Wednesday, 4 April 2012
That A level.
I suppose you have to be, or know somebody, from The Black Country to understand this joke. It goes like this and it has to be told in the local accent. Ready?
"Ah kid's got wun of them A-levels. In carpentry."
"Aaa. 'Ee put some shelves up and 'ee ses, "That a' level"."
Ba-da-and furthermore-bing! Plenty more where that came from. (I guess you had to be there... or more precisely, here. For clarification, watch Doreen's Story.)
'A' used to stand for 'Advanced'. That is, an advanced qualification capable of being attained by only the better scholars. Now, however, the 'A' clearly stands for 'Average'... if a large proportion of pupils passes them that's what they are, by definition. (One sort of average at any rate - this would need no explaining to a proper 'A' level maths scholar, but probably 'means' nothing to today's A-plus-double-plus-good clones.)
Beneath the A-level stood a solid tier of achievement known as the 'O' (ordinary) level. And beneath that, for those not destined for the groves of academe, the Certificate of Secondary Education, or CSE... the qualification for the thick kids. Not an issue, by the way; more a badge of honour for those who were going to hit things with big hammers, pull stuff out of the ground, or have babies for Britain.
Well, I was there when they ripped it all up. When the progressive educationalists (I lump the 'ists' together so you can see the full force of my disdain: psychologist, sociologist, therapist, criminologist, apologist… rapist) ripped the still-beating heart out of Britain's proven, highly esteemed fit-for-purpose, education system. So pernicious were the changes that a future colleague of mine was sent back by his father from London to Guyana in order to undergo a 'proper British education' in a former colony that had yet to ‘benefit’ from ‘progress’.
Because ‘progress’ invariably seem to mean ‘regress’. Progress in transport means that the average speed of traffic in London today is a fraction of what it was a hundred years ago. Progress means that you no longer have to rely on a human being to miscalculate your electricity bill – we have machines now that can fuck it up so much quicker. Progress – in the absence of any accelerated human cranial evolution – means that we replace achievement with the illusion of achievement.
So, Michael Gove’s desire to put the ‘A’ back into A-levels has to be applauded, if not actually completely believed. His heart is undeniably in the right place, but he will be thwarted by the liberal intelligentsia who, despite their lofty, egalitarian posturing have wrought nothing but harm to our entire society.
Oh yes, liberal fuckwits, I’m gunning for you. You, with nothing to lose, have experimented with several generations of Britons and now see the mess you’ve left us in? Bereft of decent public education, available to all, it is you who have left the nation in the hands of the kind of career politicians we have today, scions of the very privileged classes – on both sides of the house – that you sought to crush.
If Michael Gove truly wants to achieve political immortality he should put all his efforts into the very illiberal and definitely non-intellectually-taxing enterprise of fucking the lot of you right up the arse.