Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Few Daisies From The Curate's Lawn

Apologies for the light posting - family commitments and all that. Plus, while the country continues to go to hell in a handcart, it's just doing it in what's become the traditional way, with the traditional liberal responses. There doesn't seem to be anything unique or new about what's happening.

Ross has the last word on Bloggergate. Incidentally, I see Paul Anderson has come out of retirement for a final final post. Doesn't he realise there's a gap in the market for Labour bloggers as Derek Draper bites the dust, after a meteoric (as in a brief appearance and fade out) blogging career. I guess Paul's just too civilised - Guido and Piers Morgan must have been absolute cads and bounders at their public schools. Paul was probably a swot. Nothing wrong with that, mind you.

The education disaster continues. Every year the teaching unions bemoan the disciplinary nightmare caused (inter alia) by the policies they campaigned for.

A recruitment agency, Aspire People, advertised vacancies for "Hard Core Cover Supervisors".

"You might be an ex-marine, prison officer, bouncer, policeman, fireman, sportsman, actor or you might be an overseas teacher looking to get some experience in the classroom.

"Which ever it is we need someone who thinks they can get involved in a school environment and control the kids in schools throughout the midlands."

As the pound collapses, so our exports are cheaper and so go up - don't they ? Oh no. Talking of which, here's James Dyson in the Telegraph (see also this post) pointing out that we need to make things. Admittedly he took his own manufacturing offshore.

Every year, the number of science and engineering graduates falls. In the last decade, 18 physics departments and 28 chemistry departments have closed. We produce 24,000 engineering graduates a year, compared with over 60,000 psychology graduates ...

Nine of the world's 10 biggest corporations make tangible goods, whether they are cars, turbines, computers or consumer electronics. Of the world's 20 most profitable companies, three are in services. Although British firms increased research and development spending by 7 per cent in 2007, the increase was largely in oil and gas production, software and computer services, pharmaceuticals and banking. We need more research that results in exportable, patented goods.

And all those psychologists (IMHO psychology is a quasi-science and psychiatry not a science at all) are doing wonders for our "mental health" ? Er ... (admittedly the Mental Health Foundation has a vested interest in bigging things up. I presume it's a tax-funded 'Fake Charity').

Actually, those psychologist numbers. While the general point that we're producing lots of useless trick-cyclists is valid, compare with Dyson's Dimbleby lecture of 2004.

Since 1997, we have closed 18 physics departments and 28 chemistry departments.
As a result, we now produce only 3,000 physics graduates a year. Compare that to an astonishing 15,000 psychologists !
Hmm. While not impossible, I think it's unlikely we've quadrupled psychology places in five years. Maybe he's got better data. Or maybe not.

"The family isn't in decline, it's just changing"

Women aged 25 are now more likely to have had a child than to be married. Women aged 25 are now more likely to have had a child than to be married. The latest landmark in the decline of marriage was uncovered yesterday in Social Trends, the annual snapshot of the nation by the Office for National Statistics. Until recently more women had married by the age of 25 than had had a child.

But a large number of those having children will in fact be married. They're not mutually exclusive states. I think I'll do a separate post when I've looked at the stats.

The most interesting thing I've read in the last week is that the Blessed Michael Howard's son is an evangelical Christian preacher.

He is deeply unimpressed at Tony Blair preaching to the Pope last week about homosexuality and the use of condoms. The former prime minister said the Pope’s “entrenched” views were out of step with ordinary Catholics. He added that if we were to stick to the letter of the Bible “you’d have some pretty tough policies across the whole of the piece”. But this cuts no ice with Howard.

“Blair’s wrong,” he says. “There’s a clear process of development as God makes covenant after covenant with his people, but the Bible has an end and we can’t write an extra chapter.”

Just to be clear, he still believes people in actively gay relationships should not be part of the Christian community: “If a gay person was sitting here with us now I’d tell them Jesus had a fulfilled, wonderful life without sex.” As for the rivalry between faiths, Christianity will ultimately triumph? “Yes, but not by the sword.”

Howard lives on the generosity of 30 or so religious enthusiasts who have set up small standing orders to fund his preaching – although his parents helped him buy the house.

At least today, as they gather for Easter Sunday lunch, the family will have something safe to talk about – the launch of Howard’s book, 24 Hours That Changed the World. Like 24, featuring Jack Bauer, the ruthless counter-terrorism agent, the story of Jesus’s last day on Earth is told in tense, one-hour segments.

The opening – “Right now, government agents are plotting to assassinate me and someone I work with may be involved. My name is Jesus of Nazareth, I am a travelling preacher from Galilee and today is the longest day of my life” – gives the general idea.

The book is part of a series aimed at introducing Christianity to a new audience. The title of a companion volume, My Mate’s Gone Mad, neatly reflects the reaction of Howard’s friends when he first “got God” at the age of 15.


Recusant said...

Guido is a grammar school tyke, not a public school toff. He was at the same school and in the same year as Tony McNulty

dave fordwych said...

"Christianity will ultimately triumph?"

Keynes phrase,"In the long run we are all dead."comes to mind for some reason.

Anonymous said...

Piers Morgan didn't go to public school, he was educated at a comprehensive. He did go to prep school, but left after his father died and his mother couldn't afford the fees.

Homophobic Horse said...

Guido is such a pointless cunt

dearieme said...

"Since 1997, we have closed 18 physics departments and 28 chemistry departments." If the youngsters won't read for the degree there's not much point keeping the labs open, is there?

wildgoose said...

I graduated in 1987 in Computational Science. Our Department was next door to what was apparently rated as the second-best Applied Physics Department in the country.

It was closed down to save money because high-powered lasers cost more than a set of English books in the library and so in comparison to say, an English student, the Applied Physics student was far more expensive to educate.

The entire department moved en masse to an American University which couldn't believe its luck.

ba ba said...

"The family isn't in decline, it's just changing"


"The containment is expanding at an increasing rate"

Squander Two said...

Dyson did write about why he was taking his factories offshore, and one of the main reasons was that we don't make stuff in Britain any more. If you're making things, you need to be based somewhere where lots of other people are making things. Network effect, in other words.