On Martin Bell, schools and people

The ‘anti-sleaze’ man – a fitting follow-up to Lord Levy, perhaps? In my continuing mission to get value for money from a Union Society membership, I heard Martin Bell speak this evening. I even piped up to ask a question: on his advice to the British government as to what to do next in Iraq, given where we are today. His response was to carry on as we are doing – ‘getting out of there’ – with what is effectively a retreat. Apparently, the Pizza Hut mobile van has already gone home, and where the Pizza Hut mobile van goes the rest is sure to quickly follow.

This evening at hall we took it in turns to talk about our school. Schools with stables and dorms to schools with paper fights and 80s uniforms. *cough*. I just thought we’re all here, aren’t we? All this fussing from parents about what school to send their children to and the result is the same, if the child makes it happen. I believe in comprehensive education, but I don’t believe it’s an educational trade-off to fulfil some social engineering project. I believe comprehensive education is important because of what it does: bringing people together and getting to know each other. I was talking to Sanna about this tonight and quoted some of my favourite Regina Spektor lyrics: people are just people, they shouldn’t make you nervous.

Don’t be nervous of people, send your children to school with them. Don’t be nervous of immigrants, live and work alongside them. Don’t be nervous of people, and if things go really well you might go to war with them less often. That’s what Bill Thompson talks about when he talks about the importance of a global network: people getting to know each other – and where better to start than school?

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