Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Pink stinks less than viral marketing.

So, most people have at least peripherally noticed that over the last few years, really lazy marketing departments have been pushing versions of popular products in pink: iPods, radios, yes, even pink scrabble.

It's lazy marketing because it follows insane logic of "We don't have enough market penetration with female tweens, they like pink, let's make a pink version." I guess it worked well enough to keep it going for a while, and the appropriation of pink for breast cancer let them shift more pink crap with an air of piety...

But I'm guessing that they didn't shift enough, because out of nowhere the Pink Stinks campaign has appeared.

Pushing a really pathetic claim that all this pink crap oppresses little girls more than, say, the constant judgemental attitude of the press towards women's bodies (and I notice that Gok Wan, who seems to think empowerment means getting naked on national TV, is backing the campaign), Pink Stinks by some miracle seems to have got a really good press officer just in time for the christmas rush.

And all over the press, the blogosphere and twitterscape, lots and lots of manufactured stimulus response outrage from people who are NOT going to be dictated to, they WILL face down the PC brigade and BUY MORE PINK CRAP FOR THEIR LITTLE GIRLS THIS YEAR.

Because, you know, you fight DA MAN with consumerism. That'll show 'em.

And Pink Stinks will go away again until the next time the buyers overestimate demand for pink crap.

(Historical note: for Victorians, pink was for boys, blue was for girls. Honest. I've seen very silly evolutionary psychologists trying to explain why girls "naturally" prefer pink, because it couldn't possibly be a social construct. They are wets and weeds and I diskard them uterly.)

Friday, 20 November 2009

How dumb is three strikes for Broadband?

Because if we applied it to other services...

If they thought you had ordered pirate DVD's by mail three times, they'd stop you receiving or sending mail.

If they thought you had made recipes from a pirated cookbook three times, they'd take your kitchen away.

If they thought you had used a car to take a dodgy DVD to a friends three times, they'd take away your driving licence.

If they thought you had obtained a dodgy DVD in a pub three times, they'd ban you from pubs.

Used electricity to watch pirated content? Then why not have your electricity taken away.

I used to have a couple of photocopied books. Guess I should just burn my library now.

Oh, and remember, they want to be able to do this without due legal process. On the say so of Mandleson's appointed deputies. From the MPAA and RIAA.

Listen, Doubleday doesn't get to check my bookshelves, Warner don't get to check my hard drive, not without a frigging warrant and probably frigging cause.

This is basic, page one, rule of law. We shouldn't have to explain this to a government minister.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Well, they've fired the starting pistol...

Children, Schools and Families Bill

Never mind the assurances that nothing would be done until the official response to the enquiry, let alone the select committee report, there it is.

Anyone got any idea what is so wrong with HE that we need further legislation and powers RIGHT THE F NOW? Or any of these "high profile cases" that aren't, in fact, failures of state authorities to properly use their current powers?

A parliamentary petition might help a little now, as it's got to be voted on. The commons debate will be drawn out, thanks to the select committee members who were engaging with Badman, and there will not be an entirely smooth path in the Lords either. Certainly, there's a good chance this could get delayed until after the election, and then quietly go away to die.

A petition or a few would at least force MP's to engage a little with those materially affected by the bill.

As for the statement of non-conformity, or whatever it is... look, if you're not going to comply, why the hell are you shouting "I will not comply" now, before it's the law? You are registering yourself not only as a home educator, but a "trouble making" home educator, which is exactly what they want to get a frigging list of.

If you're not going to comply, then don't. Comply.

As for "Parents United", you harvested my email, spammed me anonymously, stalked me on twitter then bugged out when you realised youcould be traced, and you want ME to put MY name and expose MY family for your half arsed, ripped off "statement" when you won't even say who you are?

You're making EO look classy.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

We are the people they've been looking for...

Imagine if you will that you are happily working away in your kitchen, say, baking some bread. Not unusually you have your radio on. Lets presume you're a smug, middle class, university educated so-and-so, so you have radio four on.

While you are kneading your dough, a programme comes on about the crisis in bread. The state bakeries are turning out bread that can, to be fair, be excellent in both taste and nutritional content on occassion, but much of the time is bland and full of empty calories. In many cases, it turns out to be actively carcinogenic.

In fact, despite what the government say, many independent experts say that it's as good for you, on balance, as eating cardboard. The official bread making process is laborious, inflexible at the bakery level and subject to interference on the slightest whim of the Minister for Bread, Scones and Baked Goods.

The minister is not allowing state bakeries to use the international bread test, as it doesn't mandate "Traditional medium slicing".

While you are warming your oven and letting your dough prove, many experts come on the radio, debating what should go into the official governmental standard bread making process, whether adding additional mandatory stages helped, whether it's the fault of the standard tin, whether it would be improved by making poppy seeds compulsory, and, of course, blaming the bakers (who have to follow the official process), the inspectors (who have to enforce the official process) or, ultimately, the farmers for producing such terrible, terrible wheat these days.

By the time they have finished that section, your bread has risen nicely and is ready to be baked. The pundits are moving on, saying, well, they are trying their best, British bread is the best in the world and, according to their figures, better than it has ever been. One of them says sagely "Baking bread is HARD. If it was easy, we would have cracked it by now".

Maybe today you've made a cottage loaf, or a tiger loaf, a baguette, a fruit loaf, soda bread, bara brith... but there it is, hot, and delicious. And you know, maybe today it didn't rise right, or turn a little crustier than you hoped, but it's only a days baking, you can have another go tomorrow, and at least you know exactly what went into it.

And that's exactly how I felt about education when I saw that trailer.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

From Twitter 11-10-2009

From Twitter 11-09-2009: From Twitter 11-08-2009: From Twitter 11-07-2009: From Twitter 11-06-2009: From Twitte..
From the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" folder...
Citizen Journalism at it's best:
Just applied for a job: wondering how far it will get before they set the application on fire.

Tweets copied by

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Graham Badman, King of projection

Sure, let's bandy around psychological disorders, Graham. Let's do that.

Let's start with Mbp. Let's ignore that the syndrome is of dubious medical acceptance, and go into it.

It's where someone, desparate for approval or sympathy, invents or creates evidence of abuse or harm in another, usually a child, and perhaps colludes in creating and/ or concealing the actual sources of harm.

These sad individuals often seem unable to adequately divorce their fantasies of vulnerable people that only they can adequately protect from the reality that it is their own actions that are placing these people in harms way.

These people often engage in elaborate ruses, sometimes involving their family and friends in their deceptions. They portray any attempts to reveal their deceptions and actually causing harm as personal attacks on their blameless character.

Now. Graham Badman produced a report which, on the basis of no defencible statitstics, claimed that home educated children were at risk from their parents, that only the intervention of state appointed officers, like him and his daughter, could protect these children, despite the documented vastly worse outcomes for state cared children. Badman's daughter joined at least one home educating group under false pretences during the review. When the poor quality of the review was highlighted, further requests for information about Badman's conduct of the review was denied on the grounds it could be used to defame or villify him.

It's a classic case. There's no hope for him. In accusing the home educators of MBP, Badman was indulging in textbook projection, placing his psychological problems onto an external scapegoat.

If critically examining a man's "work" is defamatory, if telling the truth about him is villification, then call me a domestic extremist.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

HE Consultation! Important please read. Time sensitive

(copied with permission of the author, Elaine Greenwood-Hyde)


please read the whole of this email as it contains important information for every home educator, information that some may not be aware of.

We are currently facing the biggest threat there has ever been to home education and everything could hinge on this current consultation which ends on this Monday 19th Oct. I cannot stress just how important it is that these proposals are defeated because they are planning much more than registration.

Hot on the heels of this consultation they intend to consult on the definition of what constitutes a suitable education. First they intend to hog tie us with compulsory registration, inspections and annual licensing to home educate and then they intend to determine the content of our home education.

Here is a link to the announcement that they are planning a consultation on suitable education.

Smaller URL

Please do fill out the consultation on home education and enourage friends and family to do so too. Even if you think the consultation has pre determined outcomes you have nothing to lose. You do not have to write a lengthy response to each question, you can answer a simple no or yes.

Here is a link to the current consultation. Please note it ends very soon.

Smaller url

Please feel free to cross post this email to other home educators and groups, but please remove my personal details/email address first. Thanks for reading

BWs Elaine

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Watch out for the reposts!

Again, especially on the facebook feed: trying to save some old posts, nothing to see here, move along.

Friday, 18 September 2009

A rant (repost from 18/09/09)

Graham Badman.

The bad penny, the pee into the wind, he just keeps coming back.

After he turned in his woefully prepared report into home education, for which, as far as we can understand, the conclusions were written first, we tried to challenge either him or the DCSF on it.

And we were told "Mr Badman does not work for the DCSF, he is independent, and has turned in the report, so it is nothing to do with him any more, and since it was independent, it can't be wrong, so the DCSF can't be challenged for putting forward a legislative program based on it."

So we got a hearing arranged for the select committee on education. AHEd, working through freedom of information requests, got very robust figures where not only did Badman give none, but Baroness Morgan claimed that they "weren't the basis of the report".

And today..?

I'm sorry, WHAT?

This "independent researcher", who no longer has anything to do with the report, can get the DCSF to forward his request for "better figures" (and with a later deadline than other evidence) to every LA in the country?

Now, as far as I make it, that makes at least three different versions of the state of play that Badman and the DCSF have spun.

1) Badman is independent, the report is soundly based in empirical evidence.
2) Badman is independent, the report is based on soft evidence that we can't find right now.
3) Badman is working for the DCSF, we'd like some evidence that we forgot to collect. Since the dog ate the last lot.

What really annoys me isn't so much that it betrays a set agenda from the outset.

We knew that.

Nor that their evidential cupboards (along with their coffers) are bare and that the stats in the report are a triumph of auto-proctological accounting.

We knew that.

It's that they thought no-one would notice. It's possibly the most half-arsed, cloth-eared, pig-ignorant attempt at a cover-up that I've seen since my chocolate encrusted three-year-old son claimed the biscuit tin fell on him.

It makes the machinations of The Thick of It look like machine like competence.

More than anything, it shows the level of dismissive contempt that Badman, Balls and all their little wizards have for home educators, parliament and the population as a whole.

They're trying to move the goalposts and think no-one will notice. I spurn them as I would spurn a rabid dog with dysentery.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Simon Webb, education warrior. Contains language.

From my facebook thread:

I believe Simon's children are miserable hothoused prisoners of their home who are desperate to escape their father, and will probably end up broken drug addicts selling their bodies for cash due to being unable to properly form relationships after their claustrophobic upbringing.

And I have as much evidence as Simon does of his worries. So I demand that I be allowed to inspect him.

Also, note that Simon "works with children with special needs in inner London ". So I'm guessing that he works for, or at the very least hand in glove with, the LA.

And from twitter:

thatdebswoman: OMG, I've only read the first paragraph & already seething - who the fuck is this prick?

pete_darby: Someone who wants Ed Balls to hold him, as the auto's scare him.

bridd: he wants Balls' sweaty caress

pete_darby: There is nothing good or right about that sentence.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Villification and Harassment...

Now, this really does take the biscuit.

The Department of Continued and Sustained FAIL are threatening to take their ball away... no, it's even sillier than that.

They're trying to take their facts away.

They're linking the existence of the satirical Badman Blog to the work of those brilliant people working away at official figures to demonstrate that Badman produced his figures in a monumental act of auto-proctological statistics.*

And so, they are reviewing the provision of FoI requests in light of the possibility that they may be used to "defame or vilify" the authors of the review.

Yes, they are witholding facts in case those facts are used to portray the author of a review (that claimed that monitoring was necessary, despite their being no evidence, on the grounds that some authority figures have "issues" for which their is no factual basis) in somewhat of a bad light.

I take it then that it is now policy that you can defame and villify a whole class of people on the basis of hearsay and deliberately manipulated figures, but that it is unacceptable to use facts to challenge that vilification.

Oh I forgot... in order to defame and vilify a whole class of people, you have to be working for the DCSF. Silly me.

*(And to those who doubt that, I say that any man who has spent a good portion of his life teaching science who then takes an unrepresentative sample, extracts the median value and then multiplies it unweighted across the whole class to obtain an aggregate figure, is not being merely disingenuous but actively misleading. Either he is too mendacious to be trusted with the review or incompetent. You see, unlike Mr Badman, I tend to vilify and defame people solely on the basis of clear evidence of their actions.)

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Another letter to inDCSFpendent

Dear Sir,

Helena Cox (letters 18-Mar-2009) raises a spectre of insular religious home educators, presumably as part of a general push to get public support for governmental oversight of home education.

I wonder if she has written, or had published, similar "concern troll" letters about state approved faith schools, or indeed the culturally homogenizing effect of general state schools in eliminating the very diversity of opinion she claims to be defending.

I have far greater faith in parents than the state in being able to decide on an appropriate education for their children, and the more I see reported on the state of schooling in this country and the woeful outcomes for the children mired in state education, the greater my faith grows.

I am writing as a humanist-pagan home educator who counts amongst his, and his children's, home educating friends people of all faiths and none, including as some of our closest friends a family who fit the description Helena gives to a T. I have no fears for their children, as you could not find a more loving and supportive family.

Social diversity cannot be defended by state imposed homogeneity. Perhaps Helena should ask whether she believes that home education should only be for "people like us" and that "people not like us" should be forced to be like us.

And if she thinks faith based home education is "tantamount to child abuse", I can only wish that she is speaking from a blisfully naive viewpoint of not having witnessed child abuse. The comparison is crass and insulting to all parties.