Category Archives: Education

Gove Goes Forth

Michael GoveMichael Gove in the Daily Mail: “The First World War may have been a uniquely horrific war, but it was also plainly a just war.”

Michael Gove’s qualifications for being Secretary of State for Education consists of a 2:1 degree in English at Oxford, and once winning Top Club.

Michael Gove does not care for shows like Blackadder Goes Forth, which he feels depict World War One – or as it was called then “the Great War”, as “a misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite”, whereas, Gove thinks, WWI was really about British opposition to:

“The ruthless social Darwinism of the German elites, the pitiless approach they took to occupation, their aggressively expansionist war aims and their scorn for the international order all made resistance more than justified.

“And the war was also seen by participants as a noble cause. Historians have skilfully demonstrated how those who fought were not dupes but conscious believers in king and country, committed to defending the western liberal order.”

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Filed under Education, TV reviews

Michael Gove: Flipper

Michael GoveMichael Gove talked about people living beyond their means, and Labour spending too much on welfare, and claimed this justified the Tory/LibDem cuts cuts cuts workfare cuts.

Michael Gove used to work for Rupert Murdoch as a journalist at The Times, until he was selected as the new Conservative candidate for the safe seat of Surrey Heath in the 2005 election.

Gove and his wife Sarah Vine, had bought a nice house in Kensington for £430,000 in 2002.

Between December 2005 and April 2006, Michael Gove used the Additional Costs Allowance (meant for an MP to claim for their second home) to claim more than £7000 for furnishing this house:

Around a third of the money was spent at Oka, an upmarket interior design company established by Lady Annabel Astor, Mr Cameron’s mother-in-law.

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Filed under Benefits, Corruption, Education

Women Under Siege

Women Under Siege is an independent initiative documenting how rape and other forms of sexualized violence are used as tools in genocide and conflict throughout the 20th century and into the 21st.

Victoria Jackson, who describes herself as an outspoken activist for the conservative movement, on Facebook, reacting to the Connecticut shooting

20 children have been killed in Connecticut, and six of their teachers, all women. All of the heroes are women: the school secretary who warned the other teachers and was shot, the principal who tried to disarm the shooter and was shot, the teacher who was shot when she put herself between the shooter and her students.

[The heroes of Sandy Hook Elementary School: Rachel Davino, Dawn Hocksprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Russeau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto.]

Mother Jones – A Guide to Mass Shootings in America:

Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass murders* carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii. … Just under half of the cases involved school or workplace shootings (11 and 19, respectively); the other 31 cases took place in locations including shopping malls, restaurants, government buildings, and military bases. Forty three of the killers were white males. Only one of them was a woman.

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Filed under American, Education, Healthcare, Women

For Science!

I was on the train last night from Helensburgh to Waverley. By the time I got on, the train was more or less empty: I picked the nearest empty group of seats so that I could take the giant Eskimo coat of warmth off and was about to settle down to reading Darwin’s Watch and texting Kreetch, when I noticed something weird on the window for the seats opposite.

Chocolates on window

Chocolates window on train Taking a closer look, I realised that they didn’t just look like chocolates stuck to the window, they were chocolates that had been stuck on the window. Someone had taken five little moulded chocolates and fixed them on the window glass.

Weird.
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Filed under Children, Chocolate, Education, Public Transport

Testing for citizenship

I just took the Official Practice Citizenship Test and got 11 out of 24, which would in real life be a fail, another £50, and my passport taken off me til I passed. (I did better in the Guardian’s mock version of it. What that says about me….) For what it’s worth, I would probably fail Fleet Street Fox‘s citizenship test: too many sports questions, though the correct answer to (5) is actually either a, b, or c so long as you take tea seriously.

5. An American offers to make you tea. Do you -
a) explain why the water needs to be boiling, not tepid; why the bag is added first, not last; and how long your personal preferences require the tea to be stewed
b) accept and politely hope for the best
c) refuse on the grounds they haven’t a hope

Plus there’s the larger citizenship question: to dunk or not to dunk. That ought to be the thousand-words-or-less essay question instead of some nonsense about Wimbledon.

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Magnetic Girls Talk

If you’ve gone anywhere near the Internet in the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen a mocking reference to the pink/purple Bic “pens for HER”. They even made Newsround.

Via Angry Black Lady Chronicles:

  • Before I bought this product I couldn’t write but now I’m an engineer. Mind you, I only design pink, flowery bridges, motorways and sewers. Blue ones would be wrong wouldn’t they.
  • I think this is what they call “product failure.” Gendered razors I get. What woman doesn’t enjoy a nice shaving strip while scraping the hair off their legs? But pink gendered pens? Come on, son. Either come at me with a ribbed-for-her-pleasure pen, or don’t come at me at all. Pink alone ain’t gettin’ it done, IYKWIMAITYD.

Crates and Ribbons also adds pics from Early Learning of their gendered toys, and points out:

Children aren’t born knowing what is expected of their gender. Boys aren’t born believing that it’s shameful to be a girl. Through the toys that we make for them and the messages that we send them, they are taught about their roles and status every day. And when they grow up, they will pass it on to their children in their turn, unless we make an effort to end this cycle and make gender roles a thing of the past.

This kind of thing amuses me and infuriates me in almost equal measure, especially when it comes to childhood favourites like Lego. When the Lego Group knows from its own research that at least 38% of their potential market is girls, and yet they refuse to market real Lego kits to girls because their marketing managers “know” that girls like dolls, not building things, something is deeply wrong. It takes a huge kind of processing error to ignore your own research and act surprised at falling sales.
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Filed under Childhood, Children, Education, Women

Religious freedom in the workplace

Revd Matthew Firth preached at St Matthew’s church in Ipswich, where he was Curate, on 13th May 2012. As of the new term, he will be working Chaplain to the University of Cumbria in Carlisle:

There is something which I believe the Lord has been speaking to me about for a few months now, and it’s based on what I think is one of the most chilling verses in the Hebrew Scriptures. Judges 21:25 says this: ‘In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.’ I therefore want to say something about The King, the Kingdom, and rebellion against the King and his Kingdom…and of course I’m talking about Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

(For full text, see Matthew Firth’s Sermon.)
(For Matthew Firth’s tweeting against equal marriage in January, see Firth’s Tweets. For the rebuttal of his scientific nonsense, jump to Narth Science.)

The chaplaincy page at the University of Cumbria website says:

While the chaplaincy has a distinctively Christian flavour to it and seeks to provide opportunities for students and staff to explore the Christian faith, we also want to be a pastoral service which is well and truly open to everyone, regardless of faith or belief. So, if you do want to explore the Christian faith, we would love to accompany you on the journey. But if you are simply seeking a safe space, a listening ear or personal support, we would love to be of help in that too.

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Filed under Education, LGBT Equality, Religion, Unanswerable Questions