Another week and another surprising amount of cash that I have been offered via unsolicited E-mail,
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If you have ever thought that the job of Government (all Governments, not just the one we have now) was to manage the country in a way that was ruled by logic and reason, taking advice for experts were needed, but defined by some ideological boundaries, then you are a reasonably optimistic person and good for you I say.
This week there have been 2 reports that the Government have decided to just ignore. On Saturday we had a survey that compared the standards of children's (not kids) maths between now and the 70's. This survey found that there was no difference despite a huge “improvement” in exam results.
The link that I have used here is to The Daily Mail that fails to mention in the piece that the way exam grades are awarded has changed since “the early 80's” but that is just about the only problem with the article.
I'm not here to pick apart this survey, others will do that and I'm not a statistician (although I would point out that simply giving pupils of today exam papers from the 70's is a totally fair test given changes in teaching styles and emphasis) so I will merely point out that the Government “dismissed it”. Not considered it findings. No, dismissed it.
Then there was a survey by management consultants McKinsey said that the NHS could loose 1 in 10 jobs in order to make it more efficient.
As someone who works for the NHS I can tell you that it is probably true but it report was leaked only a couple of weeks after the Twitter campaign WelovetheNHS following which all the parties declared their undying love for the health service. This meant that the report was immediately dismissed because it has now become politically impossible to even think about cutting even one job within the NHS. Political opportunism and bandwagon jumping has now stifled any real debate about problems with the service despite the fact that, whilst being mostly the best thing in the World, it does have some failings.
Then there was the report from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) into cannabis use that made 22 recommendations. 21 were not about keeping cannabis classified as Class C and so were accepted by the Government. One of the recommendations, however, was that cannabis SHOULD remain a Class C drug but was ignored by the Government, after an awful lot of pressure from the media, who promptly made it more illegal than it was.
As I think I have shown Political weight is heavier than what is right or best for us. If it is likely to play badly in the press then the Government of the day will probably ignore the expert advice in order to play to the Gallery.
If you keep cannabis as a Class C you appear soft on crime. If you manage the NHS efficiently you will be reported to be destroying the NHS.
If, however, the ACMD recommends the almost impossible banning of “Spice”, a legal high, and the chemical solvent GBL, sometimes called liquid ecstasy, then they leap on it like a lion on an injured gazelle. “We can appear tough on Drugs, despite the fact that a slight change in the drugs chemistry will render it legal again, but let's ignore that and appear tough on crime and drugs. Did we mention that we are tough on crime?”
So Gordon Brown has decided to keep his opinion to himself on the subject of the release if the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi. I not sure why as we have had his opinion Michael Jackson, Susan Boyle and the Arctic Monkeys. Perhaps he has finally learnt that a considered opinion is what he should have and not some irksome pop-culture nonsense because no one buys it from him. He is a serious man, a very serious man, who does have a little bit of a problem connecting with the people. Not really his fault. To be honest I would rather have a serious man in charge rather than a performer with no thoughts of their own.
He can't really win can he? If he says that the release was a bad idea then he is interfering in the politics of another country but if it was a good idea then he is soft on crime (do you spot a pattern?)
Best decision is to keep your mouth shut and keep them wondering.
Some people are sent to test your patience.
The UN runs pretty much all of the schools in Palestine. They do it for free and in an attempt to help the children of that war torn and systematically destroyed country have some sort of normality during the Occupation.
And then you have Hamas. They are not good people really and they have criticised the UN for thinking about teaching about the Holocaust. You know the Holocaust, an event that shames man. The Death of 6 million Jews and hundreds of thousands of Gypsies, Homosexuals and the disabled. But Hamas don't believe that the Holocaust took place.
Oh for your god's sake, sort yourselves out. Israel does exist and the murder of 6 million Jews and many, many others did take place.
If you accept these things then you can, maybe, start to take the high moral ground.
On an old episode of the Little Atoms podcast someone made the point that it is odd that anti-Semites deny the Holocaust as it is, surely, the best thing that they can imagine happening to Jews.
The Award for the Hardest Sell In the World
Do you want to know how bad smoking is for you? The Iraqi parliament is debating a ban on it. A country that is still at war (twice as many civilians die there per month from bombs and bullets than in Afghanistan) is thinking that smoking might be a bit bad for you. The thing is, more people die from smoking related diseases in that country than from the best attempts of us, the Americans and the Insurgents. Still that is going to be hard to push through given the on going security situation, oh and the problems with the supply of electricity, oh and the water, oh and pretty much everything else.
The Award for Spectacular Backing Down of the Week
The following image is so offensive to Americans that the World Wide Fund for Nature has pulled it as an advert,
I think it is a brilliant and breathe-taking image. It was put together by a Brazilian advertising agency to help illustrate the number of people who died as a result of the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 (which is estimated to be around 229,866) and comparing it the attack on the twin towers of 2001 and, I think you'll agree, it does it brilliantly.
Unsurprisingly a bit of a fuss has been made in America as it is approaching September 11th and they are a little sensitive about this sort of thing. So the advert was pulled.
They have a bit of a point, 2,976 people died on that day. However, since then some other
people have died. Quite a lot of them in wars resulting from American aggression following those attacks. It is impossible to know just how many but one estimate is 753,118 in Iraq and Afghanistan.
No one is taking anything away from the families of those who died, it was a truly awful thing that happened, but you are not the only people who have lost family. I know it's hard but a little perspective is all the rest of the world is asking for. I am not saying that that an American life is worth less than anyone else’s, in fact I am saying the opposite. A life is equal to another life whether that be in the US, Africa or Asia.
So to sports that you probably don't care about but England/Great Britain did well in them so I'm going to tell you about them anyway.
It was the EuroHockey Nations Cup last week and England did rather well. The Women's team won bronze and the Men's team won Gold. Oh yes ladies and gentlemen, the best team in Europe.
Off to Dorchester Show today which is always a nice day out, as long as it's not raining.