grama skools

Notekin—if you lob your email address into the box on the right, you’ll get pinged whenever I add a new blog post. (Sadly you still need to do this even if you were subscribed to my Indian dispatches.)
"Choose your answer carefully, Mr Bond, for a wrong choice could be your last."

So here in the land of Politics we’ve been looking at the history of grammar vs comprehensive schools, and because the non-British students were so completely bemused by the idea of the 11+ exam, I was inspired to hunt out some of the practice 11+ papers I did in 2003.

I was really pleased to find that I’ve not lost the knack of identifying an oval part-way up a stick – it made me what I am today and, after all, if mankind couldn’t do that, we might as well still be living in caves.

Another useful skill I’ve retained is that of finding a word coincidentally hidden between two others in a sentence. An example from the exam paper: My father is the best optician. Now, only the absolute cream of the cream of British schoolchildren will be astute enough to notice that the ‘st’ from ‘best’ and the ‘op’ from ‘opticians’ can be pieced together to make the word ‘stop’. Quite, quite remarkable.

In other subjects, one of my International Relations seminar tutors is Chinese and has a charming habit of referring to our Prime Minister as ‘David Cameroon’. So what with him and a compulsory seminar on the topic of ‘Liberty’ it’s just been a barrel of laughs.

Lecturers deployed within 45 minutes


One evening the university invited a guest lecturer to come and speak about Libya, in the form of Lawrence Freedman, formerly a foreign policy advisor to Tony Blair and now a completely impartial member of our impartial Iraq War Inquiry alongside other impartial members such as Sir Martin “Blair is a modern-day Churchill” Gilbert.

Sir Lawrence also has the distinction of having precisely as  many letters coming after his name (‘CBE KCMG FBA FKC’) as I have in my name overall.

He was welcomed by a Sussex academic who’d studied under him in the 1980s, Professor Sergio Catignani. Sergio started off reasonably enough, but it soon degraded into outright sycophancy with, “I was going to print everybody here a list of Laurie’s publications, but the list itself is 51 pages long. Wow.”

What’s your lucky number?

I was the 80,530,118,710th person ever to live on this planet, according to the BBC. By using UN population figures, they’ve created a uniquely useless and inaccurate piece of software which has also managed to work out that upon being born I became the 5,402,977,972nd current resident of Earth. Apparently the 100,000,000,000th person will win a free Amazon voucher worth £50!

Local news

someone-got-paid-to-write-thisSussex Police have completed their entry for the 2011 Meaningless Crime Reduction Sign Competition, and I think they’re probably onto a winner! (click to enlarge) But they’ve also been busy in the fight against organised crime…

At the cutting edge of British journalism lies the Brighton Argus, which this week used the headline Hunt for Worthing “poo thief” to focus much attention on an unusual (albeit fairly dull) story about an event that took place in last Sunday. “A bag-snatcher on a bicycle pinched a bag of poo from an elderly dog-walker . The thief rode past the pensioner near the Post Office in High Street, Tarring, and grabbed a bag she had been using to clean up after her dog. The suspect was described as a black teenager. Anyone with information is asked to call Sussex Police on 0845 6070999.”

“You wait ages for a bus and then it’s too long!”



Comments? Queries? Questions? Observations?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: