New A Level Grade Announced

The Prime Minister, having for years strenuously denied that A level examinations are getting easier today announced a new grade higher than the A grade as everybody gets a grades just for turning up.
The A* grade, to be awarded we guess to pupils who score above 110%, is just the usual New Labour ploy of covering up their cluelessness by doing something utterly irrelevant in order to be seen to be doing something.
The most significant change announced in the speech is that the International Baccalaureate qualification, so far not used in the British education system will be introduced.
The International Baccalaureate is mainly used in private, fee – enterprise educational establishments where it is accepted globally so that rich folks can move from tax haven to tax haven without having to worry about their kids education suffering.

Hmmmmmmmmm.

Is this the preliminary hint that The People’s Party intends to privatise education after it has finished with health, roads and The Bank of England?

Remember, you read it on Machiavelli Blog first.

Devaluation by Degrees

A senior educationalist said this week that though qualifications offered by many Universities recently upgraded from College of Further Education status are regarded as “Mickey Mouse” degrees, such vocational qualifications as degrees in plumbing, brewing beer, leisure centre management and rock music studies are proving their worth in society.
This man must have a degree in talking bollocks.
The degrees awarded by traditional universities are not and were never intended as vocational qualifications, they were evidence of an ability to think creatively. To talk of vocational degrees is to reduce the degree to a glorified school leaver’s certificate. Medicine was ever something of an exception being a hybrid, while sugeons and physicians must have gained proficiency in established techniques, skill in diagnosis is something that cannot be taught.
Now I have never been one of those traditionalists who thinks Universities should only award degrees in fusty old subjects like mathematics and geography. All things must evolve including education. But a degree is surfing techniques? Eff off!
Plumbers and Brewers to pick up two trades mentioned in the article, traditionally prepared for their careers by serving formal apprenticeships. These, by the late twentieth century, involved a mix of hands on experience and classroom education to combine theory with practical skills. A perfect blend for tradesmen and craftsmen. People who managed leisure facilities had usually been successful in their chosen sport although I remember at the Golf Club where I used to caddy for pocket money in school holidays the Secretary, effectively the CEO of the club, was a retired solicitor. He looked after finances and ran the administration of the club while the professional gave lessons and sold equipment, the head groundsman looked after the course and the steward ran the bar and catering. All were experts in therir own field. Only the retired solicitor had a degree, in law rather than Golf Club Management.
Would somebody with a degree in Golf Course Management do a better job than that team. I doubt it somehow, all were experts in their own trade and had a wealth of experience.
Does a Rock musician need a degree in Rock studies? The usual career path goes: learn to play (sort of), join a band, get some gigs, be in the right place at the right time.
It worked for the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Paul Weller, Suggs, The Gallaghers of Oasis and the lads in the Kaiser Chiefs. “Just Fucking Do It” as Bob Geldof says.
How does one earn a degree in plumbing anyway? The purpose of a degree is to establish the ability to bring a new approach to a subject, not to prove a certain level of knowledge.
I was once asked why I hadn’t done a degree in history. I quipped that there was nothing new to study in history. But I have to say my literature BA is a joke. The techniques is exactly as explained in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys; turn the question on its head and come at it from an unusual angle. The answer doesn’t have to be right (in fact at degree level there are few right and wrong answers merely different ways of looking at things) so long as it is original.
Now call me old fashioned by I would rather employ a plunber with a few years hands on than one who is so original I get covered in shit when I switch on the shower.
The degree factories that recent governments have turned colleges and Universities into simply turn further education into an industried. Thus the goal is not to advance human civilisation but to create more degrees, attract more students, earn more fees, increase profitability, maintain growth and improve market share.

Religious Education in schools is a cornerstone of secular society

Noticed this story at Comment Is Free. Well worth a read.
Religious Education in schools is a cornerstone of secular society as it puts children off religion for life
I am a big fan of the “intelligent design” teaching packs that the god-botherers are sending out to our schools. I hope the government makes them compulsory. They will be incredibly useful in teaching kids the single most important lesson that anyone learns in school.

That lesson is, obviously, that adults in positions of power and responsibility often talk the most extraordinary bullshit. Either because they are kidding themselves, or because they think it is OK to mislead you in order to persuade you to behave in some desirable way, they will look you in the eye and lie to your face.

read full story

WMD in Mayfair

Recalling yesterday’s Machiavelli Blog which commented on events surrounding the unfortunate death of the alleged former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko, it seems the murder investigation has nor found evidence of many caches (well OK, traces) of radio active toxins in various fashionable establishments in London’s West End.
Far more evidence of weapons of mass destruction than was found in the whole of Iraq.
So when can we expect the Bush / Blair axis of stupidity to occupy the area of expensive shops and restaurants bounded by Oxford St. Regent St. Park Lane and Piccadilly with a view to imposing regime change?

Government by Fear and Panic.

Quick, hide! The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!!!!!!

It takes me back to the heady days of the cold war.

Wee Johnny Reid, having run out of things to crack down on, as Boggart Blog pointed out a few days ago, has exhumed that old trick of Governments in Deep Poo. He is spreading fear and panic.

Now its tragic that the Russian guy died, but he was a former spy. Former spies tend to have a higher chance of getting bumped off than the rest of us.

So why this talk of Russian assassiains stalking the lanes of Britain waiting for a chance to kill each and every one of us by putting Thallium in our beer, sausages, pork pies (who’d notice that?) and other things that have a special place in the British collective psyche.

Now as I said its tragic that the man died, especially in that way. But its not a big deal. The Russian like bumping each other off, its what they do best, they have been at it ever since Ivan the Terrible murdered all his rivals (and a few of his close relatives and best mates) to secure the throne.

The fact that the murder agent was a radio active toxin is being used to great effect in stirring up fear and panic, among Daily Mail readers especially. Is this the fabled dirty bomb? Are radio active corpses the latest weapon of mass destruction?

Well the Russians aren’t coming. The radiation emitted by Thallium has a very short range and will threaten nobody even if they had contact with the dead man.

And we do not know that the Russian government was involved. Just as likely it was some gangster with a grudge. So we can all get on with our lives.

Unless of course you, like me, are more worried by the fact that questions surrounding the untimely death of a British Government scientist a couple of years ago have never been satisfactorily answered.

Mickey Mouse B Sc.

One of this blog’s favourite hobby horses is the state of the education system. Schools are chaotic, qualifications are ludicrously easy to get, bogus statistics are presented in a futile attempt to convince us kids are getting smarter every year when anyone in business or public service knoiws the secondary school system is turning out illiterates and the “Street corner” Universities that are popping up everywhere are a joke, their only funcrion being to keep school – leavers off the unemployment figures for another three years.
But we keep hearing the system is functioning superbly.
On Trevor McDonald’s programme this week we were given several glimpses of the truth. The best was the casse of an investigative reporter applying for a University case in the name of Michael Mouse from Ladnneydis and citing a fictional school career and bogus qualifications.
He was accepted.
Q.E.D.

Tory Toynbee

The Boy David thinks that his party should be stealing its social agenda from Guardian columnist and dangerous leftie Polly Toynbee rather than from the political philosophies of world’s greatest pissed politician Winston Churchill.
And why not? After all Toynbee is the writer who has consistently praised Fuhrer Blair’s great successes in reforming the NHS and Social Security and trumpeted the triumphs of New Labour’s education reforms which have statistics showing pupils getting a million A level passes each while at the sharp end of reality employers complain that school leavers are illiterate. Favourite Toynbee territory for eulogising Blair is crime. Crime figures are falling she proclaims even as Little Nicky is reporting that there is no point phoning the police when your neighbour is having the shit kicked out of him as they can’t be arsed turning up.
Earlier this week Polly wrote a column panning the curmudgeonly attitude of doctors and nurses in not getting behind the Governments wonderful reforms.
On the day after DC appointed Pol the head of the Tory think – tank The Guardian’s letters page this morning featured a complaint from a working nurse (well she was still working when the paper was put together last night – today, who knows?) that the government’s success in reducing waiting lists has been achieved by the simple expedient of arranging “interim appointments” for patients waiting for treatment. Which means the patients are waiting longer to actually get the treatment they need but they are getting their blood pressure taken more often while they are waiting. and of course nobody can complain that they have been waiting 12 months to see a doctor.
If this is Cameron’s version of caring conservatism I wonder what odds Ladbrokes are offering on UKIP being the second biggest party (behind the Monster Raving Loonies) after the next election.

Anti Social Policing

When Robert Anderson of Culcheth, Cheshire tried to report to the police that his property was being systematically vandalised by a gang of youths he was told nothing could be done as there was no evidence to point to any likely suspects.
Determined to protect his home while staying within the law, the next time the gang attacked Mr Anderson armed himself not with a shotgun or a baseball bat with nails through the end but with a camcorder. He started to film the attackers smashing his fence and garden in order to provide the police with the evidence they needed.
The gang turned on Mr. Anderson, knocking him down and beating and kicking him.
The police response to the 999 call was to arrive two hours later and tell this reasonable man he should not have tried to take the law into his own hands.
Several issues arise out of this case. First, we keep hearing Blair’s performing poodles claiming success in the “war on crime as they parade bogus and meaningless statistics around the media circus. Quite simply, where crime figures are falling it is because people have lost confidence in the police and no longer bother to report crimes like criminal damage. To do so can result in a beating, one’s car being torched or at the very least, turds through the letter box.
Second, the obsession with surveillance technology is a waste of money. It achieves nothing. Its OK for certain Guardian writers who have an teenage crush on Blair to dismiss objections to the spread of CCTV cameras as middle – class paranoia but the truth is we know the yobs quickly suss out where the cameras are and simply move their operations elsewhere.
Third, despite all the new criminal offences invented by this government and the millions of “crackdowns” announced each week by Wee Johnny Reid, the criminal justice system is a shambolic failure. A small minority of young people (usually males) are out of control and finding themselves in a position to make life misery for many quiet, inoffensive people without interference from the law, they have made it their favourite pastime.
Until the police and the courts are freed from constraints imposed by politicians, social workers and bureaucrats and can deal with young offenders effectively the vast majority of young people whose only offence is to be noisy and irritating occasionally (but they’re young, that’s their job) will be treated with hostility and suspicion quite unjustly.

What is happening is fair and just to nobody.
Since Little Nicky Machiavelli reported that a gang who were causing trouble in my area had learned the error of their ways after a group of neighbours, big blokes who can handle themselves, had “a word” we have seen no more trouble. Perhaps the penal system should be extended to include among punishments for young offenders the option of some big blokes who can handle themselves “having a word.”

We All Have Crosses To Bare.

British Airways is giving one of its employees a hard time over her wearing a small silver cross to work. Human Resources at BA say company policy decrees that overt religious symbols are not allowed as they may offend members of other religions.
This is complete and utter bollocks of course, just another case of Bureaucratic bullying.
BA managers themselves prove my case and damn themselves as hypocrites when they say the wearing of hijabs by Muslim women will be allowed as it would be unreasonable to ask someone to wear a hijab under other clothes.
Little Nicky’s attitude to all things religious is summed up in the page header of course, but the specific problem with this particular piece of cant is that neither the cross nor the hijab are truly symbols of Christianity or Islam.
The cross, variations on which have cropped up in most Indo – European cultures down the ages, is a universal symbol, an abstract of the wheel of life representing renewal and regeneration. The concept is best explained in the Zoroastrian creation myth.
The hijab comes from the ancient Assyrian tradition of veiling women that spread throughout the Middle East. It is not a requirement of the Koran which only decrees that women should be modest in their dress.
The hijab, niqab and burqa relate to local cultures rather than Islam in general.
Were I to say that we should defend the rights of the British Airways worker individuals to wear her cross openly and with pride while simultaneously agreeing with Elton John that religion should be banned (I’ve been saying it for 30 years El.) that might seem like a contradiction.
Not so I argue. While we should always respect and defend the rights and freedoms of individuals to express their faith, sexuality, political position or support for Rushden and Diamonds F.C. (Who are Rushden and Diamonds F.C. by the way, anyone know?) what always seems to happen is that while many religious organisations are very eager to press for their right to free expression they are even more keen to demand the rights of others to do likewise be curtailed.
Now the British Airways lady is not demanding that Jews be banned from wearing the Star of David, Muslims be prevented from wearing headscarves or anything else, simply that she be allowed to wear a small cross, which does not bear a figure representing a crucified body.
Where is the problem with that?

The Steal – Your – ID Card

Not so long ago Little Nicky was at The Guardian Comment Is Free blog banging the drum about the Government’s (President Blair’s) pet scheme to make us all buy ID cards and particularly about the insecurity built into I.D. Card technology. These cards will make it easier to steal our identity, get loans in our name, claim job – seekers allowance on our NHI numbers while we slave (well OK, while you slave) to make ends meet.
You know I.D. Cards, the things that are supposed to prevent us being victims if Identity theft, credit card fraud, wrongful arrest and being harassed by bogus asylum seekers? I.D. Cards that will put an end to the benefits fraud that is threatening to impoverish Daily Mail readers as they have to pay more and more tax to fund the expensive habits of black-Irish-dwarf-lesbian-one-legged-single mothers? Yes, those I.D. Cards, the real purpose of which is to allow control freak governments obsessed with surveillance and social control to track our movements twenty four hours a day.
Well it seems the bright libertarians at The Guardian took on board Nicky’s warnings about the security problems. The got hold of a couple of the new hi – tech passports (which use the same technology as the proposed I.D. Cards.) and within 24 hours had cracked the security on the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip that contains all the personal data and extracted the information needed to perpetrate an identity fraud, forge a passport or make a false benefits claim.
Read the full story here:
Unfortunately the story does not appear on a page where you may leave your comments. But I’m sure it will.

The Home Office are blustering about biometric data being uncloneable. Well maybe, although that is irrelevant as there are known ways of forging fingerprints and facial biometric identifiers, not yet operational in airports, are known to have a 20 – 25% failure rate. That means as many as one in four psychos could get through border control.

The Home Office argument falls apart however when we realise that the man cracking the passports did so in twenty four hours, having spent less than £200. How many man hours and £millions have the government invested in developing this useless system?

This kind of thing happens so often because most of us have been brainwashed into jumping up and down, waving our arms in the air and shouting hooray (or hurrah if you’re a New Labour ex – public schoolboy) whenever new technology is mentioned.
But earlier in the week Nicky was exposing the hopelessness of Digital Television (and dared not even mention Digital Radio lest the servers be swamped by a torrent of comments expressing resentment and dissatisfaction. And only yesterday I was exchanging messages with someone about Internet Telephony in general (a total non – starter, the internet and telephony are incompatible) and Skype in particular. Skype fans remember, before hitting the keyboard to express your indignation, Skype is almost a homonym of hype and once they have signed up a big enough customer base the hype will end. BTW you don’t get free calls at all, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Login next week and Little Nicky will reveal all.
Always be sceptical of new technology, said he who made a lucrative career and saved taxpayers and companies £millions out of doing just that.

Can King Kenute Hold Back Climate Change Tide?.

King Kenute seems to have decided the way to halt climate change, save the London Olympics and get himself lots of media attention is to whack a punitive tax of £25 per day on Chelsea Tractors. This, he thinks, will ensure his re-election as London mayor and his elevation by public acclaim to the status of a god, after the style of Roman Emperors. Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius etc. having established themselves as protectors and friends of ordinary citizens and all round good guys were elevated to divine status. Usually it happened a few weeks before they were murdered.
Unfortunately the “Red Ken, Man Of The People” act fools few outside the la – la land that is Islington. To those who live on Planet Reality, Red Ken’s socialist credentials are as false as those of Phoney Tony.
Will King Kenute’s attempt to turn back the tide of climate change with his selective tax do any good? Well it can only be applied within the congestion charge zone and banishing a few thousand Sloane Range – Rovers from this small area will make not one iota of difference to anything. It is a typical example of New Labour’s gesture politics.
Massive public investment is the only way to reduce the contribution made by transport to our total carbon emissions.
The real King Canute (alternative spellings Cnut, Knut) was actually not trying to hold back the tide but demonstrating to sycophantic courtiers that even a King has no dominion over nature.
If only King Kenute (alternative spellings are your choice,) President Blair et al could find that much humility.

Read another POV on King Kenute at Iain Dale’s Blog

Stealing From The Poor Box?

It sems the American government, ever anxious to advance the cause of war on poverty – sorry, I mean war on the poor, is lobbying Downing Street in support of megaPharm’s efforts to have the NHS market opened up to unbridled competition. The American Paharmacutical giants do not like our quaint Olde English way of having drugs evaluated by independent experts before they can be launched on an unsuspecting public.
“If we say our anti cancer drug works then who the eff are you to question us?” is the line. Of course the patients may die of heart failure after a few weeks on the drug, but that provides evidence of the drug’ efficacity, after all the poor sods will not have died of cancer will they.

The line being ppeddled by the White House (and swallowed hook line and sinker by the money grubbing scumbags of New Labour is that marketisation will increase “choice” and thus benefit everybody.

Now haven’t we heard that before?

Failing Before You’ve Started.

The Machiavelli Blog has a track record of chronicling the monumental incompetence of Blair’s government but the emerging saga of the 2012 Olympics has left us gobsmacked.
Not a brick has been laid, no erection has been erected, not even a single cubic yard of concrete has been poured (but they do have a nice legoland model) and yet already the project is running behind schedule and over budget.
The fact is the project management committee are wasting time and spending fortunes on consultancy fees, not to mention decimating the world’s pine forests and doing a big favour for the paper making industry, as they struggle to define the scope of their project and exactly who pays for what.
Is the whole thing the responsibility of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport? should Ken Livingstone’s London Authority pick up the £2billion tab for “regeneration work in the Lower Lea Valley, (taking all the shit and detritus of a thousand years of London life away, in plain English.) And who will foot the bill for security estimates of which are rising exponentially as the war on terror moves to our doorstep.
One may be forgiven of course for thinking the Government ought to have thought of all this before they put our bid in. But planning ahead is the job of proper consultants, not the kind of tax – eaters Governments employ.
Current favourite sources for covering the shortfall are the National Lottery’s Heritage and Culture funds.
So as usual we find the future is being landed with the bill for Blair’s legacy. What might that legacy be? you might well ask.
A seriously fucked up nation with no pride, an ersatz culture and a collective attitude problem that’s what.
Seems to me whatever happens, the future gets a lousy deal

New Labour’s Technology Lies

I live in an area surrounded by hills.
Until the introduction of Digital, T.V. reception was always reasonable. Last night, a windy, rainy night BBC1 & ITV were fuzzy and flickering on analogue and the freeview signal had broken down altogether.
Now I used to work in computer communications and could easily explain why this happens, although my former colleagues who worked with radio, radar and microwave could get into much greater detail.
Basically the problem was created because of Blair’s determination to get us all to go Digital as quickly as possible when actually the network infrastructure was not and probably never can be up to the job, (Ye cannae change the laws of physics Jim!)
Typically, advice from independent technical experts was ignored and “government advisers” wre hired to provide assurances that everything was hunky-dory.
Strangely, because I know Blair to be such an honourable public servant he would never involve himself in mendacity for the benefit of big business
(what? taking irony too far? well maybe, but bear with me.)the total cock up with the digital changeover can have obly one result. We will all have to buy access to TV from Sky. And that will pave the way for breaking up the BBC.
Blair’s legacy? A sort of British Third Reich I guess.

Britain: Shithouse of Spin.

Under a headline reading

BRITAIN LAGGING BEHIND EUROPE IN CUTTING DEATHS ON THE ROAD I learned that while the government are disseminating such shock horror information Britain is actually forging ahead of other European nations and the fact that our percentage reduction is lower than elsewhere relates to our NUMBER or road deaths being much lower to start with.

Read the full story at Iain Dale’s Blog

Can the New Labour Project sink any lower I wonder? Watch this space.

Interesting

Over at the web home of Tory uberblogger Iain Dale the lad is a bit miffed that the Lib Dems are calling for the abolition of 10 illiberal laws. Shouldn’t the boy David be driving this bandwagon he askes, rather than running to catch up.

What interest Little Nicky though is what kind of government would pass such illiberal laws.

Joiun the discussion at Iain Dale’s Blog

And while we are on the subject of abuses of power why not find time to visit Guthrum and find out how Labour’s tightarses treated a young film maker who did some contract work for them and expected to be paid for his effort