13 April 2007

Blair's "new relationship" in action

Not Saussure has a fascinating post at Educational Conscription about 16-year-old Kayleigh Baker, whose school tried to force her to take 'extra lessons'. Because she refused, the school are penalising her in various ways, e.g. expelling her from netball team, banning her from prom.

I think this case is highly illuminating. It illustrates two key themes of mediocracy: *

1) "Education" (the compulsory institutional variety) gradually encroaches on more and more of people's time — more age groups, longer hours of the day, outside term time, etc.

2) Society is presumed to have inalienable rights over the individual (cf. absolutism).

This is perfectly exemplified by Tony Blair's new concept of the state's relationship with the individual.

Blairspeak: we should "be aiming for a more explicit statement of the contract that covers both the service offered by the public sector (what is in and what is not) and what is expected from citizens (beyond paying taxes and obeying the law)."

Translation: The responsibilities are from citizen to state, not the other way round.

Kayleigh's headmaster ("Chief Executive" in Mediocspeak): "At the school we have standards and we extend these to the children. They have rights but they also have responsibilities too."

* as well as being characteristic of certain other major political ideologies, one of which I am prevented by Godwin's Law from mentioning.

E-C update
New post up by Roger Thornhill, highlighting the absurdity of stick-and-carrot tinkering to produce the ideologically preferred end result du jour — threatening teenagers with prison one minute, and promising them fees for passing their A-levels (or mountain bikes for behaving) the next.


james higham said...

Society is presumed to have inalienable rights over the individual (cf. absolutism).

Except for Blogpower, which works in reverse - individuals having the ultimate power.

Parham said...

Hahaha, how insane! Fabian, what in HELL is happening to good ole' Briton??? Your country used to be the king of the world one time, and now it's shrunk to a most contemptful feebleness. WHAT was the sole instigator, the great depression and consequently the welfare state? The whole history of it is madness..

Anonymous said...

Kayleigh's parents should be thrown in prison camp for giving her a name like that.