Friday, 13 September 2013

"Give me the child..."

It has been a charge levelled at graduates for as long as I can remember, that they turn up with all the gear but no idea, lacking what was once considered a pre-requisite for a useful working life – common sense. Long considered to reside in those with less lofty aspirations, the ability to sort the wheat from the chaff and get down to business is nothing more than habits acquired by experience to cut the crap and get on with the job. Given that child-centred education has for so many years mitigated against anybody taking personal responsibility for anything at all it’s little wonder that, once again, employers are bemoaning the quality of graduates, even as the so-called experts are tinkering around with what they collectively call ‘life skills’ and we used to call simply ‘living’.

There is no future in just doing a good job any more, it seems. No wonder bright youngsters are drawn to nebulous ‘consultancy’ jobs where instead of getting their hands dirty they can simply tell others from the safety of a remote desk how they should get their hands dirty. Instead of toting dat barge they can charge far more for spending their hours locked away in ivory towers drafting learned reports on how the colour of dat barge can synergise more intuitive outcomes and enhance life chances. Meanwhile dat barge remains untoted.

With unwavering certainty and against the evidence of experience and yes, common sense, the expert tells us mere mortals that diversity improves everybody’s lives, that the solution to overspending on welfare is to spend more on welfare and that important ‘life skills’ can be taught by ideology-stuffed young teachers who have yet to leave school themselves. Wielding teetering stacks of research papers, drafted in isolation and with no input from their subjects the theorists banish common sense to the status of misinformed, knee-jerk and counter-productive reaction.

And worse, those elected to lead us, lacking any coal face experience themselves, actually listen to these self-proclaimed, self-obsessed experts and simply zone out the rising hubbub of those who will have to live in their brave new world. In response to the common sense voices from the shop floor the experts hold their unstable high ground and sneeringly tell us that common sense is too simplistic, outmoded and represents a bigoted point of view. The future is bright, the future is expert and all the narrow-minded ‘common-sensers’ are no better than, humanophobic Luddites.

It doesn’t even matter that in the long term almost every ‘expert’ proclamation on social engineering is eventually proved wrong – sod common sense, let’s try it anyway - after all, it’s just another generation fucked over and there’s always be another one to experiment on.

Which brings me on to a current expert theory about early years education. Not content with simply not bothering to teach pupils the boring basics of reading, ‘riting and ‘rtihmetic the edu-alchemists are now saying we shouldn’t even start not-educating them until age seven. As Toby Young argues in his excellent article, this is driven by the usual Marxist meddlers and will produce a new generation of illiterates the like of which would have Victorian schoolteachers burning their mortar boards.

Toby’s argument (and you should read it in full) is so obviously correct that it will have lefties spitting into their frothy mocha-choco-latt├ęs at the indignity and the effrontery of the bigoted bloody common-sensers and their damnedly un-nuanced reduction of a complex problem to a clumsy cause and effect analysis, which may have made the Victorians into the most advanced nation on the planet but will be inadequate in our glittering multi-faceted bright orange future… where many kids will nevertheless still leave school unable to read.

But for what possible purpose can those on the left want to turn out yet another batch of entitlement-obsessed, unemployable welfare fodder? Why would they even dare to propose more of the sort of social changes that have reduced a once effective, if not entirely satisfied society to one where even fewer have a chance of getting on? Why would they as they so caringly put it, rub our noses in it? For our benefit? Really? Whatever their deluded common purpose – and it’s by no means certain what that purpose really is - it defies common sense.


  1. I remember in the late 60's chatting to a student who was a communist and her saying to me that the "party" wanted her to become a teacher in order to influence the future direction of society. probable reason we all feel that our children in many schools were let down.

    1. And that is exactly what has happened. I've seen the malign influence on education throughout my life. It's a quick a short step from being wary and hostile towards socialism in education to simple acceptance and then flag-flying. The really clever thing is that otherwise intelligent people are so easily duped by the simple repetition of the lie of equality.

  2. That blog sums up my feelings. Absolutely spot on.

    There was a programme on the telly this week called 'Educating Yorkshire'. I don't want to refer to the programme too much because I work in a lot of schools, and the programme is the norm across schools in the North West of England. Actually, it's a lot worse. A lot now have on-site Police officers.

    To sum it up I would say this... what was displayed is symptomatic mis-management that tries to justify the decades of discipline issues caused by outlawing corporal punishment.

    Kids need a crack across the chops, they present stupid arguments if you let them, and they have highly questionable reasoning until their brains have evolved into adulthood. If they argue, crack them one. If they tell tales on teachers when they get home, the parents should crack them one too.

    I'm not saying children shouldn't be children, their minds are amusing and amazing, but there is a time and a place for that type of development and encouragement.

    Lack of discipline for a child IS child abuse. If people breed a no hoper with no discipline, then they have ruined it's life, sometimes forever until it dies. It's a complete waste of life and an enormous burden on society.

    1. Very well said, Chris. But discipline is only one facet of the whole big cubic zirconium we swapped our diamond standard education for. Dumbing down, learning by play, removal of the 'fail' grade, all must have prizes.

      The saddest thing of all is that the supporters of socialism think they are doing the NICE things, even as they consign their children to mediocrity.

  3. I find common sense to be not that common, idiocy seems to rule supreme.