Rejoice a child is born

by Ray_North on July 23, 2013

images-3My old mate, Big Billy Hughes’ Mrs gave birth to a baby boy on Sunday. They’ve called him Kane.

I rejoice in his birth.

I know Billy from rugby and have been back in touch with him on facebook for the last couple of years. A fine second row in his day. He used to work as a delivery driver for an East London brewery; he used to get loads of the young lads jobs, in fact I think that there was a time when half the first team pack where working with him. I haven’t seen him in years, but he told me that he got made redundant and since then he’s been doing agency work.

He’s ‘over the moon’ about the birth of Kane.

What will become of the lad?


Unlike other infants born in the last couple of days, Kane is unlikely to become Head of State – even though, if he inherits his father’s courage and kind heart and his mother’s wit and lively personality, he might make a wonderful leader of men.

Unlike other infants born in the last couple of days, Kane won’t go to a fee paying pre-school followed by Eton, where they have acres of pitches (which his Dad would have graced as well as anyone) and cricket squares that even Lords would envy, and where he would be taught from an early age that he is superior to others, born to rule, if that is what he wants to do. No, Kane, will go to the local school, where, teaching assistants are being phased out and resources are being cut as part of austerity, and at the age of 11, if Nick Clegg, has his way, he will tested and told if he is likely to be a success or a failure. At the age of 11 for fucks sake.

At Secondary School, though, I know that Kane’s mum and dad will do all they can for him, the chances are he’ll go to the local school, which, by then will have suffered from the growth of Free Schools and Academies, where all the upwardly mobile thrusting parents want to send their kids – so Kane’s school will be full of, let’s face it, the rougher kids, the kids from dysfunctional families, the kids whose parents do drugs and drink and fight – and, Kane will struggle to get an education in that environment, any child would.

If, and I bloody pray to a god I don’t believe in that this happens, Kane is gifted and driven and is in a position to carry on his education after the age of 18, then it’s going to cost him – I mean, Big Billy won’t be able to pay, unless he’s a winner on the Scratchcards he buys once a week, because Billy’s in his early forties now, and the chances of a well paid career suddenly taking off for a former delivery driver aren’t that great. So Kane will have to foot the bill for University himself – probably around £90k by then, when you take into account living expenses, rent and tuition fees over three years. £90k! For a family that have never owned their own house, why would a teenager want to saddle himself with that debt. Nuh, Kane, don’t dream of University son, it isn’t for you.

So what about work?

Well, by the time Kane leaves school, if he’s lucky enough to get a job, he will probably be working for a wage that is comparatively lower than the highest earners in the land than ever before; and, if this government has its way, his pension rights, his sickness pay and the laws that protect him in the work place will have been pretty much eroded. He will probably spend a number of years working for various agencies or call centres or other low paid jobs, until, I hope he finds a job he really likes and someone he loves and he can try to settle down – of course, unlike others born over the last couple of days, he probably won’t be lucky enough to have a home provided by the state, he will have to pay astronomical rent for the privilege of a one bed flat and dream that one day he can scrape enough to put down a deposit on something that he can call his own.

But, Kane, will be loved, and, if he’s anything like his Dad, he’ll have fun and suck the juice out of every day. He’ll fight like a lion and laugh and tell a good yarn and make friends who will respect him for the man he is.

I rejoice in his birth.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Eddie Kaye July 23, 2013 at 9:50 am

Amen Mr North… A Fucking Men!

Enough said.

Congratulations to your Mate and his wife. Welcome to the world Kane, I apologise that my generation has not done more to protect the birthright previous generations paid for in blood! If your G4S or Serco employed history teacher gets bored one Friday afternoon, and shuts the fuck up about how Margaret Thatcher saved us all, you may learn this one day!

Still, at least he wasn’t born with a torrent of Union Jack waving Sycophants camped outside the hospital and his nan’s house! Thank heaven for small mercies.


Bob Droit July 23, 2013 at 9:39 pm

There’s a fine line between artistic licence / playing to the home crowd, and shocking distortion of the truth.

The pupil premium will give your mate’s kid and his classmates a huge extra boost. If his school is run by people who care more about running the school well than hard left political campaigning, that’ll give him a damn good boost. Far from your unfounded rhetoric about resources being cut. And that’ll also give Kane’s descendants a fighting chance of not living in a ghetto filled with your dysfunctional fighting families.

And why in the hell would he not go to the academy, some of which are doing an amazing job of turning former inner city sink schools into engines of social mobility?

On university, the figures show that kids from disadvantaged backgrounds are benefitting from the various measures put in place at the time of the fees rise. The shrill media don’t report it often. But it is true.

Pensions. What cheek. After years of governments ducking the issue and racking up bills we can’t pay, this government’s quietly bitten the bullet. The flat rate pension and auto enrolment taken together are nothing short of a revolution in pensions. Kane’ll know where he stands, and will benefit from the work done to prevent his parents and the rest of us plunging into a pensions abyss.

Nor do I know where you get the erosion of sick pay or workplace rights. Beecroft’s swivel eyed nonsense was long since seen off. The Anglo-Social model of a flexible but fair labour market (credit to previous govts) remains intact.

I could go on. I’m sure you will too. But for God’s sake, lay off the hyperbole a little, won’t you?

God Save the Queen.


Ray_North July 23, 2013 at 10:42 pm

do you truly believe that we live in a meritocracy? Do you truly believe that we live in a nation where every child has an equal chance? Do you believe that the Tory element of the government is in any way interested in creating a fair and equal society?
If you do, then I’m afraid that you are deluding yourself my friend. More than ever before education is divided into those who have and haven’t those who are lucky enough to have parents who care and those who are unlucky enough to have to rely upon the diminishing resources of the state to look after them. The removal of teaching assistants is far more corrosive to education than the £450 pupil premium, the filtering at the age of 11 is far more divisive than anything Thatcher ever managed, whilst the tuition fees for University will act as massive disincentive to less well of kids going to college, which is why the party we both voted for in 2010 promised to abolish them.
After the unfettered hyperbole welcoming the royal baby, I make absolutely no apologies for using a bit myself.
Viva La Revolution.


Bob Droit July 24, 2013 at 10:04 pm

No. I don’t think we live in a meritocracy. Or that equal chances are sufficiently guaranteed. Which is why I think all the things I pointed to in my post are so necessary and valuable. The things being done by this government, not by the disgrace that was the last one. All the bleeding heart rhetoric, but none of the action. And macro policies that did the most shocking damage to the prospects of many like Kane.

There is an awful lot of guff talked about education from the left and right. But much of it bears little resemblance to the truth. You patently don’t agree. But I think there is a lot of good stuff happening.

And on fees, I’m sorry if you don’t like this, but the people damaging the prospects of more people from disadvantaged backgrounds going to university are the people pumping out the highly politicised and casually distorted nonsense on the subject. Sound off all you like. But if you know kids of 13 / 14 / 15 who’ve heard that university isn’t for them, because of the massive debts, do me a favour and steer them away from the politics and ask them to read this instead: … That’s what kids with parents like your mate should be hearing, and anyone who tells them otherwise should examine their conscience.

I read this blog, but I try not to rise too much. It’s not good for my blood pressure. But you really can push these things too far.

Education. Education. Education.


Charlie_East_West July 25, 2013 at 8:36 am

Bob. Your responses here are like a highlights package of the most right wing rhetorical justifications of the Tories. You could morph the words of Michael Gove, IDS and George Osborne into your comment:- “If his school is run by people who care more about running the school well than hard left political campaigning, that’ll give him a damn good boost. Far from your unfounded rhetoric about resources being cut. And that’ll also give Kane’s descendants a fighting chance of not living in a ghetto filled with your dysfunctional fighting families.”

I am willing to hazard a guess that you do not fit within the following criteria – a) you come from a disadvantaged background. b) long term disabled and unable to work. c) long term unemployed. d) single parent who is unable to secure regular employment or income. e) have a daily essential need for diminshing public services such as libraries, community centres, municiple swimming pools, a council owned park that gives you the only place for your children to run around. If you are within one of these groups, then I am truly astounded by your comments, but, I suspect you are not.


Bob Droit July 25, 2013 at 9:21 pm

And there speaks the patronising self satisfaction of the left. You didn’t quite utter the excruciating words “check your privilege”. But you came perilously close.

You don’t know my life. Nor do you need to. The last government, chock full of badge wearing working class heroes presided over spending without outcomes. The absence of the meritocracy Ray laudably yearns for does have something to do with 13 years of Labour government. I don’t have to tick a dozen boxes on a sociology monitoring form to have a right to a view. I am motivated by a desire to create meritocracy at least as much as Ray. I just honestly believe it won’t be achieved your way. You can lob inverse snobbery and the patronising politics of who’s poor enough to comment here as much as you like. It doesn’t add one iota more credibility to your argument.

If you re-read the bits of my post you chose not to quote, you should get an impression of what motivates me, even if you don’t agree with me. Do me the decency of bearing that in mind before you caricature me in order to demonise and dismiss me again.

You guys don’t have a monopoly on righteous indignation, you know. Rant over.



Ray_North July 25, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Bob, you keep going on about the last labour government, personally, I don’t give a flying cobbler about party politics, to me (and I’m wrong to think this way), party politics is a rather archaic curio that leaves me frustrated and uninspired.
What I ask myself is, is it right that we now have a nation where there is a massive disparity between those who are rich and who have been encouraged to accumulate wealth in a grotesque way, and those who aren’t; is it right that we have a society where, for the first time in my memory and yours, there are food banks and where one of the growth industries is pay day loans and where we are told that we can’t for the ‘good of the economy’ afford various services anymore. And yes, education policy does annoy me, because the orthodoxy in the UK is that education is based upon the ability to pay rather than the ability to learn, it was always thus up to 18, but it used to be that the state paid for the academic achievers to learn post 18, but, no longer – if you are happy with all that, then great, but I believe that as a nation we can do better.
As for the last government (which is an issue that is dear to you), you are right, it was guilty of a multitude of things, but, in my view, its greatest crime was failing to address the endemic social and economic problems that we have with the current model of global capitalism. As I said, I desire a meritocracy, that’s all, and a liberal meritocracy to boot, and I don’t see us getting one by an ideologically driven dismantling the state and by throwing everything open to the vagaries of market forces.
I would suggest, respectfully, Bob, that part of the problem you have with this website, is that it plays upon your own existential crisis, because deep down, you know that the liberalism you desire, ain’t going to be brought about under the anarcho-capitalist-Thatcherism that is beloved of Messrs Osborne and Laws and which Clegg and Cameron have signed up to as much out of stupidity as anything else.
It’s late and it was nice to see you recently. Don’t get cross.


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