Letting the Schools Crumble


Posted by ComfortablyNumb | Posted in Comment | Posted on 26-09-2010

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Once again the state of Flintshire schools is in the news. Why am I not surprised?

A Flintshire school near you?Some years ago I used to be a primary school governor. A thankless task really, but at times rewarding. However, the school had to overstock on buckets because each time it rained the roof leaked like a sieve. Not exactly conducive to developing a modern learning environment is it? Patching the roof was money down the drain and came right out the school’s own budget and therefore diverted away from education.

Thankfully, the school now has a new roof. But, what a disgrace that there are children who went through that school not knowing a time when the school’s roof didn’t leak.

So now Flintshire County Council has a £40m backlog in school repairs.

Of course they blame someone else, anyone else bar themselves. Flintshire has always undervalued and under invested in education for years and years in my view. Even when the Labour government was throwing money at education, Flintshire chose not to pass it on. Pity the money wasn’t ring-fenced.

But, this all has a knock on effect and to me and it’s a major one. Education is the route out of poverty. If our Council has allowed our schools to crumble then obviously they are not too bothered about this universally accepted notion.

As I write, Flintshire children on free school meals are less likely to obtain GCSE grades A*- C grades than their more well off classmates. Micheel Gove, the new Education Secretary recently stated that, “rich dumb kids do better than bright poor kids.”

Recession or no recession, we live in a highly prosperous country. It is utterly shameful that class and wealth dictates educational outcomes. And it’s happening right on our doorstep.

The irony is that tax payer’s money is spent like a drop of a hat to install new CCTV cameras and locking young people up for minor crime and anti-social behaviour – ultimately the result of poor education.

Pope on the Ropes


Posted by ComfortablyNumb | Posted in Comment | Posted on 18-09-2010

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Pope on a rope

This is a bit of an off topic comment but I feel it has to be said.

The Pope’s visit to the UK has been pretty much a non-event. Considering he is allegedly God’s representative on Earth, not many people seem to be turning out to meet and greet. Maybe it’s because the Vatican thinks the UK is like a ‘third world country’ or maybe it’s because the clergy can’t keep their hands of little boys.

Personally, it think ‘the church’ is becoming less and less relevant in a modern society. I fell out with the church in my early teens when I realised the communion was made up of too many hypocrites who sung the songs and read the words but rarely carried the teachings along with them in real life. This was all as if an hour’s religious workout a week is enough to keep the soul cleansed for a future eternity in heaven.

My gripe with organised religion, any organised religion, is that the dogma and traditions were invented by men for men and the control of men and women especially. This is why I consider myself to be a practicing agnostic.

BUT! Faith is an entirely different thing. There is nothing wrong with faith. It doesn’t matter what flavour of faith you have, it can be a very good path to follow. This is exactly where the Vatican has got it so terribly wrong. Dogma and tradition is first, second and third before faith.

The issues of contraception, HIV AIDS, homosexuality, celibacy and female clergy are all dogmas that are so unimportant. Surely, faith is what counts? I would have thought that you need faith before you can follow a religion, in my humble opinion or there’s just no point.

But on a more positive note. Well done to one of our own, 10 year old Nadia Molinara from Shotton who welcomed the Pope to the UK in Welsh.

North Wales Police ‘On the Ball’


Posted by ComfortablyNumb | Posted in Comment | Posted on 15-09-2010

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I’ve always had great respect for the police. But (you knew there was a but coming), I find the obsession of North Wales Police with speeding motorists to be rather disconserting. The reason is that knicking someone for speeding is easy and highly rewarding financially. My gut feeling is that The Force is skewed to dealing with this kind of crime rather than ‘real crime’.

speed cameraA friend of mine complained to North Wales Police about the speed that motorists were driving down Ruthin Road in Mold. The very next day he gets a visit from the police at home to discuss the issue and the day after that the boys and girls in blue had their speed traps out on Ruthin Road. The very next day he gets a long email from a senior officer thanking him for his concerns and defending their track record.

Don’t get me wrong. Speeding is an offence and it’s a fair cop if your caught (usually). But being the cynic, would there have been such a personal service and fast response if there had been a mugging down Ruthin Road or anti-social behaviour down Mold High Street?  I doubt it very much. Kaching!