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I’m loosing it …

Last night I watched the news about is apparently being done to children in Syria in helpless grief and rage. How can we stop this, if it is true? A kid who refused to join and had a hand and foot chopped off really got to me. It has been with me all night.

We humans are creating our own disaster movie, and I can find myself hating those religious nuts who blind themselves and others by the most pernicious falsity in the world – that of so-called Heaven – while they create real hell on hearth. No genuine spiritual leader has taken these concepts seriously. Even the Buddhist have a realistic way of thinking about reincarnation, if you follow the great 11th century sage Milarepa’s advice:

“If you want to know about your past lives, look to your present condition,; if you want to know about your future lives, look to your present actions.”

But are we in Britain in a position to judge anyone (let alone bomb them) when our own attitudes to children are so atrocious?  And worse  – so normalised?

A couple of days ago a disgraceful article by The Telegraph’s so-called education correspondent saying that the smartphone do a way with all the problems of the ‘traditional boarding school experience’. As if an iPhone could be a substitute for parents!

Is there another country in the world where we could print such stuff in a major public newspaper – a shaper of opinion – one of the so-called heavyweight papers?

I was delighted that the Guardian contacted me and gave me a chance to respond to this garbage, but it still raises some major questions for me that I would recommend for the editor to think about:

Isn’t there some procedure for sorting out advertising from journalism?

Isn’t an education correspondent of a major newspaper supposed to be a gatekeeper of standards?

How can we highlight this sacrifice of children for the sake of protected (massive tax breaks to the public schools) privatised interests?

It is much worse than letting Starbucks and Amazons get away with it, because there our elected governments make the timid corporation tax laws and they just work round them. The public schools are charities because of endowments made for some poor scholars hundreds of years ago.

Today, they should have to prove that they are for the common good today.

Write to Jezza Corbyn and to your MP?


  1. As you know Nick, my old school (and Rob’s), Christ’s Hospital, is one of the very few boarding schools that still holds true to its centuries-old brief of widening the scope of education rather than narrowing it to rich fee-payers. And yet my experience posting on my old school unofficial discussion site has unearthed a nasty vein of what you would call the entitlement illusion and of “splitting” the oiks off into outer darkness. One woman (an old girl of the school) asked how she could get her child into Christ’s Hospital because she didn’t want him remaining in his “bog standard comprehensive” any longer. She didn’t say whether the little treasure might be bright enough to get into any grammar school that might be in the area nor whether she would be prepared to pay more tax to improve the state system. But then I know what the replies will be because I’ve been through these arguments before with these people on the website. The tone of one reply I received went along the lines of: “not everyone can have these privileges, what are you, some kind of communist?”

    Comment by David Redshaw on 10/11/2015 at 7:30 pm
  2. Well David, you are not alone: there a lot of people who seem to trawl their old schools in different ways, imagining that theirs was either singularly better or singularly worse than the rest, and that they’ll drag up something of interest. But the sad truth is that these schools belong to one system: the British Attitude to Children, in which a child as it is is ‘unmade’ as I said in The Making of Them, and that with the right investment it can be ‘made.’

    All the oldest public schools started with charters for poor scholars, which is why they were called ‘public’ and why they are still protected from tax by the Charity Commission – wrongly in my view. They should have to prove they are still for the common good. Christ’s Hospital certainly makes a big show of its scholarships, but it is nothing compared to the property income that are sitting on since they moved out of the city in the year whatever it was. Entitlement is all around I am afraid and we are loathe to let it go.

    Comment by Nick Duffell on 10/11/2015 at 7:44 pm

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