In response to Mr Clark


I must reply to UKIP MEP Mr Clark’s letter in the Advertiser.

It’s very easy to find consensus on things like education, global warming, Europe and immigration because if you say something often enough, people start to believe it.

But examined more closely it’s harder to justify your conclusions.

So let’s have a look at Mr Clark’s views in his recent letters.

On Education, for instance, anyone would agree that discipline and concentration in the classroom are necessary, but to say that modern technology has no part in learning is Luddite. Also, by what criteria do you measure the success of education? It’s not all about the three Rs, what about computer literacy for instance?

Mr Clark’s assumption that Asia is ahead through adopting old teaching methods is nonsense, they are ahead because Western capital has been invested in cheap labour markets.

Mr Clark conjures up my memories of the classrooms of the past. The stern-looking teacher, standing next to the blackboard, cane in hand. Classes of up to forty children, chanting their times table, ink wells, sparking clogs, short trousers, and long skirts.

Despite this stern teaching method many children, usually those sitting at back of class, could not read and write by age 11.

The fact is, for those who failed the dreaded 11+, jobs in industry were available to all.

My concern today is that many politicians, many of whom educate their children privately, have never accepted the concept of comprehensive education, indeed by actively supporting the retention of grammar and church schools they have undermined the state system. This must be a worrying time for many parents wanting to get the best for their children, preferably at a good local school, but having to bear more uncertainty and upheaval.

Global warming/climate change is another pressing issue of the day. You argue that this is the earth’s natural cycle beyond the understanding of the common man, except for one stark fact. The burning up of the Earth’s reserves of fossil fuels, laid down over millions of years is not part of earth’s natural cycle. The culprit is man.

The consequences can be witnessed in recurring drought and starvation. The conclusion must be that to sustain the current world population growth and ever increase human consumption; alternative methods of producing energy will have to be developed.

This country should now be at the forefront of the next industrial revolution and educate its children in the reality of the world they will live in.

My conclusion is that in a democracy the current issues of the day can be debated by knowledgeable people. Unfortunately politicians and their ideologies are incapable of reaching sensible conclusions.

John Armstrong