I had thought that socialism was supposed to advocate working-class solidarity that transcends national borders. Jeremy Corbyn of all people wouldn’t need reminding of that surely? But there he was at the Scottish Labour Conference on Friday vowing to curb the influx of foreign workers into the UK whilst happily aping the language of Ukip. He talked of foreign workers undercutting the wages of their UK counterparts and of his desire to stop low-paid, working class people coming here to work.
One assumes Corbyn is intelligent or at the very least literate. He must be aware that the serious studies of the impact of immigration have all concluded that UK workers’ wages are not being undercut by immigration and that its impact is, on the whole, a positive one. The disturbing conclusion, therefore, is that Corbyn’s made a conscious decision to perpetuate the myths of EU immigration rather than having courage and speaking truth on this subject. That puts him in the same immigration-rhetoric league as Brown, Cameron, Miliband, and May.
Voters currently enthralled by Corbyn should bear this in mind the next time the Labour leader has the audacity to describe himself as anti-establishment.
Unlike Nicola Sturgeon Corbyn is a genuine socialist
At the Scottish Labour Conference in Dundee, Jeremy Corbyn tells us he can take another 20 Scottish Westminster seats at the next general election.
Arguably a tad optimistic though the SNP’s grip on Scottish politics, while strong, is incrementally weakening. Certainly, 10 nationalist seats have slim majorities and most are vulnerable to Labour.
Unlike Nicola Sturgeon, Corbyn is a genuine socialist whose policies will inevitably play well in the urbanised central belt and Dundee that have lately become SNP heartlands.
Yet many pro-UK supporters regard Corbyn’s position on the Union as wishy-washy, compared to the unambiguous anti-indyref2 stance of Theresa May. He’s unlikely to steal Tory seats. Plus Scottish Labour siding with the SNP over the arguably illegal Holyrood EU Withdrawal Bill is naive. It seems the SNP cannily recruited Scottish Labour as allies in their relentless “them and us” games with Westminster.
Labour will grow its Scottish seat tally at the next general election but, to increase to 27, Corbyn must continually reinforce a crystal clear pro-UK, anti-nationalist position.
The streets of Salisbury
God knows, there can be zero light relief to be drawn from the poisoning of the two Russians in Wiltshire.
But one unintended consequence of such a heinous act will be the perhaps paradoxical, but surely incontrovertible fact, that this event will do more for the Salisbury tourist board than a myriad of ads in the Sunday newspaper travel sections. In my case, for instance, it is two decades since I last walked the streets of central Salisbury, and I now want to go there again.
That Hollywood mogul was wiser than he knew when he declared “No publicity is bad publicity.”
Today’s article on education coincided with a visit from a recently qualified primary school teacher who will be giving in her notice at the end of the year because the Government funding makes it impossible to deliver a proper education to her class of primary school kids.
This is not about workload or remuneration, the reduction in school funding means that there is no longer provision for an autistic member of her class who requires one to one attention. This scenario is being repeated endlessly throughout the education system.
Education is underfunded, the NHS is underfunded and nobody has come up with the question to which Brexit is the answer. Get out and shout from the rooftops what a truly nasty Government we have.
Teachers should be able to go off-piste
The Government has finally started to understand the pressures on teachers. A long time ago admittedly but I gave up teacher training after three months. I had been a general manager in a large international company and thought that I was the sort of person teaching was looking for – fluent in foreign languages, a lot of international work experience and good people skills.
I soon realised that it was all about converting D-grade GCSEs into Cs, and lesson plans. Unbelievable importance was given to preparing lessons so that gifted and hardworking pupils could be taught in the same class as lazy and less talented pupils.
I was teaching a so-called difficult subject – a foreign language. I thought (and still think) that the exams had been dumbed down – pupils with C grade GCSEs incapable of being able to order a baguette and cup of coffee properly in French. A-level students of Spanish not being able to recognise a subjunctive, let alone use it.
I never met one single teacher who wanted to be in the profession. They were all desperate to leave it. I worked in a school where they were paid a lot to go there. They were trapped if they ever wanted to leave.
Money paid to teachers is obviously an issue, but the real problem is the interference to teachers from just about everywhere.
At school I learned Spanish. I was taught about bullfighting, flamenco, migrant workers going to France for the wine harvests, etc. Learning about non-core things gave me my love for Spain, and for the Spanish culture. Learning the language was a natural follow-on from that. Teachers are not allowed to go off piste. My teachers never had lesson plans!
A perfect meeting place to thaw relations
Face-to-face meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un should be held in Iceland. Remember back in the Eighties when Reagan and Gorbachev met in Iceland to discuss and that led to the dismantling of the former USSR and the fall of the Berlin Wall? I saw the place in Reykjavik when I visited Iceland and it is a perfect background to set a stage for more discussion between these two leaders.
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