Listen up: we can all learn from Principal Cameron
Published 23/06/2010 | 05:00
With the oil pouring out of a hole under the Caribbean, it's been a nicely simple matter of turning to my CSPE class and telling them that it's all the fault of the power-mad, Right-wing nutters in the US Republican Party, such as the Bushes.
US politics are reassuringly distant and black and white for the teacher who is given the brief of teaching kids about the threats to the environment on one hand, and the dirty business of politics on the other.
Put simply, I can point to George W Bush and say 'bad' and to Obama and say 'good'. What I'm tempted to tell them, but can't, is that I have always put the Republicans, the UK Conservative Party and our own Fianna Fail in the same bracket -- under the heading of big clubs for the rich and greedy that use the razzmatazz of flag-waving and self-adoration that accompanies patriotism to protect their gang's interests.
That was until the outcome of the UK general election last month.
I like to have my prejudices challenged, and I'm ready to make a 180-degree turn if it means I feel a bit more mellow.
I don't know, maybe it comes from being in university when my lecturers informed me that Shakespeare, Goethe and Byron were all Marxists, even though they all died long before old Karl was born.
I was happy to believe them and write as much in my exams and then change my mind once the honours were in the bag.
Thus I can change my mind about the Tories and David Cameron.
Cameron looks like a good man to have as the principal of a big, broke school (GB Grammar). He's young, energetic, dignified and has a good working relationship with his equally impressive deputy principal, Mr Clegg.
His school has been modernised extensively since 1997 but he knows that he has to cut spending without making his pupils and their parents angry.
This is where he really gets my backing: he's not trigger- happy -- taking away learning support, crippling transition year and pinching a couple of hundred quid from the teachers every month.
He knows that if you kick education, playing Robin Hood in reverse, that all you are doing is planting the seeds of decades' worth of sado-economics.
That brings me back to Fianna Fail. They're taking a lot of money from my colleagues and me while dumping the unhappy kids with learning difficulties.
Last week, newspapers carried ads asking for submissions for ideas for yet another public body seeking funds available under the Official Languages Act.
For 'submissions' read 'money'. Yes, they'll pay people to speak Irish but not to help alienated kids.
You can't look much further to the Right than that.