Blast-It Home

 

Blast-It!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Samizdat

Samizdat means having your say about anything you like. You can keep your scribblings to yourself or publish them for the world to read or not, it does not cost anything although in the Soviet Union it could cost you your life.

Vladimir Bukovsky summarized Samizdat: "I write it myself, edit it myself, censor it myself, publish it myself, distribute it myself, and spend jail time for it myself."

Bukovsky spent much of his time in psychiatric hospitals, that's where dissidents ended up in the old Soviet Union, on the grounds that you would have to be mad to question the actions of the state. To assist the KGB, Soviet psychiatric science invented sluggish schizophrenia that apparently only affected people with ideas about a struggle for truth and justice.

 

 

dave's plans meritocracy consume before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UP

Consume Before Voting - was published on 27/01/19, as both a paperback and eBook.

 

Summary

consumepicThe purpose of this essay is to examine our parliamentary democracy, the ‘first past the post’ voting system, the duplicitous behaviour of our politicians and to take a critical look at the record of our political parties.

General Elections provide you with another amazing chance to take part in the national voting lottery. Your choices will be limited to Dead Liberals on the line, Labour, what are we calling the party this week?, Tories@Def-Con1 and Loonies queering the pitch. Leaving aside that voting for any of the above may be a waste of time, given the duplicity of the political class, there are technical reasons why your vote will almost certainly be wasted, due to the nature of the first past the post system. Add in the unequal balance of the voting boundaries and you end up with a decidedly unrepresentative, if not undemocratic process.

The party machines will be sending out polling spiders to crawl across the land, so that they can tailor their convictions to match voter sentiments, well, at least until the ballot papers drop in the box. And opinion spouters like Yasmin Alibhai Brown and Jeremy Paxman will tell you not to listen to hippies, who say they will not vote and do not think anyone should. According to Yasmin, not voting is “irresponsible”. Yasmin, however, does believe that our democracy is in crisis. Quite how engaging in a voting charade, that only promises more of the same, fixes the crisis is a bit of a puzzle.

 

 

UP

Education: from Meritocracy to Mediocracy was published in October 2016, paperback and digital versions are available from Amazon.

education

Summary

Every year since the 1944 Education Act has brought changes to the education system. The whole piece a never ending experiment, with children as the subjects. Every new initiative part of a grand design to transform education. The public would be assured that standards would be raised and the attainment gap between the ‘haves and have nots’ reduced. The public at large may be unaware of the disruption that all these changes wrought on schools. The introduction of the National Curriculum in 1988 may have created hair loss among teachers but it turned a generation of children into guinea pigs, taking part in an ill-designed experiment. That is, the emphasis on testing was misplaced, the Programmes of Study were over-prescriptive and the attainment targets were opaque. And to England’s shame, the pupils and teachers taking part in  the early years of that experiment never did receive so much as a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for their sacrifice. 

After 70 years of free universal education, politicians and social commentators are telling us that we have a mediocre education system in England, (based on unreliable international tests) which is damaging to the nation’s international competitiveness and failing to produce well rounded contributing citizens. How did this nightmare come to pass? Surely, all the billions spent and all the wisdom applied to the problems of education should add up to more than mediocre?

It might just be the case that mediocre is as good as it gets, when the policy makers, the academics and business men they listen to do not actually know what they are doing. The situation is made worse within a culture that demonises teachers who go off piste, rejecting facts in favour of seeking better ways of reaching out to disaffected children, a culture that treats teachers like machine minders, spending their days ticking boxes in anticipation of the next Ofsted visit, the next performance management review and getting to grips with the latest revisions to the National Curriculum, the obesity crisis, the terrorist threat and so on. 

 

UP

Dave's Cunning Plans was published in 2014. It's available as a paperback from Amazon, £6.42 or download the digital version for £3.82.

cunning

Summary

Dave's Cunning Plans tells the tale of the 2010 Coalition Government, that nobody voted for, and its plans to reshape the landscape, to bring a new vision to this benighted land..... it's was worse than Dave imagined.

When Baldrick announced to Black Adder, "I have a cunning plan", we knew that we would be treated in equal measure to an imaginative wheeze, coated with a thick layer of lunacy. Prime Minister, Mr Cameron, henceforward, known simply as Dave, was no Baldrick but he did employ a large number of Baldricks. He actually kept them under the stairs at No.10 Downing Street and consulted them on a daily basis for his supply of cunning plans.

As you proceed through the book you'll discover that much of what Dave was doing was just a continuation of New Labour's 'third way', i.e., a rag bag of borrowings from the wilting Empire of America, focused on dealing with the workshy. In truth Dave could be a bit reactive, not one of life's great thinkers, it's was not easy being Dave but he did try to keep  busy, continuing with the behaviour correction programmes of New Labour; privatising the space between your ears and the pores that allow your skin to breathe, all the bits that Mrs Thatcher didn't manage to get to.

When it comes to other matters, such as imperatives driven by global events, whether saving the planet from global warming, the Euro pantomime or Nato's 'humanitarian' interventions, Dave was just another cartoon character being boxed about the ears by some comedic sketch writer. Dave was dealing with the deficit; largely by cutting the public sector and transferring its functions to private contractors, charities and communal good will. Dave was cutting to the bone because we simply could not afford the future! Dave was driving out social decay; the detritus of welfare scrounging, benefit cheating, anti-social feckless festering underclass scum, and limbless incapacity claimants - he contracted the best in the private sector for the clean up, although sometimes, they let him down.

In truth, Dave was let down a lot, mainly by his colleagues; Liam Fox, Oliver Letwin, Chris Huhne, Andrew Mitchell, Jeremy Hunt, David Laws, Theresa May, Maria Miller, Francis Maude, Peter Cruddas, Andy Culson, Brooks Newmark, Douglas Carswell, Mark Reckless and Patrick Mercer have all let the leader down. 

UP

 

 

The State of the Nation

Briefing No.1

The UK June 2019

The Northern Powerhouse

Five years have passed since George Osborne mouthed the words Northern Powerhouse. Over that period less than a billion pounds has been spent on supporting infrastructure in the North. The government tout large amounts of spending but it's impossible to say where or how the money was spent. As a prop’, the government put one Jake Berry in as the minister for the Northern Powerhouse, although they did not think the matter weighty enough to make him a Cabinet member. Basically, his days consist in parroting anything his bosses have supposedly said on the matter.

Mrs May said in June 2019: “It must remain a top priority for government to do all it can to unlock the North’s vast potential so the Northern Powerhouse continues to thrive.” The unlocking process will require several billions of pounds but she made mention of any new money. And the word thrive becomes meaningless the context of a scheme that is still on the drawing board after five years of hot air on the subject.

The springboard for the Powerhouse, HS2, has hardly begun the destruction of everything in its path and may never reach Birmingham by 2025 and Leeds by 2032. The government does have a Northern Powerhouse Strategy (2016) that sets out how the extension of HS2 beyond Birmingham will re-balance the nation. City leaders across the North have put forward their own strategy (also in 2016), Northern Powerhouse Rail, this would link the North’s six main cities and Manchester Airport. This cross rail scheme has been costed at £39 billion. Business leaders in the North are also calling for major spending on Northern airports as the ‘beating heart’ of the Northern Powerhouse economy.

Mrs May said: “Five years on our pledge is stronger than ever.”
It appears that the press in the North do not believe Mrs May. Some 30 newspapers have backed the Power Up The North campaign - designed to raise awareness of the lack of real government action on the Powerhouse pledge.

UP