From Cradle to Grave – Jeremy Corbyn’s National Education System

From Cradle to Grave – Jeremy Corbyn’s National Education System

It is seventy years this week, since the Labour Party achieved a landslide victory after the war. It must have been so exciting looking forward to peace, to the promise of a better world for ordinary people. Homes for all, and a National Health Service, a Welfare state.

Daily-Herald-27-July-1945Daily Herald “Labour in Power” 27th July 1945

Those days were remembered, in Think Left’s blog Academisation and the Demolition of our Education System

After the war, the hope was that the Labour Party would introduce policies which would change the lives of working class people, leading to a fairer society, and a fair education system was on their list.

It was not just the working class who knew things needed to change. It had been clear that there was a shortage of skills during the war, and this led to the 1944 Education Act  which led to the provision of free state education for all children from 5 -15.

The incoming socialist Labour government, led by Attlee, and inspired by Bevan, brought in popular policies, especially the introduction of a universal National Health Service, and an extensive social housing building programme. To the disappointment of many, a universal National Education Service was not an outcome, and this omission led to decades of disruption to an education service which, as I write, is now at a point of re-privatisation.

attlee mug

Attlee’s government did not go far enough to eradicate the class-ridden divisiveness caused the by privileges from private education and public schools. The state-funded education system introduced was a tripartite system of grammar, secondary modern and rarer technical schools. Selection at eleven would determine the course of a child’s life before even reaching puberty. Meanwhile, the rich and privileged continued to send their children to private and public schools, which opened the doors to an elitist society and via Oxbridge right into the heart of our political system, maintaining class divisions.

Had Attlee’s government made the brave decision to solve the problem of private and Church schools, and introduced a free universal education system for all, and eradicated private education, I believe it would have led to a fairer, and much more settled system which would have benefited all as the NHS has done.

But seventy years on, that dream is still alive. Jeremy Corbyn wants to see a National Education System. Corbyn wants to see investment in education system from cradle to grave. Education is not about training for a job, about ticking boxes and league tables. Education is about enriching our lives – and life long learning. It is fifty years since Harold Wilson’s inspirational Open University which opened doors for so many.

Sadly, Tory cuts and fees have taken the “Open” away and closed doors to this university without walls. Education should not end with a school certificate. There is so much knowledge and skills to share. Education benefits us all. Corbyn’s Education policy will put an end to tuition fees, and restore grants. Building on that, his plan for an NES and a life-long learning service will open up  education for everyone and enrich our lives and our society. And we can start this dream at the very beginning of an incoming parliament. This is exciting, positive politics and the spirit of ’45 is alive again.

Jeremy Corbyn writes  for Labour List

“The case for investing in early years education towards universal free childcare is overwhelming. A study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers a decade ago told us that in the long-term universal childcare would more than pay for itself – due to extra tax revenues from those in work and productivity gains. Politicians like to dress up in hard hats and hi-vis jackets on their pet construction projects, but lack the same enthusiasm for investment in social infrastructure.

In 2020 we should start by reversing the cuts to the adult skills budget and expand it into a lifelong learning service by adding 2% to corporation tax (still comfortably the lowest in the G7). This funding would be hypothecated to expand adult learning into a lifelong learning education resource. The extra tax revenues brought by a high skill, high productivity and high pay economy will fund further expansion.

A National Education Service will give working age people access throughout their lives to learn new skills or to re-train. It should also work with Jobcentre Plus to offer claimants opportunities to improve their skills, rather than face the carousel of workfare placements, sanctions and despair. We need a return to ambitious joined-up government.

While slashing college funding, George Osborne boasts of increasing apprenticeships. Yet too many are low quality, failing to give young people the transferable skills they need to get on.

It is clear that some employers are using apprenticeships and traineeships as a means of circumventing minimum wage legislation. This has to end. The minimum wage must be equalised across the board – with no poverty rates like the current £2.73 per hour apprenticeship rate.

Under a National Education Service, colleges should work in partnership with employers to mutually accredit apprenticeships and courses that offer high quality transferable skills. Councils and government agencies should also use public procurement contracts to guarantee good apprenticeships.

The best employers understand the business case for investing in staff – in increased employee productivity and staff retention – and that’s why it is right to ask business to pay slightly more in corporation tax to fund it, while still leaving UK corporation tax the lowest in the G7.

Government must play a strategic co-ordinating role in a modern economy. For too long the UK approach has been to stand back, ‘let the market decide’, then hope for the best. A National Education Service will be a lifelong learning service for a lifetime of opportunity.

How refreshing to hear positive , sensible policies from Labour. Jeremy Corbyn speaks, honestly, pragmatic, socially desirable policies. He challenges the Tory myth of austerity, and these are the policies people have been calling for. All Labour supporters should sign up and vote for Jeremy Corbyn, who is just what the Labour Party and the people of Britain need. He certainly has my vote, my best wishes, and hopes.

Labour Leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn, Speaking at Tolpuddle

Jeremy Corbyn Speaks at Tolpuddle, 19th July 2015

The significance of six men from Tolpuddle in Dorset and their families made to the lives of working people, leading to trade unions, and to democracy is unbeknown to many, who learn of kings and queens and rich people’s wars.

“My lord, if we had violated any law it was not done intentionally. We were uniting together to save ourselves, our wives and families from starvation.”
George Loveless
Tolpuddle farmer

But their battle was just to feed their families. They worked the land because rich people forcefully claimed they owned it. It is to commemorate these six men that there is an annual rally in Tolpuddle.

This year, The MP for North Islington, Jeremy Corbyn speaks of the Martyrs, and their contribution. As a candidate for the leadership of the Labour Party, he also puts forward his vision for a fairer society, where everyone is cared for everyone, and everyone cares for each other.

 Labour has had its ups and downs, but our contribution has been amazing.

  • We formed the NHS in 1948, Health Care free at point of use.
  • Passed planning legislation and built large numbers of council houses.
  • Building on Beverage, we founded the welfare state in 1948    
  • In Government we passed Equalities Legislation
  • The Human Rights Act
  • Argued and Changed Lives for LGBT

We have won great debates and made a massive contribution . Now there is unanimous support for free healthcare as a human right, but the idea of a welfare state as an insurance system to protect everybody from destitution has gone off the rails. There is talk in the Houses of Parliament of welfare scroungers, and people are watching Benefit Street. They are condemning people with disabilities (often work related), who are claiming legitimately – by the nastiest possible media imaginable.

“We need to say something different as a Labour Movement. We want to live in a society where nobody is homeless, where nobody is destitute. Is it right in the fourth richest country we allow one million people to rely on food banks, and sleep on streets?

Let’s defend the principle of a society which cares for everyone and where everyone cares for everyone else.”

We had our downs, supporting Private Finance Initiatives – and the Appalling decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003.

“It was a long time ago, but it does matter because the descendants of war are the next war , and the war after that. The growth of irrational forces like ISIL is not far from where we exported arms, which is now fuelling these conflicts. We have to think carefully about the human consequences of war. The refugee crisis around the world is now the biggest in recorded history.

Specific targets for the future Labour Party is the vote in 2016 for Trident replacement which is to cost 100 Billion pounds. Labour should oppose this. We want a world of peace, not war.

The other question facing the Labour Party is the Banking Crisis. We lost in 2010 because of a banking crisis created by unregulated banks and a sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US which led to a tsunami of economic problems all around the world. It was not caused by too many nurses and paramedics in the health service, cleaners in schools, educational assistants or any other public worker.

It was right for the Labour Party to bring banks into public ownership. The problem is that shares were given to a holding company, now under direction of George Osborne, selling them off at a loss.

Now spivs and the city, and fat cats all around the world  are buying up those banks. Since we paid so dearly as the public for those banks we should retain public ownership so that we can direct them to invest in manufacturing industry and everything else.

But we adopted an austerity budget, and an incoming  Labour supporting government would have made cuts as we have seen the ConDem government cuts. You can’t cut your way to prosperity. You only get change if you challenge the austerity agenda.

Reality is rebranding our economy leading to a greater inequality, reducing the size of the state in what it does for ordinary people.”

Labour need to offer something different. A future with hope.

“Now we have a chance to debate and offer an alternative through this Labour leadership campaign.

Now we can mobilise people, we can unite people, we can excite people. We can encourage those 53%  young people who were registered but didn’t vote. We can win people back.  

.. By being proud of what we are, where we came from: proud of our unions. 

I do know that mobilisation of such large numbers people invert town and city in this country, talking about something different, wanting something different has changed politics. Let it continue!” 

Who says we can’t afford the NHS or Social Security?

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By Prue Plumridge

Yesterday in Parliament, we witnessed a shameful spectacle when only 48 Labour MPs voted against the Welfare Bill.  The extreme centre, as Tariq Ali referred to it in his book ‘The Extreme Centre: A Warning’, once again failed to vote for the well-being of the citizens of this country.   Not content with abstaining over Workfare in the last government, a majority of Labour MPs did so again.  Neoliberalism rules in the Labour party in all but those very principled individuals who chose to put their heads up against the flow and say no.

We are told time and time again, that we can no longer afford our NHS or our social security system.  We are told that we must reign in expenditure, reduce the deficit, balance the books and even achieve surplus.  Our politicians like to remind us regularly that we cannot not leave the debt to future generations.  Deficit has become the bogeyman of our times and austerity its friend.

We accept this because we have an incomplete understanding of how our economy and money systems work.  Our politicians (through ignorance and design) use the analogy of the household budget to explain why we can no longer afford public sector services and our social security system.  Notice I make a distinction between the terms social security and the oft used word ‘welfare’ which has become so tainted in recent times.  The connotation of welfare to mean skivers and scroungers has been cleverly used by politicians and the media alike to divide people who either don’t know or have forgotten its origins. Along with the mantra – there is no money – it is used to justify the dismantlement of the safety net for when we are at our most vulnerable and worse still the selling off of every aspect of our publicly provided services to the private sector.

It seems to me that if we are to challenge the view being pedalled by our politicians and many mainstream economists that we can’t afford our public services, and create a decent society for all we need to go back to basics and gain an understanding of how our economy really works. Not the household budget model which serves as a useful means to deceive people who, quite understandably, identify with Micawber the Dickens character in David Copperfield, who said:

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

We are always told by politicians that tax funds our expenditure – meaning that our expenditure on things like infrastructure, the NHS, and Social Security is limited by that income.  We need to start dispelling these pernicious myths which are rooted in our ‘gold standard’ past which demanded that you had enough gold to back your national currency.  This arrangement was abandoned as far back as 1971 and yet we are still running our economy and money system as if it were still in place.

Last year, Dr Stephanie Kelton gave a presentation to students in Kansas City in which she challenged these ideas.  She used the Monopoly game analogy to explain where money comes from and how the system really works and pointed out that balancing budgets will only suppress growth because it removes money from the public sector’s balance sheet which in turn acts as a drain on the real economy.  By which she means the labour, equipment and other resources that produce the goods and services we all rely on.  Spending (as she says quite clearly) equals income to someone. She also explains that we are not going to leave a huge debt to future generations, as is being claimed by those politicians who either don’t understand or wilfully misunderstand the reality. The real issue is not affordability but how we ensure future economic prosperity through improving productivity.

This is what she had to say:

 ‘When you play the game monopoly, you open up the rules, set up the cards and ask who is going to be the banker. So how does the game start? Why doesn’t the banker collect taxes to get the game going? Because no-one has any money yet.  So what does the bank do first?  It has to issue the money before it can collect anything back or the game can’t even begin.  So the spending, the issuing of currency has to come first.  And then you read the instructions and it says the bank collects taxes, fines, loans and interest and the bank never goes broke. If the bank runs out of money the bank may issue as much as needed by writing on any ordinary paper.  It’s exactly what it means to be the monopolist. That’s why they call it Monopoly.  Money has to be spent before it can be collected back.

So you start playing the game and you move you pieces around the board and you land on Community Chest or Chance, you draw your card and oh oh pipes burst, pay $50 – there goes a leakage. You keep on playing, you land on another one and oh oh tax is due pay $100. This game will end very quickly if there isn’t a replacement for the money that is leaking out – so every time you pass GO you collect $200. Why does the monopoly game tell the banker to put in $200 each time you go around? To keep the game going. To let the game continue.  You can save in Monopoly in the form of real estate investment. Every time you buy a hotel or a house you pay the banker some money and it’s out of the game – it’s leaked out.  Every time you pay taxes it’s money that has leaked out of the system. The banker has to spend out more than it collects otherwise the game will quickly come to an end. Which is to say that if the banker is not deficit spending the game will end much sooner.”

Dr Kelton goes on to point out that even Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve knows perfectly well that a government cannot go bankrupt.  He made this quite clear when he said under oath as chairman of the Federal Reserve ‘a government cannot become insolvent with respect to obligations in its own currency.  A fiat money system like the ones we have today can produce claims without limit”.  When faced with a question posed by Congressman Paul Ryan on social security (although as Dr Kelton says it could refer to defence spending, education spending, infrastructure spending or student debt), as to whether personal retirement accounts would help to achieve State solvency  (whilst also disingenuously suggesting that social security was going broke and that it would be a good time to move towards personal savings account or in more plain language privatisation), Alan Greenspan replied that there was nothing unsustainable about social security because there is nothing to prevent the federal government from creating as much money as it wants and paying it to someone.  However, the real question, he said was, will the real assets be there in the future that those incomes can be employed to purchase? There are, we all know, demographic changes taking place – a shrinking work force and a growing population of retiring baby boomers which it is claimed is the reason why we need reform and privatisation.  It is, however, a red herring and the real issue is that with fewer working people producing the goods or services how will we ensure that there are enough for future generations to purchase.  If there are not, then competition for a smaller pool of output would then lead to inflation.

Therefore the questions we should be asking are not whether there is enough money but whether we are we making the necessary investments in education and technology or indeed will there be enough resources to ensure that we can continue to be productive particularly in respect to the finite nature of our planet’s resources and how should we manage it? To repeat, the debate can never be about affordability. These are perhaps the real questions for us as a society.  What sort of world do we want to live in? One where greed and inequality increases and poor people are dehumanised and impoverished?  Or one which is fair and just and treats citizens with respect and dignity whilst also recognising some of the really serious issues we face about the future viability of our planet home?

It is clear from recent announcements in the House of Lords and by government ministers that we are being prepared for the eventual complete privatisation of the NHS and our social security system, both to be replaced by insurance schemes.  Not because they have to but because of erroneous ideology which suits the politicians and their corporate friends.

The trouble is, as Mark Twain puts it ‘It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled” and it is time to wake up to the deceit which is being practised upon us by those who should be leaders and not exploiters. We have an obligation to ensure that people understand what is happening and why it is happening.  We need to educate ourselves and pass it on.  Otherwise the lie will be perpetuated remorselessly until there are no options left.

References:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/feb/20/tariq-ali-interview-renationalise-the-railways

Tariq Ali: The Extreme Centre: A Warning

Dr Stephanie Kelton Angry Birds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d57M6ATPZ

Jeremy Corbyn – the Cat Among the Pigeons!

Jeremy Corbyn – The Socialist King of Labour and England

Here’s something to make you smile. The artist taxi driver’s brilliant rant about the Telegraph’s claim that Jeremy Corbyn’s election would be good for Tories. The double bluff. The Tories are petrified at a politician speaking the truth about injustice.

There is massive support for Jeremy Corbyn within the Labour Party and for non-activists in general public. They all want to see someone who will oppose the Tories, and actually challenge the status quo.

Jeremy Corbyn has reignited socialists’ hope where they had lost belief. Just imagine – Jeremy Corbyn, a cat among the neoliberal pigeons – Socialist King of Labour.
Enjoy this clip. You can’t help smile. Such enthusiasm.