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Derek McMillan's blog
Saturday, 23 April 2005
Politics of fear
Crime "is out of controwelle"
Immigration "is out of controwelle"
Government spending, you guessed it, "is out of controwelle"

Actually I think it is only Michael Howard who is "is out of controwelle"

And the other lot are no better,

They threaten us that if you don't vote for the New Tories the old Tories will get back in (horror!)

I still think the award winning documentary on the politics of fear had it right. These jokers have no dreams to offer us, only nightmares.

Posted by derekmcmillan at 5:29 PM BST
Thursday, 21 April 2005
"It's not racism darling!"
My father was born in Canada and my mother's family were ethnic Italians from Austria. Because I was born in the UK and look "English" nobody has ever had the bloody cheek to tell me I should "go back where I came from" (which was Croydon).

Black and Asian people, people from ethnic minorities who do not look or sound "English" have some drunken Alf Garnett telling them that every day of the week.

You see "It's not racism darling it's just common sense".

Posted by derekmcmillan at 9:46 PM BST
Sunday, 17 April 2005
A clematis named Princess Diana
I couldn't make this up. I have a clematis named Princess Diana planted last year because it is supposed to be good at climbing and besides it is cheap because the line is not as popular as it was. I also have a Camelia in the same bed. This was not a good idea I now realise.
Two weeks ago the Camelia flowered and I have to say even newly flowered like that it is disappointing as it looks blown and faded already.
The clematis seems to have died.

Posted by derekmcmillan at 6:07 AM BST
Saturday, 16 April 2005
Irony Bypass
Our newsagent delivered the Telegraph today, they do this once in a way as acruel and unusual punishment to remind me to go and pay the bill. It works.

The Telegraph are running a gambling game based on the stock market. Readers have only to match their lucky numbers against selected numbers on the stock market to win 5000 pounds.

Many people read the Telegraph, including me, but there is a driving ideology binding the people who produce the newspaper and the majority of its readers. They think they are a cut above Sun readers and their version of Bingo is for people who follow the stock market.

They have no sense of irony. Their ideology is the ideology of capitalism, the market is the answer to all of society's problems. Those number on the stock market pages represent the lives and livelihoods of millions.

For us a few points up or down mean the difference between having a future or a livelihood or finding ourselves like the Rover families finding they have been betrayed and robbed. For the speculator those figures only mean their gamble has come off or it hasn't.

That is their morality, yet they are prepared to satirise the casino society they worship in a little game. If you questioned their morality they would stare at you as if you were mad. They think their morals are superior to anybody's.

Posted by derekmcmillan at 7:43 PM BST
Wednesday, 13 April 2005
Some facts on migration
We are being "swamped with immigrants" but the actual figures are:

Population: 60,270,708 (July 2004 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.29% (2004 est.)
Birth rate: 10.88 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Abortion rate: 3 abortions/1,000 population
Death rate: 10.19 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate: 2.19 migrants/1,000 population (2004 est.) *
Ethnic groups: per 1,000 population there are:
English 815,
Scottish 96,
Irish 24,
Welsh 19,
Ulster 18,
West Indian, Indian, Pakistani, and other 28
Religions: Anglican and Roman Catholic 40 million, Muslim 1.5 million, Presbyterian 800,000, Methodist 760,000, Sikh 500,000, Hindu 500,000, Jewish 350,000

* It should be noted that half of the immigrants to the UK are from Europe.

Posted by derekmcmillan at 11:40 AM BST
Sunday, 10 April 2005
Fake General Teaching Council
The General Teaching Council does not represent teachers. It is a New Labour Fake. (A tautology if ever there was one).
25 members are elected by different groups of teachers.
17 nominations from stakeholder bodies such as parent groups, the National Governors Council, the Disability Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission. The government in fact nominates members of these bodies too.

13 appointments by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills through the public appointments process. (The government appoints more than any one group of teachers)

9 nominations from the teacher unions/associations.

So the result is a General Teaching Council which is soft on New Labour and soft on the causes of New Labour. Its magazine is distributed to staffrooms at our expense and it is a virtually unreadable peaen of praise for the government's thrusting and dynamic policies for a world class education system.

Posted by derekmcmillan at 5:06 PM BST
Updated: Sunday, 10 April 2005 5:07 PM BST
Thursday, 7 April 2005
Fake statistics on reading
Sky News is carrying the story that MPs find it unacceptable that 20 percent of our children cannot read properly.
This really does remind me of David Blunkett fulminating on TV about it being "unacceptable that half of our children are below the mean average."

It is a fake statistic and the fact it was broadcast by Murdoch's Sky should warn you of that. Hilary Bills (NUT president) showed the conference the test papers of two pupils: one who "could read" and the other who "couldn't read" and challenged us to tell the difference.
At the end she revealed the answer - the one who had misused an inverted comma was the one who "couldn't read" according to the fake statistics on which this argument is based.

Posted by derekmcmillan at 9:50 AM BST
Wednesday, 6 April 2005
My fellow Americans

My fellow Americans….


Vote Labor


Posted by derekmcmillan at 6:03 PM BST
Wednesday, 30 March 2005
Sinnott's speech - text book trade unionism?
Sinnott's speech - text book trade unionism?

Steve Sinnott's speech at the end of the NUT conference was almost a text-book case of the limitations of trade unionism.

It was paced and populist. McAvoy is best remembered for a peevish rant at the end of conference
in Blackpool in which is denounced the delegates as an unrepresentative clique, saying "real
teachers were preparing and marking not coming to conference"
By contrast Sinnott was inclusive and flattering, even including Martin in his warm embrace of
his "former rivals and present colleagues". He also made use of his reputation for radicalism
overseas. In the past left reformists were always more radical the further they were from the UK
and he is no exception.
He was full for praise for the response of members to the pension campaign and emphasised that he
backed action to the hilt (lol) and then there was a shift in emphasis as he went on to
say the purpose of the action would be to get into a dialogue (he avoided the words social
partnership) with the government of mutual benefit to New Labour and the NUT.
Having got the audience on his side with the appeal to unity he knew he was not going to be
contradicted despite the fact this was flat contrary to the mood of much of the conference.
Trade unionism without a political perspective can only seek negotiation and compromise and it
does not recognise fundamental differences of interest.
Sinnott was soft on New Labour, soft on the causes of New Labour.
The vote to establish a political fund came dangerously close for New Labour loyalists like Steve
Sinnott. The next conference, after another year of New Labour, could easily see that vote
reversed.
(note Social Partnership - I was trying to remember where I had heard the phrase social partnership and eventually remembered J Ramsay Macdonald who said on the day he formed the National Government "tomorrow every duchess in London will want to kiss me." Nice for him, not so nice for the duchesses and disastrous to the unemployed who had their dole cut as the first act of "social partnership.")
http://www.socialistteachers.org.uk

Posted by derekmcmillan at 4:12 AM GMT
Sunday, 20 March 2005
Worth Abbey
Worth Abbey is a remarkable piece of architecture. I am not a Catholic, more of a born-again atheist, but Worth Abbey represents the realisation of an architectural idea which anybody can understand.
The brickwork, the windows, the sense of space even the colour of the carpet all conspire to give the impression that you are out of doors (I was there for a concert). And of course in the UK an outdoor concert would be fraught with problems with the weather, so Worth Abbey is a good venue. The acoustics are also first class.
And of course the subtext - the church has a hell of a lot of money!
The concert itself was very good, involving the country string and wind orchestras and the boys and girls choirs.
The program was very good but had the unfortunate centerpiece of a work by Nigel Hess. My immediate response to which was that I would cheerfully dig him up and throw stones at him. However I discovered that he is also the man who wrote the Maigret theme and numerous other TV program themes, so this piece of egregeous patronising tosh was an aberration

Posted by derekmcmillan at 5:21 PM GMT

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