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England named worst in developed world for literacy. So yes, school reform is needed.

29 January 2016

5:41 PM

29 January 2016

5:41 PM

Today’s OECD study of basic skills ranks England lowest in the developed world for literacy, and second lowest for numeracy. We knew that our schools might struggle to compete with the likes of Singapore and South Korea, but this puts the problem in a whole new perspective. It’s the delayed results of a study taken four years ago where 5,000 in each country were sampled so, to some extent, it’s a hangover from the days when a far greater share of children left school without five decent passes. But the report also found that England has three times more low-skilled people among those aged 16-19 than the best-performing countries like Finland, Japan, Korea and the Netherlands. One in ten of all English university graduates have low literacy and numeracy skills. 

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It does acknowledge that ‘England has in recent years adopted a wide-ranging set of measures to address the literacy and numeracy weaknesses of young adults at 16-19 and beyond’. These include raising the compulsory participation age to 18, making maths and literacy courses a requirement in 16-19 education, and measures to improve maths and literacy teaching. Most of these measures formed part of the reforming mission of Michael Gove as Schools Secretary.

Even though Gove seems to have adapted his approach since his party leadership decided he was too toxic to stay in the Education job in the run-up to the 2015 election, his mission to drive up school standards and not accept the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’ looks entirely justified, in spite of the howls of the teaching unions (who seem very quiet today). 

Labour’s Lucy Powell today released a statement saying the report showed that driving up standards must be the priority, but complaining that the government wasn’t recruiting enough good English and maths teachers, rather than complaining that a rigorous focus on standards was unfair. 

It will take years before the Gove reforms can be evaluated: the OECD says ‘it is too early to evaluate the success’ of what he was doing, but says his ‘objectives are clearly the right ones.’ The  tables published today show that he wasn’t being the villainous pedant that his enemies in the education world often painted him as. Pedantry suggests nit-picking at minor problems. Young people managing to go as far as university with poor basic maths and English skills is of a rather different order.

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Show comments
  • Tubby_Isaacs

    Something must be done, so let’s do what some mates of the government say, even if it involves copying America which is down where we are.

  • Sue Smith

    Actually, I’m not really surprised to see Austria so far down the ‘literacy’ list. When I lived in Vienna I noticed groups of kids constantly out on the streets, away from class with the teacher, going on ‘excursions’. They were on the U-Bahn, trains and strassenbahn. I asked a teacher once what was going on, “Oh, the kids they live in apartments and so they enjoy outings with the school”. Neither my husband nor myself could believe the amount of time wasted on such ‘outings’ as each day saw more and more groups of students being chaperoned by their teacher to this place or that.

  • Marvin

    In the 60’s and 70’s the new breed of free love and everyone is equal mush swept Britain, and important things like spelling, grammar and discipline in classes were taboo, so eventually we have ended up with illiterate teachers teaching our youn to be just like them out of ignorance and lack of any basic skills. SO! why are we surprised.

    • Bonkim

      Yes, those who were useless and failures went to Teacher training colleges. Plenty of girls to choose from though.

      • Leon Wolfeson

        Ah, hate on those who help others and on universal education, right.

  • sandy winder

    So Powell says our teachers are crap. And if you think literacy and numeracy are bad our geography and history teaching is equally bad.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      History 101 begins at 1901.

      • JabbaPapa

        Avant moi, le déluge !!!

  • Knight of Tipton

    Der ay nofin wong wiv da system, nah wat im sayin?

  • 22pp22

    A huge proportion of the kids do not speak English at home.

    • Bonkim

      Is there a Pidgin issue of the Spectator?

  • evad666

    But not to worry we have the most uncritical, keyboard aware pupils of the sexual spectrum.

  • Leon Wolfeson

    Yes, well, perhaps evidence-based reform and not insisting on memorization-only, politically-driven…

  • saffrin

    What we have is, an education system unable to discipline the pupils. A system in fear of denouncing a pupil a failure could cause brain damage to an idiot child.
    A system that not too long ago contemplated exam by text speak.

  • John

    Dismiss the false dichotomy sold by the main parties altogether: rigorous technical skills (mathematics, literacy, hard sciences, etc.) being taught as a matter of course needn’t be mutually exclusive of “modern” approaches designed to foster intellectual curiosity. On an individual level, although I appreciate the relative redundancy of anecdotal evidence for an issue this large, I know some genuinely terrible students in the core subjects who came around (much later than their naturally academically-minded peers) only when they discovered their necessity to a field in which they were passionate.

    I didn’t struggle in school by any measure, and enjoyed maths especially, but if I’d been exposed to economics at that age (my current bachelors), or (dare I say it) a more relevant curriculum in certain subjects I’d have met my earlier education with a wholly different sort of vigor.

    Gove’s attempt at reform seemed entirely antithetical to this spirit, and any laudable measures to give children technical skills were surely only accidental boons on his thinly-veiled mission to appease embittered forty-something-year-olds with an over-inflated sense of their own education’s worth.

    Sure, give me a few minutes and a piece of paper and I’ll tear the current, watered down curriculum to shreds, but Middlemarch? I know it’s frivolous to home in on specific gripes with the new educational order, but how about challenging our children with something they’d actually enjoy or resonate with? Throw them some Pynchon, some Carson McCullers, some Zadie Smith, don’t drown them in some nationalistic cerebral quagmire.

    • JabbaPapa

      crikey, Carroll, Dahl, Rowling, Tolkien, the old **good** Le Guin, Hugh Lofting, Richard Adams, **anything** with some spark of fun or beauty rather than this dreary pig-head ideological crap.

      Then Greene, Burgess, Orwell, Tolkien again, Chaucer, Malory, Galsworthy, anyone provided they know how to write without laying a sledgehammer into your brain !!!

      • John

        I’d love to teach a class handling the Lord of the Rings with some measure of the weight it deserves. Despite being a staple of English children’s and adults’ bookshelves for decades, it’s still not being exploited as a logical entry-point into other works of British myth. Taught alongside a history curriculum of real scope and ambition, instead of an endless repetition of World War military history, we could actually start imbuing our citizens with an understanding of the national narrative, and what it actually means to belong to the British Isles.

        • red2black

          It seems to be a highly accomplished Christianisation of Norse Mythology (?)

          • JabbaPapa

            Not really, no.

            There are origins in English, Welsh, and Finnish folk tales, much from the Mediaeval Romances, including the very old stuff like the Beowulf or the Chanson de Roland and so on, as well as from the Troubadours, the Lives of the Saints, and much old Christian poetry.

            • red2black

              Volsungs Saga is arguably the basis of it. I’ve only read that and Beowulf from the other sources you list.

              • JabbaPapa

                Much of the tone is from the Kalevala, whilst the heroics tend to be inspired by the French Romances, and the Beowulf etc more as concerns the Ancient World of the 1st and 2nd Ages.

  • Tickertapeguy

    Lets get this straight. Are we talking about native British or are we also including non English speaking immigrants and asylum seekers as part of the British population for Singapore and South Korea do not have that social problem.

    • Mary Ann

      Yes but France, Sweden and Germany have more migrants than us and they are doing better than us. Mind you, they teach more languages than us as well.

      • Tickertapeguy

        Has London experienced the burning of cars as in Paris?

      • Mr B J Mann

        So you keep saying.

        So as I said:

        There is more room for migrants in France and Germany than there is in Britain, never mind England:

        Country – Density – Area km2 – Population – Room For Refugees vs UK/England

        U.K. – 256 – 243,610 – 62,262,000

        Germany – 233 – 357,021 – 81,799,600 – 8.2/65.7 Million

        Italy -192 – 301,230 – 59,715,625 -19.5/67.8 Million

        France -111 – 547,030 – 63,601,002 -79.3/167.4 Million

        England – 417 – 130,279 – 53,000,000

      • Bonkim

        Praise the Lord there are nations on earth that take the scum of the earth – is in’t it wonderful that all these Europeans are saving Britain from being overrun? I bet Sweden and Germany, France will find their peace in Heaven.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          Well, Britain’s taken you… so…

  • Mynydd

    Today’s OECD study of basic skills ranks England lowest in the developed world for literacy, and second lowest for numeracy. It’s good that Scotland, Wales and Northern Island are now above England, that will give Cameron/Morgan something to think about, after years decrying their performance.

    • Mr B J Mann

      Hahahahahahahahahahhaa!!!!!!

      If they taught English instead of Welsh in Wales you would have spotted that the study ranks D_E_V_E_L_O_P_E_D nations!!!

      Wales isn’t even ON the list!

      Something to think about, after years decrying England’s performance.

  • Badger

    Only Labour is allowed to reform anything, and that reform should only come in the form of more cash. This is the state of affairs we currently live under and it won’t change until the applecart has been well and truly upturned.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Ah yes, the evils of education one.

  • Morris Jasper

    The teaching unions are “very quiet today’ because, I think they genuinely miss Gove. To the ‘ Blob’, one of the last bastions of rabid militancy, he was the perfect gift of an evil tory bogeyman. Even the SWP front Anti Academies Alliance struggle to generate sufficient bile over Nicky Whatserface.

  • andylowings

    The State wants a compliant population not an educated one. This underpins almost all one reads about schools.

  • Q46

    So that State comprehensive system are real success.

  • AdrianM

    It’s time to investigate the persuasive arguments which ‘Group Behavioural Change’ exponents would like to offer the feeble and misguided heads of UK government education departments. One such facility is http://www.scl.cc.

  • fundamentallyflawed

    Labours answer to every problem – throw more staff (and public money) at it and hope it does some good. Forget years of dumbing down, soft skill style teaching and rewards for failure

  • abystander

    All that money spent by the English middle classes on private schools and this is the outcome!

    Just as well this wasn’t Scotland or all the Toryboys would be denouncing the SNP government from their armchairs.

  • Dr. Heath

    The teachers I’ve met seem, with few exceptions, to belong to a whacko faith community. It’s a sort of fundamentalist, secular church whose most promoted and highly paid members [the others, who’ve tumbled to the insanity, tend to leave or to become cynics] sincerely cling to some of the stupidest, most counter-intuitive articles of belief outside of the ravings of fringe political groups. Non-believers and sceptics are – you guessed – denounced as fascists.

    Pupils attend schools, they’ll tell you, to have their creativity nurtured. Basic literary skills, one of them told me last week, are of no importance. If a child’s poem or essay makes even the tiniest bit of sense, it’s a success. Carping on about the absence of correct spelling or punctuation marks is a sure way, this believer said, to destroy both the child’s confidence and creative instincts. As well as this fundamentalist disdain for basic skills across the range of lessons is the conviction that teachers are surrogate carers and parents for their pupils. It is true that many children are thoroughly betrayed by their unemployable, half-witted biological mums and dads but the solution to this involves electing governments that care about the economy and the building of a saner welfare system. The insinuation of teachers into these roles is merely a symptom of their profession’s megalomaniac tendencies and messianic over-confidence.

    There will be no reform of schools in the UK. Primary schools will deliver into the care of secondary schools twelve-year-olds who are almost completely unprepared for the tasks of reading books and profiting from the previously unknown experience of academic lessons in maths, science, the humanities and foreign languages. Teachers will claim, for decades to come, as they have claimed in the past, that embarrassing results are due the failure of governments to pay them higher wages. That other governments educate their children to learn far more difficult languages and to become far better arithmeticians with far few resources will, as it’s done for decades in the UK, go completely unnoticed.

    • andylowings

      Marvelous Doc! Go to the top of the class..I’m going to send that to the end of term school mag
      But on the more serious level, we have not the slightest idea what really goes on in schools. Its run by those with these odd ideas, and I really do worry what goes on. I think we might all be more than shocked.

      • Dr. Heath

        Good luck with the editor of the school mag. Better make your submission anonymous.

      • Leon Wolfeson

        Headmasters? Well yes, but they’re not only government pets, they have their own union and lobbyists.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Well, perhaps you should try and meet more than a few from a Christian School.

      As you hate on young kids and want even more memorisation-only lessons, right. Gotta make sure that kids are constantly disparaged for trying, after all, if they don’t get it 100% right all the time…

      As you hate on British workers as parents, right, as you hate the concept of teachers. As you want far worse, and ignore the fact that memorisation is all that’s taught today.

      As you ignore living costs, of course.

      • Mr B J Mann

        Ahhhhhh, your headmaster told you off in front of the class:

        For dribbling from your nostrils noeL noseflowW

        • Leon Wolfeson

          So you say your dead alternate personality is a kid? Hmm.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Noel nosefloW.

            Living proof that drugs destroy your nose and scramble your brains!

            • Leon Wolfeson

              Your other personality is you, so you’re describing yourself.

              As you hate on for my being British.

      • hobspawn

        “As you hate on young kids…”. Says it all.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          Well, yes, it’s you!

  • AtilaTheHen

    We’re doomed I tell you. Fecking doomed!

  • Malcolm Stevas

    It comes down not to periodic tinkering by successive Cabinet members most of whom know sod-all about education, but to common sense judgements about what is taught and how. For reasons of academic urges toward complexity, and Lefty-teacher urges to undermine tradition, the straightforward teaching of English & Maths lost out to all manner of stupid agendas. Generations of our schoolchildren have been short-changed by idiots with self-centred agendas. Why do so many make financial sacrifices to educate their children privately? Nothing to do with snobbery! It’s because in a private school you stand a far better chance of straightforward traditional teaching values – as well as smaller classes. It ain’t rocket science.

    • Jesus H Corbyn

      if class sizes are a problem then the Tories need to build more schools and bigger buildings. But they won’t because of their idological austerity drive to oppress the working classes

      priavte schools are the very essence of snobbery and should be a abolished

      • Malcolm Stevas

        Attending one of them might have ensured better syntax & spelling for you, though I’m not sure it would have cured your inverted snobbery.

        • Jesus H Corbyn

          I am a snob because I dislike wealthy people sending their children to better schools because they have money?

          what a twisted logic

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Wealthy people buy posher cars than my Ford because they have the money. Clearly, they are capitalist exploiters who should be put to death.

            • red2black

              It’s the rich what gets the pleasure, and the poor what gets the blame.

              • Malcolm Stevas

                Gosh, I think there’s a song there… Can I be your agent?

                • red2black

                  Roadie or nothing.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Unlike the left who send their kids to schools near the most expensive houses that money can buy.

            Or in the case of Labour (and now Conservative) Ministers, top “non” selective schools nowhere near their expensive houses.

            Even if they’ve been boasting about how great their local school is?!?!?!?!?

  • MrBishi

    We pay the state education system around £50,000 to educate each child and we appear to be getting poor value for our money.

    • Jesus H Corbyn

      then we should recruit better teachers. Too many British teachers are useless

      • Cis

        Could that be because they are products of the same system?

        Or because the usual teacher training process demands at least lip-service to the kind of socialist bilge we’re getting used to getting from you?

        Or because that bilge also drives the Ofsted thought police?

        I salute anyone who perseveres in teaching here despite the odds stacked against them by having too many incompetent colleagues, too much “political” interference in the curriculum and in teaching methods, and too much nit-picking supervision from an organisation which, if it was worth even one of its inspector’s salaries, would be in the vanguard of the campaign for reform.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          Ah yes, the “socialist” concept that not teaching some kids because they’re not White English is bad, etc.

          Hmm.

          And no, Ofsted are following the government agenda.

    • John Matthews

      Have you looked how little UK (and US) spends per pupil compared to other countries? And I dont just mean the government spending also parents in uk and us dont invest in their children.

  • AdrianM

    I would like to see a similar graph (as above) drawn before the advent of the World Wide Web, and its sibling opiates Social Media and text messaging.

  • Bonkim

    Don’t accept school leavers with low literacy and numeracy in Universities – set up craft and trade schools appropriate to student intelligence levels for low achievers.

    • Malcolm Stevas

      I see where you’re going, but I suggest those “craft and trade schools” shouldn’t be for low achievers or those of reduced intelligence. They ought to be simply alternative career paths, for the less academic or, some would argue, more practically orientated. To be a really top plumber, drainage engineer or electrician requires intelligence! The Germans do these things well, with a series of technical institutes that turn out large numbers of very skilled, competent craftsmen – many of whom go on to run their own businesses. I know such people in Germany. Seems to me that the long-standing academic snobbery in this country about “trade” still lingers on – part of the reason why we still tend to be ruled by PPE graduates who think they’re the dog’s gonads, when it might often be a very good idea to have a top engineer as PM…

      • Jesus H Corbyn

        not always. Thatcher was a scientist and she is the most evil human ever to have been elected to parliament

        • Malcolm Stevas

          You really are a satirist, aren’t you… Either that, or an ignoramus of impressive density.

          • Jesus H Corbyn

            no she was a chemist

            • Bonkim

              Chemists are also scientists and she was a great PM, a fighter.

              • red2black

                She even took a stab at ‘equality’ with the Poll Tax. (tee hee)

                • Bonkim

                  Ithink a council tax based on adults living in a house is perfectly logical – local authority expenditure is not dependent on size of houses but on the numbers that benefit from their services. Hence discounting minors, numbers of adults particularly if employed means greater liability for the council and hence per head or poll tax is logical.

                • red2black

                  http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?t=1271311
                  Extract: ‘Poll tax replaced the old rates system. The old rates system was based on the the property you lived in, the Poll tax was for individuals. Ended up with the anomoly of one person in a mansion paying less than a working couple in their rented home.’

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Why is that an anomaly?

                  Why should one person (perhaps retired, or out of work, or even in work) pay more than a working couple?

                  Are you saying that if the working couple split up, made sacrifices, and bought two larger houses, they should each pay more than the working couple who bought their old house between them?!?!

                  Even though they mad exactlyy the same use of council services!!!!!!

                • JabbaPapa

                  Querelle d’épicière …

                • Mr B J Mann

                  So you can’t answer either?!

                • JabbaPapa

                  You didn’t get my joke.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Go on then: what was it!

                • red2black

                  I think he means ‘the grocer’s daughter’ was dealing in arguments rather than fruit and veg.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Excuse me while I stitch my sides back up!

                • JabbaPapa

                  He didn’t get it either.

                • red2black

                  It was a comment made by someone on a website; not by me.
                  I think the ability to pay was a concern for many people.
                  For some reason, many of the people around Mrs Thatcher pleaded with her not to impose a Poll Tax.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Not couldn’t pay: wouldn’t pay!

                  Like families of six, all working at ‘pit, rioting about having to pay their fair share on their council house!

                • red2black

                  You mean six miners living in a council house would each pay the same amount as one billionaire politician living alone in a private one?

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Yes.

                  And?

                • red2black

                  No wonder it was an unpopular idea. Council Tax seemed to reintroduce some semblance of progressive taxation.

                • Jackthesmilingblack

                  Council tax and the way it was collected; no invoice, no reminder, no final demand … Just a Victoria type rent book. Oxfordshire RDC went straight to the jugular with a County Court summons, was one of the main reasons why I emigrated.

                • red2black

                  Never mind.

                • EUSSR 4 All!

                  Stop talking from rubbish! You were from Billingham, North Teesside, County Durham!

                • Jackthesmilingblack

                  So are you saying that the Rolls Royce owner should be charged for his petrol than the driver of an old Ford?

                • red2black

                  No.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Ah, make sure that the poor pay more tax. Right.

                • Bonkim

                  You are getting rattled and just waffling. Go to sleep.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Ah, you think you’ve assaulted me. What a surprise, as you want the pesky facts whitewashed.

                • Bonkim

                  Don’t waste time assaulting anyone – now you are being racist – I would have used black-washed – black covers all.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Ah, not bad enough for you or some other nonsense?
                  And then you start PC whining. Oh, and Racism.

                  I was just using the common term. You…

                • Bonkim

                  Still not got the British sense of humour!

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Nope, I agree you don’t. And?

                • Bonkim

                  One learns to put up with Twats.

        • Bonkim

          Total rubbish – she achieved a lot for Britain.

      • Bonkim

        Yes – different routes for different abilities and all labour is honourable. Agree the German system works well for all ability levels – and Germany, Austria, etc, University education takes years more than in Britain – so an engineer or doctor much more rounded.

        We have to accept that not all are created equal and devise different paths for each.

        Academic snobbery – an ‘Engineer’ some one that fixes wheels – and engineering requires the highest calibre of literacy and numeracy.

        • Jesus H Corbyn

          ‘not all are created equal’

          that’s exactly the view that led to the horrors of N*zism. teh beleif in superior races.

          everybody is born a blank slate. Thats a genetic fact

          • Bonkim

            Like it or not humans don’t come one size – different people have different strengths and weaknesses. Different societies are moulded by history, geography, and religion. Social organisation and ability to take risk determine outcomes. So not all are created equal – those that can compete and come on top at a given location/time/circumstances have the advantage. That is the real world. Like it or not. Even the Bible tells that – look at the Parable of the Sower. Not all seeds bear fruit.

          • andylowings

            Then why do Ethiopians win at long distance (and the Chinese dont even enter), and yet there are few African software workers?
            Footballers are made in Brazil yet East Aficans don’t seem to get far,though West Africans do. Aboriginals often cannot stay in one job for long yet Japanese can happily work for life.
            Ok now call me racist.

            • red2black

              We are all born equal in our helplessness.

              • Jackthesmilingblack

                You been reading the Beano again?

                • red2black

                  Yes. I also read the Dandy in order to create an informed, fair, and balanced viewpoint.

            • Mr B J Mann

              It’s amazing how you can breed dogs not just for different physical characteristics, but temperament, character, personality and, errrmmm, intelligence.

              But not people.

              Is it because we are made in the image of God?!

              • Jackthesmilingblack

                Made in God’s image? Now that’s a scary thought.

              • red2black

                Most people love their pets and working animals for what they are. People seem far more reluctant to do that when it comes to each other. Mongrels are generally longer-lived and not as prone to illness and disease.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  They get it from their vigorous fathers who spend all day running around shafting anything they can, regardless of whether they’re welcome.

                • red2black

                  My mother had a Labrador Guide Dog which was treated as a family pet when not working. Happy days long gone.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Plus, isn’t that because the “Pedigrees” are inbred and deliberately malformed, not because the mongrels are inherently healthier because they are mongrels?!

                • red2black

                  Not something I know much about. Apparently some breeds of bulldog or boxer-type dogs have had to be outbred (if that’s the right term?) because of serious breathing problems.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Thomas Hobbs disagreed.

            • EUSSR 4 All!

              Brother of Russell, no doubt your stepfather!

      • Mr B J Mann

        I remember meeting an American exchange architecture student so assumed he must be a straight A student but it turned out he’d wanted to be a civil engineer, but couldn’t make the grade, so settled for architecture instead!

        The exact opposite of what would happen here!!!

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Sadly the British class system runs interference.

        • Malcolm Stevas

          Isn’t that an American footballing term? Not sure the English class system still has quite that sort of reach. I put it down far more to political incompetence and the diminished quality of our political leaders.

  • Chris Hobson

    Education dumbed down check, segregated society check, EU tyranny check.

  • Mongo

    won’t be long before the Left considers teaching English in schools as ‘racist’. Being of course the language of the white imperialistic Christian capitalist West

    • Bonkim

      Not many Christians in Britain now.

      • Jesus H Corbyn

        good. Christianity has a long and rather sordid history of breeding hate and violence

        • Malcolm Stevas

          True – a sordid history taken over by the Left, with untold millions of people in the 20thC murdered, starved, and oppressed by Leftist regimes now feted by too many members of the Labour Party.

          • Jesus H Corbyn

            Hitler???!?! was he a lefty?>

            • Malcolm Stevas

              “National Socialist” – NSDAP. Look it up. But actually I was thinking more of Stalin, Mao, the whole Warsaw Pact, plus other minor horrors such as Castro’s Cuba.

              • Jesus H Corbyn

                teh reason why Stalin, Mao etc get a bad press is because they weren’t true communists. They were capitalists pretending to be.

                you need to start reading Hobsbawm and educate yourlsef on histiry

                • Bonkim

                  If you have to read up to be a socialist keep it to yourself. Many successful societies in history did not require analysis and scholarship – they gelled naturally.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  Everything you write is a cliché, including this standard fare about those bloodstained tyrants supposedly not being proper communists. Sure, right: the next time, Marxist dictatorship will really work out perfectly. Honest, guv.
                  I love your injunction to “educate yourlsef on histiry” – classic stuff. Keep up with the evening classes.

                • red2black

                  Marx reckoned Capitalism had to be successful before Socialism could take its place. What’s the hold-up?

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  One of Marxism’s more puzzling aspects is that so many otherwise clever people took Marx so seriously. He came up with a few aspects of economic analysis that hold true, but really his theories are for the most part a load of rubbish. Tragic that so many people died for what their killers would call allegiance to Marxism-Leninism.

                • red2black

                  It places people in opposition to each other, as do all political and religious creeds. Those who believe, and those who don’t.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  This sort of implies you might have libertarian leanings. I certainly do, though modified/moderated by conservatism and nationalism.

                • red2black

                  I’ve always had an idealistic soft spot for the Anarchists that George Orwell said he was proud to have fought alongside in Spain. Those people found out the hard way what authoritarian and totalitarian rule means, from both Left and Right.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  Hmmm, well, anarchism can sound great fun if one reads (say) Ursula K Le Guin’s sci-fi stories, but in practice I doubt sincerely if it would be very pleasant. I think most people are basically inclined to decency, but we still need a societal framework built on the rule of law to restrain the nastier impulses. Libertarians believe firmly in the rule of law. I think Orwell (a writer I respect hugely) would have agreed.

                • red2black

                  Most of us settle for what Bertrand Russell called the English love of compromise.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I wonder if they allowed him, or good old Ernest C, the privilege of joining any of their death squads for a spot of jolly old priest-murdering ?

                • red2black

                  Ernest C?

                • JabbaPapa

                  gah, “M” — sorry

                • red2black

                  Ernest M?

                • Mr B J Mann

                  And that Socialism was an intermediary stage of Marxism.

                • red2black

                  He was wrong about that as well.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Who? Marx?!?!

                  Not that it matters:

                  The Marxists believe he’s right!

                • red2black

                  There are many forms of Socialism that have little or nothing to do with Marxism or what Marxists believe. It does matter.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Didn’t he support Stalin?

                • red2black

                  We all did when it suited us.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I didn’t.

                • red2black

                  I did mean historically, in a national sense, as during WW2.
                  You’re not being held personally responsible.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Given that my dad had a spell in a Stalinist prison in Hungary, and my mother was from a country that fought against and defeated a Russian invasion army, I continue not to agree with your “we all did”.

                • red2black

                  Fair enough.

              • Bonkim

                Keep Castro out – he is a special case – a Saint to some. I liked him and he pulled a finger at the real Bully the US in the 1960’s and managed to survive be revered by his people. Cuba has a better health service than Britain and more equality and fairness al round. The political class also less corrupt and street-level community organisations functioning well. Cuba would be seen as a successful society in history notwithstanding they still run 1940’s US cars as their taxis. Material wealth is not everything.

                • Jesus H Corbyn

                  defintely. Cuba is living proof that a communist country can and does work well

                  Cubans have a higer quality of life per capita than many Americans

                • Bonkim

                  Castro’s Cuba is miles away from the old COMECON European variety which were tyrannies. Castro’s had some semblance to popular socialism that worked. Not so in Europe where it failed.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Apart from all the dead ones.

                  And the Cubans only had a better health service while the Soviets were pouring a fortune into it.

                  What is it, and the rest of Cuba, like now?!

                • red2black

                  Americans make up for it by shooting each other.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  Indeed it isn’t, but Cuba under Castro was nevertheless a dictatorship in classic Marxist style. Forced labour camps, political repression, torture in prisons, censorship, restricted travel (Cubans famously escaped their island in as many different ways as did East Germans), a nasty secret police supposedly trained by the Stasi… The whole works.

                • red2black

                  Were the Cuban people better off under Batista?

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  Irrelevant: Castro is not to be excused on the grounds that Batista’s regime was vicious and corrupt.

                • red2black

                  I’m not excusing Castro. I’m asking if the Cuban people were better off under Batista – when Cuba was regarded as some sort of offshore knocking-shop come casino by outsiders.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  No idea, but maybe not. Does that make a difference to any discussion about the horrors of Socialist/Marxist (etc) rule? In the mid-16thC we experienced the repressive, authoritarian regime of Mary’s counter reformation: 100 years later things were edgy, to say the least, under Cromwell. Which was worse? Who knows? Does it make any difference to our current judgement of free-market West v Marxist authoritarianism?

                • red2black

                  We seem to be a little more than a tad short of a Free Market West, judging by the amount of State interference and regulation that takes place in national economies.
                  Castro humiliated the USA, and the USA never forgives anyone for doing that. Most democratic Socialists in the West accept a system of regulated Capitalism. There are more models of Socialism than authoritarian and totalitarian ones, as the briefest understanding of differences on the Left will show. There’s plenty of on-line material on life in Cuba before Castro’s revolution.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  Certainly: interventionist social-democracy at best is what we have. I do not trust Socialism in any guise, since even the most apparently benevolent forms seem to entail, sooner or later, a degree of State control and collectivist bullying that I find unacceptable. Sweden comes to mind, especially the Olaf Palme years.

                • red2black

                  A degree of State control. There isn’t a modern society where there isn’t a degree of State control. Free Marketeers may want a small State that’s responsible for things like law and order, and doesn’t involve itself at all in Free Market matters, but it’s inevitable that Free Market interests will be undermined by, for example, criminal insurgents and Free Market opponents.
                  Like a lot of things, a Free Market is fine in theory, but it fails to take account of other forces being at work, with which it will be in conflict.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  I’m sure you’re right about a degree of state control – something I said or implied I accept as inevitable – but unsure about exactly what point you’re making. I’ve never come across anyone who espoused any sort of “pure” Free Market – whatever that might entail. Personally, I’m easy with the prospect of State involvement in, say, energy & transport infrastructure – though in recent decades our State has seemed remarkably indifferent to both areas.

                • red2black

                  Read it and weep – or laugh if you prefer: ‘Anarcho-capitalism (also known as ‘libertarian anarchy’ or ‘market anarchism’ or ‘free market anarchism’) is a libertarian and individualist anarchist political philosophy that advocates the elimination of the State in favor of individual sovereignty in a free market.’

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  True, but there are hugely more Leftists around than so-called “anarcho-capitalists” – I have yet to meet one of the latter. To date, anarcho-capitalists haven’t undertaken any pogroms, ruined whole national economies, sent millions of people to early or cruel deaths…

                • red2black

                  The USA’s had a good go now and again.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  I can’t think of any good examples. Actually the US offers a good illustration of statist social-democracy posing as free market HQ: it is very bureaucratic, and for example the BATF and the IRS have sweeping powers that are as alarming as their equivalents anywhere in the world – though to the best of my knowledge they can’t actually carry people off to a Lubyanka and torture them…

                • red2black
                • JabbaPapa

                  Which was worse?

                  Well, given that Queen Mary organised no genocides, but Cromwell did, which do you think ?

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  I’ll make my mind up after refreshing my memory with Tombs’s so far excellent The English And Their History.

              • red2black

                Far too much Race, Nationalism and Religion for the NSDAP to be considered Left. They weren’t even Communist.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  But for example the Russians are famously racist and nationalistic. Religion enjoyed a rather edgy relationship in Germany with the Third Reich. For me, anything that elevates the State to central importance, subordinates inividual freedom, restricts political liberty, and imposes central economic planning, is left. In essence there’s little to choose between the regimes of Hitler, Castro and Pol Pot.

                • red2black

                  They are all characterised by an authoritarian and totalitarian world-view. Before the State was of central importance, there stood the Church. We’re individual and social creatures at the same time. Regarding this fact as a paradox leads to compromise; regarding it as a contradiction leads to conflict.

            • Bonkim

              National Socialism was leftist of course. All populist movements are.

              • red2black

                Which cancels out ‘National Socialism’ because it rejects people on the basis of their race, religion and politics, along with many other things; so how on Earth can it be considered ‘populist’?

                • Bonkim

                  German society is based on blood-bond – our notions of multiculturalism was/is bonkers in Germany. As such National Socialism and the German Brotherhood was the norm – not something to be shunned – if you go back a hundred years back that was how nations saw themselves and race/creed/sect/food habits, etc, and other distinct features were accepted as part of one’s social make up. Post WW2 internationalism and the British variety of multiculturalism has no logical basis – you will find most immigrants live within their self-created mental ghettos and have no clue what multiculturalism means – a lefty-invention of the 1970’s and 80’s.

                  To make a point – the Chinese, Indians, and all the 180+nations of the world see themselves as distinct and in many ways superior to all others although accepting military, economic or cultural dominance depending on circumstances. If that is racism – it is well and healthy all over the world.

                • red2black

                  Racism has many forms expressed in different ways. The main one in the West has Whites as ‘top dog’, and this was part of NSDAP thinking, which made the Movement racially exclusive, along with all the other accompanying exclusivities such as nationality and religion. There will always be people who can’t, or won’t, integrate with the ways of the country they have moved to, but there are also plenty that can and do. Of course, those who can and do seem to be considered far less newsworthy, and are put at risk by those who remain in what you call their mental ghettoes, much to the discomfiture of many among the indigent and settled immigrant population. Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, as one of the ‘architects’ of the EU, appears to have been credited with the idea of a policy of open immigration into Europe, as described in his book ‘Practical Idealism’, which remains out of print, and of which only brief passages are available in translation: http://balder.org/judea/Richard-Coudenhove-Kalergi-Practical-Idealism-Vienna-1925.php
                  A Europe where mongrel ‘Egyptian looking’ Europeans are ruled by an inbred Jewish elite (!?)

                • Mr B J Mann

                  But the Narsties were quite fond of the Muzzies.

                  And even today the Germans seem to have a soft spot for J!hadis and Mujahadeen in B0snia and K0sovo!

                • red2black

                  So much for The Master Race.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  It’s used for conspiracy purposes – much like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. And with about as much bearing on the real world.

                • red2black

                  Tee hee.

                • Bonkim

                  Difficult to be absolutist on this topic. Racism as I see it is a frame of mind and a victim mentality – that you should be recognized for being different. It is not just a white and black issue – for example people in China or India are as racist or more so when faced with people of other ethnicities or class, caste or cultural walks other than their own. In employment, in selecting our marriage partners, in participating in sports, etc, all across the globe birds of a feather flock together.

                  The reason anti-racists laws have been put in place in many western countries and embedded in high-brow human rights and other equality legislation is simply to put a lid on the natural tensions breaking out in open violence as happens in many parts of the world.

                  Laws in themselves do not change human attitudes. No one will force me to respect religions, cultures or other habits of people that I don’t like – whilst I may not use bad language out of politeness, I will definitely not associate with people with whom I do not have shared values or beliefs.

                  You may think it odd but I see common cause with people from many ethnic and cultural backgounds – so will tolerate all as long as their habits do not cause any public nuisance. In a free country you can be an individualist and not give a damn about any one.

                  You touch on exercise of power – it is to be expected that the majority will attract attention unless the minorities deviate significantly to cause annoyance to the majority. This has nothing to do with race – the so called British values recognized across the Globe are predominantly upper class values and the whole world follows the high achievers or those that set the standards. Pre the 1950s and 60s immigration from the Empire the the minorities Catholics, irish, Scouse or Gippos were the butt of discrimination – the Plbs also just had to accept their staion in the pecking order – get real – read up on group psychology and chuck out all this idealism about equality of the human race. You will have to go to some of the Middle Eastern countries, india, China and Sout East asia to study racism and how the minorities are exploited and persecuted across the Globe.

                  Britain, US or Wester Europe is heaven by comparison in how the minorities are treated fairly and not excluded..

                • JabbaPapa

                  Difficult to be absolutist on this topic

                  … but you’ll give it your best shot anyway !!!

                • red2black

                  Racism in whatever form is something people learn, one way or another. I was brought up in a community where, outside my immediate family, there was a lot of casual racism. I’ve no time for any of it, from whichever viewpoint – which is not the same as pretending that Racism doesn’t exist.

                • Bonkim

                  Discrimination is part of human nature.
                  I love tea and you love coffee
                  and we will never agree.

                • red2black

                  You love tea and I love coffee. Agreed.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  No, your choice to hate people is yours.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Funny, the purging of i.e. Jews happened historically recently, and they were defeated for it.

                  As you say that allowing i.e. Sihks and Jews has no logical basis, that there’s no reason to be a trading nation as Britain had for so long… as you ignore why people need to defend themselves from people like you.

                  As you try and conflate nationalism and racism, of course.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  All Socialism’ rejects people on the basis of their race,
                  religion and politics, along with many other things; so how on Earth can
                  it be considered ‘populist’?

                  See how far English Christian Conservatives get with Socialists?

                  Especially if they are also straight male and stale!

                • red2black

                  ‘National’; not ‘All’.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  ‘ALL’; NOT ‘National’:

                  *ALL* Socialism’ rejects people on the basis of their race, religion and politics, along with many other things; so how on Earth can
                  it be considered ‘populist’?

                  See how far English Christian Conservatives get with Socialists?

                  Especially if they are also straight male and stale!

                  See how the different cults of Marxists / Leninists / Trotskyists / Maoists…… fight amongst themselves and reject each other more than anything or anyone else!

                  Adolf was only copying Marx when he blamed the J-ws for the evils of Capitalism (their Sunday to Friday religion as Marx put it).

                  And are you telling me that any of the International Socialists loved anyone who disagreed with them for their politics and religion?!?!

                  And I seem to recall that they all went in for a bit of ethnic cleansing at times!

                • red2black

                  I didn’t realise that those on the Right were all so in love with each other. I’m not a Marxist. All proposals should be subject to as directly a democratic vote as possible. Check out the recently released details and research into Hitler’s will. Our man was a consummate Capitalist par excellence et sans pareil.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Ahhhh, I forgot:

                  Any socialist that manages to achieve power and introduce their ideology is relabelled right wing by the socialists!

                • red2black

                  Not by me. Hitler wasn’t a Socialist in the Marxist sense.
                  Read a bit of Oswald Spengler for Hitler’s version.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Copying Marx when he blamed the J-ws for the evils of Capitalism (their Sunday to Friday religion as Marx put it).

                  Control of the means of production (would have nationalised them but he was in too much of a hurry to mess around with that, what with the war, and everything).

                  Planned to cap earned income and ban unearned income.

                  Banned public ownership of guns.

                  Animal loving veggie environMentalist into fringe religions.

                  You could shave his moustache, grow his lank hair, and you wouldn’t look at him twice in meeting of the brothers (Marxist, not Muslim!)!

                • red2black

                  Hitler blamed the Jews for Communism as well as Capitalism.
                  Sort of ‘two birds with one stone’. Probably blamed them for bad weather as well. And his tooth-ache.

              • Leon Wolfeson

                So you try and deny the ideological basis of the Nazis. Right.

                • Bonkim

                  It is not for me to accept or deny the ideological basis of Nazism – they did what they considered right – in the process Germany advanced in many aspects of human endeavour – vast advances in science and technology, and human organization – Germans after WW1 were a beaten race and within two decades they rose up to demonstrate their capabilities. Regardless of the ideological question it took the US and the British Empire to beat the Germans and that took over 5 years. Give credit where it is due. History is full of worms and you will find that if you dig – the British Empire or the US success was not based on high morality or consideration for other human beings – equally it is not for us to judge all that today.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Except that’s what you’re doing, as you praise your Heros. Right.

                  As you want to also uphold colonialism and slavery, etc.

                • Bonkim

                  What an idiot! we are discussing history. Colonialism and slavery as was practised in the 17th to early 20th centuries will not work now as people across the Globe have organized better and better informed. The West has also taught the world on basic human rights and today communications are speedy.

                  You don’t seem to understand that colonies could not have been established without the tacit support of the local populations. In Asia and Africa for example local kings and Chieftains actively supported the Colonialists inviting them to participate in their wars and feuds. Nation States as we know today did not exist – these were in fact set up by the departing Colonialists in the 20th century – the people of Asia and Africa were (still are) disorganized, corrupt and incompetent – and the colonists simply took advantage of the situation presented – that is how human history evolves.

                  The French Normans (Norsemen) invaded, colonised and dominated England in 1066 same as the Danes and others did in earlier centuries – what is England today is an evolution from those colonial era. You will find all the nation states of the world have similar histories of invasions, colonisations, wars, oppression, and exploitation. Get real!

                  Human groups that are weak and disorganized get over-run by stronger and better organized groups. Even the Bible talks of whole populations enslaved and wars of liberation and divine intervention.

                • JabbaPapa

                  crikey, it’s some more of his stark raving barmy DIY fantasy “history” lessons …

                • Bonkim

                  Don’t pretend you are an intellectual.

                • JabbaPapa

                  You’re the one pretending that this gibberish from straight out of your armpit is “history”.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Great, so you are, as you ignore the fact that many people still want it. And ignore neo-colonialist capitalism.

                  As you make excuses for colonialism. As you spout off about how you see other Other as inferior, right. And ignore why i.e. the Saudi Kings rose (tip – Western interference).

                  As you ignore the looting of those countries… as you try and justify invasions…

                • Bonkim

                  It is human to exploit economic opportunities – in a trade situation both parties benefit. I don’t see British Empire builders loot anything – they went, they saw the opportunities, and they exploited those opportunities. Local societies were poorly organized, illiterates and backward – in the process they also benefited. The discussion on colonialism, racism and exploitation is in terms of people from Britain ruthlessly murdering and snatching the wealth of an existing civilization – quite to the contrary Western colonists providee the organization, technology and infrastructure albeit to facilitate their own trade and exploitation of the resources existing – but the locals today have benefited immensely through the process and need to be thankful that their freedom struggles were mainly in terms of the rule of law and governance established by the departing colonists.

                  So not cry victim – Asia, Africa, the Americas would not have had the roads, ports, railways and institutions in not for the Colonial Empires. Look again what some of these societies have done with what they were left with – Zimabwe, Pakistan, Balnnglades, etc – corrupt societies unable to build on what they were left with – failed and failing societies have no right to exist – survival of the fittest I am afraid – nature is harsh. The West/Britain owes nothing to the present lot – inept and corrupt.

                  To sum up – nobody looted anybody – many qualified people from some of these countries are making a good living in the West released from their backward social and cultural environment – yes I don’t believe all people are equal – not by skin colour or language but by what they have done individually starting with the credits they had at birth – some waste it and fail to capitalise on the opportunities – they have no right to exist – to repeat nature is harsh – also the earth’s population is exploding helped by overseas aid and medical advances – this excess population unless brought into control will drive mankind to extinction in the not too distant future.

                  Idiots like you expect the hard working to dish out the fruits of their effort to useless destitues – come again.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Except that’s not what happened. As you excuse capitalism and colonialism, over and over.

                  Tell me, how did the Congo Free State benefit the natives? Etc.
                  As you try and make victims of those not White Rich Male, I hear you, as you try and hide your actions. As you espouse eugenics, and as you call for mass death.

                  As I don’t want leeches like you freeloading on the back of workers, as you hate the 99%.
                  And yes, if you can’t be bothered to pay tax in accordance with the law, leave.

                • Bonkim

                  Your imagination is racing ahead – but I would expect that of an idiot

                  I have paid plenty of tax and NI, worked hard and tried to be better than others – that is what competition is all about. Also contributed to the society I live in. No free-loading or dodging taxes here. I am also not a White-rich male – and I am colour blind. I don’t hate individual human beings but yes detest human groups espousing backward cultures and religions and their systems. And yes I detest human breeding copiously on overseas food and medical aid. To repeat failed and failing societies need to be allowed to die off – that is nature’s ways.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  So you expect yourself to make up fantasies like you do? Right.

                  As you admit your hate is based entirely on abstractions, as you don’t actually know people not like you, right. Your self-hate and child-hate is your issue too, as you want to conquer countries based on your social darwinism…

                  Pay tax, rich white leech.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Go back a hundred years – there were no nation states in much of the world

                  Must have been a funny old World War, then ….

                • Bonkim

                  Not funny – the world as it was then – it was a war fought by Empires.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Why don’t you just sit in the corner and copy 100 times the sentence : “I must not type complete nonsense into the internet.” ?

                • Bonkim

                  Sense and nonsense depends on your intellectual level – sorry what I said was difficult for you.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Right, and let’s all pretend that the Nation State wasn’t an invention of the 19th century, and that the Colonial Empires weren’t all founded on the principles of that concept.

                • JabbaPapa

                  It is not for me to accept or deny the ideological basis of Nazism

                  Your moral and intellectual cowardice wouldn’t of course let you.

                • Bonkim

                  True intellectuals don’t take sides or pontificate on morality. Simply look at cause and effect, and analyze a given situation in its context. It is a bit like watching a Western and then moralising on the standards of justice prevailing in the wild-West where if you don’t shoot first you get killed.

                • JabbaPapa

                  True intellectuals don’t take sides or pontificate on morality

                  You really do talk the barmiest type of asinine bollocks imaginable …

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  So you deny most intellectuals work, right.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Funny, how many on the left praise Putin? For example?

            • Malcolm Stevas

              Don’t see your point.

        • andylowings

          I love Jesus H Corbyn ! The one liners are just fab.

        • Mr B J Mann

          Nothing like the invasion, massacre and enslavement of North Africa, Spain, Southern Italy, Balkans, Persia, Syria, the Holy Land, India……

    • Leon Wolfeson

      So you make up conspiracy theories, right, based on simple inversions..

  • Gilbert White

    Perhaps this is the reason why the world’s brightest flock to the UK like the recently jailed slave Spengali?

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Independent schools, not state schools.

    • Bonkim

      It is all in the mind – for many it is just a stamp of educated in Britain – a colonial hang back that the British Unversities capitalise on.

    • FMA

      SPENGALI!?

  • Mr B J Mann

    We send our kids to school at younger and younger ages.

    And, obviously they get better cores in tests than other countries at 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, even 8.

    Than other countries where they start school at 7.

    Strangely, though, where they start school at 7 they soon not only catch up, but surpass, British children!

    And I was speaking to a teacher in Germany recently, and apparently many “primary” schools in Germany don’t even have “schools”:

    They just have a shelter for when it rains, and spend their time learning through play in a park like environment!

    • JabbaPapa

      other countries where they start school at 7.

      Strangely, though, where they start school at 7 they soon not only catch up, but surpass, British children!

      And I was speaking to a teacher in Germany recently, and apparently many “primary” schools in Germany don’t even have “schools”:

      They just have a shelter for when it rains, and spend their time learning through play in a park like environment!

      crikey, I’d have been bored out of my mind by such a feminised whackjob environment.

      • Mr B J Mann

        Eh? They don’t weave daisy chains and skip through the meadows holding hands!

        They are out in all weathers, sun or snow, grazing their knees and climbing things!!!

        • JabbaPapa

          By “feminised”, I mean “children’s environment devised by women”.

          I learned to read and write when I was 3 — what would I be supposed to do ’til 7, sit around with my book surrounded by the inane wittering of the illiterate ? (crikey, play school was bad enough as it is … ) Be forced by some woman to leave my book and have some “learning” experience through “play” ???

          • Mr B J Mann

            You don’t live in the real world, you especially, it would seem:

            You live in a model of the real world a a brain has constructed, especially in your early years.

            When an adult drives, for example, they don’t see a 3-D technicolour HD video of the world:

            They see a series of Victorian what the butler saw blurred B&W snapshots with a bit better definition in the centre which also has some colour detail, but it also has a blank patch coinciding with the optic nerve. Oh, and it’s upside down,

            The brain stitches that into a panorama, guesses what’s in fuzzy and blank bits. Colours them in. And strings them together into the video you think you see.

            That’s why people hit cyclists and bikers they “didn’t see”:

            They were in one of the blank bits and the brain wasn’t expecting one there.

            That’s why accidents go up when you have lots of signs and cameras:

            The brain is hunting for their real and present danger and not the rare and harmless cyclist!

            And that’s without considering the feel, or sound, or smell of things.

            Never mind the feeling-s of other people.

            All things your brain has modelled from books (and modern kids from i-pads).

            Instead of the real world interactions, human, as well as physical, your brain needed.

            Or the feminised, clean, neat and tidy, sterile, rough and tumble free, cotton wool wrapped, all must have prizes UK pre schools and schools.

            And that’s not to say that the Germans don’t ha those too!

            • JabbaPapa

              What on EARTH does that GIBBERISH have to do with ANYTHING ???

              Have you been smoking pot in front of The Matrix again ???

              Get back to me after you’ve actually studied the links between reality, perception, and thought as they are used to convey meaning, as much in the psycholinguistics as in the related Philosophy ; and Art.

              Bottom line — YOU don’t get to dictate anything to me concerning my idiosyncratic perceptions of our shared reality. Nor I to you.

              Good evening.

              • Mr B J Mann

                Hit a raw nerve, have I?!

      • Bonkim

        Different culture and German society is stronger overall for that.

    • cafecaldo

      Much of this thread is based on a misunderstanding – these are “Waldkindergaerten”, not primary schools. German primary schools have an entry age of six (or, optionally, seven if the child is born in summer), before that there is (optional) kindergarten. There is quite a stark difference between the methods used in kindergarden (childcare, life skills, play) and primary school (start of “academic” learning), with generally no “reception”-type stage inbetween. Waldkindergaerten are popular with a specific nature-obsessed segment of the population I’ve met since moving here – but from what I’ve seen these people also seem to be very invested in their children reading old-fashioned books & learning languages, so probably no harm done.

      • Bonkim

        If it workd don’t fix it. Scottish education is better than the English multi-cultural variety.

      • Mr B J Mann

        Exactly

        Start of “academic” learning at six at earliest.

        Optional childcare, life skills, play before 6/7 but unlike here mothers are expected to be at home with the kids until then and later!

      • Mr B J Mann

        PS I should, perhaps, have specified “Infants” rather than the broader “Primary”.

    • Bonkim

      with local Haus Fraus helping out – German society works because there is a sense of unity and purpose. More German mothers also look after their children rather than go out to work.

      • Mr B J Mann

        And they are expected to, rather than stigmatised for it.

        • Bonkim

          Social norms – Haus Fraus are well appreciated – and they do so voluntarily – no coersion.

  • Mr B J Mann

    “‘England has in recent years adopted a wide-ranging set of measures to address the literacy and numeracy weaknesses of young adults at 16-19 and beyond’. These include raising the compulsory participation age to 18, making maths and literacy courses a requirement in 16-19 education”

    Errrmmmmmm, it’s a bit late trying to address the literacy and numeracy weaknesses of young adults at 16-19 and beyond by raising the compulsory participation age to 18 and making maths and literacy courses a requirement in 16-19 education, isn’t it?!

  • JabbaPapa

    One in ten of all English university graduates have low literacy and numeracy skills

    aaaaaah, yes, this “wonderful” new secularist education those atheists can’t stop ranting on about, and how “superior” it is and how much “better-educated” we all are today …

  • realfish

    I note that there was not a word about this on the union supporting BBC this morning

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      No surprise there.

  • john

    Of course we have lousy literacy. The elites like that way. Imagine if the teeming masses were well educated and started fighting for the best schools, jobs, positions etc – it would be terrible. The .British system has always counted on failing 80% of the population.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      I interesting, very interesting. Care to enlarge?
      Fits with my paranoia and issues with authority.

      • Mongo

        ‘care to enlarge?’

        are you coming onto him?

      • john

        In my day (50 years ago), 80% failed at 11 plus. A further 80% of the grammar school kids failed to get 5 O levels. Of the survivors, 80% then failed to get a decent university place.
        Meanwhile, among the elites, a few quid to some rat bag public school and the future was golden.
        It may be a bit different today but the principle will be the same. Education is the sine qua non of maintaining the British class system.

        • JabbaPapa

          The French do that culling in the 1st, 2nd, and to some degree 3rd years of University. First year dropout/failure rates can be as high as 90% in the better Univs.

          • Bonkim

            That is only fair.

            • Leon Wolfeson

              The evidence is that streaming at 16+ works. Not before.

        • Mr B J Mann

          Smells like total anti-Grammar BS!

          You haven’t been reading anti-Grammar propaganda, have you?!

          Note that you’re saying that half a percent of state kids went to university!!!

          And even if that were true, you are clearly unaware that few high level jobs needed a degree in those days, in fact it would have worked against you in many fields.

          Professions like banking to most teaching, council management to corporate management, most levels of engineering (ie professional level technician, not factory workers), much of the law, most of the armed forces, all nursing, etc, etc, were non graduate.

          And even where there were “graduates”, eg in mechanical engineering, many would have served an apprenticeship first, then got further qualifications at night school/day release, and then gone on to do a degree as a mature student with a full, in depth, practical grounding in what they were dealing with.

          And you forget how many Prime Ministers were products of the Grammar school system while it existed.

          That’s why we ended up with a product of the Scottish Eton, and then the English Eton.

          Albeit with someone from a highly selective Scottish state education in between them!

          • Mongo

            as the product of a truly pisspoor state comprehensive I only wish I’d had the chance to attend a grammar, but they were all phased out (or transformed to comprehensives) by the time I came of age.

            my main abiding memory is of the bright kids being continually held back – the teachers spent almost all their time and efforts dealing with the troublemakers. Many lessons were simply chaos

            I imagine comprehensives are even worse now, especially the inner city ones. Sometimes segregation is necessary

            • Jesus H Corbyn

              you would love to see Apartheid and segregation brought back into our schools right?

              that’s a step backwards

              • Bonkim

                Why not? The Dumbos should not hold the bright back.

            • Leon Wolfeson

              So you blame the school for being a problem. Hmm.

              As you want to segregate out the rich for a better education, check.

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          So that figure of eight percent going to university in the 1960s was about right. Which put Brits at a serious disadvantage when seeking paid employment in non-English speaking countries.
          “Wanted English teacher. Must have university degree”
          With Americans the percent of those completing higher education was obviously far higher.

          • Todd Unctious

            50 years ago 6% went to Uni’. John refers to “decent” Uni’s. His figures are 20% of 20% of 20% which is less than 1%. I believe he is leaving out the 8% who went to Toff schools.

            • john

              To clarify, in my day the uni goers were 4-5% I think. Me sums may be a bit rough but the principle remains – the education system is set up to keep the kids of the elites (largely wealthy South) in line for the best opportunities.
              PS I am not at all anti grammar (went to great one) but the system did not produce the desired result of getting the most out of the British educational system. Doubt it’s any better today.

              • Mr B J Mann

                Again, you didn’t need to go to uni for the best opportunities, most jobs weren’t graduate ones, and a degree would hold you back in many as you would be viewed as too academic (or a toff).

                If people got a top toff job AND had an Oxbridge degree, went to Eton or Harrow, and wore a Guards tie, the degree wasn’t WHY they got a job in the family stockbroking or stock jobbing firm or the family bank, or a high-flying legal, civil service, or boardroom position.

                Did Cameron get to where he is because he went to Eton and Oxbridge?

                And that’s also why it’s ridiculous to con kids with fairy tales about the increase in lifetime earnings they can expect from a degree.

                You can only measure a lifetime earning after someone has stopped earning.

                So what you’re actually comparing is the lifetime earnings of people retiring from the bench, or the boardroom, or daddy’s firm, in their seventies, who just happened to have gone to a public school, university,done the grand tour, maybe a stint in the Guards, and started work as trainee Chairman in the 60s with ordinary people who got ordinary jobs!

                • john

                  I think you’re not quite right.
                  Even in the 60s many jobs required a degree. Many of us went into graduate training schemes at Ford, P&G etc. Similarly, it was tough to make headway in major organisations (eg Price Waterhouse, professional bodies or civil service) without a degree.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  QED

                  “not quite right”…… “many”…… “Many of us went into”…… “tough to make headway”………

                  By definition, 98%(?) definitely didn’t need a degree in 1960.

                  And of those taken by graduates, how many REQUIRED a degree, and how many were merely filled by a toff with a degree who would have got the same job without having spent three years boozing on port and rogering pigs heads?!

                • john

                  Maybe you don’t understand the term “graduate training programme?” Tend to want people with degrees.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Maybe you don’t understand the term “REQUIRED” even when emphasised?

                  How many companies had graduate training schemes?!

                  How many of those companies excluded non graduates from the positions the graduate training schemes led to?!?!

                  In fact, how many of those graduate training schemes were just schemes to expose the 21 year old, inexperienced, graduates to the departments and roles the people in the management training schemes had been working through for three years since joining with A Levels?!?!?!!!!

                • john

                  To repeat: Maybe you don’t understand the term “graduate training programme?” Tend to want people with degrees. Some non-grads did get good positions but they were rare (and usually had some partial equivalent qualification eg accountancy.)
                  I think the companies knew what they wanted. These schemes did lead to rapid advancement and the general replacement on non-grads with grads.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Strange how so many documentaries of the 50s and 60s seem to show that the (singular) graduate trainee was treated as a bit of a joke by management and labour.

                  And I seem to recall a lot of “graduate training scheme” members in the 70s being glorified reps.

                  Whereas many non graduates even in the 70s must have flown pretty high just from the dearth of graduates, and even despite nepotism.

                  Even today “10 percent of the FTSE 100 and 250 CEOs didn’t attend University at all”.

                  http://www.hrreview.co.uk/hr-news/recruitment/surprisingly-10-of-ftse100250-ceos-did-not-attend-university/49335

                  So what would the non graduate figure be if the professions weren’t all going graduate?!

                  But: “The main takeaway has actually been how little the average CEO has
                  changed over the past fifty years. Although the business landscape has
                  moved on significantly from the ‘Mad Men’ boardrooms of the sixties, the
                  FTSE 100 and 250 CEO lists are still surprisingly dominated by males of
                  a certain age and from an Oxbridge background.”

                  So, again, did Cameron get to be CEO of UK Plc because he went to Eton and Oxbridge?

                  Or were they just things he did before he became CEO?!

                  And the other side of the coin is: how many of the “graduate” CEOs did their degree AFTER starting their careers, rather than actually STARTING as graduates>!

                  Then there’s these current statistics:

                  “The recent Skills and Employment Survey found that 26% of jobs in the economy explicitly require a degree”

                  BUT:

                  “If we then return to the APS data for the whole country and look at jobs
                  in the managerial, professional and associate professional categories –
                  those that are deemed ‘graduate level’ – we find they make up 43.6% of
                  the jobs in the economy.”

                  DESPITE:

                  “A modern economy with rapidly-developing technology like ours tends to demand more skills and qualifications as time goes on.”

                  http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2013/jun/04/higher-education-participation-data-analysis

                  So, even today, only around half of “graduate level” jobs are held by graduates:

                  Despite high levels of graduate unemployment!

                • Mr B J Mann

                  However, I wouldn’t deny that “These schemes did lead to rapid advancement and the general replacement o[f] non-grads with grads.” over the decades.

                  One only has to look at the police “service” and “nursing”!

                • Mr B J Mann

                  By the way, which professional bodies, apart from medical ones, required a degree in the 60s?

                • john

                  Again, you’re fighting a losing battle. Accountancy was moving toward degrees, Many technical associations were also going that way – architecture, engineering, law, academia, military etc.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Again, you’re fighting the fact you’ve lost the battle.

                  I’ve never denied that things were moving that way, to the extent that professions like nursing are now graduate only (but they are actually having to look at reintroducing a non graduate grade to enable hospitals to actually function!).

                  But, as you prove: was moving to degrees, many…. were also going that way…

                  It WAS NOT a requirement AT THE TIME!

                • JabbaPapa

                  I found the same during a brief flirtation with banking & finance in the 90s.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  And the job market’s changed. Odd that.

                  The “con” is only because of the tuition fee structure, which will also cost the country more than grants in the long run.

            • Mary Ann

              There were plenty of poor private schools.

        • Todd Unctious

          I totally agree. Toff schools are about class apartheid, not education.

        • MathMan

          I read a cracking book recently that sets out the failings of the grammar school system and much more about British society. It’s called’ The People -the rise and fall of the working class’ by Selina Todd.
          I failed the 11 plus and went on to gain a First in mechanical engineering ,something people like me aren’t supposed to do.

          • Bonkim

            Well done.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Rubbish!

            There was the 13+ and the “16+” (transfer into the sixth form).

            You could do O Levels in Secondary Moderns.

            You could get into University with CSEs and A Levels.

            You could, and many, if not most, did in the old days, get onto mechanical engineering courses after an apprenticeship and day release/night school in parallel with picking up the “mechanics” of the “trade”, and then progressing onto a professional level.

            And people forget about Polytechnics!

            • Leon Wolfeson

              Ah yes, a few more middle class students could get back in.
              And the odd University student among mqany…right.

              And you remember the useless “qualifications” (not recognized in most cases even within the country) poly…

              • Mr B J Mann

                What are you dribbling out of your nostrils about this time, noeL nosefloW?!?!?!

                Most technical jobs before Polys converted to Unis were done by students doing/with sandwich ONDs, HNDs and degrees from Polys!

                “Technical” university degrees at the time were highly theoretical, abstract maths and science based courses which gave you the grounding to understand the background to analytical engineering theories rather than giving you the grounding to actually do engineering, which you were expected to learn once you started work.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  So you keep whining about your alternate personality, as you admit what I said, right.

                  As you then blatantly lie and don’t understand vocational qualifications. They were also, as you admit, useless for actually giving you a practical background…. they were pieces of paper.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Noel nosefloW.
                  Living proof that drugs destroy your nose and scramble your brains!!!!

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Your other personality is you, so you’re describing yourself.

                  You admitted I was right, as I said.

        • Bonkim

          So only a few ended up in Universities – that is how it should be. Only the brightest and hard working should go to University.

          • john

            And us toffs should choose who they are.

            • Bonkim

              That is democracy.

              • john

                I assume this is irony – but maybe not?

          • john

            This type of robust thinking was fully appreciated 250 years ago when it was accepted that only the most suitable chaps should be given the vote. Otherwise, one’s butler would get ideas above his station.

            • Bonkim

              Like it or not – nature is harsh, the fit survive – and affluence and the good life on social security destroy society. A society that does not encourage/reward its best soon declines. Yes I don’t believe all are equal, some work, try hard and gain excellence, others that choose the easy way sink to the bottom.

              • Leon Wolfeson

                Ah, social darwinism.

            • Mr B J Mann

              What is the point of the two thirds of the above average academically who would struggle to do O Levels, never mind A Levels, doing a supposed “University” course?

              How are people who couldn’t pass O Levels, never mind A Levels getting degrees?!

              Hint, much of O Level courses are now in the A Level Courses.

              And much of the A Level courses are now in the degree courses.

              In fact, looking at my own kids mid “Secondary” school work 10 to 15 years ago I could have sworn it was stuff that I did in first year, if not JUNIOR school!

              • Leon Wolfeson

                “Hint, much of O Level courses are now in the A Level Courses.”

                Ah, that conspiracy theory.
                Warlock… thou broken word…

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Errrmmmmmmmm, if you didn’t know that…..

                  It explains why you can only dribble from your nostrils, noeL nosefloW!

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  I don’t know your conspiracy theories no. As you whine on about your alternate personality.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Noel nosefloW.
                  Living proof that drugs destroy your nose and scramble your brains!!!

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Your other personality is you, so you’re describing yourself.

                  And your conspiracy theories.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Yea, the richest…right.

    • Todd Unctious

      Banks like us illiterate, innumerate, lumpen .Easier to rip off.

    • Bonkim

      But 80% of the population have low IQs and just not up to standard. High achievers are discouraged in Britain.

      • Albert Hickson

        No, that can’t be right. By definition, the average IQ is 100, so 50% have a below-average IQ. Depending what you call “low IQ”, there must be less than 50% with a low IQ.

        • Bonkim

          IQ of 100 is low in my view. However the 80:20 rule applies to all in nature. Also many definitions how averages, means and other types of distribution are calculated in statistics. Don’t be pedantic.

        • Mr B J Mann

          By your definition an “average” (OK 1/infinity above average) kid is university material?!?!

          • Albert Hickson

            That’s not what I said at all. I just said that 50% of the population has an IQ less than 100 (by definition). I don’t think that anyone with an IQ of 100 could be said to have a “low IQ”. A low IQ must (imo) be less than 100, so the percentage of the population with a low IQ must be less than 50%. I said nothing about the IQ necessary for university. University entrance and graduation depend on other factors as well as IQ.

            • Mr B J Mann

              But we’re talking about things like grammar schools and university and dumbing down of exams.

              So, OK, what proportion of children do you think had IQs that were TOO low to pass old fashioned O Levels?

              What proportion of children do you think had IQs that were TOO low to pass old fashioned A Levels?

              And what proportion of children do you think have IQs that are TOO low to go to old fashioned Unis?

              And what proportion of children do you think have IQs that are NOT too low to go to new fangled Unis?!?!?!!!

              • Albert Hickson

                Do your fingers often get stuck on the question mark and exclamation mark keys? I have no idea of the answers to your questions. I was just pointing out that Bonkim was incorrect in saying that 80% of the population have low IQs, unless you say that an IQ of about 112 is low.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Oh, so it was an accidental diversion, not a deliberate distraction tactic.

                  But as you want to engage, why not engage brain and think about the question.

                  Oh, and I use the repeated punctuation for emphasis for the hard of thinking.

                  As it’s too difficult to draw pictures, never mind colour them in for you!

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Right – it’s used for emphasis, for yourself.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  What’s Nutty noe.L noseflo..VV.. dribbling on about now?!

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Yes, what are you, via your alternate personality, dribbling on about?

                • Mr B J Mann

                  /,, ..V

                  .l..

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  So you spam rather than answering… reporting your posts of course to disqus for that one.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Loon!

    • Leon Wolfeson

      No, that was just the idea of Grammar Schools.

      • john

        Not sure if you’re agreeing with me or denying my point?
        Grammar schools were a good idea in principle but (as always happens in class-ridden UK) were turned into consolation prizes for the lower classes while the elites kept themselves firmly in control.
        Hence, the bizarre fact that state schoolkids get more top level grades in A levels but get fewer places at Oxbridge.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          Well, the principle doesn’t hold up to modern knowledge about how people learn either.

          But yes, Grammar schools have 1/6th the number of kids on free school meals than other state schools.

          • Mr B J Mann

            That’s because there are so few of them:

            And the quite rich who can’t afford school fees buy up all the houses in the catchment area.

            So the poor clever kids are selected out by wealth, rather than in by aptitude.

            So you’re dribbling from your nostrils again, noeL nosefloW!

            • Leon Wolfeson

              So you ignore the fact it’s entirely consistent. As you ignore the fact that it’s always worked that way.

              As you then scream some crap about your other personality.

              • Mr B J Mann

                Noel nosefloW.
                Living proof that drugs destroy your nose and scramble your brains!!

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Your other personality is you, so you’re describing yourself.

                  As you try and hide those pesky facts with spam.

          • vieuxceps2

            Is that why Grammar kids are so fat ?

  • Mongo

    the rise of Sharia faith schools is probably bringing the average down. What do you think they teach there? Because it isn’t English

    • Bonkim

      Sharia schools are not counted in the statistics.

  • Tom Cullem

    But if we reform our schools and improve literacy, our graduates will expect better salaries and jobs – oh, wait, those are going to cheap labour migrants who speak Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Latvian . . .

  • Tamerlane

    Same numbers England and the USA. Back to basics please.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      The “basic” of memorization-only is why we’re here.

      • Tamerlane

        Basic is certainly why you’re here.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          And that’s supposed to mean what, in your fantasies?

  • GnosticBrian

    So these children were educated entirely under Labour; a testimony to B Liar’s success with “education, education, education”.

    • Todd Unctious

      You cant spell edukashion.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      The Tories have made things worse, Mr. G Liar.

      • GnosticBrian

        Leon Wolfson is a stalking Troll whom I don’t feed. He should get back under his bridge where he can read the reports by Teachers that show continual improvement since 2010 – being Labour supporters, they wouldn’t lie about their work performance, would they?

        • Leon Wolfeson

          Keep blaming me for your issues with replies, as you scream your excuses for not paying tax, and demand constantly I move in with you and your creepy ways.

          As you demand I read things in your head, of course. As you lie on,
          , Mr. G. Liar. Of course.

          • Mr B J Mann

            The only issues are dribbling from your nostrils, noeL nosefloW!

            • Leon Wolfeson

              Yes yes you want to kill your other personality, right.

              Your issues go on.

  • jim

    “Britain named worst in developed world for literacy. So yes, school reform is needed.”
    Anything to do with the fact that there are a countless number languages being spoken and english is only occasionally one of them.?

    • GnosticBrian

      Your assumption is not supported by the facts.

      Research from Bristol University finds that schools with large numbers of white British pupils perform worse than those with an ethnically diverse student body – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/11223747/Schools-with-large-migrant-intake-get-better-GCSE-results.html

      • Gilbert White

        Of course they would findcthis result?

        • GnosticBrian

          Not sure why you put a question mark at the end of your assertion.

          If they carried out their research diligently then the result ought to be valid. If you have EVIDENCE (and prejudice isn’t evidence) that the result was wrong, please produce it.

          • MRB

            “If they carried out their research diligently…”
            It’s Bristol University, I’m not sure they know how to conduct research at all. Unless it’s on how not to spill coke on a keyboard, or how not to get stuck in a revolving door.

            • Leon Wolfeson

              Oh, so you hate British universities. What a surprise.

              • MRB

                Who said that? just don’t rate Bristol.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  They do really, really well in the various research standards. 5th, 9th and 10th of all UK universities depending on the particular one.

                  So.

                • MRB

                  so? indeed. In what subjects? What’s the competition in those fields? I know plenty of people who went to Bristol, and it’s really not all that.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  So, based on your bigotry and hating some people you deny the official statistics.

                  http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2015/january/ref-update.html
                  5th in the offical REF, tied with Oxford.

                  “Geography – ranked 1st overall
                  Sport and exercise sciences – 1st overall
                  Sociology – 2nd overall
                  Earth systems and environmental sciences – 2nd overall
                  Physics – 4th overall
                  Mathematical sciences – 4th overall and 2nd for impact
                  Computer science and informatics – 4th overall
                  Chemistry – 5th overall
                  Public health, health services and primary care – 5th overall
                  Law – 5th overall
                  Education – 5th overall
                  Theology and religious studies – 5th overall”

                • MRB

                  “when research intensity is taken into account”, i.e. they do a lot of it but it’s not very good.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  No, that’s not what that means at all. In fact, that’s how you lose REF standings very rapidly.

            • GnosticBrian

              I have to say that was not my personal experience of Bristol.

              However, my experience is from more than 40 years ago and was of their Physics department. They did good quality work.

              Do you have personal, up to date experience to show that Bristol has sunk so low as you imply? If so, it is sad.

              • MRB

                Only via working with graduates of Bristol and some (not much) work in post doc research with teams including Bristol. And I can honestly say, that the Bristol grads (except one physisist) were very poor. Almost know subject matter knowledge, lot of work to get up to speed, and poor work rates.

                • GnosticBrian

                  Things have changed, and not for the better.

                  But it is good to see that Labour’s candidate for London Mayor is a graduate of the very worst University in the UK. Fits well with their leaders two E grades at A-level.

          • vieuxceps2

            Analysis of evidence and statistics can be dependent on the personal prejudicesof the analyst. This prof seems to be a windy leftyof the most extreme type.Such a mind as his can necer accept any outcome other than suits his politics. But you knew that, didn’t you?

            • GnosticBrian

              I didn’t know, it isn’t my area of expertise.

              Given the numerous errors in your post, I really am not persuaded to accept your view simply on your say so. Evidence?

              As a Physicist I also disagree with your assertion that “Analysis of evidence and statistics can be dependent on the personal prejudicesof [sic] the analyst”. Data acquisition, reduction and analysis must be done in an objective way if the conclusions are to carry any weight. Peer review should throw out any biased data sets / analysis.

              • vieuxceps2

                In science there is only one correct conclusion to be drawn from a body of evidence. The Bristol study was had a set of abstract ideas and impressions to assess. The lefty judges decided the evidence supported their views. Surprise
                In the same way.O Mighty Physicist you and I might differ over the worth of a painting or a poem. Such cannot be other than subjective.
                You really should not judge the quality of a comment by its type. Do try to think.

                • GnosticBrian

                  “In science there is only one correct conclusion to be drawn from a body of evidence”. Evidently you are not a scientist and know nothing of the history of science. A simple example. The Greeks thought that heavier bodies fell faster under the influence of gravity than did lighter bodies; Newton thought Gravity was governed by an inverse square law; Einstein gave us General Realtivity as a theory of gravity – we know that Einstein’s theory is not the whole story; it doesn’t work in the quantum world. Science is a work in progress.

                • JabbaPapa

                  The Greeks thought that heavier bodies fell faster under the influence of gravity than did lighter bodies

                  All else being equal, they were in fact generally right, as more massive objects (as the heavier ones tend to be) will suffer less deceleration from friction against an atmosphere than those with less mass.

                  Furthermore, a pound of feathers will tend to spread out in volume this increasing drag, whereas a pound of lead will not.

                • GnosticBrian

                  You really are scientifically illiterate. ma = mg.

                  The issue of air resistance is irrelevant – the Greeks, Galileo, newton, Einstein were all considering movement influenced by gravity alone.

                  Ready to give me your God / Evil answer yet?

                • JabbaPapa

                  You really are scientifically illiterate

                  Knew that would get you going — this was actually demonstrated in lab conditions, some years back.

                  More massive heavier objects do in fact fall infinitesimally faster than less dense lighter ones.

                • GnosticBrian

                  Link to evidence, please.

                  It is evidentg that you can’t answer. I’ve made it repeatedly clear that I’m content to go along with your definition of evil. Put up or shut up!

                • JabbaPapa

                  Not my field, and google is as always useless for this sort of thing.

                  But let’s say a ping-pong ball and a black hole of equal dimensions. Drop them off the leaning tower of Pisa 2 meters apart from each other, and my bet is the ground will hit the black hole some short time after the ping-pong ball has ceased to exist as such.

                  (only half a joke, IIRC the explanation was that the greater mass of the heavier object causes an infinitesimal gravitational trajectory shift in the lighter one, causing it to have an infinitesimally longer pathway to the ground, when the two objects are dropped simultaneously)

                  I cannot answer YOUR question about evil if I do not know what definition YOU are using.

                • GnosticBrian

                  So you have no evidence, just your usual blether. And you recommend that I patronise a well known tax avoider.

                  Watch from about 3 minutes in: https://youtu.be/AEIn3T6nDAo

                • JabbaPapa

                  I patronise a well known tax avoider

                  ??????

                  And crikey, my explanation was pretty straightforward enough — two objects in freefall and within each other’s gravitational pull will obviously go into orbit around each other. Etc.

                  It’s just your stupid stubborn ill-faith in everything and anything that you don’t already think and believe that’s left you so blindfolded and helpless to learn anything new.

                • GnosticBrian

                  “I patronise a well known tax avoider

                  ??????” – Google – you need to get out more, stop trolling on the internet and look at what is happening in the world.

                  Now let me have your resolution of the God / evil paradox.

                • JabbaPapa

                  a well known tax avoider

                  Why on EARTH should I give a flying fig about this trivial item of utterly pointless gibberish ?

                • GnosticBrian

                  Obviously you know nothing of current affairs.

                  I understand that you have access to your own limitless supply of gibberish, that I why I never offer you any.

                • vieuxceps2

                  Can you not read? “There is only ONE CORRECT conclusion…….”

                • GnosticBrian

                  Wrong!

                  Why else do we need Occam’s razor?

                • JabbaPapa

                  Because you’ve given up using your own.

                • GnosticBrian

                  Surely even you can do better than that?

                • JabbaPapa

                  Well you clearly lack any ability to think for yourself, given that all you’ve contributed is a vast mass of clichés and other materials from various third-parties.

                • GnosticBrian

                  Round objects.

                  Back under your bridge.

              • JabbaPapa

                Newsflash — the methodologies particular to Physics are not universally employed throughout every single branch and sub-discipline of Science.

                Your pompous ranting on about this or that **obvious** typo is OTOH just plain old thick.

                • GnosticBrian

                  I’m with Rutherford; Physics is the only science, the others that call themselves sciences are just stamp collecting.

                  I see that you still refuse to put into practice the teachings of the Sky Faery cult in which you profess belief. Ad hominem attack and insult as a substitute for prayer…

                • JabbaPapa

                  I’m with Rutherford; Physics is the only science

                  Then you and Rutherford are fools.

                • GnosticBrian

                  Well there we are again, ad hominem attack when you haven’t a proper answer.

                • JabbaPapa

                  “I’m with Rutherford; Physics is the only science” is not a reasonable response to the FACT that the methodologies particular to Physics are not universally employed throughout every single branch and sub-discipline of Science.

                  Just pretending that “nothing else is really science” is quite blatantly foolish.

                • GnosticBrian

                  Not a pretence, it is born out in reallity. Tell me what are the laws of Social Science?

                  Have you not worked out the God / evil paradox and what is your answer?

                • JabbaPapa

                  Have you not worked out the God / evil paradox and what is your answer?

                  Why should I answer this deliberately lying, sham question ?

                  If evil does not exist, then your stupid answer to your stupid question is “none of the above”.

                  Bet you didn’t bother to think **that** one through, eh ?

                  Assuming A the existence of God and B the non-existence of evil therefore C God neither causes nor allows any evil to occur, because there is no such thing.

                  NOW can you see how stupid your question was ?

                • GnosticBrian

                  Because it de3monstatesd the falsehood at the core of your Sky Faery cult and you know it. That is why you are tyrying so hard to deflect me from the question.

                  Your Aunt Sally does not explain the God / evil paradox. Now stop the disembling and answer.

                • JabbaPapa

                  That is why you are trying so hard to deflect me from the question

                  What gibberish is this ?

                  I answered it, on the basis of YOUR definition of evil that I needed to drag out from you despite your intrinsic dishonesty : ‘it doesn’t exist”.

                  If you don’t like the answer it’s certainly not my fault, as it is predicated on your definition of the word “evil”.

                • GnosticBrian

                  I don’t have your expertise in Gibberish.

                  You have answered the issue.

                  I’ll recast it in a form that you may better understand:

                  If an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god exists, then sin cannot. There is sin in the world.
                  Therefore, an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God does not exist.

                • JabbaPapa

                  You are an idiot if you actually think that such hair-splitting crap has any real meaning.

                  If an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god exists, then sin cannot

                  Prove it, you flipping barmy atheist nincompoop.

                • GnosticBrian

                  Ad hominem attack and insult – clearly you don’t believe i9n the power of prayer.

                  The second line demonstrates that the first line cannot be correct – QED.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Not a pretence, it is born out in reallity

                  BlinkeredBrian, you really **do** have a very limited intellect.

                • GnosticBrian
                • JabbaPapa
                • GnosticBrian

                  The link that you offer is certainly better suited to your intellect.

      • Mary Ann

        Not the sort of thing I would expect to see in the Telegraph.

      • Mr B J Mann

        The key part of that article is:

        The findings cast doubt over claims from the previous government and
        teachers’ leaders that Labour’s flagship “London Challenge” programme – extra funding to promote collaborative working between schools – was the main reason for improved results in the capital.

        Prof Burgess said: “My interpretation of these results leads to a focus on pupil aspiration, ambition and engagement. There is nothing inherently different in the ability of pupils from different ethnic backgrounds, but the children of relatively recent immigrants typically have greater hopes and expectations of education, and are, on average, more likely to be engaged with their school work. “This is not by chance of course. A key point about London is its attraction to migrants and those aspiring to a better life.

        Note also that London also attracts whites from the rest of the country, which means an imbalance within he indigenous white population of those aspiring to a better life between London and the rest of the country.

        But most noteworthy of all is the background of the study leader, Prof Simon Burgess:

        Research Interests

        Labour Economics, Inequality, Poverty. Simon is currently working
        on: an economic model of poverty dynamics, empirical models of
        incentives in organisations, gross job and worker flows, and job tenure.

        Research

        Simon Burgess’s current research interests are in the economics of
        eduation(sic), including the importance of teachers, pupils and schools,
        market structure in education, incentives, and choice. He has also
        worked on the performance of ethnic minorities in schools and ethnic
        segregation. Previously he worked on labour economics more generally,
        including: an economic model of poverty dynamics, empirical models of
        incentives in organisations, the role of markets in education and
        health, unemployment and gross job and worker flows.

        Expertise

        I do research within an economics framework on poverty, unemployment,
        education, incentives in the public sector, and local area effects.

    • Todd Unctious

      Yanks are worst at History and Geography. 60% of Yanks cannot date the Second World war to within 50 years. So assume it was either before 1889 or after 1995 !
      33% of Yanks cannot locate Russia on a map of the World. Considering most is sea , they have a one in seven chance of finding it just by randomly pointing.

      • Mary Ann

        Most Americans also believed that Saddam Hussain was responsible for 9/11 as well when Bush/Blair invaded Iraq.

      • jim

        I’d like to see profiled stats for that.

      • vieuxceps2

        How racist you are . Why do you hate Americans?

    • Mary Ann

      There are more migrants in France and Germany than there are in Britain and they are doing better.

      • Mr B J Mann

        There is more room for migrants in France and Germany than there is in Britain, never mind England:

        Country – Density – Area km2 – Population – Room For Refugees vs UK/England

        U.K. – 256 – 243,610 – 62,262,000

        Germany – 233 – 357,021 – 81,799,600 – 8.2/65.7 Million

        Italy -192 – 301,230 – 59,715,625 -19.5/67.8 Million

        France -111 – 547,030 – 63,601,002 -79.3/167.4 Million

        England – 417 – 130,279 – 53,000,000

        • Leon Wolfeson

          So you ignore little things like mountains…
          Geography fail!

          • Mr B J Mann

            Yes, I’ve ignored the Pennines, Snowdonia, Cairngorms……..

            Also the lakes, meres, lochs……

            Why?

            You reckon I’ve underestimated how many can live on the plains of Germany or France or even Italy?

            • Leon Wolfeson

              Because you’ve failed geography, it seems.

              As you try and excuse it with whining.

              • Mr B J Mann

                And you’ve failed to address my point.

                Preferring to whine about who knows what.

                Dribbling from your nostrils again, noeL nosefloW?!

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Ah, so no mountains in your world, they’re “who knows what”. Not you, obviously.

                  Then you whine about your dead alternate personality…

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Noel nosefloW.
                  Living proof that drugs destroy your nose and scramble your brains!!!!!!

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Your other personality is you, so you’re describing yourself.

                  As you deny mountains exist.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Are you standing on your head, noeL nosefloW, as you dribble seems to have overflowed your nostrils and blinded you?!

                • vieuxceps2

                  Why do you think alternate means alternative? Are you a teacher?

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Mountains. Remain.

                • MRB

                  yeah, I wouldn’t bother arguing with Leon. Intelligent reasoning and understanding clearly don’t come naturally.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  You certainly never have bothered to learn them, as you try and kill off so many British people.

                  You’re not arguing with me, you’re just espousing hate as usual. Thanks for admitting you’re one of Ms. Mann’s other personalities.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Yup, Noel nosefloW is living proof that drugs destroy your nose and scramble your brains!

      • jim

        You think the mess in France and Germany is an example we should seek to emulate? You really are crazy aren’t you?

        • Mary Ann

          Don’t forget Sweden as well, there children are doing even better than those in France and Germany. Sorry, you have a problem, you don’t like it because you can’t blame the migrants. The children in schools with lots of other races will learn a lot from them, a child of average intelligence should be able to learn the politenesses in a dozen languages as well as tolerance of foreigners, could be very useful in the future of our ever shrinking world.

          • jim

            …..and you like Sweden too…of course you do.A country mutating into the thirdworld as we speak…..Madness.

            • Leon Wolfeson

              Oh, when did you take over Sweden?

          • MRB

            Would like to point out that Sweden was in 10th place in 2012-13, and is now in 12th place. Within a year.

            • Leon Wolfeson

              Tip – relative vs absolute.

              • MRB

                agreed, but it’s actual score has fallen too. It was 13.3%, now 15%

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Oh. Hmm, my bad – I’ll look deeper into it then!

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Seems may well relate to bringing kids in private schools into the testing system, on doing some reading. Not sure, but that’d explain a lot.

                  (Also, honestly, I’m more interested of course in longer term trends…)

              • vieuxceps2

                Ok,now Sweden is absolutely in 12th place.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          Better results, unacceptable!

  • Nuahs87

    Spelling and grammar went virtually untaught when I was at school (1991 – 2003). I hope that the situation has changed, but I suspect not.

    • Andrew Finn

      This was pretty much the case for me when I was at school, though spelling wasn’t much of an issue. I left school and couldn’t construct a sentence properly.

      I didn’t learn about grammar until well into my teens, by which time I was out of school for a couple of years. I found the internet to be a wonderful resource, which makes me believe that it could be part of the solution for future generations.

      I have met foreigners who speak and write better English than lots of people who I went to school with. It’s a disgrace.

    • Mongo

      We had English lessons but they were basically English literature and didn’t focus at all on spelling, grammar or how to write properly

      so lots of lessons on To Kill a Mockingbird and its courageous anti-racism message, but most of the kids couldn’t even read the book

    • JabbaPapa

      aaaah yes, ye olde spellinge doesnn’tt mattr lunacy.

      And IIRC some trendy new grammar theories, interesting at a University level, were suddenly decreed as suitable for uneducated children. Normative bad, wibbly-wobbly good.

  • Lina R

    My nieces attend a state school in north London and they seem to be always going on trips and having lessons about racism (the school couldn’t be anymore multicultural). Whenever I ask my niece who is taking her GCSEs this year, what she is studying, it reminds me of what I studied at 12-13. When I was at school in the 1990s, I remember looking at an O’level paper and thought it looked more like A-level – I was relieved to be taking GSCEs. Today it would seem degree level, yet this generation have, paradoxically, the best overall grades in history.

    • Todd Unctious

      My friends son doing Eng Lit A level was asked to make a cardboard model of a Shakespearean theatre stage. On a par with stuff we did at primary school. 17 years old , learning to drive and chugging vodka, they have to sit with a Pritt -stick like a 1970 episode of Blue Peter.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Ah, how dare non White students be allowed….as you ignore the differences between the papers.

  • MichtyMe

    Britain or England, please decide which it is, please Specie .

  • frank davidson

    I did some lecturing after retirement so i understand how poor the standard is. A maths colleague set the 1964 O level maths paper to some degre level students. All failed.

    • GnosticBrian

      And can modern students of English spell “degree” correctly (unlike you)? Do they know (unlike you) that the personal pronoun “I” is capitalised?

      • JabbaPapa

        Are you so idiotic as to think that anyone cares a fig about such obviously unintentional typos ?

        Or what — you getting in a huff again because some more evidence has come to light against your ideological posturing ?

        • GnosticBrian

          As one who supported Whom Tyler when he led the Pedant’s Revolt, how can I resist pointing out the errors in a post berating poor standards?

          I’m still awaiting your rsponse to the God / evil issue.

          In the interim, you really ought to seek help with your anger issues.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Blaming your friend for your issues….heh.

            • GnosticBrian

              Leon Wolfson is a stalking Troll who should get back under his bridge.

              • JabbaPapa

                Feeling lonely down there, with only your head screw for company ?

                • GnosticBrian

                  No, we have a pretty good party going here – but we are not members of the Sky Faery cult that lives in mortal fear that someone, somewhere is happy.

                  Now let me have your answer to the God / evil paradox or get back under your bridge.

              • Leon Wolfeson

                Ah yes, the frantic accusations of trolling and stalking, all to avoid having your views discussed.

                And I won’t live with you, stop asking!

          • JabbaPapa

            Define “evil”.

            • GnosticBrian

              I already answered you on that one. As your memory seems so weak let me repeat; I don’t define “evil”, I accept the Sky Faery view of “evil”).

              • JabbaPapa

                I don’t define “evil”

                Then what you’re asking is barmy.

                If you don’t believe in evil, how can God be the cause of it ?

                • GnosticBrian

                  I never said that you did – I said I accept the definition from your Sky Faery cult.

                • JabbaPapa

                  What is that “definition” ? And what stupid “sky fairy cult” is it exactly that you’ve been ranting on about, accusing everyone and his pet dog of belonging to ????

                • GnosticBrian

                  I know that you prefer to rant and rave but that does not answering the question.

                  There are a huge number of Sky Faery cults which, by simple logic, cannot all be right – but they could all be wrong.

                  I am happy to accept the definition of evil used by your particular Sky Faery cult, whatever that might be. Or don’t you recognise the concept of evil and its presence in the world?

                  Now quit the prevarication and answer the question.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I am happy to accept the definition of evil used by your particular Sky Faery cult

                  You’re not going to get far with that aggressive and contemptible attitude — YOUR question, so I need to know how YOU define “evil”.

                  I refuse to do your homework for you.

                  Come on — you’re the ever so clever super-brainy much cleverer than everybody else “physics is the only science” twit with half a packet of biros stuffed down your front pocket, in the midst of all us muck-raking shovel-headed stamp collectors.

                  Shouldn’t it be child’s play for you to define “evil” ?

                • GnosticBrian

                  I’m not in a Sky Faery cult and don’t see the world in terms of good and evil – those attributes don’t appear in the laws of Physics.

                  It is evident that you can’t answer the question. Don’t worry, far, far cleverer folks than you have struggled and failed to produce a compelling answer. Because, in truth, there is no Sky Faery – just man-made stories.

                  Now get back under your bridge with your pal (alter ego?) Leon.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I see — so you now admit that you believe in no concept whatsoever of evil.

                  Well then, there’s the complete dishonesty and sham of your stupid question exposed for all to see.

                  Well done !!!

                • GnosticBrian

                  What is your answer to the God / evil paradox?

                  The answer requires NO belief whatsoever on my part as you well know.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Rubbish — questions, when they are to be asked seriously, are alien to the sort of false pretenses and shameful hypocrisy that you have attached to this one.

                  When you leave honesty and integrity by the wayside, as you have done, and replace it with your ranting and ghastly repetitious atheist verbiage, and then ask “questions” about matters that you do not believe in then it is blatantly clear that you had NO interest in any answers in the first place, which is the DIAMETRIC OPPOSITE of EVERYTHING that is germane to Science.

                  You are a disgrace to the name of “scientist”.

                • GnosticBrian

                  I’ve attached nothing to the question. You were the oneasking me to make additions.

                  Clearly you have no answer and all of your balther and bluster can’t hide that.

                  I’ve demonstrated your ignorance of basic science [ma = mg] pray tell me where I’ve erred? Just more venting of your spleen. “The religion of love” – pull the other one.

                  The God / Evil paradox cannot be logically answered and you know it.

                • JabbaPapa

                  But if your position on evil is that “it doesn’t exist”, then you’ve been asking a deliberately dishonest question all along, and besides, with that definition the problem becomes trivially easy.

                  And I’ve answered it exactly as coherent with your conception of evil — and yet you somehow seem to think this isn’t good enough for some reason, probably because of my failure to behave like a performing monkey.

                  What more can I do ??? I went out of my way to discover the concept of “evil” that you’re using, so I could frame my response to be as cogent as possible with your personal conceptions ; and yet somehow this is supposed to be “bad”.

                  On the basis of your definition of evil, God neither causes nor allows any evil to occur.

                  WHY would you want to insist on some definition of evil that you would reject ? It makes no sense.

                • GnosticBrian

                  You write fluent Gibberish.

                  Where is your answer? Link, please.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Oh learn how to read.

                • GnosticBrian

                  So no answer.

                  I’ve been reading since the middle of the last century.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Learn how to bloody read, you idiot, I answered three times.

                  I’ve been reading since the middle of the last century

                  Then one would expect you to have at least a basic capability to gather information from written texts, except that no, it would seem that you haven’t.

                • GnosticBrian

                  Blaspheming – what will your Priest have to say, or is he yet another Catholic paedophile?

                  You didn’t answer the issue – a response off topic isn’t an answer.

                  If an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god exists, then sin
                  does not.

                  There is sin in the world.

                  Therefore, an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God does not
                  exist.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Blaspheming

                  ???????? You actually do not understand basic vocabulary.

                  If an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god exists, then sin does not

                  Quite apart from your typical goalpost shifting — “evil” suddenly being replaced by “sin” — all you’ve done is provide an example of circular logic based on a bad premise.

                  Define “sin”.

                • GnosticBrian

                  “Sin” is breaking the Sky Faery’s rule – for example widespread paedophilia by Catrholic Priests, that you so strenuously defend, is sinful.

                  If an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god exists, then sin
                  does not.

                  There is sin in the world.

                  Therefore, an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God does not
                  exist.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Ah yes, accusations that people who disagree with you are the same person and need to move in with you.

                  And no, eifht, you have your own cult to your beloved “Sky Faery”, as you note you’re a moral relativist, itself a faith. As you think your nasty little ideology makes you better, right.

                • GnosticBrian

                  Leon Wolfson is a stalking troll whom I don’t feed. He should get back under his bridge with his pal (alter ego?) JabbaPapa.

                • JabbaPapa

                  moron

                • GnosticBrian

                  Said the guy who steadfastly defends the paedophile protection society that is the Roman Catholic Church.

                  A personal insult doesn’t hide your failure to answer the post of 3 days ago,

                  Back under your bridge.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  So, you say I’m like you, as you want multiple people to move in with you, but to pay for their own food, right, you’re repeatedly it mindlessly.

                  Again – You have your own cult to your beloved “Sky Faery”, as you note you’re a moral relativist, itself a faith. As you think your nasty little ideology makes you better, right.

                  You’re spamming because you have no argument other than hate.

      • 22pp22

        He made a typing error. For God’s sake grow up. If that’s the best you can do, don’t bother.

        • GnosticBrian

          Not “a typing error”; two errors. He was stating how standards had fallen and disparaging modern students compared to those of the sixties. It seems not unreasonable to expect the highest standards from such a paragon.

      • vieuxceps2

        Perhaps Mr Davidson is a logical,clear-minded sensible fellow who cannot type? Or his computer, like my own is given to ignoring his cap-locks? Not a teacher ,are you?

        • GnosticBrian

          Does a wonky “cap-lock” explain the wrongly spaced commas in your first and final sentences?

          I am not a teacher. I’m in agreement with George Bernard Shaw: “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach”.

          • vieuxceps2

            The commas in my reply indicate that I’m a piss-poor typist. The lack of a capital T in the Shaw quotation indicates that you’re a piss-poor grammarian.

            • GnosticBrian

              Wrong – the absence of a capital “T” is because I have quoted the end of a sentence and not the whole. If you are a scholar of literature, you will know that in “Man and Superman” Jane says: “Don’t listen to her, Bob.
              Remember: those who can,
              do; those who can’t, teach”.

              • JabbaPapa

                You are an ignorant pedant.

                • GnosticBrian

                  I’ve never denied being a follower of Whom Tyler and the Pedant’s revolt. Better that than a deluded Sky Faery cultist.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Do you have a large iron screw buried inside your brain ?

                • GnosticBrian

                  No, we are not all like you.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Is it connected to the electricity network ?

                • GnosticBrian

                  How can a non-existent item be connected to the grid? [Why do you use the Americanism “electricity network”?]

                  If an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god exists, then sin
                  does not.

                  There is sin in the world.

                  Therefore, an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God does not
                  exist.

                  Back under your bridge.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Monomaniacal blinkered fool.

                • GnosticBrian

                  I fully agree with your self-assessment.

                  If an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god exists, then sin
                  does not.

                  There is sin in the world.

                  Therefore, an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God does not
                  exist.

                  Back under your bridge.

              • vieuxceps2

                Your point is valid,but if you want to be pettifoggingly pedantic about it ,you ought to write:”…..those who can’t, teach”. There. Happy now?

                • GnosticBrian

                  I’m usually happy and that state of affairs has no connection with what you think, write, do, whatever…

                  You vented your spleen and you were wrong; you are not man enough to take it on the chin; you scrape around for self-justification; that’s your problem, not mine.

                • JabbaPapa

                  He’s not wrong, matey — you are.

                • GnosticBrian

                  Can’t speak for himself? Or, more likely, just another of your stalking troll identities?

                  And he is / was wrong.

                  Do not place an ellipsis at the beginning of a quotation to indicate the omission of material.

                  Incorrect:
                  The First Amendment also prohibits laws “. . . respecting an establishment
                  of religion. . . .” U.S. Const. amend. I.

                  Correct: The First Amendment also prohibits laws “respecting an establishment of religion. . . .” U.S. Const. amend. I.

                  http://www.kentlaw.edu/academics/lrw/grinker/LwtaEllipses.htm

                  Back under your bridge!

                • JabbaPapa

                  Cripes you’re a moron, and you clearly don’t know even the first thing about normative grammar in its relationship with Rhetoric and Stylistics, nor about dialects, nor really about anything that’s of much use to anyone at all.

                  People can put their ellipses exactly where they want, you ill-conceived pedantic nincompoop.

                • GnosticBrian

                  Ad hominem attack – clearly you don’t believe in the power of prayer.

                  Oh, suck it up – you were wrong. Just as you were wrong to try to cover up paedophilia in the Priesthood.

                  Back under your bridge.

                • vieuxceps2

                  Can you not read? Did I not say your point was valid?
                  As to spleen and chins and self-justification, look in your mirror for examples of all three.You should acccept that your self-regard is not acknowledged by the rest of us and remain,as you say,happy nevertheless.

                • GnosticBrian

                  I’ve been reading since the middle of the last century – less of late because my eyesight isn’t so good.

                  You vented your spleen: “if you want to be pettifoggingly pedantic about it ,you ought to write:”…..those who can’t, teach”. There. Happy now?”.

                • GnosticBrian

                  With few exceptions, you should not use ellipses at the beginning and end of a quotation. According to the Chicago Manual of Style , ellipses
                  are typically not used at the beginning or end of a quotation (see 11.57 ff)
                  unless the quotation begins “with a capitalized word (such as a proper
                  name) that did not appear at the beginning of a sentence in the original”
                  (11.65).

                  Incorrect: For the townspeople, Miss Emily Grierson was “ . . . a hereditary obligation on the town . . .” (Faulkner 237).

                  Correct: For the townspeople, Miss Emily Grierson was “a hereditary obligation on the town” (Faulkner 237).

                  Happy now?

                • JabbaPapa

                  According to the Chicago Manual of Style

                  Right, thought so — you’re the habitual tunnel-visioned pseudo-brit American who’s been trolling these forums for a few years now under various samey aliases, deaf to discussion, and always posting the same endlessly regurgitated CRAP

                • GnosticBrian

                  Was I talking to you or is vieuxeps2 another of your aliases?

                  Get back under your bridge with your trolling friend (alter ego?) Leon.

                  FYI, I only have the one web identity – created for me years ago by a grandchild. Machine code, I understood, PCs not really for me.

                • vieuxceps2

                  Ah! The Chicago Manual of Style .I thought we were discussing English. Seems you write in American. I had not realised. All is forgiven.

                • GnosticBrian

                  As your alter ego, Jabba Papa, will confirm only the Sky Faery can forgive sins.

                  You simply are not man enough to admit your mistake.

                  It is rarely necessary to use ellipsis points at the beginning of a quotation, even if the quotation begins mid-sentence. It is also usually acceptable to change the capitalisation of the first word of the quotation to match the surrounding material.

                  “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,” writes Thoreau, “he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Moreover, Thoreau claims that “in proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex.”

                  Back under your bridge with your fellow stalkers (alter egos?) – Leon and JabbaPapa.

                • vieuxceps2

                  How pretentious.However, your final sentence is enlightening. Why not confess? You’re the Three Stooges, aren’t you?

                • GnosticBrian

                  Still not man enough to admit your mistake. Back under your bridge.

                • vieuxceps2

                  Curly,Larry or Mo? Which are you?

                • GnosticBrian

                  I’m sorry, I don’t know your friends / relatives.

                  I see that the spacebar is still sticking on your computer.

                  Back under your bridge.

                • vieuxceps2

                  Now now Bri,don’t be disingenuous. All Oldies know the Three Stooges…..

                • GnosticBrian

                  Don’t judge others by your own standards – I’ve never heard of them; never been into “popular culture”.

                • JabbaPapa

                  … and so the ill-bright pedant lurches on, all a-jangling of his schoolboy’s English, unable as he is to glide on any poësy nor any prose that is not kept in bondage to the lack-wit falseness of the base and common opinion of a hundred fools.

                • GnosticBrian

                  I was right, your alter ego was wrong – suck it up. Then back under your bridge.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Slide rules are no longer used, no.

      • frank davidson

        Slide rules were not allowed then. Sees you have not been taught maths and have no knowledge of it.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          “Sees”, your mind control machine, has failed.

    • MRB

      Could that be because the syllabus had changed and they were taught different things, i.e. not what was on the 1964 O level. Like with English, ask me all the questions you like about Of Mice and Men and a Twelfth Winter’s Tale, but we never read MacBeth

      • frank davidson

        No, maths does not change. Indeed Isaac Newton would have been familiar. Calculus and complex numbers even logarithms are still appropriate. Indeed how can vibration be taught without logs and calculus,

  • The Masked Marvel

    Never mind, at least children have been taught to have very high self esteem, and about the wonderfulness of the Religion of Peace. What’s so great about reading ability, really? After all, learning the Koran is done by rote memorisation in most places anyway.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    A superficial reading of blog column contributions will more than confirm this.
    Face it, Britain’s a nation of thickos.

    • frank davidson

      No, just uneducated. It’s down to the teachers and authorities.

      • Todd Unctious

        ….and their lazy, mouth breathing , shallow parents.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          The evils of British workers, right.

          • MRB

            They’re not workers though, that’s the thing.

            • Leon Wolfeson

              Oh yes, those peons who have 9-5 jobs, they’re not the “real” workers, the “real” workers are only the company owner and bank. The capitalist view.

              Which is a pile of crap.

              • MRB

                No I mean the do nothings, live on the dole with 7 kids all with different last names. They’re the ones who do nothing to help their children.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Ah, you mean the people who got fired last week. Right.

                  Or the very, very rare people who are used as an excuse for policies, never mind they’re examples who sensationalist media spent weeks hunting for… basing policies of hate on a few rare cases rather than the 99%.

                  In reality, it’s normal people who end up being hurt (Especially the severely disabled).
                  Like the plans to be “fair” about housing benefit which are set to close the vast majority of supported housing in the country, which is going to cost the NHS and social services billions upon billions…

                • MRB

                  Labour implimented those exact rules for people in social/council controlled housing, it is unfair that those in the private sector in the same situation are penalised by Labours ill thought out policy. Not that I agree with either.

                  And no I’m obviously not referring to people who work and then lose their job, but the 100,000s who never worked a day in their life. We know that’s probably close to a million, as even when the economy was booming and people came over in their millions we had a million unemployed, refusing to work. Go to any council estate, plenty in my home town of Grimsby, and you’ll see 3/4 generations who’ve never worked. Switch to a contributions based benefit system and fix it overnight.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  So, you make up lies about what Labour did.

                  And I’m talking about the people affected. The ones you hate. The magical “100,000s” – the very people who lost their work last week, the disabled people you’re after.

                  Not worked, and not disabled? Single figure thousands, at most. If that. Your personalities “know” your fake figures (counting refugees who can’t legally work too, no doubt) as you make up lies about “refusing to work”, trying to punish people who are desperately seeking work.

                  Murdering the poor and disabled would not “fix” anything, it’d be impleimenting your sociald drwinismm – and it’d crush wages, likely end up with actual slavery (people desperate not to stave) and certainly send crime by starving people through the roof, as the economy plummeted!

                  All because of seeing people not just like you, so you use them. They’re such a good excuse for attacking British workers, after all!

                • MRB

                  You have a rather weird view of the world. I almost can’t be bothered arguing as you’re clearly not capable of absorbing facts. But why not.
                  Firstly, it was a Labour policy, brought in in the last labour term, look it up (my mum worked in the housing benefits office). There are literally 100,000s of people who have never and would never work if you gave them the option of free money on the dole (and have lots of kids too). Go to Grimsby, go to the Yarborough estate or Grange estate or Nunnsthorpe estate and I will find you 100 people in under an hour who’ve never worked and have parents unde 40 who’ve never worked. Same in lots of towns and cities.
                  Having a contributions based system would lead to better care and provision for the sick and disabled as the system can be weighted better and not spread thing on “underserving” (notice ” “). With a legal minimum wage, earnings would be protected. Making it illegal to employ people, or force people to work on contract below limit for NI contributions, and everyone wins.

                  I’m assuming you agree with people getting money for nothing. That those who choose not to work must be allowed that choice, and that children born into those houses are the sole responsibilty of schools and stats and that parents have no obligation to have or raise children responsibily.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Ah, so you can’t cope with different views.

                  As you lie about Labour policy, check.
                  As you make up hate lies about people not working, and try and make claims without substance.

                  As you say no care for most is better, right, as the sick and disabled would be dead. The “weight” of the rich would be far higher, right, as the 99% would have to beg and scrape for scraps, as they’re your targets, I hear you.

                  “Making it illegal to employ people”

                  Er. Your statement makes no sense… no, unpaid work is not winning which is what you seem to be saying.

                  “or force people to work on contract below limit for NI contributions, and everyone wins.”

                  It’s already illegal to pay under minimum wage, but you seem to want to make to make part-time jobs illegal in many cases. There is poor enforcement of existing law due to government cuts.

                  You wonder why I don’t hate the poor, disabled and kids. Right. As you want high child poverty of course, and people not willing to work for zero to die. Oh, and you’ll steal kids of anyone who disagrees with your policies.

                • MRB

                  wow, so reading isn’t your strong suit. Making it illegal to emply people (or forcing via contract) to work too few hours to reach the NI contributions threashold. GOD you’re thick.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  No, it wasn’t at all clear. As you throw insults, and invoke your Satan…
                  There was a comma in there, of course.

                  And ah, you’d definitely make a lot of part-time jobs illegal. Those people then, in your system, get to starve on the street. Right.

                • hobspawn

                  Yes, exasperating, isn’t it?

        • vieuxceps2

          How do you know they are socialists? Ah, you asked Dianne Abbott.

      • Bonkim

        and parents that are thickos produce more thickos.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          Ah, eugenics.

          • hobspawn

            A headmistress of a pushy private girls school recently divulged that 35 girls (more than half!) attended a ten year reunion. Aged 28/29, only one was married. Feminism is eugenics.

            • Leon Wolfeson

              So, why for example is allowing women to vote or hold propety in their name “sterilises ability.”?

              How dare people cohabit, etc.

          • vieuxceps2

            Not eugenics. Nature.

            • Leon Wolfeson

              So, Eugenics. Right. Thanks for pushing your pseudo-science.

    • vieuxceps2

      No Jack, not since you left.

  • Mrs Crewe

    A combination of Cameron not having the backbone to back Gove and the media buying all the guff from the Teacher’s Unions put paid to proper reform. Our adult literacy rates are a national disgrace and a huge amount of the blame rest with the militant, self interested, immoral unethical Teacher’s Unions. As with some Drs and other medical staff, it’s about time some teachers learnt that the job you do doesn’t make you special, it’s the way you do it that counts.

    • Alexandrovich

      When asked for a comment regarding this appalling news, the Teachers Union said
      “More money, more money, more funds.”

      • Atlas

        Just for their salaries though, they don’t actually want any money invested in any other aspect of British education.

        • Todd Unctious

          That’s it. It is not the dumbed down culture. or the lazy parents, or the lack of funding, or the useless curriculum, or the sneering Tory Government. It is the teachers. After all they have the children for 30 out of 168 hours for 39 out if 52 weeks. Fully 13%of the time.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Yeah, the Tories brainwash them for 56 hours a week.

            While they sleep!

            Oh, no, that’s eight hours a night, nowhere near what kids should be getting!

            And they watch 28 hours a week of dumbed down, PC TV a week.

            Kids should have 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night, then there’s eating, bathing, going to the loo……..

            Travelling to and from school……

            So how much of a non eating/sleeping/other natural functions school day are they being brainwashed by teachers and TV?

            24-11(sleep)=13-4(TV)=9-2(natural functions)=7-1(travel)=6=School!

            So teachers have them for 100% of their non natural functions, non PC TV time!!

            NEXT!!!

            • Todd Unctious

              That is nonsense. You suggest children learn nothing in terms if behaviour or knowledge while eating, travelling, washing or on holidays or weekdnds. Children attend school 190 times a year for about 5.5 hours excluding breaks.
              That is 1,045 hours a year. Even if they do sleep for 11 hours this is just 19% of waking hours.

              • Mr B J Mann

                Says the guy who started this by claiming children were indoctrinated in their sleep!

                Give it a rest mate!!!

              • hobspawn

                The important and best hours, when children are ready to learn: the mornings, breakfast till lunch. It really is puerile to pretend that your bogus 13% statistic has any relation to the real world.

                D minus.

            • hobspawn

              Thank you – I started doing this calculation and then saw that you had. Fortunately there are few as dishonest, unscrupulous and deluded as Todd. Perhaps he is a victim of the Left’s contribution to British numeracy.

          • Mary Ann

            What I hate to see is parent with children in pushchairs and parent playing on their phone instead of talking to their child.

      • El_Sid

        The only catch with that is that above a certain level, educational achievement doesn’t correlate well with spending on schools. A much better bang for the buck would come from spending on parents :

        http://www.nber.org/papers/w21477

        http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2015/10/18/baby-talk-brain-programs/73808670/

        • Mr B J Mann

          They do better where they learn in a tin shack, or even outdoors, with a blackboard and some slates!

          Just like they do better in the Olympics or football where they grew up kicking a can around the street or chasing each other across the fields, rather than having a Olympic or World Cup standard facilities attached to their school!

          • Todd Unctious

            It has been demonstrated that the African classes of 50 or 60 in tin shacks or outdoors learn next to nothing.
            Best way to improve their education is give them each $5 worth of diahorrea pills per year. Then they don’t miss the equivalent if 2 years schooling in sick days.

            • Mr B J Mann

              You could do with the same treatment.

              For oral application!

        • Mr B J Mann

          Wot?Buy parents for kidz!?!?

          “the food for the developing brain is language and interaction”

          Not dumping them with a semi literate older kid and seven other 3 year olds!

          Or a dozen others if they are being looked after by a graduate childminder?!

          I’ve heard a few interviews over the years with child psychologists who have all admitted that children do best when they have a constant carer.

          But have always backtracked to say it doesn’t have to be the mother, it can be the father, a grandparent, childminder, or a member of a kindergarten’s staff.

          Yeah, right, like any of those can give the same level of constant support unless it’s a stay at home househusband, the grandparents have adopted the child, or the childminder is a full time live in nanny who has effectively replaced the mother!

          We used to have a system, as they still do in many European countries, of effectively paying mothers to stay at home by giving fathers extra tax allowances for being husbands and parents.

          The Tories were supposed to do something about it by enabling non working spouses to transfer their tax allowance to the working and taxpaying spouse, who perhaps earned twice as much gross as the stay at home partner could have by working 80 hours a week to enable the other to be a full time parent, but lost out because of only having half the tax free allowance of a working couple, and paid tax at higher rate.

          Instead they took child allowances off couples where one parent earned around £100k and so paid most of their tax at 40%, but allowed couples where both worked and earned around the same between them, but took home vastly more as they had two tax free allowances and only paid lower rate tax on most of the rest of their income to keep their full child allowance too?!?!?

          Meaning that households where both parents worked were relatively even ore better off than before, and ones with a full time parent and a hard working well paid one were vastly worse off than they were to start with!!!!!!!

          • hobspawn

            Well said, this is very right. Tax should promote stable families and parenting, not childcare by dumb t3xt1ng sub-literates.

      • Leon Wolfeson

        Oh, perhaps spending money sufficient to get good results might be smart.
        And not ignoring teachers for politically motivated tinkering in education.

        • vieuxceps2

          How well the terms “politically motivated”and “teachers” suit each other!

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ah yes, the hate of universal education.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Ah yes, blame the teachers for ignoring them, as you say it’s disgraceful they’re too high for you, as you hate on workers as ” militant, self interested, immoral unethical”, and you want them not to do their jobs but be fired, right.

      Got cash down for private schools and hospitals, eh?

  • Shazza

    We are reaping the rewards of dumbed down education – cultural Marxism at its best. I am reminded of an episode of University Challenge quite a few years ago when (sadly I cannot remember her name) a young female student excelled and amazed us including Jeremy Paxman – during the following week/s in the MSM she was made a figure of ridicule and scorn. Instead`of being admired she was lampooned. This is what has come about – slebs and footballers and reality trash tv ‘stars’ are admired and ambition and brains derided.

    It would be behove us all to once again revisit the aims of The Frankfurt School and realise how successful their ambition was.

    • Alexandrovich

      The wonderful Gail Trimble.

      • Shazza

        Thank you – and wonderful she is!!!

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      UK Trash Culture, where education and learning are ridiculed as elitist.
      Hate it and leave it.
      Jack, the Japan Alps Brit

    • GnosticBrian

      Not surprising – this is Labour’s Minister for Higher Education on Celebrity Mastermind. https://youtu.be/DsR4Nx-ELgc

      He actually thought that Marie Antoinette discovered radium and that Henry the Eighth was FOLLOWED by Henry the Seventh!

      • anotherjoeblogs

        ” He actually thought that Marie Antoinette discovered radium and that Henry the Eighth was FOLLOWED by Henry the Seventh! ”

        That’s what’s called a Double Lammy.

    • Todd Unctious

      Read “What are Universities for”by Stefan Collini. We have lost sight of the value of rounded ,educated,erudite people.
      I am amazed how little the Facebook generation know. They simply ask Wikipedia everything. They are the reason for the decline in pub quizzes.
      My 28 year old colleague at work often expresses surprise that I know things. He then verifies it on his I -Spud device before accepting what I say. His usual retort being ” how do you know this stuff?”. He has a First class Law degree from Durhsm,but had never heard of David Bowie and was unaware that Honduras was a country. He thought Syria was a region of Saudi and Oliver Cromwell was the King who defeated Napoleon.

      • Dr. Heath

        Pub quizzes, like their counterparts on the television, succeed in not humiliating contestants only by asking them about sports and pop music. The usual response to a more traditional general knowledge question – the sort that a tiny proportion of the population might, like Master Mind panellists, cope with – is usually a new howler. Multiple choice formats, mercifully, offer people the chance to guess wildly without having to risk saying anything hilariously stupid.

        Q – What country shares the first part of its name with that of a nut?
        A – Macadamia?

        • Trust Me Im a Dog Turd

          Can’t recall the quiz, possibly 15-1, but this gem appeared in Private Eye’s Dumb Britain.

          Q – What army was partially excavated in China in 1974?

          A – … The Territorial Army.

          • Ciaran Twitterless

            I never knew that, I would have answered the Salvation Army.

        • GnosticBrian

          And I believe that David Cameron is to appoint David Lammy to the role of finding out why black people are “under represented” in higher education. David Lammy the Harvard graduate and Minister for Higher Education who astonished us all on Celebrity Mastermind with his general knowledge: https://youtu.be/DsR4Nx-ELgc

          Question: Who succeeded Henry the Eighth?
          Answer: Henry the Seventh.

      • hobspawn

        In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

      • vieuxceps2

        Who’s David Bowie?

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Where’s your conspiracy theory “cultural Marxism”?

      What about the Dresden School?

      • Dr_Eigenvector

        Oy vey, the Goyim know.

        Shut it down.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          Ah yes, Jewhate and shutting me down for speaking about politics. Hmm!

    • BrS

      Oh please, not this Frankfurt School tripe again.

      • Mr B J Mann

        Why do you think it’s tripe?

        And why do you want it buried?!

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