Thursday, 11 October 2012

Day off ramble


For the last few weeks we have been to school a lot, this is because my youngest children start secondary school next academic year, so many of the days have gone, work followed by a school open evening, followed by MacDonald’s and the gastronomic strain is beginning to tell on me.

On the whole my visits to the local schools has left me very impressed with our Thanet schools, the only unpleasant surprise was when one of the head teachers speeches was unexpectedly racist.

The pleasant surprise was the local Thanet youth, for those of you in any doubt the student population in Thanet secondary schools is aged between 13 and 18 and we have been guided around the local secondary schools by the students.

The courtesy, understanding and help offered to my two eleven year old children, my wife and myself by the students of our Thanet secondary schools has been exemplary without exception.

Anyway onto today, where we spoilt ourselves a bit.



If you are unfamiliar with the place this is a view of Broadstairs in 1796.

Tea and coffee in the Albion Hotel there.

Followed by book buying in Westgate, where I was eventually overcome by the sight of this cone and had to go to The Minnis for lunch.


The Minnis has a two course special for £12 that they have only just started, here are my two courses.




It was my intention to paint Reculver Towers in the distance, during gaps between eating, I put on the washes while I was waiting for my first course.

When I had eaten my steak and kidney the mist had obscured the towers so the picture didn’t get finished.

I may add to this post, here are a couple more pictures.


   



31 comments:

  1. Racist in what way (I mean what did they say)? I hope you told them what you thought too Michael, I certainly would've done!

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    1. Peter I am not going down the road of policing political correctness in the local community, so just voted with my feet.

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    2. "political correctness" isn't the same thing as racism...

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    3. Well said, Peter.

      Michael, Was it racism or political correctness? There is a crucial difference.

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    4. Of course you are both right, I guess at the time, listening to the speech to us prospective parents I couldn’t really believe my ears. I don’t think standing up and registering some sort of objection would have been viable and frankly it was so unexpected it didn’t happen.

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    5. Personally I'd report him (or her) to the police if what was said was truly racist. This isn't some drunk late at night outside your shop, it's someone who's educating and influencing 100's of Thanet children.

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    6. By inference then one of our local secondary school heads is racist. In the circumstances, Michael, having exposed this on your blog I think you have a duty to report this to the authorities. The alternative, if you do not, is that all our head teachers come under suspicion which is grossly unfair. I think I have met most of them, have been a governor at two of the schools and have never heard a racist comment from any teacher over something like eight years of involvement now.

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    7. This was a public speech made to several hundred people with presumably quite a few of the senior staff present. I think if there is an onus to report this then it is probably theirs rather than mine. That said I am giving it some thought.

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    8. Most people don't like to report their work colleagues as it can cause too much ill feeling.

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    9. Michael, it was you that put it on the world wide web so I think that puts it very firmly down to you to name and shame, but also to allow the subject teacher the right to clear his name.

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    10. Or her name.

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    11. Quaintly PC, 11:53 PM, what do you do for an encore.

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    12. Anonymous @ 11:53,

      Your observation has been an immense contribution to the debate on this subject. Out of interest, what pronoun do you recommend for a pre-op transgender person?

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  2. michael, your blog today and your dance around the comments is disgraceful. If you believe you have heard something wrong, then it is your duty to take the issue up, initially with the relevant headteacher, and/or through the relevant county councillor, as it is the county council that deals with education.

    if you wish to simply pass the comment and name along to me, I will take it up with the relevant person and authority, in private, if you wish. Whatever else you do, you cannot leave this as it stands on the world wide web, because it potentially smears any or all of the schools you have visited. If you intend(ed) to do nothing, then you should have done nothing, not trailed your view on a blog in this way. If you were really offended, you should have taken it up quietly, afterwards or by letter with the individual concerned. The current position you have created is disgraceful and you must act or remove immediately. Even now removal is of itself of little use becausethe smear remains. Time to man up Mr Child, and recognise if you are sure of your ground you must follow through.

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    1. For once I agree totally with Chris here. Please don't just let it stand (Thanet has a bad enough reputation with bigotry as it is!).

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    2. Chris, I have little confidence in our local councillors when it comes to matters of equality and diversity. I also have little confidence I our local police and licensing system, having once again been woken several times last night by loud drunken groups misbehaving in the town centre last night.

      This may be only my perception but I view a large proportion of local councillors as only paying lip service to equality and diversity, while on the one hand being happy to use it when opportune, on the other they are quite happy to continue to keep known offenders as part of their groups when that is expedient.

      As I said before I am not talking here about comments made to a few people, but comments made during a public speech, so blog or no blog, this matter is already very much in the public domain.

      From my own point of view and that of many others I would think, the methods available for raising an issue like this are not obviously apparent, it wouldn’t, for instance have occurred to me that I had the option of raising the matter through a county councillor.

      I still haven’t decided how best to approach the issue although frankly the comments here have been helpful, in all probability I will write to the school concerned and copy it to you and any other interested local politicians.

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    3. Michael,

      Michael,

      I ask again will you please answer the question. About this alleged comment: you have variously stated that it was first racist and then that it was politically incorrect. There is a difference between the two. Crucially it is against the law to make a racist comment. You well know the difference, Michael. In your opinion Michael were the words that you heard racist?

      If the words you heard were, in your opinion, just politically incorrect then the law has not been broken. Regardless of whether or not you were offended.

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    4. 10.20 for the sake clarity for anyone who attended the meetings, the first remarks were made about the Spanish, followed by an apology to any Spanish people present, the second lot were made about the Polish, suggesting that they were ill educated and careless, no apology was made after this.

      I assure you I wouldn’t have found the remarks you are talking about racist or politically incorrect.

      I should add here that quite a large proportion of the pupils at my children’s primary school are Polish, including several of their friends who are hoping to transfer to the same secondary school with them and looking at the economic situation I Spain I would guess that there will soon be a significant population of Spanish working in the area.

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  3. There is far too much of this accusation by innuendo in Thanet at present and this latest by Michael gets worse with subsequent comment. First we are told one of our Thanet head teachers made a racist remark in an address to parents and then, that other teachers including senior members of staff were present. By inference are we to assume that these teachers are complicit and condone their heads racism.

    It might help, Michael, if you spelt out the remark you found racist, having gone this far, so the rest of us can judge. Equally you need to take Chris Wells' advice so that this can be dealt with appropriately. At the moment there is something of a nasty smell clinging to Thanet's schools, probably unnecessarily in most, if not all, cases.

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  4. Michael,

    Will you please answer the question. About this alleged comment: you have variously stated that it was first racist and then that it was politically incorrect. There is a difference between the two. Crucially it is against the law to make a racist comment. You well know the difference, Michael. In your opinion Michael were the words that you heard racist?

    If the words you heard were, in your opinion, just politically incorrect then the law has not been broken. Regardless of whether or not you were offended.

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  5. I was at a meeting where a head teacher referred to the difficulties faced by schools where a fair number of children did not have English as their first or home language and the extra resources this situation demanded. With limited budgets I can see this would be a big problem for a head trying to balance his/her books and ensure the funds available are fairly and evenly distributed for the greater good of all the pupils, not disproportionately overspent on a minority. I did not find the comment racist but perhaps the overly sensitive Michael might have.

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    1. Michael,

      Is this the meeting to which you refer? If so, will you please explain in what way these words and sentiment can be construed as racist?

      Will you please stop trying to dodge the issue. You may have caused some damage.


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    2. 10.20 for the sake clarity for anyone who attended the meetings, the first remarks were made about the Spanish, followed by an apology to any Spanish people present, the second lot were made about the Polish, suggesting that they were ill educated and careless, no apology was made after this.

      I assure you I wouldn’t have found the remarks you are talking about racist or politically incorrect.

      I should add here that quite a large proportion of the pupils at my children’s primary school are Polish, including several of their friends who are hoping to transfer to the same secondary school with them and looking at the economic situation I Spain I would guess that there will soon be a significant population of Spanish working in the area.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. It doesn't get any better, Michael, for now we know that this particular head made disparaging remarks about the Spanish and the Polish, both racially Caucasian, without knowing exactly what they were or in what context. The more knowledgeable amongst us on local demographics will now proably be able to work out which primary school has lots of Polish children and its proximity to a secondary whilst some will draw their own conclusions, rightly or wrongly.

      I think John is right when he talks of the damage you have already done and you have a public duty, sooner rather than later, to put that right. Despite your evident lack of confidence in local politicians or the police I strongly recommend you take Chris Wells up on his offer and get this out in the open.

      Are we also to take it, from your comment about your children and their Polish friends hoping to transfer to the same secondary, that you are leaning towards said school despite its racist head teacher? Stranger and stranger!

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  6. NO Michael, this is not clarity, it is an appeal to try and find another who shares your views about the alleged comments, and no substitute for action on your part.

    Trying to dissemble the error of your earlier remark in the posting by blaming councillors and others for their view on diversity is also shameful, and shows a complete lack of responsibility on your part. Instead of taking the advice offered, you have continued a form of dance of the 7 veils, revealing other titbits of information but still taking no action that your original, outrageous, and still unsupported remarks you claim requires.

    I repeat, take it up with me, as a county councillor working across local education and its problems; or another if your general smear about diversity was aimed at me, justifiably or not, but cease the comment thread on this blog and your dreadful continuing nudge nudge wink wink attitude and do something - or forever hold your peace, to coin a phrase. You cannot continually demand responsibility and accountability from all those in public life, and so publically duck your own self identified civic responsibilities and expect anyone to ever take your commentraies seriously ever again.

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    1. Chris,

      Well said.

      Michael,

      If you believe that a crime has been committed then you should say so and do something about it. Otherwise apologise and forever hold your peace.

      So far your account of events is nothing more than pernicious village gossip.

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    2. OK Chris I have stopped comments on this thread and I will email you details of my concerns about this issue.

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  7. Michael,

    Your point about apology or no apology is a red herring. You bash someone over the head, say sorry and that makes everything OK?

    You claim the speaker suggested that Polish people were ill-educated and careless. We need to hear this in context. Was it said that all Polish people were ill educated and careless simply because they were Polish?

    Were these alleged remarks made in public, or to you privately?

    Do you have witnesses Michael?

    You have made a damaging accusation, in public. Racism is a crime. Are you alleging that a crime has been committed?

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  8. It is worth mentioning that 'Polish' is not a race, it is a nationality.

    As far as I know, only Hitler believed Polish to be a race; but then he had it in for all sorts of people.

    In a small way I know what it is like to be a victim of racism. This was in my teens at school in the fifties. For no apparent reason a fellow pupil suddenly attempted to persecute me. I could not understand why, so I challenged him. He explained that it was because he had heard that I was a Jew and he hated Jews. For the first and only time in my life I understood what it was like to be hated for what you were and not for anything that you had done.

    To my everlasting shame I told my would be tormentor that I was not a Jew. Which was the truth, I am not a Jew. I still wish that I had said, "So what", and thumped the little thug.

    My next brush with 'racism' was on basic training in the RAF; where on arrival our Instructor informed us that we were all sub-human. He added that he was not prejudiced, he just hated all recruits. I was not in any way hurt by his remarks. for life is about judgement and balance.

    However, I would be hurt and angry if anyone gratuitously accused me of racism.

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