For the last week or so (see http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/mums_present_petition_against_nursery_closures_1_4269434 and http://www.isleofman.com/News/article.aspx?article=43682 for example) the pseudo-local press has been full of ‘stories’ about Manx government cutbacks in pre-school services.
Being a cynic, I am not surprised that all this ‘people’s press’ guff kicks off just at the point when the Manx government cut all the public notices which used to subsidise Johnston Press’s advertising rates to the offshore finance sector, which in turn was the only reason they set up shop here in the first place. And as I once worked for the last newspapers not owned by Johnston Press before they finally put us out of business, they could, in turn, fairly comment that I would say that, wouldn’t I?
But another thing; let us admit at once that ‘pre-school education facilities’ are not education facilities. They are government child-minding facilities, offered on the discreet understanding that as long as both parents need to work full time in order to pay taxes and buy private housing they cannot spend the day at home with small kids. No child actually gets educated at them.
And let us admit another thing. In practice they are not even that.
For one thing because of the unofficial racist screening of parents which ensures that such facilities are always ‘full’ whenever an obviously not local mum enquires about them, yet remarkably can always squeeze another one in when a relative or churchmate of the school secretary asks the next day.
For another, because there is a longer running class prejudice against people from council estates who have been failed by the Manx education system for generations.
The small town (and to be frank pig-ignorant) elite who perpetuate such bigotry ensured that a previous generation left school unemployable just as local work outside the finance sector was drying up. For a decade or more now, they have been branding the generation that followed as ‘unfit parents’ and building up a nice little racket in ‘social care’ and ‘parenting skills’. It always cracks me up that upper middle class halfwits get to run local childrens charities and organise highly pointless seminars and conferences to address the supposed problems of this ‘lost generation’. Meanwhile their own kids, deprived of any parental attention, are the key customers of the local drug dealers.
The end result of this is the farce we see played out every day outside my daughter’s primary school, and probably every other one on the island. My wife waves goodbye at the school gate, tries to avoid every other working mum speeding off to work, and waves to two women who run small private nurseries as they drop off some older kids before heading back to the nursery to take over from a part-time assistant who is minding the tinies. Meanwhile a clump of professional welfare mums drop their kids at the ‘pre-school’ class at the infant school, light up another fag and go home to watch Jeremy Kyle.
Not that I am blaming the welfare mums. Because this is what a lot of government policy and money has reduced them to. Educated out of the work force, now even judged unfit to be parents because of the very process which, first, saw them targetted for compulsory parenting classes run by semi-retired churchwives, and which in turn saw secretive files being drawn up on their unfitness to parent which, paradoxically, put their kids to the head of the list for pre-school education (because, being illiterate and innumerate, the testing revealed they would be unable to help their kids begin reading or counting).
Against all this, do I really care a jot if goods which were never as described or fit for purpose are no longer on offer?
Well, No, and Yes.
No because the future non-existence of something which was never there for me or any other working parent not born here is not a genuine problem. The day I arrived here I saw this place was, though of great natural beauty and with some residents of incredible charm and warmth, also a racist toilet with no social superstructure, so I never relied on anyone outside my family and close friends for anything and never will.
Yes, because of that odd little admission at the end of the first report, that: “Education and Children Minister Peter Karran MHK has previously said the government hopes to lease out the 11 sites for private and voluntary agencies to run.”
Who might those ‘private and voluntary agencies’ be?
Knowing that both Health and Social Care are now overseen by superstitious pro-life throwbacks with a track record for handing government contracts to their equally disreputable and bigoted friends, and knowing how many full time religious bigots are sniffing around for extra income to compensate for the total lack of public interest in their Sunday shenanigans, and knowing how ordinary members of evangelical churches who work in the public sector have been offered career advancement in return for spotting business opportunities for those churches…..
Well, frankly, knowing all that it is not hard to guess. What any decent parent or caring, reasonably educated Manx citizen really needs to work out is what to do to prevent the island becoming a place run by, and only fit for, parasitic village idiots.
Probably exactly the same as we did yesterday, but with even more determination and wit.
4 years ago