The Battle To Save The Soul Of The State

by Ray_North on June 25, 2013

UnknownI’m really, really angry. I’m angry because the nation state, which is, whether we like it or not, a central part of all of our lives is being besieged in a two pronged attack from those who would seek to dismantle the positive aspects of it, by which I mean its ability to educate, care for and liberate its citizens; and bolster the dark parts of it, the parts that seek to keep us under control.

This last week has been brimming with examples – there has rarely been a day that has gone by without some story or other about unnecessary state interference in the ordinary lifes of the people: I don’t want GCHQ working with the Americans to pry into my e-mails and google searches; I don’t want MI6 phone tapping the foreign leaders who are guests of ours; I don’t want undercover police officers infiltrating pressure groups; I certainly bloody don’t want a repeat of the absolutely diabolical revelation that Scotland Yard Officers pried into the lifes of the family of Stephen Lawrence in an attempt to smear people they perceived to be threatening them.

The various arms of the State must not exist to oppress us, spy on us or remove our freedoms – they are there to protect us and help us; and though some will say, the state has always had its malevolent side – the development of technology now means that we must all take this intrusion very seriously – the state cannot be allowed to turn itself into Big Brother, it must remain always as Kindly Uncle.

But, whilst there are those who are more than happy to place massive powers into the hands of certain parts of the State, these same people are more than happy to allow the benevolent parts of the State wither and die.

This weekend, I met up with a couple of old mates. Two men in their forties who went to state comprehensives, worked hard, went to University and became teachers in state schools. Good blokes. Clever blokes, the type of people who could have made more money elsewhere, but went into teaching because it seemed like a proper thing to do – a good, challenging profession, were the rewards are not necessarily financial. But, even though they never expected to become rich from their endeavours, they did, rightly, expect to have a decent standard of living – after all, they trained for five years to obtain their qualifications (which is a fuck sight longer than you would need to train to become a banker, but that’s not the point of this piece) – they have both now been teachers for the best part of twenty years. Financially, like all those in the public sector, things aren’t great, but they accept that things could be worse. Now, the coalition is about to make things worse – Michael Gove intends to do away with the accepted teachers pay scale and allow Headteachers to unilaterally implement new pay structures for their own schools. This would be disastrous – in an instant, a Headteacher would have the power to reduce the wages of his employees by re-structuring his school. Established teachers would be forced to either take the cut or go elsewhere, some will stay, but many experienced teachers will be forced to leave a school to be replaced by less experienced, less qualified, less able replacements. Again, state schools will suffer, again, the children of those who are not particularly rich will have to endure an education that is profoundly inferior to the sons and daughters of the rich.

I’ve said it before – it isn’t fair, but, just as much, it is a total waste of the talents of many thousands of young kids.

It is not just education – in health care, legal services, the social services and every other aspect of state controlled life, the government are reducing the capability of the state run organisations to carry out their work effectively – believing, as they do, that the private sector will do it better, or, really, that the role is not important as it is one that is being carried out often for the good of the weak.

Well, it’s not fucking good enough. The levers of the State when they are being used properly are the most effective way of ensuring fairness in our society; they are the most effective way of protecting us from the excesses, not just of those who want to hurt us, but of the strong and powerful and greedy; they are the most effective way of liberating us from ill-health and ignorance and poverty and they are, as the manifestation of our democratic will, the most effective way of ensuring that all our voices are heard.

I, for one, will not stand still and allow the sons and daughters of the privileged to transform our state into something that is used as a force for control and oppression rather than liberty, equality and the common good.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Alec June 25, 2013 at 3:26 pm

You’re right its not fucking good enough.

Gove is destroying the state education system based on a whim and UK Gold statistics. Teachers are denigrated every week, based on lies, lies and more lies. Elitist claptrap rules the day.

Hunt is trying to do the same to the NHS.

And why are we not on street or barricades? Because we’re scared – the police will photograph us, kettle us, and take our personal details. The brave activists, protesters, demonstrators will have been infiltrated, smeared and discredited.

Free speech? A mild mannered colleague just said “You have to look at Russia Today to see whats going on”

The scales fall from our eyes and we see what Noam Chomsky sees – just power struggles and subjugation of the masses.

Lies, Lies and more lies about tax and wealth creation, bonuses and uber performance by those who need a huge wages to do what exactly? While teachers have pay frozen, pension stolen and all remaining rights removed – just sickening

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Mike Killingworth June 26, 2013 at 7:38 am

Alec, I went to a lecture given by Noam Chomsky in 1968. He began by apologising that he was going to lecture on linguistics (because that was his job) rather than politics. We all (and there were a lot of us, believe me) cheered him anyway.

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