Just downloaded from here - free open source replacement for the Microsoft suite.
Anyone use it ?
The politics of unfriending
29 minutes ago
"Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold" - W.B. Yeats. "We're doomed !" - Private Frazer. "Like scrolling through a decade's worth of Daily Mail editorials in 20 minutes" - TheLoonyFromCatford
"Last week I visited a comp in Nuneaton that sits between two selective schools that attract the 'better' kids. It's in an area decimated by Madame Thatcher closing the mines. There was every chance for this comp to slide into depression, anarchy, violence, arson and the rest. I've seen those schools too. Instead, what I found was utterly remarkable and over and over again the head and my friend one of the deputy heads made it clear both in what they said to me and in how they related to the students that the school had put this business of good human relationships at the core of the school. The problem with me writing this here, is that it sounds do-goody and meaningless. You had to see it to see how it operates, how teachers talked to students, how students talked to teachers. I read to two hundred and fifty year 8s for an hour of talking of reading, questions and there wasn't a single incident of ****ing about, fighting, heckling. Not one. And I promise you that this hasn't been achieved through punishment, control and lock-ups. Incidentally I saw about eighty kids across the ages rehearsing 'High School Musical' too!"
Michael Rosen - the trouble is that as your 'child-centred' ideology as gained more and more influence in the education system over the last 40 years, so have academic and discipline standards plummeted. I don't deny that some exceptional individuals - like the people in Nuneaton - can do wonders, but the point is that they are exceptional.
"at the heart of the issue is personal relationships"
Couldn't agree more - but how many people who work for a living are capable of establishing such relationships as a profession ? I'd posit that as society fragments there will be
a) fewer such people
b) they might not all want to teach
Wouldn't it be better to worry about the primary relationship that's an instrument of socialisation - that of parent and child ?
Your stuff about the school reminds me of the 1,372 Guardian articles I've seen about the wonderful adventure playground/drama co-op/dance group/music studio/sports club, run by some charismatic individual, which is doing such a wonderful job at turning inna city kids away from crime and the gang culture.
"Why can't we replicate this throughout the country ?" cries the Guardian.
Because secular saints don't grow on trees, and aren't available in job lots of 10,000 to parachute into schools. Your solutions are wholly unrealistic because of the saint shortage. Meanwhile thousands of kids have their life-chances destroyed while you wait for their arrival. Why do you cling to your illusions so ?
Is it all part of some SWP master-plan - "the worse, the better" ? I do hope not.
(Isn't it great having yet ANOTHER public schoolboy in charge of State education, btw ? I bet his Tory and Lib Dem oppos are publicans too. Makes you proud to live in such a classless society).
In Second World War night-fighter operations the understanding between the navigator, who acquired the target with his airborne interception radar, and the pilot, who carried out the attack on it was crucial to success. Without it, all the technology and flying skill in the world could not deliver a result.
In two tours, one in Beaufighters and the second in Mosquitoes, the instinctive rapport between Arthur Hall and his pilot, Leslie Stephenson, was the key to their eventual tally of ten combat victories, gained in the very different operating conditions over North Africa and northwest Europe. Pilot and navigator were each twice awarded the DFC.
Hall and Stephenson were one of the outstanding night-fighter crews of the war. Unlike German night-fighter pilots who had the pickings of huge bomber streams over their cities night after night, the RAF's fighter men had, by comparison, somewhat slender pickings as the war went on.
George Arthur Hall was born in Yorkshire in 1920. His mother was a Pudsey mill worker and his father a taxi driver who had to give up work through ill-health. Hall got a scholarship to a grammar school but in the Depression years had to take odd jobs to help to replenish the family coffers. There was no money to send him to university so he became a local government junior clerk.
On the outbreak of war he went to an RAF recruiting office in Leeds to volunteer as aircrew. A sight defect ruled him out as a pilot so he trained as a navigator. When he became aware of an increased requirement for night-fighter navigators, he volunteered and trained on airborne interception (AI) radars. At 54 Operational Training Unit (OTU) he teamed up with the pilot Michael Benn (the elder brother of Tony Benn, who followed him into the RAF). The pair were commissioned and posted late in 1941 to 141 Squadron, flying Beaufighters.
On one of their early sorties their Beaufighter was hit by “friendly” fire at 10,000ft over the Firth of Forth. Hydraulics were damaged, making it impossible for Benn to control the aircraft. To attempt a landing would have been suicidal, so the ground controller directed both men to bale out at 6,000ft over the moors of Northumberland. Hall landed close to the mansion seat of the Marquess of Tweeddale, by whom he was sumptuously wined and dined until retrieved by service transport. The Hon Michael Benn, the elder son of the 1st Viscount Stansgate (himself a decorated pilot from the First World War), also landed safely and found his way to a labourer's cottage, where he spent the intervening interval wholesomely but somewhat more frugally entertained — a contrast much relished by the mill town-reared Hall.
In the autumn of 1942 Benn left No 141 to join a squadron being formed to participate in the Anglo-American “Torch” landings in French North Africa. Hall then teamed up with Stephenson. Three months later they, too, were to find themselves in North Africa with 153 Squadron, also a Beaufighter unit.
As the Allies advanced to the frontiers of Tunisia, the ports and airfields they occupied came within range of German bombers based in Sardinia and Sicily, and the night fighters soon had more “trade”. Stephenson and Hall opened their account on April 17, 1943, when in the fading light of dusk they attacked a formation of ten Ju88 bombers which were approaching Algiers from the east. The lead bomber selected as the target of the attack dived steeply away and disappeared. But Hall maintained radar contact until Stephenson could again see the bomber, sending it into the sea with a few bursts of his cannon.
May was to prove a most dramatic month for the pair. On the night of 11-12 they shot down two Ju88s in a single sortie, arriving back at base to be cheered by their ground crew. The Tunisia campaign came to a close the following day, but with Allied forces building up to the assault on Sicily there was continuing and intense Axis air activity. On the night of May 23-24 they were to exceed their previous perfomance with a remarkable three-kill sortie — all Ju88s — which brought a telegram of congratulation and the award of an immediate DFC to each from the AOC, Air Vice-Marshal H.P. Lloyd. In this, the vital contribution of Hall to the night's successes was fully acknowledged: “...the skill displayed by this officer was outstanding and it was largely due to his efforts that the pilot was successful in destroying three enemy aircraft.”
Both men were very nearly killed the following day when one of the Beaufighter's engines exploded on takeoff and, without power to climb, Stephenson had to slam it back down on to the ground. There, at flying speed, it soon ran out of runway and ended up slicing through a small wood at the end of it, without, however, breaking up. As they fled the wreckage away from flames and exploding ammunition Hall and Stephenson were able to thank their lucky stars for the Beaufighter's robust build.
After the Sicily landings in July, Hall and Stephenson were rested from operations as instructors in different OTUs. But they were reunited in 1944 in 219 (Mosquito) Squadron, which after D-Day was soon busy in the night skies over Normandy. Their first combat victory, in August, was over a Ju188 over Caen, acquired by Hall on his radar at four miles range and finished off by Stephenson from 250 yards with two bursts of cannon fire.
They were soon operating in German air space, and their second kill, in September, was of a Ju88 over Erkelenz in the lower Rhineland. They next accounted for an Me110 over Krefeld and, their tenth and final kill, another Me110, over Hasselt, Belgium, on Christmas Eve. From this sortie they landed on Christmas morning, shortly afterwards to be awarded Bars to their DFCs. A few days later Hall learnt with great sadness that his first pilot, Michael Benn, had been killed in action, having won the DFC.
The pair might have had an eleventh kill when Hall's radar acquired what turned out to be a twin-engine, twin-boom aircraft over the Rhine in February 1945. The only aircraft of that configuration known to them was the American Lockheed P38 Lightning, and they withheld their fire. It was only later, in discussion with a debriefing intelligence officer, that it emerged that their sighting was undoubtedly a Focke-Wulf Fw189 “Uhu”, a reconnaissance type that had only just begun to operate in the area. A Luftwaffe crew had had a lucky escape.
After the war Hall qualified as a solicitor and worked in local government. He was town clerk to Bromsgrove Council, Worcestershire, 1961-74. He is survived by his wife, Irene, whom he married in 1946, and by a son. Another son predeceased him.
Arthur Hall, DFC and Bar, night-fighter navigator, was born on October 31, 1920. He died on October 24, 2007, aged 86
Flying Officer Leslie STEPHENSON (118959) Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 153 Squadron.
Flying Officer George Arthur HALL (120955), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 153 Squadron.
As pilot and observer respectively, Flying Officers Stephenson and Hall have flown together on a large number of sorties and have displayed great skill and determination throughout. They have been responsible for the destructio of 6 enemy aircraft, 3 of them in one night. Flying Officers Stephenson and Hall have displayed exceptional keenness and fine fighting qualities.
The pair received the Bars to their DFCs in 1945 whilst with 219 Squadron
"He will order new guidance to advise on mergers between schools, libraries, sports centres, police stations and health centres to try to rebuild communities. The 170-page report covers every aspect of children's lives ..."
God help us. I thank Him that I've managed to raise mine without too much interference from these cretins. My current advice to them is 'make sure you get decent qualifications, so you can get out before it all goes pearshaped'.
And why are the communities in need of rebuilding, Polly ? Hasn't eveything been getting better and better for the last 40 years ?
But be fair. The tremendous news is that on current definitions of "poverty" (60% of median earnings) the poor will always be with us. Unless most of the wealthy people emigrate, thus lowering median earnings and poverty at a stroke.
No wonder "the heads of all the big five children's charities, plus Unicef, Rowntree, Oxfam, the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, vicars, rabbis and child poverty professors - a roll call of the most influential organisations" - are looking chuffed. Another few years of taxpayer funding for them, they keep their power and importance - it's a great result for the poverty industry.
It's a multi-pronged strategy. More sex education should up the numbers of young single parents, we can build on the enormous success of drug education, a criminal justice system that intervenes robustly only long after the "youngster" has become confirmed in his criminality and in his status as a role model for impressionable peers - Britain can continue to build, consolidate and nourish its mighty underclass, the envy of the world.
And it all means more jobs for outreach workers, child psychologists and the other beneficiaries of the "no knowledge economy".
Naturally these New Britons - I call them Toynbee's Children - will not be employable in any meaningful sense of the word, but what matter ? We can import more workers - and that's just what has happened over the ten years of Labour's "British Jobs For Foreign Workers" scheme.
But this is where the plan becomes really cunning. At present these Poles and Lithuanians are polite and hard-working, do not do crack or firearms, nor are they likely to blow up Tube trains.
But that is a function of the culture they have arrived with. It tells us nothing about what their first and second generation descendents will be like after twenty years exposure to the cultural vacuum of the UK, a vacuum of which Ms Toynbee is so proud - as she should be. After all, she helped create it.
After all, the Windrush generation were as good a bunch of people as you'd find anywhere. What happened to so many of their grandchildren ?
The 60s wave of immigrants from Mirpur to the Yorkshire and Lacashire mills were a hard-working, law-abiding bunch who came to integrate. Why did 600 of their descendants try and burn 22 elderly Labour voters alive in Manningham Labour Club in 2001 ?
The children of these new workers - and more their grandchildren - will not have the religious faith or the memory of Soviet oppression which sustained their grandparents. They will have TV, a UK State schooling, cultural vacuum, and the Welfare State. It may well be that their children won't fancy a Portakabin and a fiver an hour. I look forward in my old age to reading about a whole new cohort of underclass recruits. By 2040, British employment will consist of
a) the City. All their workers live in gated communities.
b) underclass - in a state of permanent low-level war with each other. Run by warlords who are half 'community spokesmen', half gang leader.
c) social workers. Also in gated communities, travel in armoured vehicles. Merged with the police in 2020.
Carry on !