Saturday, 6 May 2017

MY MAY DAY MANIFESTO



The May Day Manifesto

 “In the summer of  1966, a group of socialists met to discuss the possibility of a political intervention. They had no official positions in politics; they were mainly teachers, writers and research workers, the majority from the universities. Nor did they belong to any constituted group, though again a majority of them had been associated, at different times over the previous ten years, with what is usually described as the New Left.
As a result of the meeting, it was decided to publish a manifesto, which was at that stage conceived as a bringing together of existing socialist positions and analysis, as a counter-statement to the Labour government’s policies and explanations. Three editors were appointed: Edward Thompson, who had been one of the founders of the New Reasoner; Stuart Hall, one of the founders of Universities and Left Review; and myself.”
An extract from the “May Day Manifesto,” written by Raymond Williams and published by Penguin.

The manifesto discussed poverty, inequality in society, the economy, British manufacturing and the balance of payments problems. These issues are applicable today. Its main aim was to show how capitalism created oppression. The manifesto insisted on a socialist framework to solve these problems.

A junior school

I know something about education having been a teacher in the state system for nearly fourty years. Education has become test based and exam based. Everything has to be measured and assessed all the time, creating an education culture that has been narrowed to exam techniques. It is political and education is being starved of money. New teachers are being put off continuing and making a career in teaching.
I want education to be creative, imaginative and appealing to pupils, enabling them to become enthusiastic and joyous in their learning and to not be afraid to fail and not have to meet targets at frequent, given times. I want them to explore, as individuals, every aspect of what it means to be alive and to discover the world around them. The only maxim a teacher should have is, “Do whatever it takes,” to develop a child and their learning. I can envisage a system that does not need exams at all. A child with certain abilities should be helped to go in the direction of a particular type of work or higher education that has become obvious they are suited to throughout their school life. Politicians and governments have talked about a fair society, an equal society for what seems like generations. The only way to do that is to truly and fully support the comprehensive system. There should be no other system. Grammar schools should be abolished. The private sector should be abandoned. There should not be schools such as Eton, Harrow and Winchester. We might then be able to achieve a fair and equal society.


I stay awake at night worrying about the, The National Health Service.It worries me intensely that the National Health Service is faltering and near the brink of collapse. Efficiencies, streamlining, new technologies can only go as far as the constraints of the present day. New technologies and medical procedures in the future will change the NHS further. What can be achieved now should be financed properly. Taxation is not a dirty word.  



Housing built using renewable energy technology.

I also worry daily about the problems my own children have concerning  housing, absolutely necessary for their development into adulthood and their happy and fruitful futures. There is an imbalance being created. The world is out of kilter for them.Housing has become a joke. Council houses have been sold off. Lower paid workers have to rely on poor standard housing agency properties, if they are able to get them at all. The price of housing in this country has become so inflated that people in nationally vital occupations, such as nursing, teaching, the police, cannot live anywhere near where they work in the cities. I want to see councils allowed to build council housing again. I want the building trade to use new technologies to build truly affordable, well designed efficient, modern housing using locally sourced building materials, some of it recycled. It is possible. Private building companies are for profit only organisations.They are making the situation impossible for the majority on average and low wages. The government should be financing new housing projects through cheap government loans and through the banking sector. New innovative ways of building should be introduced. I can’t see why housing can’t be designed that includes an element of self-build, and certainly incorporating renewable energy sources. There are plenty of local building firms to provide the expertise and machine power for the more technical and heavy loading part of house building. 

I have just worked something out. My family and I live in South Wimbledon. We moved into our house 23 years ago. The cost of the house was 3 times my wife and my combined wages. We were mid career teachers  and we had three children with a fourth on the way. We could put down a sizable deposit because we were moving from a smaller house and made a profit on selling it. It took us twenty years to pay off the mortgage. A mid career teacher now does not earn much more than we did then. The value of our house is now 15 times the combined income of two mid career teachers. What the .... (expletive deleted). Who has got a chance in hell now?

  We do know how to work this out.

This is my May Day Manifesto.



2 comments:

  1. Tony, the regular public school system in the US (state-funded) has many problems as well. When I see those in government sending their children to expensive private schools, I can't help but wonder if they might be more interested in improving the school system if their children were in it.

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    1. Yes, I agree, Jean. Conservative polticians send their children to private schools but Labour politicians in this country tend to send their children to state schools but still, some don't. We have an excellent state system but it has become a political football and it is being gradually starved of money which is making it harder and harder to keep standards.Resources are being rationed, special needs teaching is being cut back and class sizes are rising because of fewer teachers.This is not necessarily because of a shortage of teachers but because new teachers don't stay. The draconian pressures put on teachers does not give a teacher a life.Grammar Schools are a selective element within the state system. The more academic children are creamed off into these schools. This government wants to increase the number of grammars. This splits society and continues inequalities. The Comprehensive system, devised in the late 1950s is the best I think. When it works well, with happy teachers, good funding and teaching that covers all abilities, it is an excellent system. It creates equality while providing for the individual. The Conservatives have never gone along with that concept. There are some outstanding Comprehensive schools around the country. Why this government can't just go with that model defeats me!!

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