Sunday 19 May 2013

Back in the game

Blogging has slipped onto the back burner this month.

It's the point in the year when my teaching training got to crunch time - not quite qualified yet but on the last home straight - and the scramble to get a job for September before the recruitment window closes. Happily, after a stressful few weeks I've managed to do this. 

After my redundancy two years ago and dodging about as a member of the precariat and as a born-again student,  I will finally be back in the ranks of the PAYE wage slaves again. And it feels good. Doing something after all those years that I actually give a toss about, and with the added bonus of doing it locally and for the first time in thirty years working in the same community as the one I live in rather than commuting.

But yet again, I feel a twinge of resentment when I hear teaching contrasted with the 'real world' - or when I hear Gove whinging about the standard of recruits to the teaching profession. Because over the past few weeks I've felt on several occasions that getting an entry level teaching job is on a par with joining the SAS. 

In the real world that I once inhabited interviews consisted of a quick phone call and a twenty minute chat with a manager - or if you were a manager and going for a job paying twice the salary of a teacher, maybe sending a CV and a half hour chat in a bar. 

On the other hand for the past few weeks I've been going to interviews where I had to teach lessons on subjects I had no previous knowledge of to kids I have never met, which were then deconstructed by a panel under an Ofsted-shaped microscope lens. Followed by a panel interview and if I was really unlucky, a student panel too. And that circus typically lasted the whole day as the candidates were kept hanging around like X-factor wannabes awaiting a final decision from Simon Cowell.

But it's done with now -  and I'm back in the game.

Saturday 4 May 2013

Farage - fool or Fascist ?

Many years ago reading 'England Your England' I thought George Orwell was on to something when he said that in this country socialism would have to have a distinctly English flavour.  A tradition rooted in John Bull, John Lillburne and  William Morris as much Marx, Lenin or Trotsky. And much as I respect all those dead Russians - I agree with him.

Conversely the results for UKIP this week lead me to think that reaction in this country will also wear a similarly English face. 

The real threat to the working class has never really been social inadequates with Adolf Hitler's initials tattooed on their necks. It is the saloon bar bigots in blazers sipping ale from tankards. 

Whilst it is clear that Boris's bumbling persona cunningly  conceals an intelligent - and thoroughly nasty - political operator - the jury is still out on Nigel Farage.  I can't make my mind up if he really is the Alan Partridge of the new British Far-Right or if this is a genius construct to woe the ranks of alienated Middle England. 

If the former then I have no doubt he will be replaced as UKIP grows - either way we should be worried. An effective populist-nationalist movement has never really  achieved critical mass in this country. They might just do it yet.