In the 1980s, the right-wing press had a field day with the antics of left-wing councils allegedly banning the words blackboards, black coffee and “man” in manhole covers, etc. In fact, a lot of it was made up, but the damage was done and Labour paid a heavy electoral price, particularly when our cadidates were drawn from the alleged “loony left” section of the party.
Yet today, it’s almost as if Labour (and other) councils are looking at their archived press cuttings from the ’80s and saying: “Hmm, that’s a good idea - why didn’t we think of that before?”
Take this latest nonsense about red ink: where is the empirical evidence that using a red pen on a pupil’s work will have any detrimental effect whatever on his development? Where is the research? Where are the numbers? Where are the “victims” of red ink, and do they blame their own failures in life on the colour of the pen their teachers used?
Well, if they do, they’re morons. And so are the half-wits who came up with this latest idea.
Quite right, Tom: welcome to NuLabour's Britain—a land where what the school is called matters greatly, but no one gives a fuck that the children leaving it are illiterate. You helped to build this country, Tom: you and your NuLabour cronies created an atmosphere where this kind of crap can happen.
All of this obsession with “non-threatening, non-offensive” language is simply a distraction. It gives succour to the right wing and their allies in the media. But worse than that, it doesn’t matter. Teachers and (I hate this word - ) educationalists should be concentrating on teaching kids to read and write, to learn stuff instead of worrying about whether the wee souls are going to burst into tears because there’s a red instead of a green cross on their jotter.
Quite right, Tom; someone should do something about it. Actually, Tom, as an MP (one of only 646 people who can make law in this country) and a member of the majority party in our Parliament, why don't you do something about it? After all, that's why you were elected, wasn't it?
Of course, if we adopted a voucher system for schools—rather than forcing children into education and giving the parents no choice about where their kids are educated—then the parents could simply (should they so desire) threaten to withdraw their child and send them to another school. In short, the market would sort out this nonsense.
How about advocating such a system, Tom: how about advocating that the state get the fuck out of education? After all, it works in that left-wing paradise, Sweden...