Education, Education, Education.

I can’t say I agreed with Tony Blair (Bliar? not sure) over many things but this was one quote I approved of wholeheartedly.

When I was married, my wife and I were discussing the ins and outs of paying for schooling for our daughter. An older friend, the guy who introduced us, related a story about his experiences. After marrying, he and his wife bought an Landrover and drove it from the UK to Australia. What is known as a right proper hard-core trek. In those days driving across the Middle East was possible as the religious bitching was at a relative lull. Not only was it a bold undertaking but the people they met left a lasting impression on them.

When Graham offers advice, you listen. He said that regarding children; you can only give them two things, love and education. That informed our choices re schooling and in getting divorced. Our daughter goes to a great school and she knows that, above all, that she is loved and that her Mummy and Daddy are friends. In all things to do with her we resolved to continue backing each other up so my daughter, H, got a single message. We may have our differences but we talk about and plan around H. As she is on the cusp of turning into a scheming teenager (they are all devious and scheming even if you think butter wouldn’t melt…) she knows that I won’t be sold the “but Mummy said…” story without checking first.

That aside, I got to thinking about my time in the Specials (Police Reserves for you dang foreigners). I was talking w. a mate today who is a full-time officer and we agreed that the  vast majority of police time is spent dealing with a small but significant minority (and most are repeat customers) of the population. What common distinguishing feature is shared by these people?  Most of them are thick, dense, dumb etc etc but I don’t actually believe that. I have always wondered if it was genetic but have decided that it is through lack of formal education. Sure, some of them will never be the brightest coal in the barbecue but I’ll bet they are capable of learning to read and write properly. Some are downright crafty and ingenious in the way they commit crime. In fact, they’d be a proper menace to society if they had basic Maths and English. I once spent 6 hours taking statements from two muppets that were being horrible to one another on Facebook. Neither of them seemed familiar with the concept of Unfriending someone. Gaaarrrgghh.

Amongst this small and select band of idiots, education seems to be actively sneered at and discouraged. Being unencumbered by burdensome basic literary and numeracy skills is something to be proud of. It seems that there needs to be  lessons in  education and the benefits of being educated. In Western society most countries have mechanisms for assisting those without the means to cope. In the UK we refer to the Welfare State and I believe passionately that this is a correct mechanism to have for those that actually require it. However, here comes the but, there needs to be some sort of active disincentive for those that shun the opportunity to learn and then expect to be supported by the state and waste police, doctor, teacher, court time – along with many other resources – as they know their rights. For all their knowledge of their rights there seems to be very few obligations in their mind.

This is a thorny question and much, much smarter people than me have approached it and to date failed to fix it. I believe that, a bit like National Service was obligatory back in the day, then being educated to a minimum standard should also be obligatory. You can just picture the enforcement officers. Imagine getting  stop-checked by a man with suede patches on his elbows and be made to do basic maths and punctuate a sentence or get sent back to school in a big yellow bus. Stop tittering in the back, I know I wouldn’t pass the latter part of the test.

With an education around some of the basics of life the EDL, and many of the Tabloids, would die on their arse. Small minded and ill-informed rhetoric relies on people being too stupid to be able to process the facts and come to their own conclusion. Manipulative people with access to the poorly educated can then move in and control the dumb masses. With a basic education I daresay that many more people would have the intellectual toolkit to laugh at splinter groups and move on or the radical religious whoever is the hating flavour of the month.  That poor bloody innocent soldier was hacked to death by impressionable morons, imho. Allah’s work. My arse. If there was any sort of a God then I reckon he’d frown on that, don’t you?

Eh? What Did You Say The Time Was?

Simple stuff to start the day on. After all, there is no point getting too heavy too soon. Plenty of time to get sad and introspective later.

Do you know what I mean when you look at your watch through semi-scrunched up eyes in a darkish room and think, “oh, half six, time to get up”? Obviously a totally alien thought to many but in my world it’s the correct time to rise to get things done (enough of me moralising, you know who you lazy bastards are) and you drag yourself out of bed to think, “Christ on a bike, I’m knackered. Must get to bed before 2300 etc etc” and start going through the motions of making cawfee when you make a quick glance at the clock on the stove, see it says it is three minutes past six and with a deft wrist motion flick open the computer to disprove this damnable lie. Four minutes past six. Confirmed. Watch obviously said half five and not half six. Damn and double damn. If I was down wiv da kidz this would be the time for a WTF????

I have used the twenty four hour clock for time for as long as I can remember so all the AM times are prefaced with a zero pronounced “oh” like the letter. This puts me in mind of Robin Williams playing Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning Vietnam – get this, in 1987! He announces the time as 0600, and, “what does the 0 stand for? Oh my god it’s early.”

Apparently Wiliams improvised a whole ton of the script when shooting the film. They just rolled the cameras and let him go. It is a cruel rumour but apparently the Bolivian Marching Powder may had a teensy bit to do with it. Regardless, This is well worth a few minutes of your time as this is indeed comedy gold from 1987. 

Oh god, the Bialetti didn’t get all the water through so I have had syrupy black coffee that you was thick enough to apply via strong rubbing to the forehead and chest. Sod coke (the powdered variety), this is hardcore buzzing. If I don’t rot a hole in my guts I think I am going to buzz out of control. Having done the obligatory experimentation with drugs in my youth I can safely say that this is up there. I am even short of breath. And all during my morning constitutional w the Mad Septic I have kept nipping into the bushes for immediate relief. Look on the bright side though, the Bialetti didn’t explode peppering my naked torso with semi-molten chunks of cheap shrapnel. You know it would just maim and probably blind you. If that kind of thing happens to me I want to be killed outright, minimum pain and for the device to work right first time. Just saying.

To keep the blowing up thread going I was walking in Oxford with the Mad Septic and as a small car, obviously a rental car with a young Muslim male at the wheel pulled out I remarked that seeing the three things combined I couldn’t stop myself looking to see if the rear springs were badly compressed and whether he had the look of someone who had not used their own card to rent it. It’s a hire car and was being treated so nicely. Obviously been PV’d by Enterprise so what do I know? Much laughing – at me – and the Mad Septic announced that you never hear of old Swedish grannie’s blowing themselves up, which is true, you don’t. In fact, I have never heard of a pensioner perpetrating a suicide attack. Old people realise they are getting to the end of a time-limited contract and have way too much dignity to go blowing themselves up. However, it must be a slight sense of accomplishment and social righteousness when you can talk an impressionable young fool into doing so. Natural selection and all that. Additionally, females in general seem too clever to fall for the seventy-two virgins line and as a slight aside, I don’t want virgins but rather well seasoned porn stars that know exactly what they are doing with my bits and if I am really lucky a finger might sneak into areas God never intended. I have died in a courageous and righteous manner and want to have some fun. I deserve it. I guess young guys haven’t had the time to develop into old pervs who have thought this through. Oh Lord, I am going straight to hell – as if that wasn’t a known knowns. Must concentrate. Why are young men so easy to radicalise with religion, politics or a mixture of the two?

If you are now wondering if I am just a simple racist bastard using long words then you are only partially correct. I am not racist and was just indulging in profiling and not personal value judgements.

A semi-literate bastard? Correct.  I don’t know if my parents were actually married when I was conceived (on a yacht in Sydney Harbour if my mother is to be believed) so in theory I could be an actual bastard as well. Who’d a thunk it?

PS: I promised to do a post around some cool pics I was sent. Later. I shall then submit it all to the magnificent Lisa for excoriating comments and a bit of editing.