On these cold grey nights of winter, my husband and I go armchair travelling, we switch on the television and see in sparkling clarity and vivid colour the most amazing parts of planet earth, some far away on the other side of the world like China and some only an hours ride from home in the foothills of the Pennines in Teasdale.  But in both cases life very different to the urban life which we have lived all our seven decades.   Technology in all its mysterious magnificence makes it possible, light weight cameras and recording equipment, teams of people who research obvious and obscure facts, living people who can explain these facts in a personal way.  And undoubtedly  hundreds of people in the Far East who spend their working lives putting together the television set which brings it all into our living room.


I think you know the one I mean.  I have an adult son who has lived away from home for ten or more years.  He now lives close by, independently (apart from some financial help).  Conversation has become a business fraught with difficulties.  So many subjects are off limits; future plans, the availability or not of jobs, hints that we may need help.  I was forty-two when I gave birth to this , my second son.  So as you can imagine the generation gap is large.  Yesterday on a brief visit, he said something which astonished me.

     I mentioned a television programme I had particularly enjoyed on the BBC, Michael Portillo’s Railway journeys in the USA.  The vision of the incredible  Niagara Falls.  The stupendous sweep of the amazing geographical formation on  the border between Canada and USA,in addition we heard the tremendous sound of the torrent of water.  My son tells me for the first time he has seen the Falls with his own eyes.  I’m astonished that he has never previously mentioned this fact.  Of course I know he has been to the USA on two occasions doing research.  His father and I stumped up the money to make these trips possible.  He has said almost nothing about what he saw, experienced and felt.  His father and I have never been and probably the only way we will see it is in travel programmes like Michael Portillo’s programme on railway journeys.  In ten years he has never once mentioned he saw Niagara Falls, I am astounded.

I feel if it had been me, I would have rushed home, with loads of photographs and insisted on telling everyone about my amazing experience.  For a number of reasons I won’t bore you with his father and I are not widely travelled people and are unlikely to see this natural wonder with our own eyes.  Not a word, not one measly postcard.







Information washes like the tide into my house, newspapers, radio, television and the internet.  Unlike the tide it never recedes.  Every two weeks a unwieldy bundle is collected from several tables, armchairs and bedside table and dumped into a recycling bin.  Much of this information is depressing, the misinformation is less depressing that being its sole purpose.  Economics has been called the dismal science, I beg to differ, politics is the dismal science, so many big questions to answer and such complete feebleness in even understanding the questions.  A simplistic ideology dominates the thinking of the ruling class FREE MARKET CAPITALISM.  Much has been said and written of the misunderstandings and stupidity of left wing ideology but Free Market Capitalism is in a class of its own.  Such a narrow warped view is propagated, ‘only the bottom line matters-profit’.  Historically there was a time when conditions at work were dangerous, machinery was unguarded and children worked 12 hours a day in factories and mines, this was the early nineteenth century in the UK.

The word which is very much in vogue in February 2016 is AUSTERITY, this word explains the governments reason for doing anything and everything.  To quote from Kerry-anne Mendoza:

“Austerity is not a short term disruption to balance the books.  It is the demolition of the welfare state transferring the UK from social democracy to corporate power.——

Austerity has been presented as necessary, constructive and temporary by governments across the world, the UK included.  By the end of this book, it will be clear to the reader that Austerity in unnecessary, destructive and intended as a permanent break with the traditions of social democracy.”

The title of her book is : AUSTERITY, The Demolition of the Welfare State and the Rise of the ZOMBIE ECONOMY.


” I am a Bear of Very Little Brain and long words Bother me. “

An extremely intelligent man appeared in my living room last night, sadly not in the flesh but on the screen of the television, he conveyed enthusiasm and excitement about how your brain and my brain actually works.  The question he asked is what makes me, me?  The word consciousness cropped up and Freud cropped up and Freud’s discovery of the unconscious and the technique of  psychoanalysis. Sorry I can’t explain but something new has been discovered about how the brain works.  One thing I do remember, those parents and music teachers who insisted you practise every day were absolutely right.  Regular practise of a foreign language, riding a bike, knitting whatever you’re interested in actually changes the way the brain works, it goes onto auto-pilot. Professor David Eagleman showed us a small boy moving around dozens of plastic mugs.  the child could do this with amazing speed.  The boy made up his mind to practise every day, it was hard for my eyes to follow the speed at which he did this.

In the programme Eagleton had a brilliant mix of visual explanations and verbal clarity at explaining what was going on.  If I understood correctly the idea that specific parts of the brain were involved in actions like seeing is not in fact true.  The brain impulses occur in many different areas and make sense of what we are actually looking at.  Forgive the non scientific language , my science education is very minimal.  At my advanced age I’m happy to say I’m still learning new things.  It sometimes crosses my mind, how did I get to be in my seventies and know so little,  perhaps Pooh bear would have the answer.

Ten Examples that help define American Exceptionalism

Democracy needs everyone to be active in bringing these facts to public attention.

Lloyd Lofthouse

I’ve heard these two words, American Exceptionalism, repeated for most of my life, and it is often used to support the claim that the United States is God’s country. In its classic forms, Ian Tyrrell says, “American exceptionalism refers to the special character of the United States as a uniquely free nation based on democratic ideals and personal liberty.”

What does American Exceptionalism mean when we take into account the following facts?

  1. The United States has the largest prison population in the World. China, with almost five times the people, is ranked number two with 74% of the U.S. prison population. Russia is in third place with 29%. One industry where the U.S. is the number one producer in the world, according to Family, is pornography and 89% of the world’s pornography web pages are hosted in the United States. Germany is in second place with four percent…

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The Educator and the Oligarch Reveals the Real Bill Gates

I’ve been waiting many, many years to hear someone say this. Thank you Lloyd Lofthouse, I was trained for two years to teach and in my first job had no support whatsoever, drowning in the deep end.

Crazy Normal - the Classroom Exposé

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines CORRUPTION as “dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people”, and by the time I finished reading the last page of The Educator and the Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges the Gates Foundation, I was convinced that Bill Gates was a charlatan, is corrupt, and three famous quotes were spinning inside my head.

The first quote was from Lord John Acton (1834-1902) who said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority.”

I think Bill Gates is one of those bad men who is using his wealth to exercise influence over government to achieve his own goals for public education in the United States—no matter how many millions of children, parents and teachers he will hurt.

There are 27 chapters in the book and—in many—Cody offers examples of Bill…

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