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In amongst all the D Day Commemoration coverage I wonder how many people saw the German newsreel footage of civilians punching, kicking and slapping Allied prisoners of war as they were escorted down a French street. The footage suggests that the story might not be as straightforward as we are told. Didn't these people wanted to be "liberated" or was the price simply too high for them? My guess is a least as many French actively collaborated with the Nazis as took part in the Resistance activities. And most people just made the best they could of life under German rule. The 80th Anniversary revealed much about the prevalence of ignorance these days. Canadian radio host Chris Howden told listeners to As It Happens that troops of the 6th Airborne Division landed in France by parachuting from helicopters. Where to start with that display of ignorance and stupidity.

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One of the petty irritations of this life is radio science reporters who insist on making sure we know they are a doctor. I suspect they think it gives them credibility. More often it signals they are pompous. The only time it would give them credibility would be when they are discussing the narrow specialist topic they gained their PhD in. The rest of time, their PhD doctorate counts for little. The only exception I would make would be for medical doctors. That's because they train in general medicine before specialising and therefore have more knowledge than the average reporter off the street.

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What’s the point of paying for a website if you can’t blow your own trumpet once in a while? So, I was checking out the book reviews on amazon.co.uk and once that was done I decided to see how my books were doing. How the Scots Created Canada had five stars. But that’s based on only one rating. Scottish Military Disasters did slightly better with 4.6 stars based on five ratings. The one I want to highlight is the 4.5 stars for With Wellington in the Peninsula from 15 ratings. By the way, I’d appreciate it if folk could let me know if they come across the ebook of Scottish Military Disasters. And be very very careful about buying or downloading it. You might well be putting more than an ebook onto your computer or device. Certainly, no-one’s been in touch with me about royalty payments.

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When I was at school, teachers could still hit kids on the raised palm of their hands with a leather strap. I think the maximum dose was six strokes. I don’t think it did me any harm; but it didn’t do me any good either. I think perhaps it is a shame that something has been removed from the teachers’ toolbox when it comes to stopping classrooms descending into anarchy. I have to say that I lost a lot of respect for teachers who had to resort to the tawse. I remember one teacher whom I’d liked strapping a classmate for next to no reason. Something inoffensive, to normal people, that the pupil said. I was strapped at least once in primary school. For something harmless like talking in line when we were queuing up in the playground to get back into school after playtime. Whatever, hardly inciting a slave riot. Another time was at high school when a technical department teacher took the tawse to the whole class. Some idiot wrote something on the blackboard when the teacher was out of the classroom and no-one would say who did it. I think the lesson learned was a confirmation that the technical department included more than its share of sadists and sociopaths. In a school which numbered at least one murderer among the phantom chalker’s pals, no sane person was fingering him.

 

 

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Regular readers are probably aware that I believe the Public School system does major harm to the British economy and the well-being of the country. If the rich and powerful have no stake in the education of the majority of the population, they are not going to do much about it. You can bet that if their own children went to school with yours, then your kid would probably be getting a better education than they are. People with private educations are also over-represented in many jobs and it’s not because they are that smart. So, here’s something we could try. The rich will eventually get around it, but it may put a spoke in the wheels of perpetuation of privilege for a year or two. Why don’t we say that if the State is not good enough to educate a child then it is not good enough to employ them either. Think of all the civil service jobs, including military officers, which would no longer offer a cosy living for the products of private schools. And let’s not go into the question of boarding schools, the point of which seems to be to produce ruthless emotionally warped sociopaths who can be trusted with power over us. I know, because I’ve worked for two of them and both were vicious nasty pieces of work promoted well well beyond their ability.

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