They were “lower than vermin”. Yikes! The actor Michael Sheen quoted him in a recent passionate speech. How dare they dismantle our NHS? “It’s shameful! Besmirching! Get out! Get out!”
I can only agree, but have hitherto been a bit queasy about this sort of language, this passionate intensity. Didn’t Yeats warn us that “the worst” are full of it? Wasn’t that Mr Hitler chock full of it? Aren’t things always more complex? A patrician impartiality is surely more seemly, temperate, mature, more the English way.
Well, I’ve had it with all that. I’ve gone simple. My default position is raving dotard.
Moral bankruptcy seems to rule. Complexity is just an alibi for corruption, obfuscation. Things have become x-ray clear. The flash bulb goes off, the red mist descends and I go off on one. It goes roughly thus...
“How dare the Tories dismantle our state education! How dare they make it a market hell! How dare they trash our pupils and teachers! It was a one nation Tory, Rab Butler, who brought in the Education Act. Free for all! I paid nothing for mine. They paid me! From primary to PGCE. There was vision, compassion. No more. They’ve betrayed the post-war dream. Why can’t the fourth richest country on the planet care for its children? Why are our town squares full of so many lost boys and girls, like Krystal in JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy? Simple. Illiteracy. And don’t blame teachers. Why are our jails booming and our libraries shut down? There’s a connection. A war on the poor. This is no accident. It’s a deliberate policy. Simple!”
Mist becomes redder.
“And why are private schools flourishing?”
“It’s not fair,” says Alan Bennett, a man not given to intemperance. He laments that they weren’t abolished in 1945 and still produce too many entitled “louts”. So what’s the solution? “Simple. Make every state school a community comprehensive like Eton – with lush fields, fab labs, fat libraries, small classes, and a curriculum which acknowledges that most children are clever and creative. And where’s the money coming from? Simple. Scrap Trident, tax bankers, jail city spivs, cut royal budgets and pour trillions of pounds into schools. Then send in armies of teachers to get all tots reading by the 7th year, by any means necessary. Simple!”
Red mist now scarlet.
“They are traitors! They poison wells and damage babies! Shameful. I have a burning hatred for the Tory party. Get out! Get out!” Enter Mr Plod, who gently, and simply, carts me off to a quiet, dark room.
Ian Whitwham is a former inner city London teacher.