My life in a Banana Republic -June 2017

Jambo!

I have been very busy and most anxious. As the CEO of the Community Research and Action Programme, I was worried about our income. The Jeremiahs said that we would be forced to close our door, that there would be no forthcoming money. But Hey Presto! money comes from the Great Parliament on the Hill and from the Peaceful Fund , Number Four. Our bacons were saved. All staff were kept on, even Billy, whom I have yet to meet but who performs a valuable security role, I am told.

And what of the Great She Elephant? What an achievement ! It is like the book “From log cabin to White House”. Here is this humble lawyer, from a cottage on the edge of Europe, who had rarely been in Belfast, never mind London, now at the centre of power. This would not happen in my country. You need to be in the right tribe to achieve greatness. I have written to her and invited her to come to CRAP.

Dingle pointed out to me that there are three barristers in the DUP MPs plus Jim Allister in the TUV. This is because,  he says,  the Bar Library is a Cold House for Unionists. This puzzled me. In Africa , lawyers become freedom fighters and leaders of the country. Dingle says that here “the other side” prefer the Lisburn Road, Donegal, great works of art and a judicial appointment. He challenged me to name a Republican MLA/MP lawyer. This bodes unwell for the future.

Now that my income is assured for some time, I have moved from the Biblical lands and purchased a dwelling in East. This means that Emma Aardvaark Little Pengelly is not my MP but it is now Gavin Robinson. I like him. He has the bearing of a great chief. In my country there is no place at the top table for skinny persons. They smack of liberalism, sandals and veganism. Gavin surely eats like a chief and has chiefly bearing. He can also make fearsome speeches, Dingle says. My new home, a modest terrace house is not in a shared space, apparently. This means that the tribesmen erect symbols of their supremacy and challenge the native troops to interfere. They do not , because they are few in number and led by men who eat as much as Gavin.

I wrote to my Uncle, the President , about Brexit. He is a wise man. Now in his eighties, he has seen it all before. Many times in Africa, some strong man wanted to make alliances. Once we got rid of the white man, it was other persons, such as Gadafy. Soon his son will rule Libya again. But I digress. My uncle said that this Brexit thing is just a manifestation of Little Britain. I told him that this programme was funny, especially the fellow in the wheelchair. He was cross that I did not read history. He said that Britain had always tried to keep away from the Foreigner Jonny. “Splendid Isolation” he called it. I thanked him.

He said that “when Arlene visits CRAP, remind her about what Gladstone said about the Irish”.

I have not had time to consider this because I have been researching pallets. This is a puzzle. Dingle says that when he was a boy, bonfires consisted of rubbish. Old sofas, someone’s old shed, a rotten fence, and worse. Boys went out in search of material and dragged it through the streets to the site. Now the bonfire is made up of hundreds of pallets. These are not disposed of . They are perfectly useful. They cost about £10 each. I know not how many are in a bonfire. Someone is complicit in this bonfire thing.

I have gone on for too long. CRAP is  functioning well. We give money to deserving cases. Cookers, washing machines and fridge freezers. There are no tower blocks in our  bailiwick. I went out and checked.

Sometimes it is important that we immigrants look after the natives.

Jambo!

Belfast Royal Academy-a new chapter?

Belfast Royal Academy , the oldest school in the city, has a new Principal.

The school has about 1,400 pupils in the grammar school, about 196 of whom are entitled to free school meals.

Its A level performance has been deteriorating over the last four years. Department statistics show that the percentage of pupils achieving three or more A levels at grades A* -C fell from 78% in 2012/13 through 70%-73%-71% in subsequent years.

This compares [although those who know more about these things, say ‘not really’] with the top performing secondary schools in Northern Ireland which achieve in the upper 80% or in some cases over 90%.

In its  2012 Annual Report, mention is made of sending three pupils to the ancient universities. Thereafter , there is sparse mention of more than one such achievement, annually. The Methodist College sent 8 pupils to OxBridge in 2013/14.

Standards have clearly fallen within the school. This is always, ultimately , the responsibility of the Board of Governors.

The Board has appointed Mrs Hilary Woods as Principal. She was , for three years, Principal of Antrim Grammar School. During that relatively short tenure , for a Head, she was also  [for some period] Assistant Principal of Craigavon Senior High School.

 

Antrim Grammar’s performance in the comparative A level statistics is 77%-76%-77%-76%. It is not 80% as claimed by the school’s website. [Read the very small print]

Mrs Woods was Head of a school half the size of BRA, with about 52 pupils on free school meals and a budget of £3 million, largely controlled by the Education Authority. She had about 46 teachers.

She now takes command of a budget of over £6 million and 80 staff.

She is the first external appointment to the position of Principal since 1943. She faces a daunting task, to restore and indeed to improve academic standards.

As the Warden said to me “a new chapter”.

Let’s hope so.

Meaning for Victims

Pace N.Ireland Education Weblog

Was political failure to compensate deserving victims of the troubles inevitable given the incoherent thinking in the 2006 Victims and Survivors Order?

 There is a clear consensus abroad in Northern Ireland that the 2006 Victims and Survivors Order No. 2953 (N.I.17) permits the terrorist who takes the life of an innocent member of the public to be deemed as much a “victim” as the unwitting individual he or she kills.   The conflation of the innocent and those who terrorised them is achieved through the definition of the term “victim” in section three of the Order.  The Order’s approach to the meaning of “victim” is such that it can apply equally to the innocent citizen who finds herself in the vicinity of a bomb, and to the terrorist who planted it.

This brief essay argues that the meaning of the term “victim” cannot consist in a definition. Moreover, the Order’s…

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