02 January 2011

The Middle of the Road View

Dr Grumble prefers to write about what he knows about. Sometimes he strays into the realm of general politics goaded, in the case of the previous post, by a politician's gaff. When this happens many do not agree with the Grumble view which, these days though not in the past, is regarded as left-wing, socialist even. It just shows how right-wing general thinking has become. As Grumble has said before right-wing views are very seductive. Dr Grumble has himself been seduced.

One of the good things about a blog is that if you get something factually wrong readers can immediately point out your mistake. We all make mistakes and Dr Grumble welcomes corrections. On matters of opinion the comments column can become lively. Here there are no rights and wrongs.

Following Grumble's last post he was accused of "breathtaking naivety". Grumble is a sensitive individual but he decided at first to leave others to come to his defence. And they did. Thank you.

The accusation of breathtaking naivety came from Middle of the Road Moderate. The comment is well written and makes many good points. As Grumble has said, there are no rights and wrongs. The world is shades of grey. But the comment deserves a reply and since the size of the replies is limited Dr Grumble is going to reply here as a new post. Unusually Grumble will write in the first person.

So here is Middle of the Road moderate's first broadside:

This post, and most of the comments, have an underlying thread of naivety that, frankly, is breathtaking. The country is in debt. Huge, society-threatening debt. Someone had to stop the spending. Someone has to start paying the bill. All over the country, members of each sectional interest are moaning and saying, “Yes, yes, the bill must be paid but our group cannot be expected to cut spending for we are too important”.
And now Grumble's reply:
I would very much agree that New Labour spent money wastefully. Quite often money was spent on window-dressing designed more to create good headlines for Tony Blair than good governance. Wrong though that was, it was not the cause of the huge society-threatening debt. This was a consequence of unfettered markets driven by people who could make big bonuses but could never make a loss – one way tickets to success (and, for the taxpayer, disaster). Even the organisations were bomb-proof as the taxpayer has found out to his cost. Banks cannot be allowed to fail. Yet, despite this risk to the taxpayer, nobody in government really knew what the people in the world of money were up to. They didn’t even know themselves. The financial set-ups had become so complicated, complex and convoluted that the banks themselves didn’t know what had happened to their own assets. Regulation was inadequate because the market was seen as sacrosanct (and bankers were being wooed to London). There was scarcely a single siren voice warning what was to come. The Conservatives goaded New Labour on as they deregulated the financial systems freeing them to head lemming-like to catastrophe.

The bill that has broken the taxpayer’s own bank came not from the NHS or the students or the libraries or whatever your favourite good cause is. It came from the people who to this day are still not feeling any pain.
And now here an accusation of champagne socialism:
I love coming here for my glass of Grumble-style champagne socialism. Grumble-socialism may be naïve but it is a refreshing change from, for example, the uber-right wing Wat Tyler. Sadly, though, Grumble-economics does not add up, for Grumble-socialists do not acknowledge that we are facing a financial catastrophe.
Grumble seems a bit stung by that:
If I haven’t acknowledged that there is a financial crisis, it must be because it seems to me to be self-evident.
Now Middle of the Road moderate goes on about successive Labour governments destroying the education system:
The education system has been destroyed by successive Labour governments. The Grumblers extol the virtue of state education and well they might for, as good champagne socialists, they live in leafy-laned suburbia and congregate around good comprehensives. Comprehensives that can attract keep good staff. How many of you live in Tower Hamlets? All well and good for medical Anthony Wedgewood Benn clones to enthuse about schools such as Holland Park comprehensive or St Olaves. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emily_Benn) As well paid middle-class professionals you have the dosh to live close to these schools. Comprehensive? Bollocks. Not from the pool they serve. And you guys complain about post-code lotteries! Diane Abbott was less hypocritical.
He does make some good points. Good state education is heavily dependent on where you live. What this shows is that it is as much dependent on the local people as the schools. It will help if society recognised this. Grumble does not really know about schools but he does know a bit about health. The nonsense that Darzi used to spout about life expectancy falling by a year for every stop on the Jubilee line as you travel from Westminster to Canning Town is just that: nonsense. OK, the fact is true but the nonsense is that doctors are to blame for not providing better healthcare to the poor. Health and wealth are closely related and lack of provision of health services to the poor is not the reason. Grumble suspects that there are parallels with education. Anyway here is his riposte:
Do you really think that if you were to transplant a fully-funded Charterhouse to Tower Hamlets the problems would be solved? One of my neighbours, a doctor, worked outside the NHS for a private company and, earning much more than Grumble, was able to send his children to a public school. One of them ran into difficulties and they asked him to leave. It is very much easier to run a good school which selects children only from the very rich and leaves the state to take on kids they cannot handle. Private schools like private hospitals cherry pick and immediately dump what they cannot handle.
Now something about pallid skinheads waiting on Matthew Paris (actually Grumble had very similar thoughts when he was at Oxbridge):
The question of funding university students is challenging. Easy for you to slag off the Coalition/ It’s always easy to criticise the status quo. But you don’t offer an alternative. Some one has to pay. Who should that someone be? Why not just pay for students out of general taxation? Matthew Paris wrote recently about how, when dining at his Cambridge College as a student he felt uncomfortable being waited upon by a pallid skinhead, moonlighting to increase his income out of which he was paying taxes to support Paris et al at Cambridge. Something wrong there. You can make arguments for the taxpayer putting the Grumble medical students through University, but please don’t ask the taxpayer to underwrite crap like a joint honours degree in "football and society" as offered by the University of Central Lancashire. And there’s lots of stuff like that around.

Grumble's reply points out that there are still two ways of doing things:
My point about paying for students is that borrowing money and paying it back is one way of funding university and paying it back as a taxpayer is another way. The two are not so different. Either way you pay back the money eventually. One way you pay it back as a loan, the other way as a taxpayer. Actually a large proportion of the students will never pay back their loans so the two are not so different as they appear. It’s mostly a question of which book the debt appears on. My view is that it is not a particularly good idea to sell to people who come into this world with nothing the idea that they should start their adult lives with a substantial debt – especially since it is debt that has caused the problem we are in now.

Actually I think the previous government, goaded by educationalists who do not live in the real world, made a mistake in thinking that so many should go to university. Learning is important but many do not learn well in the lecture theatre. What was wrong with traditional forms of learning such as apprenticeships? It's no wonder we ran out of plumbers and others who work skilfully with their hands given some of our education policies. And the same has happened with medicine. We are told that lack of experience can be remedied with a day's training on a simulator when what doctors really need is more supervised on-the-job training at the bedside.
And now Grumble is giving the last word to Middle of the Road moderate who has posted a comment yet again as Grumble was typing. In this comment he gets to the fundamental issue that is driving a lot of what we are seeing which is that we need the bankers and their roulette wheels and that if we do not woo them they will earn money for someone else. Unfortunately he is right.
Ah! We got there. The bankers. They are, even as we speak, eyeing up their January bonuses. Of course it's obscene. But, once again, the champagne- socialist ethic prevails. Lots of criticism but no solutions. If you tax bonuses to extinction, the bankers will disappear. And there are lots of countries who will welcome them with open arms. Switzerland and the BRIC countries for starters. Don't forget what percentage contribution these bankers make to our GDP. There are other approaches that would help the public. Stop the investment scams. Did we really use to buy endowments? Stop the pension fund rip-offs. Pay the obscene bonuses but only to bankers who have been demonstrably successful. Much could be done without destroying the city as a source of income. And don't forget it was your very own Gordon Brown, now hiding somewhere on a witness protection programme, who was so anxious to cosy up to the bankers that he removed all effective financial regulation.

Medical students do already get some mitigation of fees in their final year. As earners they will be in the top 1% of the population and will have the privilege of pursuing a vocational career with rewards in terms of status and personal satisfaction far greater than many others. Why should they not pay more than, say, a school teacher or a social worker.
So there you have it. The final word from Middle of the Road Moderate.

Thank you, Middle of the Road Moderate, for commenting. And thank you Dr Aust, Julie and Sam for generating the debate. Forgive me for not including your contributions here but this post is getting rather long and I have doubts about whether it will work as it is.


Stuart Jeffery said...

Of course there is unfairness in the system and the bankers / super rich are getting away scott free, but the cut are ideologically driven and we should concentrate on debunking the theory that says the country is broke.

Anonymous said...

Comments from people not hiding behind anonymity are always so much more impressive. Not quite sure about “cut” – a typo? But I worry about anyone, even an experienced nurse, who can say, “we should concentrate on debunking the theory that says the country is broke”. Hmmm. How much debt does one have to be in to be broke, I wonder? It’s all a matter of confidence, and we were close to the line. A run on the banks, the collapse of the bond market, sterling crashing on the international markets and we would be broke. And it was oh! So close that that. And, whatever you may feel about the Coalition, the IMF bail-out conditions would have been far more draconian. And it’s all well and good for Dr G to say he does not mention the financial deficit because everyone knows about it. That, I’m afraid, really is the leafy-lane champagne-socialist approach. Ignore the elephant in the room for long enough and he will become part of the furniture.

The last Labour government, like every Labour government there has ever been, left office with the country in financial crisis. Something has to be done but none of you seems prepared to acknowledge that. Stuart implies that we are not “broke”. Strewth! But of course if you come from the position that there isn’t an elephant in the room at all, then there is no problem.

And now to Dr G on education. Would transplanting Charterhouse to Tower Hamlets solve the problems? Of course not. What you have – once the economic situation allows one to do it - is fund state education sufficiently well for it to attract good teachers. Then the middle-classes, who quietly vote with their feet, will start using the system again. Schools run by teaching-assistant amateurs are as unappealing as hospitals run by non-medically qualified health care “professionals”, whatever they are. Many middle-class people will make huge financial sacrifices to pay the BUPA sub and the school fees. Go back to the period 1950 – 1970 and they did not need to do either.

Having a sulk about bankers' (albeit obscene) pay will not help. Why don’t you moan about footballers pay, or Stephen Fry’s income? How do they contribute to the GDP? Sure, bankers have their financial perks. In the same way, doctors get medical perks usually via the old boys network. If Dr G gets abdominal pain, he will be on the phone to his mate, Gerry the gastroenterologist, and Gerry will see him immediately. And quite right too. Doctors should get that perk, for being ill must be twice as bad for them as it is for anyone else. Nonetheless, as doctors you have never had to phone NHS Direct. I have. Once. Won’t do it again. What a joke that was. So don’t knock other peoples’ perks!

The baby-boomers had a 25-year window of free grammar school education, free university education and free (decent) health care. It’s all gone now. God forbid that we should ever go back to the 11-plus but the wholesale destruction of the grammar schools was educational vandalism and, at a stroke, crippled social mobility and educational opportunity. How much harder is it now for someone to escape from sink-estate poverty. You have to acknowledge and give voice to these issues.


Dr Retard said...

I think people are confused about how much doctors have an 'old boy network'. Gone are those days. Now you're lucky not to have to expose yourself to the people you work with day-in and day-out (picture that in the office).

Nowadays doctors are pilloried by managers, most of whom have been trained in the MBA world of an actual market. Because that works so well in healthcare - just look at the US and Canada. Personally I think that the best managers leave clinical matters to those who know what they're doing!

Dr No said...

It seems to Dr No that the crux of the matter is contained in two C words, neither of which, thankfully, has anything to do with culture.

Dr G talks of a financial crisis. MOTRM talks of a financial catastrophe.

Crisis has for centuries been part of the medical world. Doctors are used to managing crises, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. But they are part of life, and death, and they pass, and life goes on.

Catastrophe is a very different matter. It is exceptional, terrifying, and demands the most urgent of actions.

Dr G and MOTRM: two intelligent articulate individuals looking at the same problem. One calls it a crisis, the other a catastrophe.

Sam said...

"Lots of criticism but no solutions."

OK, You don't want to lose the bankers but want to still make them contribute to fixing the mess they made?

I would force them to invest their bonus money in the public sector for a fixed period before they are allowed to draw it out again. This way, you don't have to force untested changes to the NHS, for example, and do not have to cancel ops and sack frontline staff, but will have more time to sensibly reconfigure the admin to a more effecient model. The bankers may not get a return on their investment, but they would contribute to bailing out those threatned by their incompetence now, as those have bailed them out before! Fair!

" Much could be done without destroying the city as a source of income."

Nobody wants to see the city destroyed! Due to national pride too! But they will not go because even the countries you mentioned can not economically cope with such huge shift from London in the short term anyway!

"And don't forget it was your very own Gordon Brown"

Speaking for myself, I have no very own anybody, but I didn't mind Gordon because I could see that he was a hard working man who was trying to fix a mess that he inherited, this is where the blame lies really, on that sofa for one.

And I like David Cameron now despite having not voted at all in the last election. I like him for the same reason in that he is a hard working man who is passionate about wanting to make a positive difference, only he has a very tough job to do so many of his decisions will not be liked by some. That I understand, but I hope he would do a U-turn when a decision turns out to be unsuitable, simply because those are unique times and what's needed are the best solutions that 'will' work in the long run.

"As earners they will be in the top 1% of the population and will have the privilege of pushing a vocational career with rewards in terms of status and personal satisfaction far greater than many others."

What top earners?! They graduate to 21k, 4k less than the national average and after 6 years at uni, have a debt of 50k too, soon to rise to 100k!

"Why should they not pay more than, say, a school teacher or a social worker?"

Because they spend double the time at uni hence graduate with double the debt and are 3 years older than those on graduation, hence lost 3 years income too ... and there are no jobs on all levels of training now, do you have a solution for that Anonymous because this lack of posts has completely wiped out all the 'privilages' you mentioned, those are now a thing of the past!

Julie said...

Middle of the Road;

Here's a few solutions, as that's what you're looking for.

We, ra people, now own the banks. We effectively bought them. So the government could cut bonuses. If the bankers in question moved to another country a) they could not take the bank with them b)I am sure there would be plenty of bright eyed, bushy tailed out of work graduates who would be more than happy with their starting salary.

We could redirect some much needed money to the NHS by giving the profits from the re-financing of PFI loans back to the projects concerned. That would give the NHS some ease and might be the difference between holding the line and embarking on a suicidal sacking of frontline staff.

We are currently in the middle of the biggest NHS shake up for 20 years. This could be an opportunity to look at why administrative costs in the NHS have risen from 6% to 23% since the introduction of the market and sort it out. My own country (Scotland) manages its NHS on 6% admin costs. Why can't England?

Julie said...

On the subject of education, I'm afraid that I don't have many solutions to offer; I can only give my own perspective on it. I am the daughter of two teachers and I have been a teacher myself and I have watched the 'progress' of the education system with some dismay. In my own subject (music) I can tell you that the standard now required at (Scottish)Higher is two grades (or years) below what was required when I was studying. Those in other subjects say that it's the same for them. I think there are a couple of things going on. Firstly, when the government changed funding to unis from a block to per capita basis, it forced the unis to take more students on. This meant that greater numbers of people were taken off the unemployment register. Secondly, (and this is where the conspiracy theory comes in) I have been convinced for a while that the government is deliberately training a low skills workforce, with just enough knowledge to function and get a job in whatever multinational is throwing a bone to the economy, but not enough education to be a nuisance and demand more money. That is the purpose I believe. For that reason, I don't think you are going to see the end of this anytime soon. The answer to this lies in peoples' own initiative and bucking the system themselves by setting up small businesses,(in Glasgow we are looking at the Grameens Bank which may contain answers to both the financial and educational problems) but ideologically we need our government to be convinced that we will do better with a flotilla of small businesses than a few multinationals and I think that we haven't quite got our heads round that yet; we are so used to the manufacturing model of economy.

Dr Grumble said...

I am reminded of a passage from Virgil's Aeneid Book XII. It goes something like: qualia nunc hominum producit corpora tellus.

Every generation tends to say that today's men are not up to the standard of yesterday's. This is very much so in medicine when it is said that today's young doctors are not as good as we were. It's probably not true. They are probably better than we were (though maybe not at Latin). Certainly Virgil seemed to be of the view that today's man was not quite up to yesterday's in terms of strength.

Julie may be right but, in England anyway, we are told that grades are going up and up.

Julie said...

The reason that I know this is the case in music, Dr G, is that there are music grades set by the Associated Board of Music which are separate from the general education system. Each grade represents a year's study and the standard of those grades has remained largely the same. When I sat my Higher Music I was expected to perform pieces of a Grade 7 standard. It is now Grade 5. I can't speak for other subjects of course, but my teaching friends tell me that it is a similar story. The other aspect of this is that if you flunk your exams at an early age and then try to return to full time education, it's more difficult to do this. My local college used to offer crash highers and standard grades in academic subjects which you could do in a year; now what you have to do is study three modules for a year and if you complete that, you are allowed to sit a meaningful exam the next year. There are lots of people who can find a year out to further their qualifications. Two years is a different matter. Basically, if you don't get your subjects first time round, you're ***ed. For my own subject, being Grade 7 standard and being Grade 5 standard is the difference between finding work and not finding work. I don't think people are any less able than they were twenty years ago, but I think they are less well educated and with a purpose.

Dr Grumble said...

I can see that in music with set pieces - some of which must remain the same from one generation to the next - the yardsticks by which performance is measured must be fairly stable.

I am quite sure that my children knew more science than I did at equivalent stages but some of what they know nobody knew when I was at school. Up and down quarks are a mystery to me to this day. The fundamental particles were rather bigger in my day.

I would say that my children's language skills are feeble compared to mine. I don't think they have ever really had to write essays and foreign languages have virtually been abandoned by today's kids. I don't think this is altogether bad. Despite my quote above, Latin has never been of much use to me and I rarely use my limited skills in French or German.

Changes over the years make it difficult to judge how today's school pupils compare with yesterday's but I do remember similar accusations being levelled at me when I was at school and that is why I remember the phrase from Virgil. My kindly Latin teacher pointed out to us that the older generation always takes the view that the generation behind is not quite as good as they were. I decided then to make a point of remembering that so that I didn't make the same mistake.

Fuddled Medic said...

I relatively recently did my A-levels and I can confidently state that they were easier then what they were ten years ago.

One subject I did was Physics, the topics taught were the same over a 10 year period. But I sat an A-leve paper from 1995 and even though the topics were the same the questions were harder, the maths was more difficult with answers that didn't divide by 10 etc.

Another problems is that todays modular system mean there is an abundance of past papers.

I doubt I saw a single original question in my A-levels due to having answered all twenty available past paper questions on that particular topic.

I am not that bright, the only reason I got the grades I did was because I asked my teachers nicely for every single past paper and markscheme going.

With regards to the economy I am generally in favour of reducing the deficit as quickly as possible - it annoys me that silly spending means we spend millions a day on paying off debt interest. Although i accept this is probably a silly view - far more cleverer people then me with economic degrees say otherwise

Dr Grumble said...

Well that's interesting Fuddled Medic.

My inclination too is to get all debt paid off as quickly as possible. It may be that we are in a cleft stick and that there is not too much room for manoeuvre but I am not so sure about that. And there is a view that cutting back on spending is not the best way forward for a struggling economy. When people lose their jobs it costs us all money so it's not a straightforward issue.

Sam said...

"the older generation always takes the view that the generation behind is not quite as good as they were."

This is delibrately done to motivate the kids to be like you. I did it myself until the kids surpassed me. I even asked my parents and extended family not to ever mention that I was moderate in Chemistry, and my degree and prize certificate showing I was second overall on graduation still hangs in our breakfast room next to the kids degrees and other achievements. I always framed those and hung them in that room as one way to motivate them and it always worked! Time to remove mine? Nah, I was the youngest at 20 with a 4 year degree too ... this they can't beat!

I bet they'll do the same to their own kids one day too :-)

As for language, you are right, although of course mine are much better than me in English, but languages over all, no!

It's also sad that medicine no longer trains medics on accent, speech etiquette ... etc, however, I insisted on that myself from a young age too ... makes me sound like a Mrs doubtfire, don't it! :-D

Fuddled Medic said...

I accept my opinion is down mostly to instinct. But one thing that does annoy me is the view that the debt is a recent thing. I remember discussing it with friends a few years before the crisis who informed me that it would be better to get on top of it sooner rather than later

Julie said...


I (rightly or wrongly) feel that the point when the rot set in was in the mid eighties when they allowed banks to be both the seller and lender of a mortgage. That was a conflict of interest that was almost certain to end in tears.

Interestingly, some months back I was clearing out my late father's bank statements. He had kept them all from 1969 up until the present day and it was like a history of banking policy. The oldest statements had the cheques that he had written, returned for his records. He also had to write himself cheques to take money out. As I moved into the mid eighties, the statements came with leaflets on loans attached. The envelopes got thicker and thicker with various offers on mortgages and home insurance, then life insurance and so on. When you got to the latest statements it was difficult to find it amongst all the bumff. My father never gave in to this kind of thing; he hated being in debt to anyone, but I'm sure a lot of people must have succumbed.

Dr Grumble said...

Gosh, Julie, I remember all that. Each and every cheque you wrote was sent back to you and I can certainly remember writing cheques to withdraw cash. I remember wondering about the security. Often there was very little. It was based on trust and the bank staff recognising you. And I certainly remember being interviewed to get a mortgage.

Of course Grumble's view that debt is bad is outmoded. If Grumble had borrowed more for his house instead of playing safe he would be much better off now than he is.

Money has changed over the years. There was a time when it was backed by gold or silver. Money is now debt. Perhaps that is when the precarious nature of banking started.

Most people think the government creates money. In fact it is the banks. And it represents debt. Whatever we think, the world is actually built on debt.

For anybody reading this who is as ignorant as Grumble, please watch this video on the nature of money.

No One said...


Re "What this shows is that it is as much dependent on the local people as the schools" er bollocks I am afraid. You really need to spend some time on the poorest estates up north, there really are some clever children, and they really are let down big time by the system. Most of the wealth creators in this country are in any case MOBILE and nor part of the state subsidised stable geographically sector like NHS workers and the like. People who can afford it are forced to move to the areas served by half decent schools, there is mass migration which totally distorts where folk live. In short a dead hamster with its head chopped off could provide better education than the state schools in the sink estates have done through years of governments of both main party.

As for thinking yourself left wing you should start reading John Redwoods blog, and read back through his previous posts. You will be surprised to find that you share views with him on many many subjects, you are remarkably close. But then common sense none polictically correct thinking is bleedin obvious.

Love Life and Peace as Spike would say

Dr Aust said...

"When people lose their jobs it costs us all money so it's not a straightforward issue."

In addition to which, the private and public sectors are entwined, so the idea that private sector growth will re-employ the people that public sector cuts are making redundant is sheer wishful thinking.

To give one obvious example, who actually builds public sector capital building projects? The answer, of course, is private sector architects, engineers and building firms.

One of my relatives is the boss of a large architecture office - private sector. Much of their recent work has been designing and building new schools for the public sector under the last Labour Govt's schools renewal programme.

Now that the programme has been slashed, most of this work has evaporated and his firm have laid off a good number of employees that they were employing to do it. Thus public sector cuts mean private (as well as public} sector redundancies.

You cannot take lots of the publicly-funded economic activity out of the economy and expect that it will miraculously re-appear through entrepreneurialism. As far as I can see it is pure myth.

No One said...

Dr Aust

While we are importing hundreds of thousands of mainly Indian nationals on ICT visas (which are uncapped) who are subcontracted into the labour market here for far less than market rates, and many are used to move British jobs to Indian on an industrial scale, then there can be no hope of jobs being saved by the private sector. They bring their families in, get national insurance and tax dispensations, fill the schools with their children, the hospitals with their families. Raping this country of its prime intellectual property. And many go onto get indefinite leave to remain. We may as well outsource the whole dam country to India thats what we are doing.

Cameron has made a massive mistake by talking tough about an immigration cap while in practise leaving the flood gates open.

There is much more wrong than you seem to realise.

Dr Grumble said...

It's better to pay people to work than pay people to be on the dole. The inevitable consequence of the cuts is becoming apparent already as the as welfare bills soar.

And while we have all these people at home with no work being supported by the hard-pressed taxpayer we are busy outsourcing work to India. There is a madness to some of this.

Cockroach Catcher said...

I can only say that reading Michael Lewis' Big Short gave me a good deal of insight into what went wrong in the financial world and in democracy.

" I think there is something fundamentally scary about our democracy…. Because I think people have a sense that the system is rigged, and it’s hard to argue that it isn’t."

The Cockroach Catcher

NorthernTeacher said...

I checked out the BBC website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12099245 after catching a comment on the Today prog this morning that 'teachers employed by them [free schools] will also not need to have formal teaching qualifications'. For crying out loud, have you ever heard anything so ridiculous? The article finishes with 'free schools will give all parents, not just the rich, the option of a good local school with great teaching, strong discipline and small class sizes'. Er, how does this work then?

I cannot believe that anyone would want to send their children to schools where the teachers might not have formal teaching qualifications. This isn't teaching assistants they are talking about. State education should be properly funded now.

There should be a stop to all this tinkering about with schools and the NHS (the current government is not the only guilty party here). We all know, don't we, that as soon as the government changes, the new ministers have to justify their presence by making changes for the sake of it.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Northern Teacher, this sort of madness is getting everywhere. I heard that item on the Today programme too but I noticed that parents wanted their children to be taught by qualified teachers - so plainly the public has not been taken in by this sort of nonsense.

The powers-that-be seem to think that teachers, doctors and other professionals have created closed shops which are designed to protect the interests of professional groups. They are hell bent on challenging the need for pupils to be taught by teachers and patients to be treated by doctors.

The reality is that professionals are not really out to protect their own interests. What they are most interested in doing is seeing that those who do their jobs are properly trained and competent to do what they are required to do. Taking short cuts with this is counter-productive. There are many doctors who take the view that getting nurses to do doctors' jobs costs money rather than saves money and getting healthcare assistants to substitute for nurses is also misguided and makes the wards less safe.

Anonymous said...

This doctor takes a different view. But she does have an axe to grind.

Sam said...

" I think there is something fundamentally scary about our democracy…. Because I think people have a sense that the system is rigged, and it’s hard to argue that it isn’t."

'Say little, mean a lot'! CC, you're amaaazing! Summed it all up in 1! hehe :-)

Cockroach Catcher said...

Well, Sam, thanks, it was of course Michael Lewis who said it through some "guys" in The Big Short.

The truth is we were led to believe in our democracy and where I came from, we have nothing like that but we have now a very decent government in a crowded little place.

News now is that even the rescued banks are going to be making lots of money. And bonuses! Sad.

The Cockroach Catcher

xiaoxia said...

on the banks, the collapse of the bond market, sterling crashing on the international markets and we would be broke. And Ugg boots it was oh! So close that that. And, whatever .

Eileen said...

"I cannot believe that anyone would want to send their children to schools where the teachers might not have formal teaching qualifications"

What world have you lived in for years? The teachers at public schools in England (Durham, Charterhouse, Eton and the rest) traditionally had many graduates teaching who did not have post-grad teaching qualifications. None of them seemed to have much trouble finding takers.