Lying Low

The UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson foreshadowed the latest Government debacle with a warning on the danger that school students might be over-promoted into jobs that are beyond their competence.

I can only admire his steadfast ability to deadpan that message. That’s weapons-grade irony, right there. This is a man who probably hides a spare stone under a set of giant keys by his front door. And he’s not even the most egregiously inept window-licker in our IKEA Cabinet.

But seriously? Over-promotion is never driven by somebody breaking out their A-level certificates for the boss in a hopeful grandstanding flurry. Cronyism and arse-kissing fix that at a canter and dealing with the fall-out (or not) is always a matter for company big cheeses. On what planet are these jokers if they think we would actually swallow the line that this was a government concern? The only thing that is ever ‘oven-ready’ from these schmucks is off-the-shelf, off-beam verbosity. We’re smack bang in the middle of Goebbels ‘Big Lie’ territory.

You just know that the same asshats who designed the track and trace app had decided to have a crack at A-level algorithms. You know the mentality of these expert-loathing yee-hah cattle rustlers. You get them to work on your extension, and in an afternoon half the street has fallen down.

When it emerges that the IT development posse in the Cabinet Office had been headhunted from their grim bedroom existences cranking out glitchy Twitter Follower apps, none of us are going to bat an eyelid. This is the new normal.

And the Education supremo – with a sneak preview of the tissue of incomprehensible buffoonery that was surely to unfold – had darted in with a spot of ex post facto reasoning, dressed up as a way-paving, blow-softening wisdom.

It’s a crushing blow to the students who were denied the opportunity to prove their ability in the exam hall. They might even have been able to rely on coursework if Gove hadn’t scrapped that because he wanted primacy for supervised tests. You could probably look at any shitshow of the past 10 years, and sooner or later you would find evidence of Gove having tinkered with it in some form or another.

But overall, it’s a familiar story. These charlatans just love to box people in and then completely move the goalposts. Just ask any person who has invested in a business in the last six months.

They will of course blame it all on COVID. Their hands will have been tied (yawn).

But when young people are desperate for university places, and universities are desperate for students, it takes a government of incomparable incompetence to horse it up for all concerned. Anyone with a smidgeon of common sense would apply the handbrake now and revert back to the teacher grades. They could even work with institutions to create more capacity for increased intakes.

But they won’t.

In their assessment of the process, Boris Johnson has latched on to the risible ‘robust and dependable’, while Gavin Williamson has plumped for ‘consistent and fair’. Of course, neither go on to say why they have arrived at these conclusions. Mainly because they aren’t conclusions. This is just abject piffle. They probably didn’t even know about the algorithm until the Guardian rocked up to laugh in their faces.

Those who are responsible have not even slithered out from under their respective stones. Unelected wackos who are accountable to nobody. This present horse-up could not be more evident if it kicked you full-on in the face: we have, on the one hand, grades determined by teachers who are qualitatively familiar with the student work.

And on the other, we have a blind quantitative calculations process based on a set of statistically based rules that reduced 40% of those very grades.

It’s hardly rocket science. It’s not even A-Level Science.

What is truly depressing is not simply this foul-up. It is the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act of 2011 that pretty much determines that we are stuck with a band of bozos who are not fit to govern. And even when that term expires, we have alternatives who themselves are not fit to oppose.

Our current trajectory is starting to look quite terrifying.

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