Every nation, it seems, has a two-tier educational system, with government-supported schools for most children, and expensive privately paid for schools for the children of the wealthy. It seems only rational that parents who could afford to pay for school would send their children where, ostensibly, those children would be better educated than by a government-supported school.
With the current depredations on government schools by the UK's entitled Conservative (Tory) party members, there's good reason to believe that--as far as actual book-learning goes--the private schools are superior. But for every other part of the preparation of decent, intelligent adults, the UK's private (called public in the UK, but called private hereafter in order not to confuse non-British readers) schools are a disaster from start to finish.
Taking children out of family life and putting them in residential school settings where there is a housemother but no family, and the only humanising that is done is by other equally unformed adolescents, produces tribal behaviour, not humanity. Tribal behaviour results in fights; fights result in deaths; deaths result in misery for the living. In short, by forcing upper-crust kids into an artificial cultural construct, we have guaranteed that we will be governed by juveniles not even remotely equal to the task.
Fiction as factIn fact, the Tories are a perfect reflection of the private school ethos used as the basis for William Golding's Lord of the Flies. The book concerns the descent into savagery of a group of pre-adolescent boys marooned on a Pacific island with no adults to lead them. They form a tribe, pick leaders, anoint an outcast (whom they eventually kill) and eventually, having secured a food supply and shelter, become both lazy and increasingly vicious.
The Wikipedia article about the book notes, "The semblance of order quickly deteriorates as the majority of the boys turn idle; they give little aid in building shelters, spend their time having fun and begin to develop paranoias about the island."
Excuse me, but does this sound just a bit like the Tories? They are not taking care of the islanders/Brits, they are failing at housing and food and medical care; indeed, they are selling off the medical care so they can have more money to pay for fun, which is, for them, more unearned income. Indeed, by age 11, the deplorable Jacob Rees-Mogg viewed amassing astonishing wealth as the only fun thing to do in life.
Like the boys on the island, the Tories are happy to be in charge, even though they lack the mental/emotional tools to lead. Mrs. May is a superb and extravagant example, a "fake boy" without even the private school background of tribe-building, and lacking any sort of emotional intelligence one might reasonably expect in a woman; for which see German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The Tories want to be in charge but mainly of not paying their fair share of taxes so that they can have even more goodies. (Yes, I'm speaking of you, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Phillip May, et al). As for paranoias, they are terrified of the Yaxley-Lennons causing an uproar; it strikes me as about the same thing as the island boys being afraid of a few flies buzzing about the head of a pig they had killed--a fear that's self-inflicted, wildly overblown and easily taken care of by removing the head/depriving Yaxleys of airtime.
Cameron channels Lord of the Flies
To curry favour with his tribe, three years ago Cameron unwisely scheduled a referendum about life on the island asking only the most rudimentary, school-boy questions: Do you want to stay in the EU or leave? Or, do you like your chocolate filled or plain? Same thing.
There was no explanation of what staying in the European Union (EU) or leaving it meant. Indeed, considering the appalling state of British education for the last two decades or so, few people actually understood what the EU is. One has to wonder whether Cameron understood. Certainly, he didn't understand that the EU seemed to be--to Brits he had bashed with the useless, needless austerity plan so his government of Tories could have more--like just another level of miserable bureaucracy making them suffer.
Nor was there a minimum level needed to assess the referendum. If 6 of 10 boys said they liked filled chocolates, did that mean the other 4 would not get any plain ones, ever? Should it not have been at least an 8 out of 10 vote to be meaningful? If you allow the margin of difference to be very small, you are inviting both manipulation (see BeLeave and its criminal acts) and dissatisfaction among the voters that the vote had been either real or meaningful. No one wants to be bound by a close vote--even though (laughing hysterically) this vote wasn't binding. Cameron created open sores, oozing and smelling like the toilets after an Etonian bachelor party.
In his adolescent immaturity, Cameron had ensured that none of the "boys" would be satisfied with the vote or what it produced. Everyone would feel ill-served, both those who had no clear mandate to behave the way the vote suggested, nor those who suspected it had been rigged against them (they were right.) Cameron ensured infighting for as long as the "boys" were unsupervised on the island. He was, to put it mildly, as weak a leader as either of the co-leaders in Golding's book.
The boys on the island are as close an imitation of the bunch of neo-feral Tory politicians as you could possibly imagine. One must wonder if Golding foresaw the ungodly mess the Tories, under the leadership of the perennially boyish David Cameron of the Etonian tribe, have made of their country. It is in flames, figuratively speaking, and it doesn't appear there are any adults in naval vessels coming along to sort it out.
The EU has tried to guide the UK to some semblance of maturity without actually supervising, which is not, despite Leaver belief, any part of the EU mandate. The EU has now given the boys/Tories one last chance to either create island governance that works without killing people, or to leave the islanders to their own devices, unprotected in a hostile world. In short, they can either scrap the referendum's results and beg pardon to consort with the adults--the EU--again, or they can perish by their own pre-adolescent wits on a cold island with nothing left to recommend it.
Lord of the Flies ends as the boys have set their island aflame. A passing military boat sees the flames and mounts a rescue, whereupon the boys who are still alive revert, in the presence of actual adults, to the pre-adolescent behaviour they had left behind when trying to be fake adults. On the island, they were just like the Tories led by Mrs. May, and in way, way, way over their little heads. Given a decent leader--the rescuer--they reverted to the behaviour of their actual ages, crying and all.
Make no mistake; that is exactly what it has come down to. We must elect a government/force the current government to behave decently toward us and our neighbors and remain a part of the adult group, the EU, or we will perish as a united kingdom; we will devolve into a handful of very small, very unimportant, very lonely and very poor nations.
This is not fiction, but reality. There is no author waiting to relieve us of our misery with a handful of pacifying words. THERE IS NO CONVENIENT NAVAL SHIP SAILING BY TO SAVE US.
Our MPs will have to grow up fast or all is lost...and we will be left stranded on an island in the middle of a vast ocean from which storms are more likely to arise than days of calm and bliss, in which food will be difficult to obtain and prepare, in which there will be no new clothing once the clothes worn when we were marooned fall off of us in tatters.
|Drawing of Lord of the Flies island: UK, 2020?|
Copyright 2019, Laura Harrison McBride