Profit is Knighted and Education Blighted. Time to fight back against the continued presence of neo-liberalism in Education.

I understand and share people’s anger towards the behaviour of some banks. But anger on its own does not offer us a solution. Instead, Britain needs to lead the world in reforming and restructuring our banking system.

We are told by the our glorious leaders (for example Gordon Brown above) that the lessons have been learned about the economic crash. After all, it is taxpayers’ (i.e. working people) who have been burdened with the responsibility for bailing out the system. We are told by Brown that the system will now be regulated better and that the banks will become the servant of our economy and society, never its master. Yet it is the leaders like Brown who continue to place profit ahead of social values, it is Brown who continues  to argue that even education must be run by the principles of the market It is Brown who wants to put students in greater debt to these banks. It is Brown and his mates who continue to bestow peerage and influence on the high priests of profiteering., co-opting them onto committees to reorganise national institutions.

For we should not forget that when Brown refers to the behaviour of some banks he is indeed referring to his favoured banks. The Royal Bank of Scotland, which the government bailed out to the tune of 20 billion pounds, was so mismanaged that they knighted its Chief Executive Officer, Fred Godwin in 2004. Of course in the light of the collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland Sir Fred was awarded an honorary fellowship of the London Business School. Wiki lists his other interests as follows:

Goodwin has chaired various government task forces including one examining the work of credit unions and the New Deal programme. He is a former president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland.  He has been chairman of The Prince’s Trust since 2003.

Of course were Brown to be taken to task on this he would reply that lessons had been learned. But we would suggest both that the media is highly unlikely to take him to task on these issues and that Brown has learned no lessons at all. An example of this is another Knight  of the big round pig trough, Sir Alan Davies. Sir Alan was knighted for his services to education in January 2000. Davies represented the incorporation into British Education of what Simon Caulkin describes as Neo-Taylorism:

Managers abandoned true north in favour of “neo-Taylorism” – quantitative techniques, “the cult of the expert”, of which the temples were business schools, and heroic CEOs. Raging self-interest and the malign influence of shareholder value did the rest; as it did in the UK, where, lacking their own tradition and burdened by inferiority complex, UK managers were all too easy to drag in the same direction.

Last week Sir Alan Davies resigned from Copland Community College where he had been Headmaster rather than face the same fate as deputy head, Dr Richard Evans MBE, who was rightfully sacked for coruption. You see it appears our noble Knights pilfered over a million pounds in unlawful bonuses from the state over several years. Of course Ed Balls, Education Secretary, who finally had to act on this issue was keen to remind us that

he supports extra pay for heads who take on additional responsibilities, he has emphasised that this should be only “where appropriate and justified”.

What Mr Balls did not comment on was whether he would find the money (30 million) to fund the rebuilding of the crumbling Copland Community College or whether he still expected the school to continue with Sir Alan’s plans to finance the building through selling off a considerable portion of the school’s grounds to private property developers.

Again you might argue that lessons have been learned. However, we learn that Lord Browne, former CEO of BP, is to lead a review into university funding (picture above). Is this not the same Lord Browne, (Gordon Brown and his mates granted the noble lord his title) who lied to the court when denying his relationship with a young male “escort”? (Obviously Lord Browne will have some creative ideas on how young hard up students might earn a bit of extra cash.) Is this not the same Lord Browne who oversaw the bribing of Azerbaijan State Oil? Is this not the same Lord Browne whose cost cutting exercises at BP plants led to the deaths of  15 workers at a Texas refinery? Is this not the same Lord Browne who was involved in dirty dealings with the Libyan government (his MI6 partner in crime later being given a plum job with the same oil company with which he so objectively co-operated). Is this not the very same Lord Browne who “resigned” from BP, relinquishing his right to a lucrative pension? Surely, a government who place values before profit would not place such a man in charge of such an important review, would they?

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