Rhodes Must Rise
Curriculum Cop 9
9 am. Meeting with the Sun's 'Educashun' Correspondent, Rodney Liddle. The Prime Minister was so inspired by his call for a statue of Cecil Rhodes to be put up in every University that he's put him in charge of a task force to put up statues of the great man in every school as well, and to establish a chain of Rhodes Free Schools. Rodney turns up in jeans and wearing his famous Millwall supporters T-Shirt, 'Everyone Hates Us Because We're Ignorant Pricks,' and we get down to business. 'What me and Dave want is a fucking great big statue in every school with our favourite Cecil quote inscribed on it.' He reads it out: 'I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race. Just fancy those parts that are at present inhabited by the most despicable specimens of human beings! What an alteration there would be if they were brought under Anglo-Saxon influence.' 'Well, what do you think? I know the Political Correctness Police won't like it, but that's the point, innit? Could have used one of Cecil's calls to shoot all the blacks, but Dave didn't got the balls for that. Still pretty, eh?'.
Rodney scratches his crotch and burps.
We move on to the Rhodes Free Schools. In keeping with the great man's thinking these are to be for whites only and without any female students or women teachers. The original idea was that they should actually be established using Rhodes own methods: a band of armed thugs hired by his private company would invade the proposed catchment area, seize control of everything as the spoils of conquest and subjugate the local population to be exploited and brutalised for profit, but this was considered too radical. Perhaps after a couple more terms of Conservative rule it will be possible, but for the moment we will have to be a bit more circumspect. What we can do though is base the school curriculum on Cecil's original criteria for the Rhodes Scholarship: 40% scholarship, 20% leadership, 20% unctuous rectitude and 20% brutality. Not sure about the brutality bit so we agree to change it to manliness.
Once the business is sorted have an interesting chat with Rodney. Ask him why the Prime Minister is so concerned about pleasing Rupert Murdoch. He laughs: 'Rupert's only got the pig-fucking, innit. Cost a few bob but worth every penny.' He reckons that now that Brookes is back, the Sun will soon be back on form. 'One of the first things she did was get rid of that posh twat Stig Abel who Rupert had to make Executive Editor because of all that Leveson bollocks. They've given him the Times Literary Supplement to edit as a consolation prize. What a demotion, eh? Think I'd top meself if that happened to me. 'Ere do you mind if I change before I go.' He changes into his Armani. 'That's much better. I've got an editorial meeting at the Spectator, don't you know. Terrific bunch of chaps and lots of posh tottie, what? Anyway, toodle pip old bean. Laters.'
11 am: Discussion of what to do about the number of teachers escaping to work abroad. Breaking their legs is quickly ruled out. What we come up with is a form of contractual enslavement whereby in return for their various student loans they have to do a ten year stretch in a state school. We consider making it longer, but the consensus is that they are broken and useless after ten years anyway. What about those who try to slip out of the country? Bar coding is obviously the answer, so they set off the alarms at the ports and airports. Then we can break their legs.
1 pm: Visit the first of our new Crime Academies. This initiative originated with the Home Office proposal that Police Commissioners should be encouraged to establish schools to be run by the police. I suppose it was inevitable that we would have Crime Lords wanting to set up their own schools as well and of course many of them are important donors to the Party. Visit the new Crime Pays Academy. Not a bit what I expected. Very much a knocked off state of the art school. The head is not some back-street ruffian but a former banker, Stanley Morgan. As he tells me, a lot of people have a very stereotypical view of crime and one of his ambitions is to help counter this prejudice. He tells me: 'We have rigorous streaming here of course, so the less able can get their basic GBH qualification, but really we are more about providing a suitably trained workforce for the top end, cybercrime, banking, politics etc. You'd be amazed how criminal a lot of accountancy work is, for example. What we provide here covers the whole spectrum of criminal endeavour from basic street dealing right up to providing coke for bankers, Cabinet members and the Royals. Obviously operating at this higher level requires a completely different skills set and this is what we aim to equip our students with.' All very impressive.
He takes me to the cybercrime annexe. 'We hope to make Britain a world leader in cybercrime,' he says. Some students show me a 'dodgy' project they have been working on, a criminal alternative to FaceBook. They call it 'ArseBook' and you don't have Friends; instead you nominate Enemies who are then deluged with online abuse, threats and suchlike. Most of the classes involve how to hack bank accounts, clone credit cards and that sort of thing, but Damien tells me that while this artisan work is all very good and worthwhile, the very best students do Business and Banking Studies and Politics. Apparently there is a lot of interest in the new Tax Avoidance qualification as a subsidiary subject. As he puts it, 'Don't rob a bank, own one.' We both laugh.
One area of study that has caused some concern is sex work, but Damien is adamant: 'As poverty and deprivation increase then inevitably more and more young people are going to become sex workers. This has always been the case and there is going to be a lot of money to be made in this area, although obviously not by the actual sex workers.' He laughs. 'What we offer here is a world-class qualification in brothel-keeping. George Osborne has shown a personal interest in this aspect of our work.'
I ask him about the Academy's relationship with the nearby 'Ello! 'Ello! 'Ello Free School set up by the local Police Commissioner. 'Completely in our pocket. No problems at all. In fact, they actually bus their less able students over here to complete their 'Taking a Bung' diplomas.'
3 pm. Meeting with Hank Gradgrind, one of the US candidates for Head of Ofsted now that Boss Wilshaw is going to the House of Lords. He has some interesting ideas. We should be called sheriffs and carry firearms, for instance, inspection teams to be called 'lynch mobs' which is only really acknowledging what we do anyway, and students should pledge allegiance to the United States. Certainly be one way of keeping in with President Trump. Hank knows that we have a way to go before we get our educational standards down to theirs but sees it all as a matter of how badly you treat the teachers, how bad their working conditions are and how demoralised they can be made. He can't believe they still get paid during the school holidays. His ideas for lesson sponsorship are certainly worth some further thought. 'This PE lesson was brought to you by Sports Direct'; 'This Geography lesson was brought to you by Qatar Airlines'; 'This First Aid lesson was brought to you by Virgin Hospitals'; 'This Health Education lesson was brought to you by Coca Cola'. Any subjects that can't attract sponsorship, well, we can scrap those. Not economically viable. Yes, that is one idea we can certainly follow up.
As for who is actually going to get the job, the smart money is on someone connected to Rupert Murdoch, but not too obviously connected. We shall see.
4 pm. The whole Department is addressed by young Giles, the Prime Minister's educational spokesman. He's left Eton and is in his first year at Oxford. His face is all bruised and beaten. Apparently when he was doing his Bullingdon initiation, burning a fifty pound note in front of a rough sleeper, he made the mistake of picking a very rough sleeper who gave him a good kicking and took his other ninety-nine fifties so that he had no money for the rest of the week. Poor chap! What is going on in this country when an Old Etonian can't even taunt the homeless!
We are given a severe dressing down. Giles tells us the Prime Minister is appalled by the latest social mobility figures provided by the Sutton Trust. 'What the PM wants to know,' he squeaks, 'is what you people having been doing. Only 51% of the top print journalists today were privately educated. Only 51%! Might as well not bother paying the fucking fees. Only 61% of top doctors! Only 32% of MPs were privately educated! What the fuck is going on? The PM is beginning to suspect that you lot are a bunch of Trots covertly introducing some madcap scheme of social equality.' His voice rises to a piercing shriek. 'Only 19% of winners at the Brits were privately educated. It's a complete disgrace. The only way that this could possibly happen is if music lessons were still taking place outside the private sector. And as for acting, only 42% of Bafta winners went to private schools. It's a fucking scandal. What must Eddie and Benedict think of us? Well, the PM has had enough. He has decided to set some targets. By 2020, the entire cast of Eastenders have got to have been educated at private schools or else . . .