The right to read and write

I don’t even pretend to understand the complexities and nuances involved in the NI education debate. When I moved here in 1992, I was appalled at the prospect of my eldest child having to take an examination aged 11 that essentially would dictate the rest of her life. It was positively un-American. For the international readers, we have a range of schools here in the Provincelet: And would you be shocked to find out that they are categorised by religion?Your choice for post primary is Catholic Grammar, if you pass the 11-plus, Catholic secondary if you fail, State Secondary if you are a failing Protestant, Protestant Grammar if you are a smart one, and integrated for the progressive, but growing few who recognise the rest is a load of cobblers. Obviously, I am aware of some of the stakes for each of the sides in the argument. Indeed when I announced I was sending the eldest to Integrated, it was met with a visit from the Priest and I was made feel that I was putting the entire Church at risk.

Anyway, back to the point of the post. The Education Order was passed in the House of Lords, and the locals are none too pleased. However, Peter the (not so) Great has introduced his usual caveat: This is very good news for every child in Northern Ireland and if people disagree with this they have the remedy in their own hands by restoring devolved government to Northern Ireland by November 24.”

Lord Magennis was less than chirpy, indeed I was rather alarmed that: The Government may have applied a three-line whip and, with the support of the Liberal Democrats, may have won the vote, but the paucity of their argument is borne out by the fact that they represented the Northern Ireland community as being 40% illiterate,”

Personally, I thought it was good news, until he made the comment about restoring devolved government. In Northern Ireland terms, every time that is said, you know it’s a punishment for not being capable of self government.