Tag Archives: Education

What Labour’s 2015 Election Manifesto Won’t Be Saying

Seven years into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,  and just 3 months away from what could be the most crucial  General Election since World War 2, and the Labour Party are in deep trouble – and all because of a Bacon Sandwich!

So what can be done? What could the Labour Party possibly say in its 2015 Election Manifesto to win the day?

How about this:

Proposed Labour Election Manifesto 2015

The end of World War ll in Europe finally came with the unconditional surrender of German forces in Reims on 7 May 1945 – exactly 70 years to the day before the coming General Election of 7 May 2015.

The efforts of the Labour Party during World War 2 succeeded in “taking the profit out of war”. The 100% Excess Profits Tax, the controls over industry and transport, the fair rationing of food and control of prices all helped to win the war. With these measures the country came nearer to making “fair shares” the national rule than ever before in its history

Both World War 1 and 2 had been won by the British public. The gallant men and women in the Armed Services, Medical and Public Services , factories and offices were promised a happier future than the one that had faced so many of them after WW1.

Just two months after Germany’s surrender, a landslide victory for the first-ever majority Labour government, in the Khaki Election of 5 July 1945, ushered in a new post-war settlement of a happier future, with fair shares for all, by bringing many of the key means of production, distribution and exchange into public ownership and the creation of the National Health Service and the Welfare State,

The people made tremendous efforts to win both wars. But, after they won, they lacked a lively interest in the social and economic problems of peace, and accepted the election promises of the leaders of the major political parties at their face value.

So the “hard-faced men” who had done well out of both World Wars were able to get the kind of peace that suited them. The people lost that peace. And when we say “peace” we mean not only the Treaties, but the social and economic policy which followed the fighting.

Continue reading What Labour’s 2015 Election Manifesto Won’t Be Saying

If we want the BBC to do its job we have to complain when it doesn’t!

Over the past 40 years I’ve watched the rich and powerful greedily chomping their way through every scrap of public property they could get their hands on – from British Aerospace and British Telecom to gas, electricity, water, British Rail , the Royal Mail and now – the last remaining jewels in the Great British public’s crown –  the NHS and the BBC.

Lifestyles of the Rich and Powerful
Lifestyles of the Rich and Powerful

It’s not hard to understand why they want all this stuff.  If you sell things people don’t really need, your profits are  hostage to the whims of fashion, but if you have a monopoly on all the things people can’t live without then your profits are guaranteed for life.

Continue reading If we want the BBC to do its job we have to complain when it doesn’t!

How the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta could be used to remove all our liberties

‘Those who are willing to trade liberty for safety deserve neither and will lose both’.

Benjamin Franklin, 1755

In the age of global terrorism, the need to increase security to protect our freedom is something most of us accept without a second thought. “If you’ve got nothing to hide you’ve got nothing to worry about” is the mantra repeated whenever concerns are raised about any loss of civil liberties accompanying increased surveillance – succeeding not only in dismissing those concerns but also implying that anyone who IS concerned MUST have something to hide.

So what Benjamin Franklin had to say on the subject seems to make about as much sense as saying that those who are willing to trade money for something they want deserves neither and will lose both. Everything comes at a cost, and loss of liberty is the cost of safety. Everybody understands that.

But what DOES make sense are the constant threats to our safety and well-being that we hear about on the news everyday. Every kind of ill, from terrorism to carbon emissions, from measles to AIDS. All are kinds of illness. All put is ill-at-ease. All are kinds of dis-eases to which we are continually trying to find a remedy or cure.

Continue reading How the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta could be used to remove all our liberties

Every cloud has a silver lining – just don’t tell the kids

Every cloud has a silver lining.

That’s one of those sayings anyone over the age of 60 probably heard quite a lot when they were young but rarely hears now. Like nursery rhymes and coal scuttles, it’s a relic of a bygone age. But that doesn’t mean its not worth preserving, because what is says could be very useful in the times we’re living through now.

What that saying reminds us is that every picture has its shadows and it’s source of light. Every positive has a negative. Every thesis has its antithesis. Every bad has a good. Every good has a bad. Or, in other words, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Portrait of Sir Isaac Newton by Godfrey Kneller, 1689

To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.

… is how the founder of the physical sciences, Isaac Newton, put it in his Third Law of Motion.

Continue reading Every cloud has a silver lining – just don’t tell the kids

Income of the 100 richest people could end global poverty 4 times over!

The net income of the richest 100 billionaires would be enough to make extreme poverty history four times over.

That’s a pretty extremist statement. A headline from The Morning Star, The Socialist Worker or Marxism Today you might think? Nah. It was from an Oxfam press statement released on 19 January 2014.

Continue reading Income of the 100 richest people could end global poverty 4 times over!

‘Kids’ YouTube clip hit by another music copyright warning!

What is it about the music used in this clip, Title Music from A Clockwork Orange by Walter (now Wendy) Carlos, that makes so many companies  want to claim the copyright?

If ever there was an example of fair use under copyright legislation surely this must be it!  The music has so many resonances with the subject matter and is so obviously being used for the purposes of criticism, research, teaching, historical archiving  and scholarship.

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Oh how times have changed!

“And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose.

The world you live in – your nation, your people – is not the world you were born in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed.

Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves”

Sound familiar? It did to me when I stumbled across it on the Democratic Underground website. I thought it was a pretty accurate description of how things have changed in the UK since 9/11. So it was a bit of a bummer to discover it was taken from a book about the rise of fascism in Germany in the years leading up to World War II.

Continue reading Oh how times have changed!

Phoenix Dance Theatre – Particle Velocity

The Observer
Luke Jennings

Phoenix dance theatre is on a high. With new purpose-built premises in Leeds, and a charismatic director in Sharon Watson, the 10-strong ensemble is ready to take on the world. On Tuesday night, with a cold wind slicing off the sea, a small but enthusiastic crowd bundled into the Connaught theatre to catch Phoenix’s latest programme, Particle Velocity.

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Reflections on the dance phenomenon at Harehills Middle School by Nadine Senior

by Nadine Senior, dance UK

Nadine Senior, Founder of Northern School of Contemporary Dance, reflects on the incredible success of her work as a dance teacher at Harehills Middle School in the 1970s and 1980s.

How it began

In 1970, I was appointed Head of Physical Education in an all-girls high school in Leeds. Many of the girls in this inner city, multi-cultural school had behavioural problems and one of them eventually burnt the school to the ground, though fortunately no one was hurt. Thereafter, we simply moved into the boys’ school which was on the same campus.

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Back to school?

BBC Leeds

Harehills Middle School has been transformed into a multi-purpose unit catering for start-ups, established businesses and even features a restaurant serving African cuisine.

The landmark, grade II-listed Victorian building on Harehills Road was formerly known as Gipton Board School and Gipton Council School. The old school has been reborn as Shine – a building for start-ups, established businesses and the arts.

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