I had to smile at Rob Merrick’s article about our political representatives relishing this enforced break from parliamentary duties to the infamous proroguing by Boris Johnson.
To be fair to the more dedicated and committed MPs it must be a nightmare sometimes juggling constituency concerns with long sittings in the house.
But when I watch the Scottish Parliament, their mobile phones are certainly not so prevalent as in the House of Commons. I sometimes wonder if our MPs are often sorting out a thorny local problem, whilst supposedly listening to an important debate.
I often find myself shouting at the television, “Stop looking at your phone” – perhaps they are researching solutions for the Irish backstop, but probably not.
Judith A Daniels
Leave education alone
Education needs protecting from politicians. Successive administrations have tinkered with education since the Thatcher government brought in the National Curriculum, closing the motor mechanics, metalwork, childcare and other vocational courses.
As a secondary teacher and then as head of science my teams and I spent many thousands of hours rewriting schemes of work and lesson plans every time a new minister of education was disappointed in performance and decided to leave their mark or a party decided to make manifesto promises.
Add to this the effects of austerity, and who suffers? Both teachers and their pupils. Increases in class sizes, lack of teaching resources and support staff set against the pressure of keeping up performance and satisfying parents who now have almost constant access via email saps the joy from teaching.
When you are under pressure outside the classroom the tendency is to fall back on the talk and chalk style of teaching which is the least successful approach for the less able child. This leads to more classroom disruption by those whose needs are not being met. Every child in education can expect to have had at least three different administrations in charge of their education between reception and the sixth form. And so it goes on.
Education needs a root and branch reform. And then leave everything alone for at least 12 to 15 years!
The true democracy
If a political party includes policy X in its general election manifesto and if that party then wins power, the newly governing party is able to implement policy X. Arguably it is also obliged to implement it, as the electors will have assented to that policy after being given the choice of supporting it or not.
So I cannot understand Patrick Cosgrove's claim (letters) that the Lib Dems' stated policy of revoking article 50 “without seeking public opinion” is undemocratic. A general election campaign is as democratic as it gets, and the outcome of such an election overrides all previous elections and referenda. The people are allowed to make their minds up, and the people are allowed to change their minds. Therein lies the basis of sovereignty.
I’m also offended by Canadian leader Justin Trudeau’s velvet-gloved neo-liberal policies (“I'm less offended by Justin Trudeau's blackface than I am by his policies") – but let’s give credit where it’s due. At least Trudeau has had the good grace – the capacity, indeed – to apologise, seemingly sincerely, for this ill-judged past behaviour and the impact that it’s had on people of colour.
I wish the same could be said for own leader, who has consistently declined the opportunity to apologise for the racist comments he made about Muslim women’s attire. And this is not even to mention the measurable spike in actual hate crimes that has occurred as a direct result of prime minister Johnson’s racist comments – mirroring exactly what’s happened in the US following the calculated racist outbursts of Trump.
On the world stage of political leaders, it’s a tough place to be to feel justifiably ashamed of one’s own prime minister and the grave shortcomings of his character.
The loss of John Humphrys will be sadly missed by millions of viewers but not by politicians. Sadly, neither Jeremy Corbyn nor Boris Johnson had the cajones to appear before him. Shame on them.
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