Standing up for education: Teachers our children’s guardians

Today teachers across the UK took strike action over the attacks by our government and their puppet Michael Gove.  They are standing up for education and so I went to a rally where I was invited to tell them why I am standing up for education with them.

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I have just been on my first ever strike on Wednesday last week, over the attacks on the firefighters pension scheme, as this government and the fire minister Brandon Lewis refuse to listen to studies and reports that THEY themselves have paid for and commissioned into the appropriate pension age for a firefighter. Their reports state 66% of the workforce are unfit at the age 55 rising up towards 90% potentially by the age of 60. This is dangerous for the public and dangerous for firefighters. Everyone in the fire service knows that 60-year-old firefighters is dangerous and politicians too will admit this behind closed doors. This is why strike action had to be called.

Firefighters could not continue to participate in their lies and neither should the teachers.

68 for a teacher is too late and equally disgusting, in both the fire service and the world of teaching, people and their families are being priced out of being in a pension scheme, a scandal considering the Queen said this year her government would help people to save for their futures. One story I heard today was of a young teacher who had to choose between running their car or paying into a pension. Is this the big society Cameron was talking about I wonder? The one other thing missing from all the government rhetoric and debates about pension age is the effect these creeping pension ages have on youth unemployment and aspiration!

Curiously I was quizzed by someone from the radio the other day and off air he made a statement: “Teachers, Royal Mail, Bakers union and now firefighters. It’s like going back to the 70’s again isn’t it?”

Well aside from the fact I was not even a thought in the 70’s (let alone able to remember it) I did remind him that the BBC had also been on strike, so let’s name them all and reminded him that none of these groups are asking for more of anything, they are just fighting to protect what they have and to protect what the people who came before us fought for and won. Employment rights, health and safety – the right to be able to come home to our families after work, a livable wage and pension. We are custodians of these jobs and we do not have the right to stand by idly whilst these attacks continue to erode and degrade the conditions of employment we inherited.

Like teachers, firefighters face other fights around the corner; cuts and privatisation to name two and like teachers we have a minister responsible for these so-called negotiations who seems to understand and know nothing about what it is we do.

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Teachers have one of the most important jobs in the world, they quite literally are responsible with shaping our future with their everyday engagements with our children. Teachers lay the foundation for which we strive for a better world than the one we’ve inherited, Michael Gove and co would have them only responsible for teaching them what to think but teachers know they are charged with something more important; teaching children HOW to think.

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But teaching and education is under threat from a man who knows nothing about it – Michael Gove – a man intent on crushing the young by testing them to failure.

I have had discussions with teachers and a man I am proud to call a friend, Dave Mingay and I cannot believe what I am hearing about in the world of education and teaching. I get mad and then I get annoyed that it has made me angry.

Then I remember the 1976 film Network when Peter Finch says: “First you’ve got to get MAD!”, and then I settle. Getting mad is not enough, we have to get active and we have to get involved and get engaged, not just with our own issues and disputes but with others too and this is why I am today, standing up for education.

get mad goddamnit

To this end some firefighters have decided to start standing up against this austerity and provide a voice for those without one and for those waiting to find their voice. Their message to the government and any subsequent government is this; WE SAVE PEOPLE NOT BANKS.

The under pinning reason for all these attacks is the ideological austerity of our politicians to solve a financial crises created by fraudulent banking practices and corrupt politicians. Not by us. Not by you and I. But by them.

But they are making us pay for it and using it as a smoke screen to push through what they started in the 80’s.

They are pushing through everything they can ahead of the next election just in case they do not get back in and they know that once done, Labour will not undo the mess they are creating.

These politicians know what they are doing is outrageous but they are counting on the fact they we will do nothing about it. This is why they are prepared to accept pay rises of £10,000 and claim £39 breakfasts on expenses just after they have told us we can live on £53 a week! If we do not start offering a resistance now there will be no end to what they will take from us.

We are already seeing the attacks on our terms and conditions and contracts and I found out last week that schools and colleges have VTs – visiting teachers? Working on zero-hour contracts?! So we will expect to not get something for nothing but Sports Direct, Academy schools, McDonald’s the Queen and probably Mickey Mouse can get slave labour for nothing??

You couldn’t make it up.

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We are seeing our NHS sold off and now our Royal Mail, the Queens head is for sale, before our very eyes and If we do not start making a collective resistance to all these attacks soon, they’ll take it all back and siphon off the profits of public money into the pockets of their privateer friends.

Together we are stronger than we are divided – we have more in common with each other than we do with the likes of Gove, Lewis, Pickles and Duncan-Smith. I know it’s difficult to take strike action, particular in today’s society. The Media will of course be talking about the disruption it causes families and the loss of a days education. If Michael Gove and his cronies are allowed to push through their agenda unchallenged then it will be more than a days education our children will be losing, it will quite literally be their future and ours with it.

We have to be smarter and utilise the social media to get across our arguments. The majority of people will still get their news from Rupert Murdoch and the BBC but this is about creating ripples. If you drop a pebble in a pond, soon those ripples cross the entire pond. This is what we must do, create ripples and perhaps one day they will become tidal waves.

A wise man once told me that if you’re right you’ve got the right to fight and if you fight you can win. The teachers arguments against Gove’s attacks on education are sound.

Rise

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Newell News-round up, week 19

Free bradley

This week we will just get straight into it.

NHS/Health

VICTORY! Lewisham A&E has been saved this week as the high court over ruled Jeremy Hunt, citing that he acted illegally in his move to close the department. The scenes of euphoria were something to behold and a timely reminder to us all that collectively we can turn back the tide of oppression and austerity we face.

99% of patients were happy with their NHS care, 100% of the Conservative Party want to privatise it any way.

Save Lewisham

A doctor has prescribed surgery to remove fallopian tubes in a pre-emptive move to beat ovarian cancer. It has drawn some scepticism from Cancer Research who say there is no evidence to support such a suggestion and is another act in a worrying trend of fashionable surgeries to beat cancer. Angelina Jolie recently underwent a double mastectomy to reduce the chances of her developing breast cancer saying it did not affect her woman hood.

Human Rights/Hatred UK

Bradley Manning, found not guilty of aiding the enemy, still faces 130 plus years in prison for not following orders. See what we had to say about that here.

 

After the hate vans ‘go home’ we had spot checks for immigration visa’s. The BLACK SHIRTS are in town! Of course these were brown people in deprived areas of London town. Wonder if they are going to do spot checks at the local Walkabout bar and check for Australian’s who’s visa’s may have expired? No, just Trenton Oldfield then is it? What kind of world are we living in? You cannot be illegal on your own planet.

Workers rights are being smashed by the not so new phenomenon of the zero hour contract and whilst the public get set to protest the media’s main focus, Mike Ashley and Sports Direct, the frugal Queen with her 52 bedrooms and 78 toilets at Buckingham Palace get away with the same contracts being offered out to her wage slaves without so much as a whimper. This news ‘broke’ only a week after I had written about the Daily Hate Mail front page, stating that firms have a duty to employ British people, echoing Gordon Brown’s comments in 2009 that there should be British jobs for British people.

Environment

Lord Howell, George Osborne’s father-in-law, has said we should ‘frack’ the desolate North East..no wait, sorry, the North West. You cannot make it up. Whilst the battle for Balcombe continues  we have clowns like this wading in with ridiculous comments. 40 years of shale gas or not, it does not solve a whole list of problems we face regarding energy, what do we do after 40 years? What do we make everything out of? What about our water sources? What about seismic activity?

Finance

52% of the UK are now struggling with their bills in 2013. This is an increase of 9 million people who now struggle financially but interestingly only two weeks ago George Osborne informed us that the UK economy was on the mend and before this that we never had a double dip recession. A man also told the Daily Mail that the high street is dead and that the only thing left will be Tesco and Costa.

World

Terror alert, BE AFRAID. The US announced that there was imminent danger as the end of Ramadan came and they drew back on their drone assault on Yemen, prompting fears that the US embassy in Yemen may be subject to an attack… If you drone bomb innocent people then you may expect them to be upset. The US and the UK are engaged in acts of terror everyday, one way of ending the war of terror is to stop participating in it.

Technology 

Future king has penis drawn on his forehead, world goes nuts. You cannot make it up.

Why art is crucial to change was discussed by Peter Joseph on Russia Today with Abby Martin. Kill the artist, kill the protest!

Twitter silence started at 00:01 this morning and finishes at 23:59 tonight in an attempt to highlight Twitter’s failings to deal with abuse and ‘trolling’ on the 140 character or less website. There has been much debate about the worth of this act, we wonder whether or not those abstaining from Twitter have also withdrawn from other sources of misogyny and rape culture for the day such as The Sun on Sunday, Facebook, Lynx or anyone of a hundred other items portrayed using rape culture through advertising?

Bees are to be tracked using a new radio antennae with Rothamstead Scientists taking the lead on the project from Harpenden. We do not know why honey bees are dying off but if they die out we are in serious trouble. I hope it has nothing to do with the GMO crops they have been trialling in Rothamstead Park…

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Sports Direct, Amazon, M&S and zero hour contracts; follow the wealth

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Zero hour contracts are the talk of the day and the focus is on Sports Direct who have apparently been signing up their staff to such contracts.

Along with Sports Direct, other corporations using these Victorian working practices of unknown wages, unpaid lunch breaks and no sick pay are Amazon and Buckingham Palace. What’s that you say? The famously frugal Queen of the United Kingdom and the Common Wealth, contracting workers for zero hours and zero pay? Let me tell you that there is nothing common about the wealth that the Queen’s ancestors stole off the less fortunate; the empire, built on the blood and bones of people across the planet.

The furore of the media and consequently the public however is focused on Mike Ashley, owner of Newcastle United, and his company Sports Direct. A protest is planned across the country but why, I wonder, are these demonstrations of discontent not being directed at the head of the state the Queen? Is it because the media have not told us to think about that, so that we fix ourselves on the more obvious choice of Sports Direct? In a recent interview with The Artist Taxi Driver, music artist Akala said that we should “follow the wealth” if we wanted to get to the bottom of the ills in our society.

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There have never been a more honest appraisal of how we trace the source of our problems and the spot light should be shone upon them as fiercely and as brightly as any of the Mike Ashley’s of this world.