Skip to main content

UKIP have made me break a resolution

Up to now I have done relatively well with my New Year resolutions.  I have been swearing less (although must still admit to resorting to to occasional 'damn', albeit mainly because it is 'jollyphonic', or 'fun to say').  My feelings towards Mr. Gove (notice that? I called him 'Mr.') have been reigned in to be manifested only in the occasional classroom analogy and occasionally re-tweeting the ever-increasing evidence of his narcissistic and unilaterally retrograde approach to educational policy.

And as for getting angry about politics?

Well, UKIP have just won some local elections in my area.  By a considerable margin.  In one sense this is no real surprise, given that the area I live in dances predominantly on the right wing of most elections - but it is a blow nonetheless.  What makes me particularly irate about this is that the UKIP campaign did not even try to work strategically on tapping into the sentiments of disaffected Conservative or Liberal voters.  Nope - they went straight for the jugular of tapping into people's instincts to simply blame all their woes on foreigners (i.e., 'people who talk funny').

Considering their heavy leaflet campaign, I can only conclude that UKIP won in my area because the majority of people in my area genuinely believe that a failing NHS is not their real problem.  Crime rates are not their real problem.  Debt is not their real problem.  The economic crisis created by greedy banks is not their real problem.  The vast complexities of a globalised economy are not their real problem.

Nope.  The real problem it seems is all these bloody Romanians coming into the country.  Which will 'increase crime rates', because obviously they are all a bunch of thieving bastards (and we don't breed that sort ourselves).

Romania was a nice pick for UKIP, because of course for many people who might vote UKIP the Romanian accent is likely to be pretty much indistinguishable from any 'East Europeans' - which leaves them free to be abusive towards all of them.  And they will.  Imagine, for a moment, that you had a Czech accent - how would you feel walking down a high street in an area controlled by UKIP?  Would you be surprised if you had muttered comments or disgusted glares targeted at you?

There is no nuance in this kind of political campaigning.  Just victims: Those who suffer from abuse, and those who have been distracted from the real issues shaping their lives in order to serve the interests of bigotry.

Let's be clear.  Picking on this issue is not about resolving an economic crisis or making any real difference to the quality of life for people in this country.  It is about providing people with a justification for xenophobic sentiments masquerading rational argument.  It is not about trying to improve society.  It is about giving space for hatred and intolerance.  It is not about solving problems.  It is about finding others to blame for them.

What is so mind-numbingly horrible about it, is UKIP are apparently pushing at an open door.  At least where I live, and it makes me wish I didn't.

Popular posts from this blog

2) Introduction to morphemes

So does language begin with words?

No. Language begins with sounds. It is important to understand this first and foremost. We have already raised this point, but it is worth raising again – language begins with sounds!

If I appear to be emphasizing this with a rather bizarre desperation, it is because it would be easy to think that since we are beginning our exploration of language and linguistics with words that this is where language begins. When you think about it logically though, all words are composed of various sounds grouped together. The word ‘cat’ is composed of three distinct sounds - /c/, /a/ and /t/.

So why aren’t we starting with looking at how sounds create language?

Well, in the not-too-distant past, when European football used to be free on the telly, Manchester United or Arsenal would jet off to Spain for a titanic contest with Barcelona. When the commentators referred to Barcelona, they would pronounce it ‘Bar-se-low-nah’ (bɑ:sɜ:ləʊnæ). After a few years th…

A fond farewell

Every time a new term starts, I find myself wondering what the hell happened to the supposed weeks inbetween?  We leap from teaching, to marking, to assessment boards to enrolments - and after all that, BANG!  Back in the classroom!  At which point we often start wishing there had been at least some time to prepare our classes...

But things have been rather different this time.  About a three months ago I was (admittedly to my own surprise) considered worthy enough to be offered an incredibly exciting job with the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and the University of East London.  The regular whirlwind of activity over the Summer then, is having something of a more terminal period: Teaching, marking, assessment boards, enrolments and BANG! I'm walking out of Newham College for the last time!

It is now almost exactly 10 years since I joined Newham College.  The plan then was, at heart, very simple: The residents of Newham Borough represented a vast population …

Moodle looks rubbish: The myth that may be costing HE institutions

It was interesting, but not entirely surprising to read Phil Hill's blog on e-Literate suggesting a dramatic slow-down in the take-up of Moodle in HE Institutions.  Not surprising because there seems to be a myth about Moodle that has always flickered in dark corners and is fanned into flame by for-profit LMS providers at the nearest opportunity.

This myth is that Moodle looks rubbish.

Other LMS providers set up a course content page filled with as many html5 gadgets as they can imagine, and compare it to the most basic topic-format Moodle page.  "There we are!" they declare, "Look how rubbish Moodle looks compared to our system!  And in the modern world where students are using tablets and mobile phones more and more, isn't it important that your University LMS looks smart and contemporary?"

And so Universities look at these other LMS systems and think: 'Ooo, it has this, or it has that!  Our Moodle doesn't have them!'  Which in turn prompts a…