Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The closing of Bangor Grammar School's Prep.

Connor House, the Prep School for Bangor Grammar is closing in June. State funding will be withdrawn and the school is unable to attract enough parents willing to pay the extra fees that would be required to keep the school going.

I have no doubt that Connor House is a good school and produces results. However, taxpayers should not have to subsidise schooling that is only available to those with the disposable income required to afford it. The arguments about funding of grammar schools are entirely different because there the issue of entry is almost entirely based on academic ability. Prep schools are for those with the money and it is just not acceptable to have that funded by the state.

I cannot bide the Education Minister but this is one decision she has actually got right.

The Stephen Nolan Show

Have just been listening to Stephen Nolan doing what he does best - being outraged. The show this morning featured 2 representatives from the NI Children's Hospice who were on the show to highlight an issue with funding. Namely, they don't have enough. This isn't exactly a shock, I'm not aware of any Hospice director that has ever said they're well funded. What started to really wind me up though was Stephen Nolan himself. He was intent on extracting some juicy sound bites from his guests and clearly approached the show with an agenda to barrack some politicians which he duly did, demanding to know why the money wasn't available.

Bear in mind that any politician who has been on the Nolan show recently and taken a position of trying to prevent the cuts has been attacked by Nolan and told to start living in the real world and that cuts have to happen. Exactly what world does Stephen Nolan live in? What part of the budget for Health does he suggest is transferred to the NICH? 

He is a prime example of someone who is happy to stand on the sidelines and shout but in reality has no ideas to present and is not prepared to stand for any position where he could legislate accordingly. 

Monday, 29 November 2010

Sinn Fein, The TUV and their mouthpieces

On Twitter, following the result of the by-election in Donegal, 2 tweets in particular caught my eye because they represented a real closed shop way of thinking by their respective authors.

Firstly, Jim Allister commented that "In electing Sinn Fein, Republic's voters add moral bankruptcy to economic bankruptcy." Well, that may be Jim's opinion but does he not see the irony in the leader of a party that pretty much survives on protest votes, criticising people for casting an obvious protest vote against Fianna Fail? Jim will eventually have to stop beating the drum that Sinn Fein are IRA in all but name. The only people that are interested in that line are getting older and older and more and more irrelevant. Just as those within Sinn Fein with links to terrorism are unlikely to be around in the next generation of politics, neither will the TUV be if this is the stance they continue to take.

Secondly, John O'Dowd wrote "Competition among media pundits begins to try explain away P Doherty vote 'as not actually a vote for SF but a vote against FF.' Bla bla bla." Now, the problem with this, John, is that the campaign in Donegal was based around courting disaffected FF voters. It was a protest vote, and you'd have to be entirely naive to think otherwise. There is nothing wrong with attracting voters in that way but can we stop pretending that the election was won in such emphatic style because of a sudden attraction to Sinn Fein's policies?

Do the public really want their politicians to play this game?