2018 – mayhem and hope?

And so dear reader, the Christmas holiday season is almost upon us and this may well be my last post of the year. 

I have had on overwhelming sense that this year that  I have really struggled to keep writing regular posts on this blog.  It has been cathartic and reassuring this morning to look back and see that I actually haven’t done that badly – certainly up until around summer. However there was a change about half way through the year . Weekly posts (my sort of self imposed writing schedule) became a rarity, and I really struggled with what to write.    

There are a number of reasons for the downturn in posts, not least the current  completely mad political situation in the UK. But also a lot of my time has been taken up with writing a book with co-authors Bill and Keith. Looks like we have missed the Christmas list for this year, but hopefully it will be published in January. 

Writing the book has allowed me to engage more critically with my own praxis and begin to really understand the importance of critical pedagogy.  So whilst it was extremely cathartic to have a rant about the dangers neoliberal  forces attacking our education systems, it is also quite depressing.  I swing from feeling totally empowered and energised particularly from my peer group at events such as this year’s ALT conference (which was a real highlight of the year for me) to feeling utterly dismayed at the the current UK governments ominshambles over Brexit. 

My last post from 2017 was based on one of those sort of annoying, but sometimes fun Facebook round robin things 

Leave a positive word I can carry through 2018 that starts with the 1st letter of your name – it can only be one word

 This is the word cloud I made from the responses.  Looking back at it this morning, it did make me smile that mayhem and hope were so prominent.  I hope that the latter can help alleviate the former in 2019.    

Living in interesting times


Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

As the end of 2018 approaches, the old adage of living in interesting times seems more apt than ever.  Nothing in UK politics seems to make sense any more. So when I was looking for the origins of the phrase “we live in interesting times” ,  I had that sad, ironic, I should be laughing but I’m actually dying feeling when I saw from wikipedia that there are claims that it originates from an ancient  Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times”.  I wonder if our current PM knows this. 

Politicians, particularly those in our current UK Government, and particularly our current Prime Minister Theresa May, keep banging on about delivering a Brexit that “the people” voted for.  But no-one voted for what is happening just now. During the referendum  no-one had sight of a draft deal,  so no-one really actually had any idea of what a deal would actually entail.  That hasn’t really changed in the past two years until the last couple of weeks.  

There were of course some vacuous, totally inaccurate slogans on buses and proclamations that the Brexit negotiation  would be the easiest trade deal in history ever.   There was never any plan to leave, just some vague, jingoist nonsense about reclaiming – laws and sovereignty – neither of which we had actually lost.  

“We, the people” are now caught up in a type of circular hell that even Dante couldn’t have imagined. 

What history will make of this, I have no idea. However what is clear to me is that to enact a plan you first need to have a plan. That plan should be critiqued, debated in a democratic way.  The complexities and implications of trade negotiations should be transparent and not swept under the carpet by very rich (mainly white) people who can afford to carry on living the way the live whilst “we, the people” have to live in chaos and economic uncertainty for the next decade or more.  Historic  international peace treaties such as the Good Friday Agreement can’t be ignored, 

All I know just now is that I feel even more invisible than normal. Democracy is failing me and I don’t know what to do.   But maybe one day some historian in the future will discover this little post will maybe get a sense of my hopelessness and despair. 

I’ve been struggling to write this blog post today,  and now I have just seen this article in The Guardian. Thank  you Ivan Rodgers for putting into words some of what I have been feeling.