School is conditioning. It’s perhaps easier to see it from the position of elite schools, where pupils are educated for exceptionalism rather than dull mediocrity.
It can probably be best seen in Boris Johnson. No matter what he does, his exceptionalism will keep the doors of power open to him, even though he is a bumbling fool, he’s an exceptional bumbling fool.
Nothing of all that pertains to Boris Johnson, pertains to me. I was raised and educated into obedient mediocrity. 11 years of school were entirely focused on getting a job and a very specific job, a factory job and me, a meaningless, production line, drone.
It didn’t go well for me, I had a very low tolerance to boredom, and the dull, relentless tedium of school was anathema to me. The problem was that I saw no way out, no option I could pursue, not least because all I experienced was endless disapproval. I was expected to fit the mould and in being unable to fit it, I was written off.
School was eleven years of the daily onslaught of pointless obedience to a system I loathed with every atom of my being. I was victimised in both infant and junior school and my only memories of being in junior school, apart from a few ‘secular’ memories, are of the rage of a teacher, Mr Ryan, who attacked me on what feels like a daily basis. I will never understand his rage, which, it seemed, was reserved entirely for me and in which he completely lost control of himself in venting his crimson faced rage, destroying my ‘work’ whilst fulminating on its inadequacy.
Even now, although he is long dead, I wish him harm. I desire revenge for the misery he inflicted on me.
I am 68, retired, out of the system. I could do anything within my resources I could think of to do. I could fly my kites every day, which are a fabulous, absorbing, challenge to fly, yet I do not, overwhelmed by anxiety and social constraints I barely understand. Even the thought that my best revenge on the past would be to fly, fly, fly to my hearts content doesn’t work as poorly constrained rage bubbles and festers inside me.
Historians have interesting things to say of both education and work with the arrival of the industrial revolution. In the words of Joel Mokyr, “The industrial revolution created jobs that had never existed before. For previous generations artisans and farmers mostly worked out of their homes and set their own hours.
The transition to factory work was unpleasant, to put it mildly. The idea that men had to show up and take orders from a boss – someone they were not even related to – was demeaning and emasculating. Factory conditions were often terrible and completely changed how people organized their days. Time was no longer their own.”
“Much of this education, however, was not technical in nature but social and moral. Workers who had always spent their working days in a domestic setting, had to be taught to follow orders, to respect the space and property rights of others, be punctual, docile, and sober. The early industrial capitalists spent a great deal of effort and time in the social conditioning of their labour force, especially in Sunday schools which were designed to inculcate middle class values and attitudes, so as to make the workers more susceptible to the incentives that the factory needed.” 
That was what my education was all about, the needs (incentives) of the work place, in which any needs of mine were not just irrelevant but had to be crushed and eradicated. Unfortunately they were not entirely crushed, and what I learnt, what they inculcated in me, was self loathing and the fear of ever expressing myself for the toxic fear of disapproval and opprobrium – public disgrace.
If they cannot break you, they fill you with shame and ridicule, such that you fear to ever raise your head again. Because you cannot fit their dismal, bastard, world you will never find peace with the world or belong anywhere.
And now we have the Tories. Everything that was ever wrong in my world is back in their hatred and persecution of ordinary people. Michael Gove and his education by rote. A series of DWP ministers selling the persecution of the poor, no matter how much it costs to justify their vile cruelty. Theresa May and her hostile environment, denying citizens their rights and even their lives. David Cameron, “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’.” Amber Rudd spending hundreds of thousands of tax payers money to pay for propaganda in the Metro extolling the virtues of persecution, sanctions, hunger and death.
Who are these bastards who rule with such brutal cruelty secure in their utter, devastating, hypocrisy and over-weaning pride? There is no more uglier sight than those who doff their caps to these pigs of power who would sacrifice the lives of the subservient in a moment with never even a backwards glance or hint of regret at being the unconscionable bastards they are. The ‘Nasty Party’ has become the Nazi Party and fools vote for them as if the lessons of the past don’t exist, as if the extermination of undesirables never happened. If you are looking for holocaust denial in Britain, it’s the Tories and those who vote for them. It’s in the Sun, Mail, Express, Telegraph and the Times, beating out their daily propaganda sheets to twist the minds of fools.
To appropriate the words of Dylan Thomas, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”. Do not go gentle into the night, do not surrender your soul to this darkness that assaults our lives.
Do you think they actually believe it when they tell us that ‘work is a health outcome’? Work, the rewards for which do not even cover the rent and even nurses are forced to use food banks . Every death is an assault on life and who’s next? Who is next? Make no mistake, they are coming for me, laying the blame for the hardships of today’s youth on my generation to justify their theft of the pension I worked for all my life.
I am 68, my entire life has prepared me for this. To rage against this assault. To quote Theresa May, “Nothing has changed! Nothing has changed!” Damn right nothing has changed. It’s murder, is what it is, even stealing the food out of the mouths of children. Life expectancy in the poorer parts of Britain is in reverse . That is economic murder. People deprived of the means of survival by the conscious acts of cruelty of a rogue government.
People send their children to school because they have no choice, but the education that meets the demands of today is not, and never will be, dished up in schools. Children are being betrayed of the education they need to survive. To rebel. To stand up to authority. To refuse to be obedient to those who wish them harm. To live and love life. To oppose those who steal the joy of life and replace it with servitude.
It is late for people like me, I am in the queue before deaths door as my mortality exerts it’s inevitable power. My final protest is in exhortation, to fight, to fight, for we are better than this. The life stealers must be opposed and it is always the few fighting for the many who don’t even know its going on, till it is too late. The Tony Benns of this world are rare, but he was right, “Every generation must fight the same battles again and again. There’s no final victory and there’s no final defeat”, the fight is everything because we are life and even if you (or I) are the last voice crying out in the darkness, stand taller and do it louder because you get it, because you will not betray your own soul and spirit. Cry out for the freedom that stirs inside and will never be silent.
Keith Ordinary Guy. 09 July 2019.