Education, education, education – one word, three repeated lies

I first heard ‘education, education, education’ in East Germany (DDR) at some dreadful conference.  The academic was droning on and referring to a speech by a DDR politburo minister in the 1950s.  At dinner, a long way from prying ears, she apologised and told a very different story to the one for public consumption.  I didn’t see Blair in the DDR audience, but had the same reaction hearing him bleating out the same , though thankfully shorter speech years later.  There was no dinner for him to roll his eyes at me either, though he did that to us all at the drop of a hat.  The key element in Nulabour education planning concerned bullshit performance management, something they clearly did with crime figures and everything else.  To do this you create a well-paid nomenclature and make its well-paid interests match those of government targets.  ACPO is the paradigm case, but documentaries have revealed the same in health, care, schools and pretty much all sectors.

Against international standards, our schools are failing (OECD reports).  Yet we have been told they were improving.  More and more kids get qualifications, yet are really falling behind international standards on literacy and numeracy.  Crime is forever falling, yet no one really believes this.  No one really believes the educational bull either, with 8% of kids privately educated and loads more got into the right schools through house-buying and other dodges.

Finland has a much better school system than the UK.  There is no private education you can pay for there, everyone gets free school meals and education is genuinely comprehensive until 16.  Teachers are very well trained.  You can see, before we look at what they do in classrooms and getting kids out of them more often, that we have a very different culture.  This is also before we think of how much money we waste in sending so many to university.  Talk of copying the Finns is hapless unless we understand the aims of their education system and what they think society is about.

We now have people across our public sector paid to lie about its ‘success’.  The culture is one of juking statistics.  We have become stupidly millennial on leadership to the point where we will have to pay £200K for every head teacher to ensure standards across the nation.  Our responses look increasingly like the means of producing 10-fold crop yields under Mao – dumping all the fertiliser in one place for a success story whilst ignoring the general famine.  Bung a couple of million into Liverpool to do something about Cash-in-Transit robberies and cut them down to size, whilst they go up in Manchester and Cheshire.

We should be listening much more directly to teachers, cops, pupils and victims to get a proper hang on what the problems are, cutting out these ‘performance managers’ and their costs.  Instead, the only outlet is blogging.  I enjoyed my time in Finland and think their schools better than ours.  Their cops were less insular and more pleasant too.  Yet I’d also likely be dead from alcohol excess by now if I was a male Finn.  International comparisons require a lot of knowledge to be effective.  I should have asked whether many of their secondary schools were full of bullying louts from problem families that neither teachers nor police could deal with, or racial tensions.

We should be finding out what is wrong with our system before looking to Finland or Korea.  Our teachers will know most of it.  They need asking in a direct and confidential manner, not one that will expose them to an Ofsted black mark.  Our inspection culture needs to end, as it now involves one set of bureaucrats providing the ‘information’ another requires.  We see this across varieties of management by objectives systems, appraisals and other clapped-out dross that needs sweeping from our organisations.  It all started long before Nulabour and we have a generation of a hands-off, promoted class with no critical perspective and excellence attitudes that are patronising, arrogant and corrupt.

The aim should be to put our teachers back in charge of our schools, our police on our streets, people in work and recognise that we can tell whether this is all happening or not.  We need an end to fictional politics, even if the Finnish school model is attractive it is fictional to make out it can transfer here, and a distraction from the investigation needed into our own failings.


Cops Dealing With Scum – but the problem is deeper

Sgt.Mark Andrews has cost us (tax payers) at least £25K – that or buffoons in the Wiltshire cops and CPS have.  My reserved view is that I haven’t seen and heard all the evidence and am disgusted our justice system has not worked out it should do this as a matter of course – not for me, but for the concerned citizen in democratic public scrutiny (the cheapest form out external ‘regulation’ – as in the Government publishing details of public servants spending our money on chocolate teapots).  On what’s in the press I regard Andrews as disgusting, guilty and Judge ‘Roy’ Bean as much worse, a threat to what democracy and decency we have left.  I may be wrong, but I want to be able to judge on the evidence, and its absence alarms me.  The fact it isn’t there shows how backward or intentionally corrupt our legal system is.

The big problem here is establishment secrecy and lack of proper mechanisms of direct public scrutiny.  Libertarians left and right and even librarians should be up in arms on this.  Questions remain and they should not.

We allow a great deal of self-regulation in the UK.  There is good reason for this, but it’s been letting us down all over.  When we do bring in external regulation its usually useless, hapless, staffed with cronies or worse the dreadful jobsworth placepeople who become commissionars (no typo, they are Soviet).  We end up with toothless wonders-to-behold like the FSA, IPCC, Ofsted and similar.  Michel Foucault made rather a lot of Bentham’s ‘Panoptican’ – a prison design in which prisoners can be observed at all time – we might say modern production lines follow the design.  This leads to a problem to do with who observes the guards, maybe summed-up in the old chestnut of ‘who polices the police’?

I took some umbrage when asked why scum who had tried to escape justice by trying to hit me with iron bars had ended up with faces like busted galoshes, but understood why I was being asked.  Of course, I arrested some munters who looked like this before meeting me – I had to tangle with a few of these spitting, scratching, variously armed she-devils – all of whom made Andrew’s victim look like a de-clawed pussycat stoned on weed.  It would have been the very experience of dealing with drunks and so on that  would have made me compassionate towards her and her plight.  If this is the worst modern cops face, as Andrews seems to have sworn on oath, then Gadget et al must be fictionalising their encounters to the extreme (they aren’t, so why did Roy Bean swallow the line?).  One might wonder how a smaller man like me ever coped, yet I’m sure I could have led Andrew’s victim to the cells and left her in one piece.  I’m by no means sure my charge office sergeants would have let me use the cells, and we usually didn’t in cases that looked like this.  We might well have phoned the partner, tried to fix things up and got them home (after a relevant charge or process report).  Sure, it went wrong sometimes, but we were peace officers who expected the odd call back (this looks like it has origins in a domestic).

We expected to get a lot of flak and abuse from people in distress.  What this Andrews’ case reminds me of is those jerks who used to advise the drawing of truncheons before entering ‘niggers’ homes’ to give them a few smacks to let them know ‘who was who’ before finding out what had happened.  This was usually ‘bravado’, but it’s the attitude I’m reminded of, and Roy Bean seems to have it too.

The deeper problem is lack of public scrutiny – it’s this that Sino-Soviet and junta regimes always prevent.  This is where we have slipped, though having worked in countries with such regimes, I know we haven’t hit their bottom.

I’m only guessing, but think it likely the woman drove a short distance after a row with her partner and was trying to sleep it off.  She probably drove with too much alcohol in her.  She was not charged – and this itself shows incompetence if the first bit is true.  Roy Bean seems to have accepted a lot on her drunken state, with no questions as to why she wasn’t charged, and none of himself in accepting ‘evidence’ which goes against the charge sheet on the night.

We can only guess on the costs, but if Andrews’ side was £25K we can probably double that.  All from finding one half of a domestic sleeping in a car?  That’s almost a couple of the coppers we really need, in a time of cuts.

What Wiltshire need to do is to open up this case to full public scrutiny.  This should really be happening across the board with miscarriages of justice and the bungling that never leaves our press and about which the press rarely have the fortitude to pursue .  On CCTV currently available, Andrews (now innocent by Bean) is as guilty as sin against my standards of decency.  In Nico Bento, the CCTV that should, on looking at it, have cleared him was the very thing that convicted him of a murder that did not happen.  Forensic scientists are not only lying in court, but must be known to be doing so by court officers who should disclose their suspicions, but don’t – when a judge writes of his suspicions on police evidence, we end up with the case going in front of Roy Bean, who suddenly finds a smell of roses coming up from the pit, where another judge, closer to the day-to-day found the odour of corruption.

I’ve regularly had my results turned over by other scientists and I’ve never got used to liking it.  Sometimes, I’ve known my peers didn’t know what they were talking about, and on other occasions have been exposed like a raw prawn.  Einstein‘s Relativity was still being dismissed as ‘Jewish science’ by some in the 1950s, but he would have been the last to smear current attempts at a real advance.  Even science can take decades to accept the wet fish that has been slapping it in the face.

Cops get a lot of abuse from people we might cast as the ‘evil poor’.  The problem is not that they should not expose this, it’s that they should not treat everyone who does not somehow out-ranks them through the almost unmitigated stereotyping some of them use, something that extends to them treating decent people very badly – even if that person is lapse through booze of stress.  Many cops still rise above this, but on the ‘facts’ of the Andrews and other cases as we are allowed to see them, there are bent pathologists and judges they can turn to for cover-up, and an apparent interest in the establishment in the cover-up and the threat we must now all feel of being victims of the rotten core.  This may be what the establishment intends, fearing discontent to come.  This is not proper, civilised behaviour in a system that allows the occasional weakness.

In more recent life, I have had to back down from violent threats from a woman much worse than the victim in the Andrew’s case, who is probably just getting early release from arson and GHB convictions.  I did not dare defend myself or my family.  There was much more provocation and threat than Andrew’s even made up.  Do cops now have greater ‘powers’ to use violence than civilians at lower levels of threat?  Cops seem only concerned with themselves and their plight, a very selfish and dangerous attitude bloated out all over.  The issues of having to deal with ‘Swamps’ is one I understand and did.  Dealing with situations full of lies and emotion I understand.  I even understand wanting to kill a variety of scum and have used a lot of legitimate violence, some of the situations still traumatising me from time to time, sometimes to temporary inaction and complete disjuncture from the world around me.  I have never treated anyone remotely as badly as I feel Andrews did in the available CCTV.  I am horrified any judge would find this remotely acceptable.  I’m amenable to evidence that would change my mind – so where is it?  And why would a judge think this acceptable, unless perverted by Sweeny myths?

Where, incidentally, is the evidence of cops being badly done to – the real stuff, not fairy stories told amongst those wearing Washerwoman Gadget’s wrist-bangles?  And what is ‘evidence’ in this sense when one judge can choose to see it so differently than another?  We need an enquiry in public.  Sacking the IPCC hierarchy overnight might just pay for it.  Instead of local police chiefs (promised pie in the sky anyway), we could start with genuine public representation there, and civilian decisions on what should be investigated and when.  In Ghost Squad* – -, a cop much defiled by fellow officers, yet the best amongst them, finally takes his belt off and flogs some scum floozie and is sacked.  He could have been sent for re-education.  I’d be happy if Andrews  got that, but how many more need to go, judging on idiot support for his actions?

* Ghost Squad is available free at Lovefilm.  ‘Amy’ is very pretty and I’m still a bit of a sucker for that kind of thing away from current affairs programmes where I regard such pouting as vile sexist and ableist behaviour.  Half the plot of episode three is:

Sergeant Ralph Allen (Brendan Coyle) is an old-fashioned, no-nonsense copper, or a ‘dinosaur’ according to McKay (Emma Fielding). She suspects he is bringing the force into disrepute and needs removing. Amy’s task is clear – get close to him, prove that he’s abusing his position and get him kicked out. An undercover Amy (Elaine Cassidy) pairs up with Ralph to follow up the disappearance of tearaway Danielle Parker, a teenage member of a notorious girl gang that runs amok on the local estate. Ralph doesn’t seem too bothered about the missing teenager, but when his friend Eddy (Jamie Cymbal) gets viciously attacked by Danielle’s crew, Ralph becomes determined to bring the gang to justice. Amy soon finds that she likes Ralph; despite his gruff appearance, he is dedicated to his job and intent on making a difference for the community he serves.

There’s a great comment by Amy on Ralph’s demise – ‘why does he have to go when the 60% jobsworths get to stay’ (more or less).  The actual IPCC turned out to be a damp squib, and internal accounts there say they have been warned off investigations that discredit cops.  Some even say police executions may have been covered-up.  No change, apparently after the demise of Nulabour.  On ‘Swamps’ it is not that unusual to find police corruption – look up Colin Gunn and the Bestway Estate, where two Plods got caught.  That investigation took four years, was conducted in secrecy and on memory by a detective superintendent.

I’d lead a ‘birch squad’ on my own Everglades (this happened on one estate 40 years ago because cops were so useless – I was one of the cops).  We’d have less to fear on civil rights from the formation of such squads, than from this Andrews-Judge Roy Bean farce.  Note the absence of LIBERTY and such on these cases.