Shrinking the State Whilst Telling Us What To Do
One of my come-to-in-the-morning devices, along with tea and biscuit(s), is to listen to the Today Programme. Today I had to turn it over and suffer Aled Jones and then RICHARD MADELEY. My God he is awful. But he is not as awful as listening to any more rhetoric and rot from the Tories. Bring back Chris Evans from holiday now to save what remains of my sanity. And I am aware that is a bit of a contradiction in terms, but I am desperate not to wake up quivering with rage and shaking my fist.
At least with the radio I am not running the risk of having to look at Gideon “George” Osborne. I can’t bear the sight of him, he looks like a Dickens’ villain. They can’t help themselves these Tory Boy Know-Alls can they? They say they are shrinking the State because there’s too much interference in our lives because of Labour but, you know what, in 13 years I don’t really remember any Labour politician telling me what to read, how many kids to have and what to bloody be like in my own free time.
Meddlesome creatures one and all. Give me some New/Old/Red Ed version of Labour any day over Michael Gove’s book list.
In ONE week they have come out with the following nuggets:
Cameron’s contribution was that we’ve all got to be “doers and go-getters” to make his concept called The Big Society work. This is going to be delivered by people who are on their knees already licking the pavements to survive.
G. Osborne got Jeremy Hunt and a spokesperson to remind us that it is “unfair” that unemployed families are living in Central London on benefits. Yeah right, Kensington & Chelsea has a preponderance of welfare scroungers in residence? And additionally, that having children was a choice. The sub-text I take from that is that it is a choice you don’t deserve to make if you don’t have a job. And if you are single parent the State will somehow sort out the desolate widow from the baby mothers, or the deserted yummy mummy from the feckless Vicky Pollards.
Then, not to be outdone on the Tory prescription for life, the Education Secretary Michael Gove opined “the great tradition of our literature – Dryden, Pope, Swift, Byron, Keats, Shelley, Austen, Dickens and Hardy – should be at the heart of school life”. Ye Gods – where is Richard Madeley when you need him. People are only going to read these books if they want to. It is impossible to force someone to read, and a teacher banging on about it is hardly going to help. I had to read Jane Austen for O’ Level and I am sure she is most interesting, what with her witty observations of the time, but I can truly say listening to my headteacher drone on and on out of Pride and Prejudice or somesuch has meant I have avoided all contact with her work since. Even the films of the books make me want throw a brick at the screen. Anyway Gove’s speech is in full here, but as was helpfully pointed out by a blog commenter at the Guardian:
Just in case Mr Gove never actually finds his way to an actual copy of the English National Curriculum, he would have found this on pg 71:
The range of literature studied should include: texts that enable pupils to understand the appeal and importance over time of texts from the English literary heritage. This should include works selected from the following pre-twentieth-century writers: Jane Austen, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, William Blake, Charlotte Brontë, Robert Burns, Geoffrey Chaucer, Kate Chopin, John Clare, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, George Eliot, Thomas Gray, Thomas Hardy, John Keats, John Masefield, Christina Rossetti, William Shakespeare (sonnets), Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jonathan Swift, Alfred Lord Tennyson, HG Wells, Oscar Wilde, Dorothy Wordsworth and William Wordsworth
These new Tory values have hardly changed a jot from the Victorian times when “the poor” were divvied up into the “deserving” and the “undeserving”. And Nick Clegg.
*Head in hands*