Ooh, there is snow.


Snow picture borrowed from my chum: A snow day means a play day!

Some schools announced this morning, that they will be closed tomorrow – how do they know? Other schools are open. Apparently Five thousand schools were closed today. Ooh… Interesting…

The weather is different in different parts of the country. Some schools within a mile of each other are differently open: one is closed, while another is open. Some heads insist on opening, making a special effort. Others close if they think significant numbers of children won’t be there, perhaps because it affects their absence records, which in turn affects their league table position. It’s complicated. Questions are being asked.

An ambulance man said, on the telly, that there had been a number of sledge-related incidents, and advised people to wrap up warm, despite not being a weatherman or weather woman. Seems that stating the sodding obvious in a serious way is within the purview of all who appear on the gogglebox.

Snow threat receding, we are told – how on earth do the Scandinavians cope?

Given that lots of schools are shut, and a lot of children are sledging, we might expect a few incidents.

No broken bones, because, if there had been, we would have been told about the ‘snow shock near-death horror’ by a meejah desperate for something more than:

“School shut, kids have fun in snow.”

COBRA discusses growing AlbertKyder threat
COBRA discusses growing AlbertKyder threat


Some schools are open, some schools are closed. Maybe some questions should be asked.

School shut, kids have fun in snow.



Ffs: just go chuck some.


The title of this fine play is more than slightly ironic, given that our hordes of contemporary inspectors do the exact opposite of this inspector. Priestley’s ghostly protagonist takes a holistic, systemic, ‘joined-up’ view of a series of outcomes and makes the players accountable for their actions; today’s inspectors tick the boxes, focusing on only the minutiae of their disconnected tasks and are entirely unconcerned with what happens as a consequence.

Priestley warned elsewhere of the danger if the Nazis won the Second World War (a war soon to be rebranded by the Eurocrats, we were told this week, as the ‘European Civil War’ – an insult to our ANZAC allies if it is anything more than Daily Mail piffle). He said that the danger was not the obvious one of the Nazi jackboot, but the insidious danger of armies of petty-minded sneaks and spies and pen-pushing bureaucrats who would seize the opportunity of their employment to meddle, criticise and carp…

Step up the other kind of inspector: OFSTED, health&safety, adoption agencies, planning inspectors, and their ilk.  Unlike these offense-seeking ferrets, Priestley’s inspector ‘never takes offense’…

Currently gently rumbling in my ear as I redesign my blog – you catch it on Radio 4’s ‘Listen Again’ until this Friday – May 1st 2012

From Wikipedia: An Inspector Calls is a play written by English dramatist J. B. Priestley, first performed in 1945 in the Soviet Union and 1946 in the UK. The play is a three-act drama, which takes place on a single night in 1912, focusing on the prosperous middle-class Birling family,[4] who live in a comfortable home in Brumley, “an industrial city in the north Midlands”. The family is visited by a man calling himself Inspector Goole, who questions the family about the suicide of a young working-class woman, Eva Smith (also known as Daisy Renton). The family are interrogated and revealed to have been responsible for the young woman’s exploitation, abandonment and social ruin, effectively leading to her death.

The play has been hailed as a scathing critique of the hypocrisies of Victorian/Edwardian English society and as an expression of Priestley’s Socialist political principles. Unfortunately, the play is now studied in many secondary schools as one of the set texts for English Literature GCSE effectively killing an opportunity for it to inspire our youth.

Talking 'bout a revolution – changing the word… (nope, not world, just some words that must die)

Some bloke on the Interweb writes:

“Here’s my check list of degraded words and terms that should be loaded into the tumbrils and carted off to the guillotine.

First up: sustainable. It’s been at least a decade since this earnest word was drained of all energy, having become the prime unit of exchange in the argot of purposeful uplift. As the final indication of its degraded status, I found it in President Obama’s “signing statement” which accompanied the whisper of his pen when on New Year’s Eve – a very quiet day when news editors were all asleep – he signed into law the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) for 2012 which handed $662bn to the Pentagon and for good measure ratified by legal statute the exposure of US citizens to arbitrary arrest without subsequent benefit of counsel, and to possible torture and imprisonment sine die, abolishing habeas corpus.

As he set his name to this repugnant legislation, the president issued a “signing statement” in which I came upon the following passage: “Over the last several years, my Administration has developed an effective, sustainable framework for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected terrorists…”

So much for sustainable. Into the tumbrils with it.“


I slung in ‘concerning’ and offensive’ and respec.
Good game – all join in.


FIGHT RACISM! Dress witches in pink, avoid white paper!

Dress witches in pink and avoid white paper to prevent racism in nuseries, expert says – Telegraph.

“Dress witches in pink and avoid white paper to prevent racism in nuseries, expert says

Teachers should censor the toy box to replace witches’ black hats with a pink ones and dress fairies in darker shades, according to a consultant who has issued advice to local authorities.”

Ooh, this one got them going!

Good advice to avoid white paper though: just wish local authorities and Michael Gove avoid white paper also.

Let’s just contextualise this: Nursery World magazine HAVE issued a guide on equality and diversity, free (as in falls out of when you open it) with the magazine. It IS written by this Anne O’Connor. The writer may well have advised local authorities. I’m sure the ‘guide’ does contain all sorts of advice like that pilloried by the Torygrapher. This advice is a magazine pull-out, not advice to local authorities, and not official government or local government advice, just a freebie in a magazine.

And, and, what happens to ‘pull-outs’ or ‘fall’outs’? Straight in the recycling, maybe via the gerbil cage floor.

Great ‘rantortunity’ though. Keep ’em coming.

BTW, the nursery world coterie is a perfect example of a SRSS (self-referential social system). for more details – ask me or read my book: ‘Navigating Complexity: the essential guide to complexity theory in business and management’. you can pay a lot second hand or wait for the soon-come reprint.


Not just an Ugly Logo » Penny Wilson…

Not just an Ugly Logo. » Penny Wilson.

PATH applied for funds to create a sort of Play Olympics – go read her item. Here’s a quote:

“The rejection feed back told us that, amongst other things, the ‘ non-competitive emphasis of the project was anti-Olympic.’

There you have it. The rhetoric is clear. This Olympic extravaganza is an elitist event. There is nothing that should not strive for a sort of eugenic supremacy. The Olympic park is where this excellence will be contained . The peripheries will stay as they are to heighten the contrast. There will be no legacy except that of a healthy reinforcing of the status quo. If we are all delighted that we do not need to be ‘The Best’ , if we are content to be ‘good enough’, not perfect or a failure but content and happy with ourselves and each other, then the Olympics becomes a meaningless pantomime.

”A ring of poverty is needed as a setting for the jewel.

“And we have that ghastly logo more and more rubbed into our faces.”

Ugly does as ugly looks, Pen.


Ugly tin-eared logo-choosing managerialist supremacist commodifying senior managers are hardly likely to choose sensitive beauty at this late stage.

Yet another warped adult play type, methinks, just like Spaghetti Junction is a dysplay of Scalextric deprivation in small boys growing up to be transport planners…

And the horror of that logo! it supposedly appeals to yoof, just like early learning primary colours appeal to babies. They don’t, but boy do they signify! They signify (warning outrageous over-the-top unforgiveable holocaust analogy alert – as Bill Hicks probably said – I make jokes about serious things and vice versa, doesn’t mean it’s demeaning or not serious) that the building on which they are emblazoned is a prison controlled by play destroying adults  – it’s as if they have a sign saying ‘Spielen Macht Frei’.


Alarmism that’s no help to children – Barnardo’s feral survey

My own view is that our national children’s charities do a lot of great work for charity.

My only regret is that I am not a celebrity and not, therefore, able to use my fame for good.

”My wife is a teacher and I gave…

”My wife is a teacher, and I gave up a successful career in advertising to become one as well.

Arizona recently killed tenure and allowed schools to get rid of all those “evil” bad teachers who are sucking the system dry and doing a bad job teaching. Guess which teachers were -immediately- let go in mass firings? Experienced ones. GOOD ones. Teachers who had climbed to the higher levels of the payscale (aka, they were making 50k-60k instead of 30-40k). As an example, when Mesa let go of hundreds upon hundreds of teachers, not a -single- one of the layoffs was a teacher with under 5 years of experience. Are you telling me there’s not a single bad teacher among the lower paid set? Are you telling me every single 20+ year teacher in Mesa that was fired is a bad teacher?

No. It was not a “getting rid of bad teachers” decision, it was a monetary decision. Those positions didn’t “go away”. Mesa hired for almost every single position they had just vacated – filling them with new young teachers or even hiring older experienced teachers (who coming into AZ can’t bring all their years to the payscale – meaning they start considerably lower on the payscale despite their experience). Tenure used to protect these teachers from being universally fired without cause. Now, teachers are simply disposable. Why keep paying a GOOD teacher a slightly higher wage when you can simply hire a new graduate right out of college instead.

Schools hide the negative effects of this on education by gaming the system on national testing under NCLB as well. My wife’s school, for example, has a -massive- number of their english as a second language students classified as “learning disabled” – this essentially takes them out of the equation when AIMS testing comes up yearly, allowing the school to appear to be performing in the face of a TERRIBLE decline in quality of education. It’s a total farce against the system, but nobody opens their mouths because saying -anything- about this means you won’t be getting a contract next year.

My wife’s average class size is over 35 students. Next year it’s set to rise to above 40 because the school district she teaches in is closing two schools as they cut education funding to help meet the state budget. She doesn’t even have 40 chairs or places at lab stations to put 40 students (her classroom was designed for 25 students or so).

But yeah, it’s all these evil teachers and their evil unions and tenure and bad teaching and high pay and pensions and benefits and summers off.


this excellent rant comes from the comments here about 60% of the way down the page:

featuring the US govt bombing schools and sending Haliburton-employed teachers in…

If ancient Greece ran ITV1…

Ar eh, welcome to anuva grate episode of Blind Fate, ar kid, eh, with me Scylla, and me old mate on the voiceovers introducing the contestants – Charybdis! Over to you Charybdis.

Thanks Scylla, well tonight we’ve got Odysseus, who lives up to his name because he’s a bit ‘odd’ – he likes being tied to a mast on his ship while supermodels like Helena Christensen and that Elle McPherson try to lure him to his death…