bloomer to switch horses half way through and you might just have yourself an education system that prepares everyone appropriately for the challenges that later life will bring.

    Bet it wouldn't be popular, but you never know - it might just work.

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  • 37. At 4:34pm on 11 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    30. lucien desgai
    "To my mind the existence of this alternative system of schooling does far more to perpetuate intergenerational unfairness and inequality; but I suppose it all depends on where you're coming from. "

    Spot on, lucien. What say we send everyone who went to such a school to work in the fields?

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  • 38. At 4:35pm on 11 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    34. Alan_N
    "state grammar school as a means to maximise opportunity for all"

    Doesn't work. The evidence shows that a proper comprehensive system works better for everybody (including those who would have been creamed off in a grammar school system).

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  • 39. At 4:45pm on 11 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:


    Well we've been at that experiment since the early 1970s and it seems to me like it might not be working. Evidence from employers is that levels of literacy and numeracy are (or at least seem to be) lower than they were under the 'old' system and I have some first hand experience of that.

    Time to give something else a try?

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  • 40. At 5:20pm on 11 Jul 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    38 Sid
    I don't have any problem with people who went to public school (such as Eton, Harrow or Highgate) and that clearly wasn't the point I was making.
    I was arguing that such institutions should be shut down.

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  • 41. At 5:54pm on 11 Jul 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Interesting debate on education chaps. I can't see Eton/Harrow ever being shut down but it does give pause for thought on how the system would be shaken up if steps towards that were taken.

    What's the consensus of opinion on giving youngsters IQ tests/aptitude tests and sending them to schools which best fit their ability?

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  • 42. At 5:56pm on 11 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    39. Alan_N
    "Time to give something else a try?"

    But you seem to be suggesting that we go back to a previous system which we also know didn't work. I'm not aware of any data* that shows that school-leavers are less literate and numerate now than they used to be. I do know that the job market has changed, and more literacy and numeracy is required for many jobs. This is something Prince Charles always seems to get wrong - when he complains about youngsters not being able to write a decent letter etc. What he doesn't seem to realise is that in the old days, these kids he's complaining about would have been blacking his grate or beating grouse or some such task; now they're estate agents or shop girls, and are expected to have skills that weren't needed in the past.

    *I am aware of plenty of anecdotes, of course.

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  • 43. At 5:58pm on 11 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    40. lucien desgai
    "I don't have any problem with people who went to public school (such as Eton, Harrow or Highgate) and that clearly wasn't the point I was making."

    Tongue in cheek (as I'm sure you're aware), lucien. (My tongue in my cheek, for clarity.)

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  • 44. At 5:58pm on 11 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    Wasn't that what the 11+ essentially was?

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  • 45. At 5:59pm on 11 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:


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  • 46. At 6:03pm on 11 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    44. Alan_N
    "Wasn't that what the 11+ essentially was?"

    Wasn't it what?

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  • 47. At 6:25pm on 11 Jul 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    45 Alan
    Top school for toffs - part of the Eton Group.

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  • 48. At 8:29pm on 11 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    47 - OK. Perhaps it would be more fruitful to concentrate on the vast majority of public schools that are not the Etons and Harrows of this world. Pretty much every small city has a public school.

    46 - Sid - Sorry - that to which Sue referred in the second para of 41.

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  • 49. At 8:49pm on 11 Jul 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    48 Alan
    I was just passing comment that some here complain about elitism in our top universities but choose - for their own reasons - to say little about public schools such as Highgate. In my view all public schools should expect the end.
    Nothing personal against those who attended them.

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  • 50. At 9:27pm on 11 Jul 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    I was aware that, in the UK, there was this 11+ "test" (I'm so sorry, I'm not familiar with the details) which led to a sorting of children into schools (comprehensive/secondary modern/grammar) which were best suited to their abilities. It seems like a good idea but, any time I've encountered mention of it, everyone throws their hands in the air with shock/horror at how awful it was. Lots of folk (you'll know the kind from this very blog) saying how it ruined their lives. Can't quite fathom why.

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  • 51. At 11:11pm on 11 Jul 2010, Looternite wrote:

    The 11 plus was a disgraceful way of determining the futures of our children. Anyone who suggests a return to such a system should be ashamed.

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  • 52. At 11:35pm on 11 Jul 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Lady Sue (50): I was educated during the time when all children in England were 'sorted' between the ages of 10 and 11 into either a secondary modern or grammar school. Comprehensive schools came later, as an alternative to the selective system.

    At the time, in my primary school, I sat alongside a number of children who didn't seem much different to me (although, of course, I was looking at them through the eyes of a child, not those of a teacher). Certainly, they all seemed to have plenty to offer the world and themselves, or at least as much or as little as did I. One day (or perhaps it was over a few days, I don't remember) we sat down in our school hall and did a number of aptitude tests. Somebody somewhere marked those tests and drew a line through the results at a point which suited the education system. That line defined the educational experience for the next five to seven years for all of those children who had sat in that hall and who, prior to that, had worked together in a classroom in relative harmony.

    Now, of course, we were used to being 'ranked' in our exams - first in English, third in Arithmetic, or whatever - but this 11+ was a different kettle of fish.

    My best friend didn't fall the right side of the line - although I would say that she had superior intellectual skills, at least during her adolescence, than I did, and despite her having a father who taught at the local boys' grammar school. She went to the local secondary modern school, found herself to be a fish out of water, lost a great deal of her intellectual curiosity, and suffered rather than enjoyed the five years she spent there. Of course (I hear some of you cry) she had a 'second chance' in the 13+, but after two years at her school, she decided that she'd have too much ground to make up at a grammar school, thus lacking the appetite to grasp the straw.

    It would be completely wrong to say that all secondary modern schools were inept or didn't provide a good educational experience for their children, but the inflexibility of the grammar versus secondary modern system led to a great many injustices. Similarly, there were children who passed the 11+ and who found the atmosphere and 'offer' of a grammar school to be wrong for them.

    The comprehensive system was conceived to overcome these problems. I'm not sure that it is entirely successful, but it certainly delivers a better deal for the majority of children than that of the selective system. As a teacher, I would have a preference for a system which allows, from around Year 9 (that's children of approximately 13+) for choices to be made, according to inclination and ability, between academic and technical subjects, or a mixture of the two. I see no reason why this shouldn't be possible, and why it shouldn't happen on the same campus.

    There is a lot of debate about the size of comprehensives. The size is in part determined by the potential to provide good facilities for the students. I have no problem with this. Structures within a school can create good community spirit - whether by adopting a House system, or having a good Year system, for example. I worked in a school with 2000 pupils for several years, then at a school with only 700 pupils. I preferred the former, it actually felt much more friendly and purposeful than the latter, but that was because the larger school had a good structure and excellent atmosphere both within and between the staff and students.

    Anyway, I hope these personal observations may be of interest to you as I know you weren't educated in the UK.

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  • 53. At 11:56pm on 11 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    There's a private argument going on on the Furrowed Brow which anyone can join in as to what Nick Clegg should have done after May 6th.

    Except that it is couched in terms of his approaches to PARTIES.

    In this the debate is wholly misconceived.

    He should have appealed directly to us, the people, and argued that Parliament from the point of view of voting percentages was wholly hung, and was, too, by a whisker, from the point of view of seats.

    He should have said that PARLIAMENT should introduce AV there and then and a new General Election be held on its basis.

    That done, a matter of a month would have done it, we, the people, could decide which coalition we wanted.

    As it is the silly man went from pillar to post, from punch to judy, Leader Tweedle to Leader Dum and back, like the elitist he is, professing democratic credentials.

    Voters, not parties or leaders at that stage, Clegg! God almighty, how we pay for a drunken Oxbridge miseducation!

    A Parliament de facto hung needs the opinion of the people which coalition, if any, should form, not the opinion of party leaders in smoke filled rooms where they should take more tobacco with it.

    The actual negotiations cannot have been about trying to understand what we the people wanted.

    We would have told them by the two step process of AV followed by a new General Election.

    Instead a duumvirate emmerged from the oligarchical triumvirate of the three leaders of parties. We, the people, ignored completely in the process, know the one leader oligarchy is emerging. Inevitably.

    (The advantage of AV is that Lib Dems can't be misrepresentational under its rules. It would have done them and us good for them to fight an election under those circumstances)

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  • 54. At 00:31am on 12 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    I'll try to post something on the role of Oxbridge-privileged schools using Joshua Rosenburg and Vivian White as examples. I've tried a couple of times already but get referred, ld. The Mods agreed with you to the extent that what I said they thought 'potentially libellous'

    Still, third time lucky.

    As for the 9 Clarenden Schools and their sister schools, etc etc, etc, etc, I do regularly point out how conveniently they collect together the idle young of the intergenrationally idle rich in each town at aged 16. Just the right age for them to be directed to proper jobs. For the next fifty years if necessary.

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  • 55. At 00:47am on 12 Jul 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    54 EtE
    I was making the case that private education is intrinsically wrong, not just because it provides a feeder system for Oxbridge. I have more respect for a comprehensive school kid who gains Oxbridge entry than for a public school kid who doesn't.
    Attendance at public school is a far more reliable indicator of class privilege and wealth than is admittance to Oxford or Cambridge.

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  • 56. At 08:31am on 12 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    1965: The creation of Britain's comprehensive education system begins with the publication of 'Circular 10/65'.

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  • 57. At 08:44am on 12 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    52 - Big Sis - You could be describing the school I was lucky enough to go to. Children from across the ability spectrum each valued for what he or she could do. Streaming for all academic subjects, a very wide choice of technical subjects from which to choose and the whole thing based on a very strong 'House' structure. The argument I now hear around that school is that there is too much streaming, that it is divisive and that it labels children as failures etc. It sometimes seems to me that some people won't be happy until there is mediocrity for all.

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  • 58. At 09:57am on 12 Jul 2010, Looternite wrote:

    52. Big Sister

    Thanks for your description of your experiance of the 11+.

    As I have said before ,and been disbelieved, I never sat the 11+ because the headmaster considered me not to be grammar school material. Perhaps it was my secondhand clothes, scuffed shoes and scabby knees.
    Now as it happens I know other bright people who went to Secondary Modern school and it seems that depending on the local county provision the % of kids who made the pass mark varied year by year and county by county.
    Grammar schools had a fixed intake and when they were full all the rest were off to Secondary Modern. The class sizes of Sec. Mods. would expand or contract according the numbers that year.

    Now as it happens the 11+ also descriminated against girls because if you test children at 10 girls outshine boys by a large degree. Yet counties would have less (fewer, whatever) places for girls than boys.
    I have been told by people in the know that the 11+ papers were sorted into separate piles for boys and girls. So you were not only a bright child but you as a girl had an additional hurdle and had to be brighter still.

    The only way for grammer schools not to be majority girls was for some sorting out the results on a sexist basis.

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  • 59. At 11:29am on 12 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    58. Looternite
    "Now as it happens the 11+ also descriminated against girls because if you test children at 10 girls outshine boys by a large degree. Yet counties would have less (fewer, whatever) places for girls than boys."

    I think you're right about discrimination - but they didn't have fewer places. There were the same number of places, but because girls did better, their pass mark was higher.

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  • 60. At 11:45am on 12 Jul 2010, Looternite wrote:

    59. Sid
    I am assured that during the 50s, Girls grammar school places were fewer that the provision for boys in many counties. As the post war provision was based on prewar assumptions. It was not untill the dawning of the 60s that school building was accerated. This was to accomodate the "baby boomers".

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  • 61. At 1:25pm on 12 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Anybody follow the octopus with a multiplier bet?

    Two Four Six Eight
    Ich bin Octopus the Great.

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  • 62. At 1:35pm on 12 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Hey, did you see the Spanish team getting a fullish frisk from security at the airport last night - still in their winning strip?

    Nidal didn't get stopped when ran up towards the Royal Box when he won Wimbledon a couple of years ago.

    Must be because Wimbledon is SO posh

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  • 63. At 1:43pm on 12 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Like I said, check the local news for the truth about government cuts.

    In Walsall, according to Nick Owen of BBC Regional News, a school there due for demolition and rebuild is now on hold.

    The failing Schools Secretary has put this one on hold for three weeks.

    Are there mistakes in that list of holds too?

    Is it marmite Martin Cain's school, there? If so, could you interview him, he'd make great radio?

    The region's building industry expects double decimation shrinkage in the face of governement cut backs on rebuilds and refurbs.

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  • 64. At 2:58pm on 12 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    With all this NHS spending becoming local, we need big community health centres like those designed by Lubetkin in the 30's.

    A suggestion:

    The extraordinary arts and crafts St Davids Hotel in Harlech is currently experiencing pro-demolition vandalism.

    With a swimming pool and solarium 'space', 5 storeys, with a nipper there and back bus to towncentrew service for the elderly, infirm and overburdened, with its ideal siting for solar and wind powering, this could be Lubetkin + Games



    At Grade 2* it would have all exterior surfaces preserved and interiors like a Poirot set.

    We'd love it here.

    Harlech suffers in many ways out of season.

    I think the place (the hotel) is big enough for a floor of community leisure facilities from creches to gammes rooms to weight training to tea and bun drop in clubs to.....

    I think the palce is small enough (the town) to do without another set of summer only occupancy flats.

    The whole coast has enough of 'Now you see you see us with our dosh, now you don't' in any language ,already.

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  • 65. At 3:15pm on 12 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    "In 2009 East Durham & Houghall Community_College, based in Peterlee, named its theatre after Lubetkin in honour of the vision he had for the town. The Lubetkin Theatre was officially opened by his daughter Sasha Lubetkin on 5th October 2009. At the opening Sasha Lubetkin said: “I’m immensely proud that this beautiful theatre has been named after my father and that his work is remembered in spite of the brutal way it ended. He had such dreams for Peterlee, he wanted to turn it into the miners capital of the world. His respect and admiration of the miners made him want to create something really special that didn’t exist anywhere else but unfortunately that wasn’t possible.""

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  • 66. At 3:17pm on 12 Jul 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Big Sis, thanks for your explanation. What you suggest instead of an 11+ sounds like what I thought the 11+ was before your explanation.

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  • 67. At 00:25am on 13 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    54, 55, well, at least I'm allowed to mention Joshua and Vivian (since 54 is back from modland).

    That wasn't your referal, was it?

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  • 68. At 00:51am on 13 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    67. Ld, I forgot to offer you my congratulations on your characterisation of the Lib Dem Vichys. Brilliant.

    Also to reiterate my thanks to you for pointing up an error in one of my FB posts.

    Since so many want me to analyse only AV and narrow STV that's all I do these days (but have a dig at d'Hondt occasionally).
    I've got something with the Mods at the mo'. (70, this FB)

    It models preferences as opposed, for Tories and Labour (if you're a Tory it's Lib Dem next and Labour last for you, and the opposite if you're Labour) and anything possible for Lib Dems (Tories or Labour second or third)

    I show if the Lib Dems offer themselves as two factional lists, it pays them to misrepresent under AV, for reasonable (assumed) percentages in the vote.

    'Course if they declare a coalitional intention as a whole, then again, for reasonable percentages, it pays one faction to misrepresent.

    'Course if they stand as a Lib Dem, whole without any declaration about coalitional intention, they're back to their dictatorial elitist ways - Vichy to the Tory Petains.

    Anyway I'd value your comments as soon as it gets back from Modland.

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  • 69. At 09:31am on 13 Jul 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    68 EtE
    I'm flattered that you're interested in my opinion but all those posts about electoral reform go way above my head. I'll have to leave you and Sid to fight that one out I'm afraid.

    ps. I havent't complained about any of your posts since I last told you (some time ago) that I'd done so.

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