a semi-colon


9 am The post-mortem regarding the great general election debacle continues. We’ve been tasked with assessing the role education played in the disaster. Our research has identified student debt as a major factor in getting young people voting. Of course, the disaster was precipitated by Labour breaking ranks on the issue (that commie bastard Corbynski has a lot to answer for) but more generally we think the government should just have moved more decisively with its plan of depriving debtors of the right to vote. If this had been put in place before the general election then all would have gone to plan. Some people think ending free school meals for primary kids was also a factor but as I pointed out this was so much bollocks because they’re too young to vote! The opening up of the University fees issue has certainly upset a lot of people. The Vice Chancellors in particular are very worried that all the hoo-hah might affect their remuneration levels and, even as we sit here, they are demonstrating outside. They’re rallying behind the slogan BECAUSE WE’RE WORTH IT. Not sure many lecturers would agree but who gives a fuck what those lazy bastards think. We are meeting a delegation later this morning.

10.15 am The delegation is led by Bill Rommel, the VC of Bedfordshire University. Didn’t even know they had schools in Bedfordshire let alone a University! As he points out, all the fuss about student debt is putting pressure on Vice Chancellor’s remuneration packages. Rommel has agreed to a token freeze on his own pay (a paltry £230,00) as a cunning gesture of misdirection but they want to emphasise first of all how unfair it is that they are being pilloried with accusations of being ‘greedy scum’, ‘just in it for the money’, ‘VCs for hire’, ‘Uber Chancellors’ ‘pseudo academic toss pots’ and so on and on thrown at them. ’And this is just what the academic staff call us’, Rommel tells us. He emphasises how crucial the VC's support for student fees has been. ‘This is the most socially regressive policy introduced by any government since the Second World War, eliminating mature students overnight and saddling working class and middle class students with absolutely insupportable levels of debt, taking them out of the housing market at a stroke and freeing it up for foreign investors and for rent landlords. It’s the biggest blow against social mobility that anyone has been able to come up with, and without our support you would never have been able to keep it going. Saddling the hoi polloi with enormous levels of debt while ensuring that all the best paid jobs still go to former public school boys who leave Uni without any debt at all was certainly inspired social engineering but…YOU WOULD NEVER HAVE GOT AWAY WITH IT WITHOUT US. We are a complete and total disgrace who have betrayed everything we are supposed to stand for but now we want the government to do something for us. We’ve gone along with everything you’ve asked over the years, supported absolutely everything and now the government has to speak out on our behalf. Just a simple statement saying we deserve our pay and expenses’. I tell Bill we’ll consider it. Never quite got my head around how someone who had to pay nearly £3000 back in MP's expenses back in the day ever got another job at all really, but apparently these VC jobs are your classic kiss up and kick down jobs. Tailor made for career politicians. Greening later tells me that they can ‘ just fuck off’ because we’ve got other bigger problems.

12 am And when she says bigger, she means bigger. She is furious. I have never seen her so angry. ‘The number of primary children getting their semi-colons out of proportion is a complete disgrace. How could this happen. We are a total laughing stock. They are even talking of making Boris Johnson Education Secretary. For fucks sake, that’s how bad it is’. A shudder goes round the room. ’Thousands of the little shits had straight commas. I mean straight commas. I know it’s all those spiteful poor kids trying to get their own back by making me look bad. I mean if they can get their semi-colons right in China, then why on earth can’t we do the same in the country that actually invented the fucking semi-colon’. When I point out that they don’t have semi-colons in China, she bites my head off. ‘What the fuck’s that got to do with anything’. She waves a copy of today’s Sun newspaper at us. The headline says it all: BRIT KIDS DON’T NO NUFFINK! GREENIN IS STOOPID AND UGLEE! She turns to Rodney Liddle’s column on page sixth finger along: ‘Did our granduds conker the hol world only to be let down by a bunch of yoosless kids oo cant draw a comma? Eds must role or the umpire is doomt’. She really is panicking. ‘The last thing we can afford is to alienate Rupert. We really need his support if we are to hold on to power’. She wants to bring Professor Pedant in to sort out the whole sorry mess. I try to tell her that he’s not real, that he’s just a myth, but she’s not having it. God, the whole government is running scared. Can’t imagine where it is all going to end. Could that commie bastard Corbynovich really take over.

2 pm Visit the new Orange Free School, the first of a chain that are going to open across the country as part of a deal to keep Big Mother Theresa in power. The gate is blazoned with the school motto NO SURRENDER. Meet the head, UVF Gunman…not sure if that was his name or his job description! He emphasises the new school’s commitment to pure and honest faith-based teaching although it does seem primarily defined by negatives. No Taigs! No Abortion! No Contraception! No Gays! No Pope! No United Ireland! No Lots of Stuff! We watch one of the school’s daily Orange parades along a historic route that was invented last Wednesday. Very impressive. They look really smart in their orange uniforms, the band playing and the banners waving. And then I sit in on a history lesson about the Irish Catholic threat to world peace and how someone called King Billy put a stop to it. Learned a lot. None of it true but what the hell. Next a science lesson. Did not realise how much scientific information there actually is in the Old Testament. Fascinating. We really need these people to keep that commie bastard Corbynin out.

3.30 pm Visit the Wahhabi Unfree School, motto DEATH TO QATAR AND UNBELIEVERS, where there have been certain problems that need sorting out. The school is Saudi funded and segregates boys and girls throughout and I’ve been sent to put them straight. Meet the head, Ibn Saud. ‘What do you want infidel dog’ he asks. I tell him that segregating boys and girls inside a school is just not the British way, that it is not how we do things and it attracts all the wrong sort of publicity. It raises all sorts of questions about Islamic extremism etc and selling weapons so the Kingdom can bomb schools and hospitals in the Yemen that are embarrassing to Big Mother. It has got to stop. We are not going to tolerate it. I don’t pull my punches. Just because he is the representative of a reactionary, bigoted, misogynistic oil rich state that owns us lock, stock and oil barrel cuts no ice with me. I tell him you either do it the British Way or its No Way. He agrees that they will set up separate schools for boys and girls. Problem sorted. I tell him that this is the way the British upper class have always been educated. He’s just got to look at Eton to see how well it works. And no one even notices, let alone complains. ‘You British and your hypocrisy’, he says admiringly. ‘We still have so much to learn’.

5 pm Boss Greening has been rushed to hospital with semi-colonitis. Diarrhoea, stomach pains, high temperature. Too much grammar can have that effect.


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