Change Concepts

Table 1: Efficiency gains between 1940 and 1970

Resources used Coal Process (1940) Gas Process (1970)
Land 46 acres 17 acres
Labour 2,300 240
Energy per ton made 750 therms 400 therms
Annual production 225,000 tons 800,000 tons

Abdication by the Middle Classes

Besides will and determination, the commitment to quality – to precision, in being right first time – are now clearly identified as key ingredients of industrial success.  These qualities, which it is clearly comical to suggest have anything to do with EC membership, are precisely those qualities most discouraged by the predominant educational philosophy of the last thirty years.  For while we have had, until the last five years or so, near total abdication of industrial leadership, it would not have mattered quite so much if the middle ranks of our society had not so completely lost their nerve in upholding not only the civic virtues of politeness, tidiness and honesty, but their industrial equivalents of care, reliability, hard work and punctuality.  The middle classes – particularly those involved in the educational service – have been bludgeoned into abandoning these virtues in favour of an emphasis on so-called creativity – on a misplaced sympathy for failure – on a barely disguised egalitarianism.  One of Ronald Reagan’s supporters, a young black woman called Shirley Mackenzie from Miami, said to a British reporter covering the 1983 Republican convention:

“I’m not interested in talking about poor people.  The best way I can help poor people is not to be one of them.”

This is the attitude which we should espouse in education above all.  Young people have to acquire the determination to pull themselves up by their own efforts instead of being encouraged to see themselves as victims of the system.  Unfortunately at the present time, a massive egalitarian pressure is being exerted by the educational Establishment to follow their triumph in abolishing O-levels by abolishing A-levels – the one truly world class feature of our school system – as I and others have warned in the national press they would.

Pressure by the European Community

To provide all our young people with a range of qualifications for which they can aim, the Government has devised a comprehensive system of qualifications through the National Council for Vocational Qualifications, but this is to work alongside A-levels, not as their replacement.  It will take some years to work through and does not need, and is indeed hindered by the major distraction of entaglement with the EC with its constant pressure to influence education.  Predictably however the imposition on our country of rules issue by the European Commission using majority voting in the Council of Ministers now impinges directly on every citizen of our country:

“EEC slaps import duty on our rice; Britiain struggles for financial justice in EEC; Cake sales hit by unfair EEC currency rules; EEC refuses to devalue green pound; EEC rules prevent stamping of Lion on eggs; EEC ruling reduces space for hens; EEC threat to holiday prices.”

These are a typical random selction over a few months from an enormous and growing list of directives from the EC, unvoted on by our Parliament – a form of government offensive to us, even if it were not foreign.

The voting used in EC affairs is itself a travesty.  Many decisions are taken now on the basis of one country one vote, so that Holland, Denmark, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Luxembourg, whose combined population is 51 millions, have seven votes to the one vote for Britain’s 57 millions.  Even where voting weighted by countries applies – as in the European Parliament in Strasbourg – the aforesaid seven countries have 134 seats to Britain’s 81.  Personally I cannot think of one thing where our idea has prevailed – and we are not a dull people.  We are permanently in a minority of 12 per cent.

The extraordinary thing, unbelievable if it were not happening in front of our very eyes, is that the British people pay huge sums of money to belong to this system.  Something over £2.5 billion net per annum rising is now passed to Brussels and this net sum is only achieved after a mass of time-consuming applications are made for grants and rebates from a much larger gross sum intially paid over.  To put it into perspective, this sum is about the annual cost of the whole British university system.  Between 1973 when Britain joined the EC and 1988, the colossal sum of about £11 billion was paid over, enough to rebuild over the same period the whole of the railway network from scratch, for instance.  It should be emphasised also that apart from Germany, Britain is the only substantial contributor to the EC.  All the other ten membes pay virtually nothing or make a profit from it.  Moreover, Britain in addition pays another £2.1 billion in foreign currency to maintain its forces in Germany.

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