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Thursday 12 November 2009

Verity Murphy | 18:29 UK time, Thursday, 12 November 2009

Here is what is coming up on the programme:

Gordon Brown has delivered what had been billed as his first big speech on immigration, in which he acknowledged concerns about immigration and promised to beef up the UK's rules.

He specifically pledged to tighten up the points-based system for determining which migrants can work in Britain, offering work visas to people in occupations where there are shortages, but not to others.

But does the points-based system work in practice? Tonight, Richard Watson reveals new evidence of failures in the student work visa system, which leave it open to widespread fraud.

Also, the US ambassador in Kabul has thrown a hand-grenade into the White House's deliberations over the proposed troop surge for Afghanistan.

In a leaked cable, Karl Eikenberry said President Hamid Karzai's government should first prove it would tackle corruption.

Mark Urban reports tonight on how President Barack Obama will navigate his way through all this conflicting advice, and where this leaves the US and UK military strategies.

Plus, in times gone past the kings of Kabul would send their envoys to the city's only roundabout to find out what the ordinary people thought.

Lyse Doucet has been to the Sar-e Chowk roundabout to test the temperature as they did.

And we've sent our own envoy, Michael Crick, to take the temperature in Glasgow North East where voters are going to the polls to elect a new MP for the seat vacated by Speaker Michael Martin.

Join us tonight at 10.30pm on BBC Two.


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.


  • Comment number 2.


    Politicians have a convenient belief that immigrants from ex-colonies, where we imposed our tongue as their first language, imported as cheap labour, de facto, SPEAK ENGLISH. Being fools and knaves, they either do not know, or do not wish to know, that empathic CARING requires COMMUNICATION above all else, with intuition (a cultural skill) a close second. MANGLISH SPEAKERS 'need not apply' and should not be in post.

    As our population gets older and medicine (coupled with law that insists we rot slowly) keeps us alive longer, COMMERCIAL CARE is staffed by a high proportion of MANGLISH SPEAKERS.

    To those extolling immigration, and lovable Manglish speakers, I offer the opportunity to come and sit with me, in my brother's Care Home room. He will not walk another mile; shoes no longer valid - you can lie an hour in his bed - metaphorically. Forget the streets of London (where Manglish is now the lingua franca I'm told) I WILL SHOW YOU SOMETHING TO HELP YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND. But I am in no doubt it will not register on the Westminster mind.

  • Comment number 3.

    Tackling Corruption in Afghanistan;

    Yet another example of missing the point; the idea of western democracy has taken hundreds of years to develop, yet corruption exists still in western democracies; has anyone asked Berlusconi/Medvedev/Speaker Bercow to prove that they will tackle corruption as a quid pro quo for a seat at the table of democratic nations?

    Afghan-style corruption, eg rigging elections, buying off enemies, paying to jump the queue, have only officially disappeared from our political landscape in the last hundred years and unofficially, well, who knows?

    Following the argument, why is Karzai allowed to be President when evidence of election rigging in his favour was uncovered?

    Democracy will not be brought to Afghanistan by helicopter in the next few weeks; urging Karzai to battle corruption will bring a collective bemused shrug of the shoulders and an equally bemused,"OK",from both him and his supporters - and life in Afghanistan will continue the way it has been for centuries.

    NATO focus needs to be on Pakistan, a nuclear power; if the boys in the black turbans find out where the nukes are, Crete will not be far enough.

    Immigration; rules, rules and more rules, increasingly ineptly enforced; the Gordi answer to most things.

    What is the problem with immigration anyway? What is it that makes HMG so fearful of this issue?

    Is immigration a votewinner/loser?

    If so, why?

  • Comment number 4.


    While he could boom and dazzle, with oratory and rhetoric, he truly was MAGIC OBAMA. Now the sweat is running under the curtain and his wand has rolled out of sight. I told you so.

  • Comment number 5.

    look at the people promoting carbon trading

    Sir John Parker, chairman of Anglo American and National Grid

    James Smith, Shell UK chairman

    meanwhile the bean counters say

    ...There is concern that auditors currently have no uniform understanding of how to consider carbon emission reporting.

    “If one Big Four firm was to audit in one way and another in another way, there could be some real discrepancies,” Wielgus added....

    so are these ceos of energy companies concerned about carbon because

    1. they believe in it.
    2 they are given free carbon credits they can sell and make lots of money from nothing?

    the carbon trading is a tax on existence. it merely gives the appearance that something is being done while a small number make mega money in a huge wealth transfer from poor to rich.

    and which firms dominate the carbon exchanges? that take a cut from every carbon trade. and what of the fees to trade carbon? why are they astronomical compared to everything else that is traded?

    given the spooks tend to put their retirees into energy companies boardrooms we must assume the carbon trading is 'good' spin is coming from the top?

    who benefits? its not the climate or the people.

  • Comment number 6.

    The phlegm problem;

    Barriesigleton has complained, I think, about the quality of the form of English - Manglish I think he called it - spoken by workers at a relative's care home.

    Imagine someone born and raised in Swansea being hospitalised in Fazakerley, or GOD forbid, Crick gets whacked at the Springburn lights and ends up in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. Manglish - I'll give you Manglish, lad.

    Maybe barriesingleton's point is that said workers are foreign; taking jobs from British workers? Working for the minimum wage?

    Where were you when the minimum wage was introduced by Blair at such a ridiculously low level that he needn't have bothered?

    Any protest from the unions? Any protest from the public? Any revolt from backbenchers?

  • Comment number 7.


    "Tonight, Richard Watson reveals new evidence of failures in the student work visa system, which leave it open to widespread fraud."

    In Britain, there are so many SUBTLE frauds (e.g. companies who have a policy of defaulting on payment terms, all too often bringing down viable supply-companies and rubbish mail-order goods with high p&p relying on customer inhibition/inertia from returns.) Then there are all the stunts that Supermarkets pull on the gullible (probably including me).

    Time and again, I call for a mental health check on this country. Oliver James has spelled it out. As a nation, we are miserable, angry, nihilistic and wretched, relying on vile 'entertainment' and a wide range of drugs, to stagger through 'life'. No wonder Postman Prat fired Nutt. Westminster governance has not the wit to BEGIN to tackle the rot at home - perhaps that explains the need to invade foreign lands screaming "DANGER"?

  • Comment number 8.

    7. barrie

    in a court of law there is no official scientific test that can prove anyone is normal.

    which given a court of law is a wigs gowns and britches 18th century role gaming theme park might be just as well?

  • Comment number 9.

    i see the govt is talking about the john lewis model for public services. which makes a change from the usual market fundamentalism. is this the new third way?

    its much better than the cameron 'lets use charities' as state agents. given that report in africa where this practice is widespread it was shown the charities have become more powerful than the governments. they became the new political force. instead of asking politicians to get something done they turn to the bishops or charity administrators because they see them as the people with the real power. the people give their loyalty to whoever supplies them with services. any govt that does not becomes irrelevant. Look at how the Maoists won over the nepalese people through providing health and eduction services.

    the people turn to those who deliver if they are elected or not.

  • Comment number 10.

    Funny you should mention Medvedev. I've learned from a Polish website that he's announced sweeping reforms in Russia, including precisely tackling corruption which is very widely spread at all levels over there. He calls for law to be tough on those committing frauds, regardless of the institution they represent, etc and apparently there have been hundreds if not thousands cases already presented in courts on this account.
    You can find more info about it on Wikio although I haven't read it myself due to lack of time.
    There seems to be another progressive politician in the Russian Government currently, i.e. Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister.
    So it looks like significant attempts are being made in Russia to break off from the KGB style governance, etc

  • Comment number 11.


    Don't start me off. Some police force, featured today on Radio, have decided to REGARD all oppression, on grounds of difference, as hate crime; not just the usual stuff. As you may know I admitted to innate 'differencism' way back, and invited the self-aware to join me.

    Of course (:o) differencism, being an animal reaction; and courts being 'cerebral' to an anal degree (necessary if they are not to address UNDERLYING factors of crime and jst tidy the bad away) the mismatch is stark. (Setting aside the known fact that attractive = acquittal while ugly = guilty - the animal sneaking in) I gather women jurors are less hard on rapists than the men. But I am not going to muse on THAT!

    True Justice - in light of the mind-bending culture we have brewed in Britain - would require a total re-work of ethos, structure, personnel and rehabilitatory effort, to what we have now. No chance.

  • Comment number 12.

  • Comment number 13.

    #2 Barrie I now use your word Manglish all the time, everyone knows exactly what I mean. Having, like you, experienced the health and care services I've a very good understanding of your view. It's all very well for Kashy to get irate about it, but he must be a young kid, who hasn't ancient relatives who can't understand this new language. I also know of an Alzheimers care home, where the carers mainly speak Urdu, so no communication with the english residents. Even the few english carers there are, are also addressed in Urdu, now what on earth must the residents make of it all?!

  • Comment number 14.


    Appreciated Lizzy. I DO bleed.

    Brown has espoused the devious Westminster ploy of defending that which has not been attacked - in this case his non-INTENTION to offend Mrs Janes.

    Whilst my brother becomes agitated and rude when he cannot understand, I make a point of laughing (as a clown) with the Manglish speakers, out of john’s hearing, and respond with idiomatic idiosyncrasies that THEY, in turn, are stumped by. I direct my SPLEEN to the fool/knave politicians.

    My sanity must be preserved at all cost! (:o)

  • Comment number 15.

    Points Based System - Missing the point!

    "It was introduced without proper consultation of the very communities that were going to be affected. They're just worried about numbers. The problem is with illegal immigration. The way they're dealing with it is trying to stop legal immigration", in the words of Keith Vaz MP.

    A UK Border Agency spokesperson said: "Our Australian-style points based system does not prevent overseas doctors the health service needs from coming to the UK.
    "Foreign doctors can come here to work through Tier 1, which is for highly skilled migrants, or Tier 2, which is for skilled migrants. Students coming to the UK to study medicine can come in under Tier 4.
    "The points based system means only those we need can come here to work. It is also flexible so that we can raise or lower the bar according to the needs of the labour market and the country as a whole.
    "Overseas doctors who meet the criteria will be welcomed.
    "The Migration Advisory Committee has also recognised shortages in a number of specialities and their advice has been accepted by the government."

    I have been working as a surgeon in the NHS since 2005, and I'm facing deportation, as I have "not provided evidence that I am able to maintain myself without recourse to public funds", as the UKBA puts it, regardless of the fact that I have frequently worked 24 hour shifts to fill in gaps in service due to staff shortages, have earned and saved enough money to purchase a 5 bedroom property and just in December 2008, I paid around 8k in taxes!

    The NHS trust has clearly spelled out to the UKBA that service provision and patient care will suffer adversely if I was to be deported, as it would be highly unlikely that a suitable replacement will be available at short notice, if at al - UKBA consistently ignores this and I am now fighting a very expensive, long drawn out legal battle.

    Valuable resources and the tax payers money is being exhausted in such a way to chase hard working, law abiding highly skilled migrants, who continue to contribute tremendously to the system, and all this time, those who come to Britain purely to sponge the generous system are left unchecked!

  • Comment number 16.

    disgrace to the family who put statement against the students and stabbed on students back . remember that this students are also tax payer as others and u r benifit dose come from them .

  • Comment number 17.

    Yet again another top notch edition of Newsnight, particularly Jeremy's debate on immigration with Phil Woolas & Damien Green (he was even invited back personally by Jeremy next week!) plus an informative report by Richard Watson on bogus student visas. A lively debate with Kurt Volker, and hillarious report by Michael on the Glasgow elections. The funniest of the evening was Jeremy telling Michael he kept getting his political predictions wrong (for the third time no less :p) before asking him who would be likely to win the seat in Glasgow.

    @ #10 Mim - I just read your posts on yesterday's blog - I have to recommend you read "Fish,Fishing & The Meaning of Life," and "Through the Volcanos" by Jeremy if you haven't read them already. Loved "The Political Animal" and "The English" too(that subsequently became a set 'A' Level Text). I'd also recommend "A Higher Form of Killing" and "Friends in High Places, Who Runs Britain" by Jeremy and I also loved "On Royalty" too :o)

    Oh and here's Jeremy reciting "Dulce et Decorum Est" from his Wilfred Owen documentary:

    It's a pity the entire documentary is unavailable online (source:

  • Comment number 18.

    @ #15 - Good luck with the immigration appeal Fahad! The immigration authority seems to be in disarray, as dodgy elements are allowed into the country and allowed to stay, yet the genuine ones are being deported. What happened to their "Human Rights," or does that only apply to the dodgy?

    We have a shortage of doctors in the UK (there aren't enough British/EU trained ones) so why are the British public being denied medics? Where is the sense in deporting these people?

  • Comment number 19.

    #14 Brownian Movement or is that also a Motion/.

    This is one of my biggest confrontations with the the scientific political everything establishment. I reported to Tayside police on 27th October 2006 that the UK would suffer catastrophic flooding on or after 9th December 2006. (Cheshire police already knew this would occur in 2002). It's OK blog dogs everything is documented, referenced and evidenced to QED

    Tayside police decided they would do nothing about it. On 13th December Tayside and Scotland suffered catastrophic flooding. The pattern spread across the rest of the UK killing 13 people and causing £5 billion in damage in 2007.

    The establishment will not accept such 'unknown chaotic' events can be predicted.

    Smoke particles may be unpredictable in their movement. But if the classroom door is left ajar and a window open, the current and end can be determined as a whole.

    You cannot predict where people will go, where they will drink, what films they will watch. But if they are on a plane or cruise liner, they will end up in New York if that is where the captain is taking them.

    There is a narrow self feeding paradigm of established science/politics/media/economics bubble that refuses to let in other paradigm challenging ideas. In so doing it is taking us in the pursuit of narrow vanity and ego to our deaths.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 20.

    New U.S. word, today: "deliberative". Don't expect to wait too long for the U.K. media to slavishly adopt it.

  • Comment number 21.

    why is it that the immigration report ONLY mentioned people coming from the indian sub-continent when talking about persons over staying the visas, strange but the stats reveal a very different picture and australians and south africans rank highest this because they are white??? heaven forbid. anyway my licence fee cheque is in the post, so why doesn't the newsround ..sorry newsnight team have a drink on me. good old auntie as patriotic as ever. "rule britannia etc.."

  • Comment number 22.

    As I've said earlier, I have read all of Jeremy's books, including the Volcano one, apart from 'A Higher Form of Killing' which at some stage I'd like to read as well but for the moment prefer to contemplate the meaning of the title. Besides I have a few other books on my table to read or finish, amongst them Alain de Botton's 'The Consolations of Philosopy', 'A Week at the Airport' and 'The Art of Travel', Barack Obama's 'Dreams from my Father, and 'Rapture' by Carol Ann Duffy.
    Otherwise, I'm keen on continuing having more direct exchanges with Jeremy, like the one last night at the 'Tate' and he would always get priority if there was a clash with another meeting/event with anybody else.

    It's very kind of you to have got back in touch with me again and I shall find the u-tube clip in a few moments. I think it will be the first time for me to see Jeremy reciting a poem.

    The bits I liked best in tonight's programme were the one concerning Obama's forthcoming decision about how to progress in Afghanistan in cooperation with NATO, etc, and the one with Michael Crick propped up in the window, being honest and funny at the same time about his own and Newsnight's failings in getting things right.

    It was also good to see Damien Green in the studio with Jeremy but I'm afraid I do have objections to certain manipulative 'game' elements attached to that discussion which I shall not describe in detail.

  • Comment number 23.

    There is a chick whose name is not Crick
    Who on a trip's planning to go
    He says Florida for him would do
    So, bon voyage, Winnie the Pooh.

  • Comment number 24.


    Shaun Woodward was well briefed by the Labour damage limitation team.
    On Question Time, he mentioned Brown's 'shyness' (inserted into his news conference with as much seamlessness as that smile) and then went on to defend Brown from having 'meant to offend' (also used by Brown) of which no one has accused him.

    The other damage limitation ploy is, of course, 'poor Brown he can't see. I have covered this previously in terms of his avid reading, but let's return to the thick black writing. Online is his letter to Nadine Dorries, written with a felt tip so splayed that the writing is all 'filled in'. If he wrote a note to himself, assuming poor eyesight, HE COULD NOT DECIPHER IT!

    Time and again, the politicians get together and agree 'a line for public release'. But when they ALL use the same words and phrases, the single origin is manifest. Can there REALLY be a majority of fools among the general public? Or are politicians exceptionally stupid. Both are depressingly possible.

  • Comment number 25.

    With the world laden by global conflicts with the biggest currently waiting for firm decisions on how the international community should try and deal with, i.e. the conflict in Afghanistan, please may I be allowed to post the following rhymed musings to lighten things up a bit?:

    Miss Match and her Niece on a world tour

    There is a catch to mighty Miss Match
    While on a world tour went she

    Seeking some peace and taking her niece
    First went off to café 'Caprice'

    Coffee had she and coffee had she
    Which they enjoyed with ponderous glee

    To ponder they liked over ice-cream
    Weaving a web of subconscious stream

    What happened next? Just wait and see
    The author first needs to go for a pee.

    Coffee for lunch and coffee for tea
    Each day they had with usual glee.

    Miss Mighty Struck by Bowel Invasion

    Miss Mighty hoped to go on a world tour
    But her insides are feeling too poor
    To contemplate such a great task
    With any man wearing a mask.

    In fact, Miss Mighty would be quite happy
    Never to go on a world tour
    And stay in London helping the poor
    With a few trips to Poland clapping

    For her commitment to where she was born
    Making connections instead being torn
    By disagreements caused by her crutch
    And be with her man were his wish such.

    There is a catch to Mighty Miss Match
    Who's never gone on a world tour
    But still frequents café 'Caprice’
    Wearing her Queen's blue coloured fleece.

    P.S. I have never really dreamt of going on a world tour. Sure, it would be nice and exciting but I am truly not bothered whether I do or whether I don't. There are much more important priorities in one's life than going on world tours. And anyway, these days, with all the info available at a drop of a hat, one feels as if one was permanently on a world tour. Well, at least that's how I feel.

  • Comment number 26.

    "why are the British public being denied medics?"

    why are the British public and their offspring being denied access to an education that would enable them to undertake medical training in their own country to serve the needs of fellow countrymen?

    I don't accept the TFR argument because we don't need that many top professionals. It is simply cheaper to import than to educate; same as it is cheaper to install call centres abroad.

    I've taught enough post16 students to know that there is potential in this country that is not being tapped, incentivised, resourced or encouraged. I've also taught a fair few postgrad overseas students with remarkable qualifications who couldn't calculate a percentage. As a teacher, even if you spot an able pupil, it is virtually impossible in the state 16-19 system to help that pupil achieve their potential because the system requires that teachers 'get grades' out of kids that don't have any real aptitude for academic study. Hence the educational energy is diverted into achieving say 10 low grades at the expense of one or two pupils who could excel if given enough attention. Bums on seats = college income but not quality of outcome. The students who do survive state 16-19 education and go on to top professions, more or less always come from well-resourced homes with supplementary tuition provided in one form or another. Many kids simply do not have access to a quiet space in the home in which to study and, importantly, to retain as a study area instead of having to move books in and out of rooms as tables etc. are required for other purposes.

    The situation in education is, I believe, also the result of 'feminisation' - education runs around female-dominated quasi-professions in administration and welfare. There is barely any time nor money left for teaching once all the equality hoops and very poorly designed data gathering/attendance monitoring has been gone through.

  • Comment number 27.

    5 "the carbon trading is a tax on existence. it merely gives the appearance that something is being done while a small number make mega money in a huge wealth transfer from poor to rich."

    I know, and right under our bloomin' carbon-based noses! It beggars belief doesn't it?

    And, that is why I believe it is counter-productive to bang on about corruption or decadence in the west. Tit for tat arguments are distracting from the real issue that should concern everyone east and west who does not have a finger in the stock market.

  • Comment number 28.

    I went to Florida,
    There were eggs for breakfast, scrambled with finely diced fresh red and green peppers, with bacon, freshly fried hash browns and a pile a foot high of thick sweet pancakes dripping with butter.
    For tea there was Taco Bell - mmmmm! coming soon to Europe, hurray!

  • Comment number 29.

    26 see, administration, 'order', has become the means for IT companies to 'generate wealth', like hunger and longevity have to the pharmaceutical companies. It is these large conglomerates that will be messing with the valency of carbon, carbon derivatives and carbon hedges. Can't wait for the trickle-down!

  • Comment number 30.

    from Madam Mim on a globally important issue:

    Oh, what a Pole!
    A journey through time

    There lived once upon a time Copernicus
    His first name being Mikolaj rather than Marcus.
    He made the whole world for us go round
    Revealing spheres we know now abound.

    Wouldn't you say Copernicus was bright
    Bringing space workings for us to light?
    On mysteries hitherto in cauldrons hid
    Lifting the lid, that's what he did.

    Turning the earth flat into a globe
    As now accepted human abode.
    And so we float in the universe here
    Producing pearls like those of Shakespeare.

    With astronomy as only a pastime
    Would he have with it tasted some chime wine?
    Spurning his thoughts on – revealing the matter.
    Surely he knew to keep free of clutter.

    As one of the really & truly Renaissance band,
    He once led the army in defence of the land.

    Mathematician, physician, polyglot and scholar,
    Catholic cleric, translator and jurist.
    Governor, economist, diplomat and artist,
    Though best known now as spheres' cathartist.

    One thing Copernicus was not all that keen on
    Was astrology so popular with divinists’ fawn.
    Not that sort of star movement Copernicus was for
    Fated to lead us from cauldrons ashore.

    He sounds like a clever and brave man to boot.
    Would he now vote with his left or the opposite foot?

  • Comment number 31.

    And to complete the picture of my journeys through time and space tinged with 'down memory lane', is the following:

    Marie Curie Skłodowska & My Uncle Dionizy
    In Memory Of

    Another Pole that reached the pole
    Of new discoveries making
    Was Marie Curie, you know,
    She was the other Pole.

    Reaching for heights until unknown,
    Though on a different scale,
    First she discovered element 'polonium'
    Following on with now well known 'radium'.

    For those she got two Nobel Prizes
    Never previously achieved by none.
    Her daughter also later got one
    As did her in-law son.

    She made a gift of it to Poles,
    Never forgetting her roots.
    My uncle it was who saved the gift
    By hiding it from the Nazi boots.

    His name was Dyzio Zuberbier,
    Murdered in Katyn, you know.
    He worked on cancer wanting to cure
    People afflicted by stuff impure.

    Dyzio – diminutive of Dionizy

    9 August 2009 5/6 am

  • Comment number 32.


    the noise to signal ratio of your posts is tedious for those who are interested in news. i'm sure there is a correct place for such stuff. do us a favour and put it in the right place.

    it may help to know the poetic form is not suitable for some forms of motivation or energy. poetry is the best medium for the energy that comes from love and praise. anything lower [like political motivations, vanity etc] just comes across turgid and dry.

  • Comment number 33.

    This sounds like good news, but is it Roger?

  • Comment number 34.

    #15 Fahad, I find it strange that you have been here working for 4 years and now they want you to leave. Is the UKBA confusing you with someone else? Did you have a visa to stay for a certain time? Good lord fancy managing to buy a large house in that time. Also your tax bill is only slightly lower than a large proportion of people earn in this country (£12,000pa). You have obviously contributed to our society, but do you feel a tiny little bit guilty about leaving your country of origin where they must need highly skilled people like you? I know I feel ashamed that we take the brightest and best away from poorer countries, it still smacks of colonialism to me. I often wonder where all our trained surgeons and doctors go to, as under Nulabour we are supposed to have trained thousands more.

  • Comment number 35.

    #16 haque it is not a disgrace for people living here to voice their opinion. You are entitled to say that you find it a disgrace, they are entitled to say that they find there is manipulation of the student visa, if they have found it so. Why do you think it so offensive? And students, if working, are in very low paid jobs so pay the minimal amount of tax.

  • Comment number 36.

    barrie #24

    "Can there REALLY be a majority of fools among the general public?"

    Barrie, I give you... Go1.

    Nuff said?

  • Comment number 37.

    #26 wappaho I agree entirely with your post. My daughter is a teacher, and has often said the few bright kids are ignored. And I agree about the well sourced homes and encourage from same. It really is a struggle for a bright kid to stay focused, they need all the encouragement they can get. And I completely agree on the getting grades statement, some kids are just not academic, so why put them through this charade.

    Many years ago a teacher said to me, that less able children were being encouraged to have false expectations, they were told they wouldn't have to do working class jobs, but be high flyers. A completely false premise, as they didn't have the ability to do that.

  • Comment number 38.

    Nos 32

    jauntycyclist - poetry expert - everyone

    'it may help to know'

  • Comment number 39.

    #21 rani I don't feel the report only mentioned Indian people, but I do agree that there are a lot of American, Australian, and South African people here. They seem to pop up on TV all the time as heads of companies and spokespersons. I don't understand that really, unless it reflects all our companies are foreign owned. We don't seem to be capable of much these days!

    good old auntie as patriotic as ever. "rule britannia etc.."

    eerrr you are living in Britain, what else would you expect! ; )

    Oh and I don't worry about colour, I worry about our culture disappearing and being extremely overcrowded. I'm not used to that.

  • Comment number 40.


    As a foot-note on the Manglish problem: part of buying a new car, in 2009, is '7 days free insurance'. My son just phoned to say he has arranged the insurance with a lady, half way round the world, whose command of English seemed excellent but whose delivery left much to be desired. Even with the facility of a 35 year old, he said he had to "strain every synapse" to complete the exercise. No doubt our politicians would regard this as a 'price worth paying' for 'prosperity' in these islands. The related care-home point is already made.

  • Comment number 41.

  • Comment number 42.

    #40 Barrie I had a man from Africa cold call me yesterday, asking me if my new Sky box was working well.

    I told him I don't have one, and never will. And put the phone down.

    Footnote: I remember Dennis Potter calling his cancer Rupert!

  • Comment number 43.


    Well they weren't destroyed around my family, if they could get their hands on the silk. My aunt made a wedding dress with some, and I remember various baby dresses as well. : )

  • Comment number 44.


    Apparently Tito is back in favour in 'Yugoslavia'. Some suggestion that he kept a tight lid on OVERT - PUBLIC - INYERFACE - expression of DIFFERENCE. What was all that about then? It has been fine since hasn't it; and look how well Britain is doing multiculturally. The man was, clearly, a racist, homophobic bigot.

    I'll get me coat.

    PS Did Tito secretly found the BNP?

  • Comment number 45.

    Nos 41

    'Comments are interesting, although sound a bit BNPish!'

    Well you would know wouldn't you.

  • Comment number 46.


    Those whom the Sods wish to destroy, they first cold call. At this point the tabloids would ask: "Is cold calling the last taboo?"

    If only Newsnight would pick an occasional forum-poster, of proven marbles and cogency, to confront, one-to-one, Straw, Balls, Brown (the list goes on). I think the cry 'no one was available' would soon go up.
    There is such an overt erosion of simple decency (presumably in the name of GNP) as to be indefensible. Let these Westminster Weasels be met with individuals from OUTSIDE THE LIE, and brought to proper account.

    Oh why do I bother!

  • Comment number 47.


    "44. At 09:42am on 13 Nov 2009, you wrote:
    This comment has been referred to the moderators. Explain."

    1/ Tito is dead

    2/ All comment was Irony

  • Comment number 48.

    "the noise to signal ratio"

    made me laugh!

  • Comment number 49.

    Nos 46 and others

    'of proven marbles and cogency'

    Would you be thinking of yourself and your blog pal Jaded_Jean
    on that one ?

    From another angle why shouldn't those who have lost their marbles be on Newsnight questioning others who have clearly lost their marbles ?

    fairs fair.

    With regards to cold calling from outside the UK the Information Commissioner is the agency to inform about this :

    Its probably your phone company who is doing it. After I have any issue with mine that meant calling them cold calling outside the UK would happen straight away and continue for weeks. It is very unacceptable.

  • Comment number 50.


    Good to see you back commenting on poetry, cold calling and taking others to task!


  • Comment number 51.

    PAY ATTENTION 007 (#49)

    "Would you be thinking of yourself and your blog pal Jaded_Jean
    on that one ?"

    Oh dear. I had hoped my credo had declared itself by now SPB. For the avoidance of doubt: by putting up the suggestion, I ruled myself out, and had no one specific in mind. It's an old English nicety . . .

    Hopefully, the right person would emerge - cometh the hour.

    Anyway, I am not good at confrontation with scoundrels.

  • Comment number 52.

    Barrie - would you like to live in an Amish-style community?

    I don't think decency was ever simple. Ideologies are not innate. I watched a prog about Beouwolf last night which interestingly made the point that the pagan ideology of the poem speaks of a greater sense of decency in pre-christian times. Even so, the decency, or remnants of, in our society are directly descended from the purposeful culture of the protestant gentry and its transmogrification into the haute bourgeoisie.

    You like to fly the flag for natural differences and yet you ignore the natural tendency for humans to adopt a leader. Most people have a high desire to conform. I've mentioned before the book Settlers, Warriors, Nomads by Terence Watts. I'm sure you'd enjoy it. You're a Warrior through and through, staring grey eyes? head sqaure on? stands and observes? makes firm decisions and stands by them? and the poetry is your Nomad element but poetry also has a long association with war and can provide journeys of the mind to substitute for real travel. Van men are the Nomads of our society.

    Humans are not made for communal/individual living. All societies have had leaders if only the chief and shaman. If the monarchy goes it will be replaced by presidential-celebrity-corruption. The miracle of the British monarchy is that it performs a very stabilising function. It is no more than a highly paid job no different from highly paid banking or lowly paid trades.

  • Comment number 53.


    I don't know how some of the others can look their children in the eye!? I did make this point quite a long time ago now /before my blogging participation/ with some, i.e. the noble ones, taking note while others, well, we can see and hear what's going on.

    Mr Singleton's defending himself now while only 2 hours ago was still talking about the necessity of sraining every synapse for the wellbeing of the UK. A joke or what?


  • Comment number 54.

    #33 Ecolizzy

    Well yes and no it is only the rate of destruction which has (temporarily?) slowed. One problem with the rainforest is the attempt to include it in 'carbon only' audits and trading.

    This is the equivalent of determining the value of a persons life by cremating them, and then seeing what they could sell their ashes for as garden fertilizer.

    The forest are undervalued in the market system, so they are susceptible to destruction. Life is cheap.

    Try listening very carefully to what politicians say. eg Ed Miliband on this weeks Newsnight. Notice what ever they talk about has to be referenced back to how good it will be for the economy. We need education-to contribute to the economy. We need carbon trading-for the benefit of the economy.

    Nothing has a value anymore in it's own right. Everything has to be taken in terms of reference to it's contribution to the economy.

    Have to be careful not to take over the blog by turning it into a specialist applied planetary management forum.

    Celtic Lion
    Applied Planetary Engineering

  • Comment number 55.


    while troops die in afghanistan to make 'the streets of britain safe' a real defence in depth of 'the uk streets' would include a serious immigration system. Not waiving people through because people can't be bothered and assume everyone else has done checks?

    mass immigration suits the socialist internationalism destruction nihilist philosophy ['imagine there's no country'] and those seeking cheap labour.

    given the amount of money taken out of the uk economy and 'sent home' the increase in immigration will lead to even more money leaving the uk economy thus reducing the circulating money multiplier effect.


    as a recent video posted here showed the taliban is a tool of pakistan foreign policy. so we are fighting pakistans foreign policy.

    the kabul roundabout

    so under karzai govt corruption people reduced to poverty are given the choice of 'either joining the taliban or crime'? which is a kind of roundabout ?

  • Comment number 56.

    My word, haven't you all been busy...........


    #4 BS
    A triumph of style over substance?

    Right person, wrong time? or just plain wrong wrong wrong?

  • Comment number 57.

    Just reading this:

    And it does occur to one that it might have helped to specify which war, fought by whom.

    All things considered.

  • Comment number 58.

    WHAT'S IN A NAME? (#52)

    If I read you 'correctly' Wappaho, your post sets out to improve me, or at least direct me towards improvement. When I encounter such an aim, I first wonder (defensively) about the make-up of my improver. Where better to start than what appears to be your self-chosen name?

    I still use the name SMARTART here and there. It is a composite of 'smart' and 'artisan' as I enjoy both intellectual pursuits and hand-eye disciplines. I would love to know how 'Wappaho' came to be.

    The points you seem to be raising, I feel I have addressed over many metres of thread, and I DO repeat myself frequently. (:o) How much you have read, I can't know.

    i know little of the Amish so can't comment there. My problem with leaders is that they are chosen by manipulated donkeys with universal suffrage; I have no problem with leadership.

    I take the view that decency 'emerges' when minds are whole and quiescent. Our culture is driving steadily away from individual competence while freeing the individual to behave badly.

    Are not the most, stable, content countries, in these latitudes, ex monarchies? Without a 'control' British republic - or whatever, can one be sure the monarch is achieving anything?

  • Comment number 59.

    #57 Junkkmale

    Absolutely mad article. This is the problem with the tosh the media allow to dominate popular culture so false beliefs become embedded.

    Why have we these stupid terms such as fight and war. We don't need to fight or make war on climate change. We need to car and look after the planet. We need to respect all life.

    Artificial trees/. Another stupid example of the moneyterisation of life. So we pay someone to make artificial tress, using resources and energy. Why. What is wrong with real trees. Apart from the don't cost anything and no one makes a profit, which is good for the economy.

    I would very much doubt that any 'mechanical tree' could match the efficiency of real trees in the assimilation of CO2 given a proper and full audit. There has been a few 100 million years in improving the design.

    Celtic Lion
    Applied Planetary Engineering

  • Comment number 60.

    #26 Wappaho

    ‘....there is potential in this country that is not being tapped, incentivised, resourced or encouraged.’

    Absolutely. I may not totally agree with you or Ecolizzy #37 on the reasons.

    Teachers ALL think themselves special. A 'cultural' issue of vast proportion. MOST have seldom ventured out with the incestuous cocoon of educational establishment since they were 4 years old.

    As in every profession there are some (let’s take a nice round figure of 10%) who are excellent. Highly principled, wonderful communicators, inspirational, dedicated, motivators and mentors. If you’re lucky about 10% of them will continue to deliver those classroom skills despite the best efforts of the establishment, for anything up to 40 years. The rest, disillusioned or trapped into the management option for self ‘betterment’.

    Then there are probably another at least 10% who are CARP and should have their negative and damaging influence removed from our young people forthwith.

    Then there is the other 70 - 80%, scattered along a graph who have good intentions, reasonable skills and try to do their best but without either the leadership, incentive or self motivation within the system to help them achieve more. They will either leave the job through dissatisfaction or stress or plod on becoming less and less effective despite their intentions.

    Coincidentally, this is about the same percentages as apply to the pupil mix in my experience as an impartial observer from both within and without the system.

    • The Top 5 -10 % OFTEN do get plenty of support and encouragement largely BECAUSE
    a) They come from high achieving focused supportive (or pushy) families
    b) The school perceives a benefit from swanking Oxbridge acceptances and other high viz accolades.
    • The lowest 5 – 10% get ‘offered’ huge amounts of support. I would like to find the figures but an inordinately large % of resources, both teaching, social support, school facilities, examination support and more is spent on this group, many of whom, at this stage in their lives at least, have no desire or ability to make much use of it.
    • The poor ess o dees in the middle are the ones who struggle for attention, to have their latent ability spotted and nurtured.

    Root and branch reform of what we teach (in schools – NOT home or nursery) how we teach, who teaches and how we test is required.

    TOO much of pupil testing is to feed into league tables which then create their own problems of parents cheating to gain access to the ‘best’ schools. More of the testing is actually designed to test the teachers. Sadly, this function is a complete and utter waste of time because unless a teacher is found to be grossly negligent or have been accused of meddling with pupils, they have a job for life. And is it fair to stress the student in order to test the teacher?

    ‘....The situation in education is, I believe, also the result of 'feminisation' - education runs around female-dominated quasi-professions in administration and welfare’

    Not entirely sure of your meaning here, but if it is that too many teaching posts are taken up by females using it as a stop gap, or convenient child rearing supportive environment, then I am with you. I could relate a long and sorry story how for 4 years a senior female teacher took maternity leave, which resulted in disruption of an entire English department every term as she left, came back, left came back again, mid term, mid examination study. 8 temporary staff moves were required to accommodate her ‘leave’ and in one year alone the standard grade English class was taught by no less than 16 (YES 16) different supply teachers. Guess what the results were like that year? Guess who got ‘blamed’? Yep. The STUPID kids.

    As for any result (academic) at any cost.... As a senior invigilator I was frankly appalled again at the resources poured into getting a child with NO ability or interest who scarcely attended school to sit in front of an examination paper, with all manner of ‘special allowances’ in order to scrape a pass. One was delivered from police cells into my ‘custody’ for the privilege of allocating THREE paid staff members to his supervision and assistance, one to take him on a ciggie break every 20 minutes. Part of the reason for such ‘diligence’ is that, beyond a certain point, a no show is deemed a failed exam and adversely affects a schools overall results.


  • Comment number 61.

    wappaho is the freedom of the plains and the safety of the mountains. not to mention the love of a good horse :)

  • Comment number 62.

  • Comment number 63.


    Saw this and thought of you.......

    Massive jobs ad at MLURI in todays P & J

  • Comment number 64.

    60 wow.

  • Comment number 65.


    Construction and exposition excellent BYT. I would only add, the unaddressed problem of 'naturals', in any particular subject, becoming teachers of that subject with NO INKLING of why 'non-naturals' struggle.

    In passing: my fundamental beef is with school itself - school is no more 'education' than our governance is democratic. As I post - ad nauseam - R D Laing wrote, in 1974: "A child born today, has a ten times greater chance of entering a mental institution than a university. Perhaps it is the way we are educating them that is driving them mad."

  • Comment number 66.

    WHAT'S IN A NAME 2 (With emphasis on 'IN' #61

    "wappaho is the freedom of the plains and the safety of the mountains. not to mention the love of a good horse :)"

    I sort of guessed that, but a trawl of the internet leaves me no wiser.

    Might you expand a little on the choice?

  • Comment number 67.

    #36 newfazermk2

    ""Can there REALLY be a majority of fools among the general public?"

    Barrie, I give you... Go1."

    In searching for a post that I believed was from you (RAF grandfather) I came across some old stuff in 2008 on a Paul Mason blogg "A slump in confidence in policymakers?".

    Your "wit" extended to phrases like "Holocaust Schmolocaust", the threat of legal action, explaining to threnodio ( a Jew who had lost relatives to the Nazis) that the statistics showed it could not have happened and so on.

    Yet Nuremburg still stands and you are your pal Jaded_Jean have no intention of overturning its findings or the trials of Nazi war criminals.

    On genetics I am content with the science that was put forward in "The Incredible Human Journey" and the Channel 4 series including "Race and Intelligence" by Rageh Omar.

    I assume with your profound understanding you will be complaining to Ofcom as you have said before that the BBC "fooled me" with the Incredible Human Journey? Probably not huh!

    Best of all I laughed at the "far right la-la history" proposed by jaded_Jean.

    For instance:

    'The German National Socialist party was a LEFT wing SOCIALIST party which practiced central planning, strictly regulated business and despised speculators. If anything the 'goose-steppers' would have been wearing Obama-Biden buttons.

    Hitler was in fact very like Roosevelt and Stalin. That these three ever went to war with each other (or Cold War in the case of Stalin and Truman) had far more to do with those who were pulling Roosevelt's strings, and even, possibly, Stalin's at the time.'

    In case you don't get the mind set these chumps are trying to say that the Jews made the war and then had the allies make up the Holocaust "to put people off statists" - though according to jaded_jean the allies were statists and were just like Hitler!

    I don't recall Roosevelt murdering millions of civilians.

    So long as the public see what the far right are like before the next general election there will be no problem as they are not fools - sadly for you.

  • Comment number 68.

    #60 BYT That was a very interesting post, you appear to know an awful lot about schools and teaching, it all rang very true to me. Yes I think you're right about the middling children, they do get ignored, especially if a quiet personality, and well behaved.

    Yes you are right about maternity leave, offices seem to have the same problem, but there it's not a childs education that is ruined.

    And I do find the older teachers are just whiling away the time, until retirement, and won't rock the boat in any way! They seem detached from teaching and probably mentally exhausted, they've seen so much change and counter change within education, they must hold their hands up in horror.

  • Comment number 69.

    #58 barriesingleton

    "If I read you 'correctly' Wappaho, your post sets out to improve me, or at least direct me towards improvement. When I encounter such an aim, I first wonder (defensively) about the make-up of my improver."

    All anybody has to wonder about with you is how you would happily subscribe to the National Socialist views of your pals Newfazer and Jaded_Jean. Hitler was a "peace lover", those that criticize him are "anarchists and Trotskyites", there is a Jewish hegemony, a need for race "realism", a desire for eugenics and to replace the freedoms of democracy with National Socialist tyranny?

    I always assume there is in fact a hierarchy and the latter posters are "uber-posters" and you merely the clowning "unter-poster" to boost the awe that we are supposed to feel for the "uber-posters". It doesn't work actually.

    Good luck to wappaho but I think when they are that far gone let them go - but make sure they don't infect others with their rabid mindset.

  • Comment number 70.

    #65 BS

    Just my 'non professional poorly educated observations.

    '... "A child born today, has a ten times greater chance of entering a mental institution than a university.'

    Except we don't have 'mental institutions' anymore. Or do we?
    A curse on both your houses for starters

    '.... the unaddressed problem of 'naturals', in any particular subject, becoming teachers of that subject with NO INKLING of why 'non-naturals' struggle.'

    Not perhaps your meaning exactly, but again my experience shows that it does not NATURALLY follow that someone gifted in a particular field/subject is similarly gifted to teach it.

    Too many senior teachers (£60k p.a. +) also delight in undertaking menial administrative tasks that could and should be undertaken by ........ Ummmmmm......... Administrators (circa £20k p.a.) because they mistakenly think that they are better placed to undertake ALL tasks within a school, even that of the janitor, by dint of their 'professional' status.

    Almost to a man they have no concept of 'right person right job', or delegation and the way non 'professionals' in a school environment are treated by many teaching staff is beyond the pale.

    Few understood my hidden meaning behind the Tree analogy when I presented Prize giving. I perhaps slightly abused my privelege there, but they asked me three times to preside over the event, so have only themselves to blame. My many discussions with the head cook and the head janitor left me with much more respect for them and their influence within the school than I had for a number of the 'professional' staff.

    Thankfully, both of my offspring appear thus far to have shrugged off the failures of the system, though neither without a certain cynicism towards it. I admit to, on occasion feeling guilty at having failed my children in some way by trusting in the overall value of the system and the services for perhaps a little too long.

    And so young.........

  • Comment number 71.


    Gordo, and his various mouthpieces (Shaun Woodward on QT last night) quote the alleged reduction in net immigration brought about by the points system. Apart from the use of weazel words such as 'NET immigration' and 'a reduction in the RATE of increase' to hide the real impact of the continued flood of immigration, a description of the points system might be helpful (openness and transparency anybody?).

    Having won 3 Immigration Appeals against Student Visa Refusals for training in NVQ2/3 in Health & Social Care, I am aware that a Tier 4 Student visa requires the award of 40 points. These points do not require an interview of the student (on-line application in many non-EU countries) or any individual evaluation and grading of each applicant's suitability. The 40 points 'awarded' consist of:-
    30 points - for a letter of acceptance from a registered school; and
    10 points - for proof of adequate funds for fees and maintenance.
    (Why not just state these two criteria rather than an attempt to imply an individual evaluation in points?)
    The 10 points require a bank statement from the student applicant showing enough to cover the fares, fees and maintenance of £600/month (£800 for London)and must have been in the bank at least 28 days before application. Obviously, most must rely on sponsors to deposit these substantial amounts, and I have often asked why sponsors are not subject to more scrutiny.
    This 'points system' for students naturaly resulted in a rash of schools anxious to get the fees (Deposit £500 non-refundable + approx £2400 per study year).
    I visited several and found minimum facilities for study (18 hours a week by law, but many accept 1 day/week) and the school should provide a maximum of 20 hours appropriate workplace attachment(care homes).
    My visits indicated that many schools seem to be owned/managed/staffed by those who were once themselves immigrants (entrepreneurs?).
    Too little and too late thousands of such 'schools' were closed down. Subsequently, many schools can no longer place students in work experience, whilst others have been 'temporarily suspended' usually because they were accepting too many 'students'.
    Last year's police raids found that several 'students' had rarely or never attended the 'schools' and it is obvious that neither the schools nor most employers bother to check whether their 'students' are working more than the 20 hour/week maximum; naturally the minimum wage is an incentive to employ students, often not bothering with normal contract requirements such as overtime rates; and some students use 2 employers, thus obtaining 40 hours of work.
    The effect on 'British Jobs for British Workers' is obvious. Which may leave some questioning why I, as an indignant indegene, win immigration appeals and bring 'foreign' immigrants here. The simple answer is that if you can't beat a system then might as well lay back, think of England (as I once knew it) and enjoy it. My efforts to improve the life of three relatives is a drop in the ocean engulfing this nation's culture.

  • Comment number 72.

    #49 Good lord street you're helping me...
    With regards to cold calling from outside the UK the Information Commissioner is the agency to inform about this :

    Its probably your phone company who is doing it. After I have any issue with mine that meant calling them cold calling outside the UK would happen straight away and continue for weeks. It is very unacceptable.

    When you imagine that I'm a fully paid up nazi member of the BNP!!!!!!!

    I wish you'd read more carefully, and actually understand what I'm saying! I thought my posts were pretty simple and easy to read, I'm not that intellectual. But you still seem to love pouring insults on me.

  • Comment number 73.


    MY P & J headline on this today quotes ‘outrage at 46 BBC......’

    Not entirely sure who is outraged, or why. Is it that this is ‘public’ money? Likewise the PM and MP’s salaries/expenses. Or is that they think it not well spent because they don’t like the outcome/output?
    Frankly, I am MORE outraged that:

    a) Thousands of merchant bankers (oh yes, really) who merely move imaginary money round the world between the rich and the super rich are paid tens of times more than an engineer who actually designs or MAKES something that MIGHT just contribute to the BRITISH economy.

    b) Wanna be lip synchers, ball kickers tv presenters are paid tens of times more than a nurse or a fireman.

    And I could go on.

  • Comment number 74.

    Nos 72

    'Don't flatter yourself'

    I was thinking of all the thousands of others who are getting hit on.

    BTW your support of / for Jaded_Jean is well documented on here for all to see. No need to read more clearly.

  • Comment number 75.


    Rather than apply your strangely haphazard 'moderation', which seems to let through the most immoderate, while nit-picking certain words and references, why not engage a psychologist to drop a few pertinent posts into these threads? There is such a matrix of locked horns now (not always mutual) that I feel (subtle) third party intervention is called for. This would free up the fury-bound to move on and apply undoubted intellect to issues of the day.

  • Comment number 76.

    # 73 Brightyangthing - this might be lost on those contributors not living in the north-east of Scotalnd, but it does my heart good to see a link in theis blog to the mighty P&J - a regional paper which has also been called "the Two minutes silence" (I'm sure you can work out why). I was getting fed up with the normal links to lightweight publications like the Times and Telegraph!

    Perhaps it is an urban myth but the story is that the headline in the P&J on the day after the Titanic sank was "North-east man lost at sea". That is either parochialism or local journalism at its finest.

  • Comment number 77.

    # 60 Brightyangthing - on a more serious note, this is consistent with my thoughts on private education as compared with comprehensive education. My view is that private education provides little in the way of advantage to those at the very top (who are highly motivated anyway) and those at the very bottom (who frankly won't get it anyway) but does provide a big advantage to those in the middle. They get the attention and encoyuragement in private schools which they would not get in the state system. My father-in-law who was an average pupil at a private school almost half a century ago agrees; maybe not much has really changed.

  • Comment number 78.

    #74 Street Are we voting for takings sides now, that is extremely childish, it smacks of the playground to me. One day I agree with one poster another day another, it depends on what is being discussed, I don't need favourites. Or perhaps you are the censor on the board, who as you have such good taste, know what is right and honourable, and yet like to insult at every turn. I've never noticed anyone else do it without a valid arguement, but you Mim and Go1 seem to have the monopoly on it.

  • Comment number 79.

    Ecolizzy #68

    If anything I write resonates I am pleased. I am no expert, just a critical observer with SOME experience, as a student until the age of 17, a parent raising two children though what, some 15+ years after my own experience appeared to be an alien environment and having worked and volunteered with both primary and secondary schools over some 8 or 9 years.

    Another area I find an appallingly mis managed in Education is the ability for teachers to up and change jobs mid term/mid year. Again I have first hand experience of a schools senior management and PT’s (Principal Teachers) system being disrupted for almost a year because a Rector was appointed to a new post in April, leaving in end June and the post NOT being advertised until September, closing date December, final appointment not until the following March/April BECAUSE the Ed Dept believe that they should ensure EVERY teacher in the western world should have an opportunity to apply for post regardless of being on holiday etc. So they delay. Meanwhile school shifts people around into ‘Acting’ heads, deputes, PT’s and again a steady flow through of supply teachers, many of whom are good but it’s the lack of continuity that disrupts the end product way too much.

    With the exception of health or unavoidable family issues, teaching staff should PNLY be able to move jobs within the annual longest (currently) summer holidays and sits vac/interviews/appointments managed within that remit. It would cut down enormously on admin and hours devoted to interview because a whole raft of potential appointees could be considered for a umber of possible positions within a region/county at the same time.

    Unfortunately, the people running the local ed departments are almost all ex teachers, either retired, on long term secondment or shifted sideways out of the classroom (sometimes thankfully) into middle management, who see their needs before those of their customer.

  • Comment number 80.

    #70 BYT Except we don't have 'mental institutions' anymore. Or do we?

    I believe they're called prisons these days, I've read 80 per cent of prisoners have a mental health or personality disorder.

  • Comment number 81.

    As you should remember from quite a few of my previous posts I have been at pains to 'accommodate you' within my world and have tried to extend my heart to you. I know it sounds a bit crass or whatever but this fact is undeniable. That is how I truly felt.
    Now, what I feel Gango, Street, The Bright One /although there is something strange going on here/ and I have in common is a degree of common sense and humanity, elements I fear which seem to be lacking in most of the other regular bloggers. It's all a game of who's going to get at who, who's going to inflict more pain and eager eyes following the torturous 'enterprises' watching with gleeful joy.
    Luckily, most young people have not reached that stage and I hope they are not being made fully aware of what's going on as parts of their hearts may become indefinitely damaged.

  • Comment number 82.

    A hen said to a snake
    'Please may I also partake?'
    The snake being generous by nature
    Agreed to the greedy hen's venture.

    There is a snag, though, to this sordid story
    The hen couldn't make it while the snake lives in great glory.

    my name is mim

  • Comment number 83.

  • Comment number 84.

    Please go to Wednesday blog for a message.

  • Comment number 85.

    ecolizzy, I had paid £8000 in ONE month in tax, my tax bill for the year is massive. You'd think someone contributing that much would be considered as helping the economy.
    Also, I had been saving with HM Treasury's backed Premium Bonds, essentially investing with the government, which allowed my bank balance to dip below the £800 "maintenance" limit. They have failed to consider the fact that I had £30,000 saved in Premium Bonds. "Bonds and other financial instruments are unacceptable forms of evidence of maintenance requirement, therefore you have not provided sufficient evidence that you are able to maintain yourself without relying on State benefits" is what they wrote to me!
    So yes, I agree, its disgraceful, the "no discretion" approach, in essence not allowing common sense to prevail, "Computer Says No!"

  • Comment number 86.


    I'm in a pub which I call The Blue Moon and had a good talk with them mainly of an introductory nature. One of them mentioned Jeremy and said he'd read his books and generally liked the way he is. Apparently he used to do ice skating and might restart again at Queens.
    It's drizzling down in London but otherwise it's a pleasant evening. Thank you for the promise of a new poem. I am.hoping to catch up on readiing this weekend provided I get enough sleep
    as recently I've only had about 3 hours in the total of 24.
    Have a good weekend yourself.

  • Comment number 87.

    To Mim from BrightYoungThing

    #86 Mim
    I recall from London days a pub called the Half Moon, I think Putney, or was it Richmond. Wherever, it had lots of live music and theatre. I also remember one in Chiswick road with a tree and a pond in the middle (inside). The Wagon and horses? Two along the river in Kew area were the Strand on the Green and the City Barge where I misspent my youth playing darts. This would have been in the mid to late 70's.

    I would be interested to know if they are still there.

    I tried ice skating a few times (Richmond) but it wasn't for me. Nor was skiing. I know now that I have fairly poor balance and rhythm.

    I am athletic but not at all balletic and was in constant danger of taking someone's fingersoff. Most often my own!

  • Comment number 88.

    Why have you done that?

    Mischief making?

  • Comment number 89.

    Well, it's jj again. Anytthing to attract my attention. I know it's not true what he's saying here or anywhere else, in fact. He lives in a self created world of false identity parades.

  • Comment number 90.

    88 not at all, I found myself in the middle of a conversation split between two blogs and my only desire was to bring the two participants together. I shall retire to watch Collision, tail firmly between legs.

  • Comment number 91.

    #90 Wappaho

    I'll forgive you then Wappaho. NO need to undertake the pennace. It just looked like stirring, since I was deliberately trying to keep more 'frivolous' chit chat off the most current threads.

  • Comment number 92.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 93.

    59. At 12:27pm on 13 Nov 2009, Roger Thomas wrote:
    #57 Junkkmale
    I would very much doubt that any 'mechanical tree' could match the efficiency of real trees in the assimilation of CO2 given a proper and full audit.

    It did seem 'emblematic' of a certain trend, at the very least.

    And I share your doubts on the GHG-reduction efficacy of the manufacture, construction and ongoing maintenance of such man-made structures as a substitute for the real thing, especially as part of a strategy that seems unwilling, or ineffective, to address its cutting down in swathes with quite the intensity of other measures proposed and possibly to be imposed at vast cost.

    When the 'target' seems more just to be the meeting of a target ('would also have to be used in order to meet targets' & 'UK would still be 330 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over the 2050 target. Dr Fox suggested the UK make up the difference by installing around 100,000 artificial trees' - as opposed to any sensible science or engineering numbers on the enviROI+ of such GHG reduction efforts) I get concerned, especially with this government and its often less than objective, or disinterested 'supporters'.

    'Money would be pumped into...' 'could' be a good thing, or it could be a big hole if the result does not mean fewer overall emissions.

    And it's not like there are certain precedents when targets rule and bean-counters reign and are rewarded (be it via bonus or spared fine) as one-eyed kings.

    And since Monday, when the offer was made via Ethical Ma's blog, some still await answers from Ed. Miliband, who seems to be involved in some way with these critical, important issues as the deadline (for an actual solution or another headline to buy some more time?) imposed by his boss bears down.

    Probably still busy making with his brother another diorama of downtown Gothenburg, replete with alligators, for the next kitchen cabinet 'chat' with some more, er, 'key' contributors. Time well spent I am sure. And set to be faithfully recorded by a media experienced in sharing information and holding our leaders to account, from The Telegraph to the BBC:. 'We reflect the orthodoxy in the climate change debate, day in, day out, 300-365 days a year. Just every so often - and it is very rarely- we take a look at other opinions…' (to be confirmed as a BBC representative, posted as a reply on a board 'discussion' - - that looks set to make the Harrabinning episode a while ago by another concerned activist seem tame and equally unhelpful to rational debate).

    There seems little to be surprised that there is a measure off public confusion and further subsiding of trust, if not resistance, which is of concern to those who 'know better' , from The Times 'Climate change is not our fault, voters say' - ironically placed next to this: 'Scientists rethink calorie-counting advice' to the guest invitee on this morning's BBC Breakfast 'News'.

    Maybe, as he suggested, 'the message isn't being communicated very well'. Yah think? Yet, with but a few weeks to go on the countdown, we are expected to be reassured that the same message, trotted out by the same messengers, via the same broadcasters, is going to effect a sea change?

    No, I don't either. But it is novel to move from the time-honoured solution of shooting (I'll accept 'change', if a word with eroding currency) the messengers, to holding those being berated accountable for the inabilities of those who have created and borne such clearly inadequate input so 'cooperatively'.

  • Comment number 94.

    "I take the view that decency 'emerges' when minds are whole and quiescent.

    Are not the most, stable, content countries, in these latitudes, ex monarchies? "

    Hi Barrie, I don't know if you're in the mood for this. It's taken me a while to think of a reply. As to decency, I'm not convinced anymore that it emerges naturally. Maybe there is something uniquely human that prevents us from being able to simply go back to a natural form of existence. Humans comprise bits of everything that has gone before - we are just as likely to be hedonistic bonobo as we are aggressive chimp, or family-oriented gorilla - each with very different 'social structures'. Maybe being human means that we cannot exist socially without an ideology; maybe that is the price we pay for self-awareness? Could that be why Lord of the Flies scenarios are possible? As for monarchies, is Sweden not a monarchy? Sweden is the country with the lowest Gini coefficient

    bw Wappaho (I just made the name up based on interests identified at 83)

  • Comment number 95.

    #83 wappaho, completely off topic! ; )

    My favourite [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 96.


    "Wappaho (I just made the name up based on interests identified at 83)"
    Not too far from my 'Smartart' then W. I'm always in the mood.

    I get the feeling you have formed an extension of me (by native intuition?) that is not in my words. In FACT whilst I call for culture to be in harmony with nature, I make no call to return to a pre-industrial pre-global lifestyle, if for no other reason than I deem it impossible.
    If - IF - HomSap is to make a new fist of existence on this planet, I am of the view he must renounce the belief that he is on a FORWARD path encompassing always a higher standard of living for an ever increasing number. I feel sure someone has written that contentment minimises consumption. Contentment is INSIDE each head, but everything our culture does is about external, Mammon stuff. We have the ability to understand ourselves as never before, but it takes maturity to dare to see our true nature. We are ruled by the immature who are seeing to it that we do not rise in maturity.

    I think we are in a unique impasse that requires WISDOM in the individual to survive. The predominant culture, worldwide, promotes CLEVERNESS. Wisdom does not need the brown sauce of cleverness for satiation. Cleverness swamps the subtle flavour of wisdom. (I think I read that on an old Wappaho stele.)

    PS Sorry to see the dog got Lizzy @ 95.

  • Comment number 97.

    PS Sorry to see the dog got Lizzy @ 95. Hey,ho, Barrie, all I said was I liked a group Wappaho mentioned.

    If it gets past the blogdog, at#83 Wappa said she liked Cowboy Junkies, perhaps blogdog thinks they're something they're not!

    Wappaho my favourite song is Beas Song, you might be able to read this! ; )

  • Comment number 98.


    Roger that Lizzy. All the music stuff goes over my head - I am more Guy Mitchell and Tizer.

    This blog seems to be running the gamut from Mensa to Densa; waving with no fear of drowning. Make it so. (:o)

  • Comment number 99.

    #98 Oh dear Barrie I must be getting old too! I am more Guy Mitchell and Tizer. I remember them, my mother insisted Tizer was very bad for you, and I wasn't allowed it! ; )

  • Comment number 100.

    96 Thanks for your reply. I understand you much better now; I have always had a bit of trouble understanding your more cryptic posts. Not much to disagree with there, I think our main point of debate might be the concept of 'forward', and I would love to expand on that another day. That said, I would take issue with the brown sauce analogy - to me it comes across as a classist remark although I'm fairly sure you didn't mean it as such. As for my steles, I had to consult Wiki and I'm guessing you're using the second definition below although I'm not averse to the first:

    Stele - developed by French botanists as a model for understanding the relationship between the shoot and root;

    Stele - a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected for funerals or commemorative purposes, most usually decorated with the names and titles of the deceased or living — also used as territorial markers.

    Coincidentally, Angel Heart was on TV last night (that's one of my refs at 83). Towards the end, Louis Cyphre (Robert de Niro) says, 'Alas... how terrible is wisdom when it brings no profit to the wise, Johnny?' - i'll just throw that in for good measure!

    If you fancy a trip, you could check out Steph's 'New name for a new economy', posts (115), 122 and 135 may interest you - there are some knowledgeable (felt I shouldn't say clever!) people over there, very interesting debate.

    97 - aha! the mystery of the referral! all evening I have imagined some foul out-pouring of words designed purely to incite prejudice! fancy you liking the CJ, I tried to pick the most depressing song for maximum shock value! I think they're simply amazing and I don't know the Beas song so that has given me a fresh purpose in life! (cos cheap, is how i feel! but I kinda like the extra few feet in my bed...)

    I don't know Guy unless he has a brother called Phil and I hate tizer and the seemingly related irn bru, but I love dandilion and burdock.

    am much relieved to share non-threatening and enlightening exchange, thank you and goodnight.


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