There was an arse on the ??Today?? programme this morning, calling for the return of corporal punishment to schools. One in five teachers, he says, want it 'as an option'.
Two points, then: a) that means four in five don’t want it, and b) why do you think it’s all right to use violence against children? (and as a corollary, how do you think doing so will make them less prone to using violence themselves?)
These are exciting times in Hackney. Not only has my son just started secondary school today (where did those eleven years go?) but it seems that we are getting a new bookshop near the top of our road.
This is big news indeed. Our little corner of Lower Clapton is characterised more by chicken-based fast-food joints and kebab shops. A children’s bookshop opened on nearby Chatsworth Road a year or two ago (my daughter was their first customer). There was a brief, exciting moment last year when something that looked like a bookshop opened up on Lower Clapton Road, but it turned out to be a religious booksop, specialising the the Christian field.
But today I went up to get my hair cut, and I noticed a new sign up: Pages of Hackney. A new bookshop on the Lower Clapton Road, opening on Saturday 13th September. Excellent news.
Not so good is that Saf’s Barbers is “closed until further notice”. I hope everything’s all right. I still have shaggy hair, which never looks good when it’s receding.
I found myself feeling curiously left out as my colleagues left work to watch the England match yesterday. This despite the fact that I didn’t want to watch it, I purposely avoided watching it, and I intended/hoped to take advantage of the reduced commuter traffic (not much reduced, as it happened: such is London’s diversity) to get home easily, and collect my kids from school.
Where they were watching the football, of course, courtesy of the after-school club.
Above all, if I had intended to watch it, my sympathies would have been with the other side anyway: I am Scottish, after all, and as my Dad used to say, “It doesn’t matter who wins, as long as it’s not England.” Plus I’m a sucker for an underdog (I mistyped that as “undergod”; there’s a story in there, I’m sure).
But despite all that, as my colleagues left the office for the pub or wherever, I still felt a slight echo of the thing I felt as a kid when I was left out of something that “everyone else” was doing.
We all want to be part of a tribe, I suppose.
In the end I watched he last half hour or so at the school; from just before the scary personality-cult chants of “Rooney, Rooney!” to the end. The cheers, as you might expect in a primary school, were very high and shrill. I was pleased, though, that Trinidad and Tobago’s goal (before it was disallowed) got almost as loud a cheer. This was Hackney, and of course, there are a lot of kids with Caribbean ancestry.
And maybe a lot of good sports, too. Maybe I should learn from them, and support England. But I can’t see it ever happening: there are some early-learned prejudices that die impossibly hard.
So I guess I’m still part of a tribe.
So, London gets it. I was against it, but now I feel strangely pleased.
I think I was for it at first; I really enjoyed watching the Athens Olympics last summer, the kids enjoyed it, and the idea of having one just down the road sounded great. But then I looked at the plans, and turned against it. The main reason for my opposition was the effects that I think it will have on the Lower Lea (or Lee) Valley. As far as I can tell, our beloved wilderness will be turned into bland parkland, with the associated loss of wildlife habitat.
However, it may not be as bad as all that, and there’s no doubt that the potential regeneration here in East London — in particular the transport improvements — could be great.
My other concern is, of course, the cost, and how we taxpayers may be paying for it for decades.
But what the hell: my kids will be 15 and 11 in 2012, so it should be fantastic for them.