From Beckham to the Belligerent Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Evidence suggests that nobody is the least bit interested in my opinions as indicated by this summary of some failed attempts to avoid the Editor of my favourite newspaper’s axe.

School Tax Raid

In accordance with Labour’s thinking that Somewhere, somehow, someone is better off than I am and that should not be allowed, Independently Preparatory School educated Jeremy Corbyn is planning to raid private schools. Meanwhile freedom loving states like the Peoples Republic of China and certain Middle East States have enthusiastically embraced imported UK model Independent Schools! In terms of social mobility the real downside of Mr Corbyn’s cash cow raid is that private education will simply become the preserve of the super rich 1%, representing a drop from some 7%. It might be more helpful to the cause of social mobility if the Labour Party were to adopt a different mantra – for example Somewhere, somehow, someone is WORSE off than I am and that should not be allowed. A useful start point for that new thinking might be to improve the State education sector.                                                                                                                                                            13 September 2019

Belligerent Broadcasting Corporation

The Belligerent Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) submission to MPs firmly blames Reality TV for the loss of courtesy, manners and empathy in public discourse. I see no mention of the impact of the aggressive hectoring of media interviewers – I wonder why!             5th August 2019

Young Soldiers

In the context of the recruitment of young soldiers and the operational limitations on their deployment, Charles Holden (DT 24 Aug) made this crucially accurate observation: “Many people under 18 have been failed by the educational system and the Army invariably rectifies this in a disciplined. Leading to worthwhile opportunities.”. On 1 September 1972, under ROSLA (Raising Of School Leaving Age) the school leaving age in England and Wales was raised from 15 to 16 years. No doubt this change was introduced with the best of intentions but in a practical sense it condemned a raft of youngsters to yet another unwanted year in school or ‘failures’ as described by Charles. Up until that time the Army recruited 15 year old young men (yes – men only back then) for a two year training period in Junior Leader, Junior Soldier and Artificer Regiments; in such units those recruits, via sensitive discipline, not only completed their education for promotion for a full Army career and the basic elements of a Trade but also developed all-round societal skills such as playing a musical instrument or joining a PT Display Team that performed in village fetes etc.         25th August.

The above was partially published but the full offering to the paper included this:

ROSLA presented a challenge in that some Regiments decided that all the components of the existing curriculum were of equal value and opted to run it on in a compressed timescale resulting in a less enjoyable experience for those young men. However, before and after 1972 these ‘Boys’ Regiments provided the vast majority of the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Messes; indeed many, quite rightly, were commissioned.
Then along came Options For Change in the early 1990s which allowed the Government to save money via savage, and insensitively applied, Defence cuts. As part of the ‘deception plan’ to make such cuts acceptable to the general public, the Government and the Chiefs of Staff combined to talk of ‘no loss of bayonets’. In order to implement that illusion the Army implemented a massive restructuring that fundamentally impacted on logistics (no acceptance there that an Army marches on its stomach!), medical support and the training organisation. So it is that the Junior Regiment organisation has now become a shadow of its former self. This is more than a pity in that not only in Army recruitment terms but also in denying a raft of young people the opportunity to benefit from a system that overcame their disinclination to enjoy school.

Axiomatic Advice

A 75% majority of the population apparently believes Political Correctness (PC) has gone too far. To us oldies this is an encouraging statistic since the percentage clearly includes many of the young. Is common-sense winning through at last? The Army recently touched on this matter when it decreed that describing the sewing kit issued to soldiers as a ‘Housewife’ is nowadays an unacceptable appellation; as far as I know the search is on for a PC version and the Army might wish to consider the alternative of SKARRS (Sewing Kit All Races Religions and Sexes). In a broader context it is dispiriting to be told by staff of the Underground that in wet weather I need to be careful of slipping on the pavement when outside while in hot weather I need to drink water. The most irritating mantra however, is SW Trains offering of: “See it, say it, sort it”. With so many activities in our lives given over to automation the young are correct in registering their misgivings of the Nanny State since the end-game is that will no longer be able to think for ourselves.        25th August

Swashbuckling Brits

In her interesting article on the swashbuckling Brits, Julie Burchill touched on France’s subjugation of her ‘poor Empire’. In addition to the article’s focus on the murder of up to 300 pro-independence demonstrators by French police, Ms Burchill might usefully have mentioned France’s ruthless behaviour to Syria during her twenty three year mandate. Her theory that President de Gaulle blocked the UK’s application to join the Common Market on the grounds that “a bunch of swashbuckling mavericks” would not help the cause of European unity offered, to me at least, a new perspective. Hitherto it had been my understanding that de Gaulle blocked our entry until both the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) had been bedded down as a lasting protection for those two French industries (something Edward Heath failed to achieve for the UK’s more efficient industries). Today it is being suggested that President Macron’s trade relations threat to Brazil is more about blocking the EU Trade deal because it is not to his liking – plus ça change!        26th August

Tattoos

Juxtaposing in my mind the warnings that Tattooists’ needles leave shards within the bodies of their victims with the full page photograph of the multi-decorated David Beckham, this question occurs: How much metal is circulating around his body? Although I am a fan of Mr Beckham I am inclined to think there must be easier routes to developing a magnetic personality. 2nd September

BBC Question Time

Ian Dale (DT 10 Sep) tells us that interruptions, insults and the prevailing bear pit atmosphere have made BBC 1’s Question Time unwatchable. Although a great admirer of Mr Dale, he really s a bit slow – many of us gave up on the programme for those exact reasons a long time ago. Of more interest was his statistical revelations of the overt bias in favour of the Remainers. 10th September

School Tax Raid

In accordance with Labour’s thinking that Somewhere, somehow, someone is better off than I am and that should not be allowed ,Independently Preparatory School educated Jeremy Corbyn is planning to raid private schools. Meanwhile freedom loving states like the Peoples Republic of China and certain Middle East States have enthusiastically embraced imported UK model Independent Schools! In terms of social mobility the real downside of Mr Corbyn’s cash cow raid is that private education will simply become the preserve of the super rich 1%, representing a drop from some 8%. It might be more helpful to the cause of social mobility if the Labour Party were to adopt a different mantra – for example Somewhere, somehow, someone is WORSE off than I am and that should not be allowed. A useful start point for that new thinking might be to improve the State education sector.                                                                                                                                                                                    13th September

Major’s Irony

Mr Arthur identifies the ‘irony’ of Sir John Major’s contribution to the Supreme Court. Taking into account Sir John’s other contributions to democracy such as withdrawing the Whip and calling those MPs who disagreed with him ‘Bastards’, some might feel ‘hypocrisy’ to be a more appropriate term. 20th September

Letter to Pam Ayres

As a self-confessed Philistine, the only poetry that appeals to me is that which rhymes and tells a story which generally limits me to John Betjeman, Eskimo Nell and, of course, Pam Ayres. After listening to her being interviewed on the Radio I decided to drop Pam a line:

Hearing you on Radio 4 Extra reminded me how much I enjoy your poetry – it rhymes and tells a story – plus the related ability to tell a tale (not too unctuous I hope). On that programme you mentioned Diana Dors which struck a chord with me. So, as a matter of no interest to you whatsoever allow me to say why that is the case. During my entire school ‘career’ (a wholly inappropriate claim) I only ever wrote one poem and this is it: “Marilyn Monroe has something to show/But Diana Dors has many flaws”. Although you would rate it as doggerel rather than poetry, the English Master was ecstatic but eventually blocked publication for fear of litigation. Finding myself on the Old Boys Committee some 40 years later I took the opportunity of submitting the the said poem to its magazine and this is what was published: “Marilyn Monroe has something to show/But Diana Dors has many FLOORS”. A wasted joke that has still not garnered the accolades it deserves (mmm not sure about that) and who knows had it been published in 1960 it might have prompted an interest in poetry. Perhaps the spell checker has trumped common-sense – Satnav certainly has!