Friday, 20 November 2009

We don’t need no education…

LET’S all just pack it in when it comes to education. There’s no point anymore.
The folks who hang out at Parliament Buildings can barely agree what day of the week it is, let alone sort out our education system.

The latest debacle sees claims that there will be meltdown as the legislation to create the body that will replace the education and library boards will not be passed in time. This means there will be no legislatively recognised organisation to do the mundane stuff…you know like hiring teachers, organising repairs to schools damaged by vandalism.

Of course, this, like the chaos over the post-primary transfer, is nobody’s fault. Sinn Féin say it is the DUP’s fault. The DUP say it is Sinn Féin’s fault. The UUP, SDLP and Alliance parties aren’t really sure whose fault it is, but it sure as hell wasn’t their fault!

Imagine you are a child or young person, who has teachers helping them through lessons supporting them and when needed disciplining them. On the commute to school or listening to the news with parents that child would be well justified in asking when teacher is going to instill a little discipline amongst our MLAs.

And those steps leading up to the big house….well you could fit all 108 of them on to the naughty steps. Schoolchildren can harangue the elected representatives until they agree to at least agree on one thing, just one thing before being allowed back into the playroom, sorry chamber.

No more secrets

PLANNING to throw a few quid to support your local political party? [Are you mad?] Well, should you really want to back one of Norn Iron’s political organisations you can no longer keep that secret.

Your friends, colleagues and the generally nosey will in the future be able to find out who has been reaching for the cheque book to back a political party.

Here laws differ from the rest of the UK. Donations must be reported to the Electoral Commission, but are kept secret from the public lest we spill the beans and a donor’s security is compromised. That law ends in October next year.

With the NIO expected to consult on proposed changes, the Electoral Commission asked some ordinary people what they thought…the result? No more secrets please.

You’re not very efficient

THE spat between the UUP and DUP over health funding rolls on, with Sammy ‘Former Economics Teacher’ Wilson telling hospitals they lagged behind England’s 12% increase in productivity.

Michael ‘Cheery’ McGimpsey said that the health service here had already achieved a 7% increase in productivity.

To the lay person – mere mortals not working in the Big House or health service management – these percentages must seem a bit daft. How can a hospital consultant be more productive? Quickie operations? How can a midwife be more productive? Hurry along with the labour there dearie!

Of course, Sammy was driving at efficiencies such as reducing management tiers.
But hasn’t the health service supposed to have made good progress in terms of the reforms required following Review of Public Administration – and all this at a time when the health service is under greater pressure than ever before.

Which, of course means that some might view Sammy’s comments as party political rather than an attempt to instill financial prudence in our health service…nah, none of our politicians would ever do that!

Eames Bradley? No thanks

WITH the Eames Bradley Report dead in the water, the DUP have kicked the last breath out of the report’s proposals, with a 12-page rejection of its findings.
This means that its more than 30 recommendations will now officially die off…but how many will be adopted by the four Victims Commissioners?

Many might be, but one thinks that the £12,000 payment to victims proposed will not be one of them.

Vampires! Garlic out Sir Reg – they’re coming for you!

WITH the hype around the latest Twilight movie, ‘New Moon’, reaching fever pitch amongst its teenage target audience, Education and Employment Minister Sir Reg Empey made what could be best described as a tactical faux pas in referring to young people as vampires who lie in bed until 3pm and stay up all night.

Not only was the comment regarded with derision, but the young people themselves have been on radio and television pointing out that the statement was clearly wrong.
Talk about getting the message wrong – unless his target audience was grumpy old men who regard everyone under 50 with suspicion…wait a minute! That would be the UUP then!