Category Archives: Education

What has gone wrong with education especially in the UK and how to fix it.

Northern Ireland



Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. It is questionable whether Northern Ireland is a country. Some call it a province. Northern Ireland has the Republic of Ireland to the south. The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic is over 130 miles.

The North Atlantic Ocean is adjacent to Northern Ireland. The North Channel separates Northern Ireland from Scotland. The Irish Sea lies to the south. In it one can find the Isle of Man.

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. This city has a third of Northern Ireland’s 1 800 000 people. The name of the city is derived from Beal Feirste as in Valley of the River Feirste. The second city of Northern Ireland is Derry. Derry is derived from the Irish word ‘doire’ meaning oakwood.

Strictly speaking Armagh is a city too since it contains a cathedral. In point of fact it has two cathedrals.

There are six counties in Northern Ireland. These can be remembered by the mnemonic Fat Lad – Fermanagh, Armagh, Tyrone, Londonderry, Antrim and Down. Many prefer to call the county Derry rather than Londonderry. Therefore some would render the mnemonic Fat Dad.

Lough Neagh is a large lake in the middle of Northern Ireland. Neagh is pronounced ‘nay’. An ancient legend has it that a giant picked up a sod of earth and that created the lake. He flung the earth and it landed in the sea creating the Isle of Man. Lough is pronounced with a guttural for the ‘gh’ like the Scottish ‘loch.’

People have lived here for  millennia. Celts came. There were various waves of invasion. The Celts were pagans and followed their own faith. The Gaels were the last Celtic invaders. There were various kingdoms often at war against each other. People were semi-itinerant since the land was not very suitable for tillage.

Ireland was divided into several kingdoms. One of these was Ulster – which is the eastern part of what we now call Northern Ireland. There was also Tyrone – the Land of Owen – the west. There were other realms around such as Breifne. There was a high king in Tara. This title did not belong to a dynasty. People regularly fought for the crown. It was a battle royal.

St Patrick arrived in the 5th century AD. He brought the Christian faith. He founded Armagh Cathedral. Armagh is the religious capital of the whole of Ireland.

In the 9th century AD the Vikings and Danes started to raid. They founded some settlements.

In the 12 century AD Anglo-Normans and Cambro-Normans came over. They settled the eastern part of the land. The capital of the whole of Ireland was Dublin. Ireland was connected to England and Wales politically. The King of England was Lord of Ireland. English and Welsh immigrants introduced the English language to Ireland. However, most people in Ireland spoke Irish. The Gaelic Church was abolished and the Roman Catholic Church was founded.

The hereditary Gaelic rulers continued to rule their tribes. They exercised authority on behalf of the king. This was indirect rule.

In the late 13th century Edward the Bruce led an insurrection against the crown. He styled himself High King of Ireland. However, he was beaten. His brother Robert became King of Scots.

In the 16th century the government abolished the Roman Catholic Church and set up the Church of Ireland. However, the government’s writ did not extend far beyond the east coast. Most people remained Catholics. Around this time Henry VIII followed a policy of surrender and regrant. Native Irish chieftains renounced their chieftainship and in were given heritable titles. The Irish system of inheritance was by the family electing their leader. The system copied form the English was primogeniture – the eldest son inherited even if he was a nincompoop.

In the late 16th century there was a rebellion against the Crown. Hugh O’Neill led a revolt in Ulster. He was finally vanquished in 1607. He fled to Spain.

After The Great O’Neill was put to flight the monarch sent over English, Welsh and Scots settlers. These immigrants were almost exclusively of the Protestant faith. They supplanted Catholics who had rebelled against the government. Ireland was divided into counties at this time.

Some of the livery companies in London invested money in expanding the city of Derry. In gratitude to these companies the immigrants renamed the city Londonderry. Until then Derry had been part of County Coleraine. After this the county was called County Londonderry but many prefer to call it County Derry. The eastern half of Ulster was then mainly populated by Scots and English immigrants. The people who had been living there already were Catholics almost to a man and mainly Irish speaking.

In the 1640s there was the English Civil War. This spilt over into Ireland. Most Catholics backed Charles I. Catholics were the majority. Most Protestants supported the English Parliament. In 1641 Catholics in Ulster attacked the Protestant immigrants and Portadown and slew many.

In 1649 the English Civil War ended. Cromwell became Lord Protector of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. He crossed the sea. In Ireland there were many Royalists – enemies of Cromwell. Oliver Cromwell bested the Royalists. At the Siege of Drogheda his soldiers killed hundreds of civilians. They were English Catholics.

Cromwell could not pay his New Model Army. He therefore confiscated land from Royalists. In Ireland most people had been Royalists. Land was forfeit and granted to Parliamentarian soldiers from England. Henry  Cromwell – Oliver Cromwell’s son – became Lord Deputy of Ireland – ruling the country on Oliver Cromwell’s behalf.

Cromwell was very anti-Catholic. The Irish Parliament was elected. Only rich landowners could vote. These people were mostly Protestants of recent immigrant descent. They passed discriminatory laws against the Catholics.

In 1688 a Catholic became king. He was James II. In Derry the Protestant community refused to accept James II soldiers. Thirteen apprentice boys slammed the gates of the city as James II’s men approached. A siege began. This lasted for months and many people starved to death. James II’s supporters were called Jacobites – as in Jacobus is James in Latin. James II men built a boom across the River Foyle to prevent ships bringing supplies or reinforcements to the city.

Finally a ship called Mountjoy broke the boom and relieved the city. James II’s men retreated.

In November 1688 William of Orange landed in England. William was the Stadholder of the Netherlands. He was the nephew of James II and also his son-in-law. William of Orange was a Protestant. He had been invited by the Immortal Seven – leading Whig and Tory politicians and a bishop.

James II fled as William advanced. The English Parliament said that James II had abdicated the throne. They proclaimed William to be king and his wife Mary to be queen as joint sovereigns. William of Orange was now William III. King James II went to Ireland where was a Catholic he was assured of fervent support.

William III went to Ireland. He landed in the north and marched south. James II decided to stop his enemy’s advance at the River Boyne. A battle took place there on 1 July 1690. William III won despite having a heart attack. James II retreated. He was called ‘James the shit’ by his men whom he had abandoned. He then took ship for France.

Protestant mastery in Ireland was assured. However, the Protestants of the north were not so sure that Great Britain would always back them up.

The Church of Ireland was the state religion. This comprised no more than 20% of the population. There were other Protestants such as Presbyterians. They were discriminated against but not so severely as the Catholic majority. In Ulster Protestants were in a majority. In the 18th century French Protestants arrived. They set up the linen trade.

Most people were farmers. Some landlords were exploitative. There was Ulster custom whereby tenants had some security of tenure.

There was agrarian terrorism. People attacked unpopular landlords. Clandestine organisations existed such as whiteboys and Defenders. Sometimes they were sectarian.

Many people emigrated from the north of Ireland. They sailed from Derry to America. In 1788 Derry commemorated the siege and there were good communal relations.

In the 1780s the Irish Volunteers were formed. This was due to the war against France. They were to defend the realm in case the French invaded. The Volunteers also demanded legislative independence for Ireland. They got it.

In the 1790s there was another war against France. Revolutionary nostra became popular. The United Irishmen was formed in 1793. They started a revolt in 1798. This jacquerie devolved into a sectarian bloodbath.

In 1801 the Act of Union became law. The Protestant majority in the north-eastern six counties of Ireland came to be pro-Union. The Industrial Revolution spread to this portion of Ireland.

In the 1830s Daniel O’Connell led the Repeal Association. He was a Catholic from the South and he wanted the Act of Union to be terminated. Unionists mobilized to oppose this. In the end O’Connell’s campaign did not bear fruit.

The famine struck in the 1840s many people died. Catholic emigration continued. More Catholics moved to Derry in particular.

In 1867 there was an attempted uprising by the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). They called themselves the Fenians. Fenian became an opprobrious term for a Catholic. Sectarian divisions deepened.

In the 1880s the Home Rule Party was the main nationalist party. Parnell led it. In east Ulster unionists said that if Home Rule were passed their portion of Ireland should be excluded from the provisions of such a bill. They hoped to scupper Home Rule for the whole of Hibernia. In the end the Home Rule bill was defeated in the House of Commons.

Nationalists and particularly republicans began to oppose loyalist parades. There was regular rioting around the marching season – July.

The Liberal Party had been significant in the north of Ireland until that time. In 1886 most Liberals in Ireland became Liberal Unionists. They allied with the Conservative Party. Over the next 30 years they gradually merged with the Conservatives.

North-east Ireland was divided between nationalists who wanted Home Rule and unionists who did not. In 1893 there was another Home Rule Bill. People founded Young Ulster. This was a paramilitary organization dedicated to fighting any bid to impose Home Rule on Ulster. In the end the bill was beaten in the House of Lords.

Belfast gained city status in the late 19th century. It was a centre of ship building. It was very industrialised. The city was bigger than Dublin.

A Home Rule bill was introduced in Parliament in 1912. In 1913 the Ulster Volunteer Force was founded to stop it. They imported guns from Germany. The Irish Volunteers were formed that year to defend the liberties of all the people of Ireland.


In 1914 the First World War broke out. Many men volunteered for the British military.

In 1916 the Irish Volunteers staged a rising in Dublin. They were thrashed and became known as the Irish Republican Army (IRA). A desultory irregular conflict followed.

Sectarian violence flared in the north of Ireland. A Government of Ireland Act was passed in 1920. A separate Home Rule Parliament was founded for Northern Ireland. It met in July 1921. The rest of Ireland left the UK in December 1921.

In the 1920s Northern Ireland struggled with unemployment and sectarianism. The Catholic minority faced unofficial discrimination.

The Parliament of Northern Ireland was housed in Stormont. This was completed in 1930. The Unionist Party won elections.

American troops arrived in Ulster in the Second World War. In the 1950s there was some IRA violence. In the 1960s nationalist politicians and other radicals campaigned for an end to discrimination. Loyalist thugs attacked them. The IRA weighed in. In 1969 an irregular conflict erupted. It sputtered on until the late 1990s.

The highest mountain in Northern Ireland is Slieve Donard in COunty Down. The capital is Belfast. The River Lagan is the longest river. There are lots of lakes in Fermanagh. The largest is Lough Erne.

A Londonderry Air was considered Northern Ireland’s song.  Some consider it to be the Star of the County Down. At football matches God Save the Queen is sung.

The Flag of Northern Ireland has a white field. There is a red Cross of St George. There is a red hand in the centre on a white six pointed star. The hand is covered by a crown. The points of the star denote the six counties.

Bushmills whiskey is produced here. Note that Irish whiskey has an e in it. Scotch whisky does not.

There is an Ulster fry. This cooked breakfast includes wheatie bread.

Northern Ireland has a devolved administration within the UK. The First Minister is Arlene Foster.

English is the official language. Some people speak a dialect called Ulster Scots. There are some people who can speak Irish.

Derry is the second largest city. It is the main city in the west.



  1. Which island is Northern Ireland on?
  2. What was the original language here?
  3.  When did the English arrive?
  4. What is the religious capital?
  5. How many counties are there in Northern Ireland?
  6. What are the two mnemonics for the counties?
  7. What is the alternative name for Derry?
  8. What does Tyrone mean?
  9. Which ocean is Northern Ireland beside?
  10. Which area of the sea separates this land from Great Britain?
  11. Who led a revolt here in the 13th century?
  12. What happened to Hugh O’Neill?
  13. Which side did most people in Ireland take in the English Civil Wars?
  14. Which English ruler defeated the Irish Royalists?
  15.  When did the Siege of Derry begin?
  16. Who won the Battle of the Boyne?
  17. Which Catholic king was defeated in 1690?
  18. When was the Act of Union enacted?
  19. Which organization started a revolt in 1798?
  20. Who was Daniel O’Connell?
  21. What is the northern province of Ireland called?
  22. What is the capital city of Northern Ireland?
  23.  What is the largest lake?
  24.  Which river bisects Derry?
  25. What are the two main songs of Northern Ireland?
  26. When was the Parliament of Northern Ireland set up?
  27.  Who were Liberal Unionists?
  28. What year was the first Home Rule bill?
  29. What problems did Northern Ireland face in the 1920s?
  30. Which foreign troops came here in the 1940s?
  31. Draw the flag of Northern Ireland?
  32. WHat is the highest mountain here?
  33. What is the second city?
  34.  What is the longest river?
  35. When did the recent conflict break out?
  36.  Who is First Minister?

How to get into Eton. ===============================



Eton is the world’s most renowned school. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI. It has educated more kings and prime ministers than any other school.

Note that Eton is only for boys. Boys attend for 5 years. They usually start at the age of 13 and leave aged 18.

If you want your son to get to Eton register him as soon as possible. Usually, he must be registered by the age of 8. Contact Eton about doing this. There is a form to fill in and a fee to pay of 300 pounds. This by no means guarantees a place! It just gives him the chance to try to get in. The 300 pounds is not returned under any circumstances. This money defrays the cost of running the admissions office. It also means people only register if they are at least semi serious.

If your son is over the age of 8. It might be possible to register but it is very difficult. He needs to be truly outstanding.

AT the age of 11 boys come to Eton for an interview and tests. The tests are in English, Maths, verbal and non verbal reasoning. Eton will also take up references from the boys’ current schools.

Eton is heavily oversubscribed. About 80% of candidates are rejected at this stage.

Eton then monitors the remaining 20% for the next two years. These boys are at other schools.

About the age of 13 boys sit another exam to get into Eton. The very clever ones sit the King’s scholarship exam. The King Scholarship exam is in English, Maths, Science, French and Latin if they have studied it. There is a general paper about History, Geogrpahy and Religious Studies.

There are only 14 places per year. About 80 boys try for the King Scholarship. Those who do not win the King;s Scholarship are admitted to the school but have to pay fees. King’s Scholars have to pay 50% fees or less. Some pay none at all depending on their family finances.

The other boys sit Common Entrance. This is an exam in English, Maths and all the mainstream subjects.

Those who are superb at Music can win a Music Scholarship. This is a reduction in the fees. It is possible to win a Music Scholarship and a King’s Scholarship or just one of the two.

These exams are taken in April or May. The boys will then begin at ETon in September.

Once a boy has passed his exams to Eton he is offered a place. The parents must accept an pay one term’s fees up front. Just in case they suddenly change their minds and do not send their boy to Eton the school already has the fee.

If a boy has not started at Eton aged 13 it is possible to start at 16 and do the last two years at the school. There are sixth form scholarships. There are only about 10 a year. Write in Eton in good time. There is an interview and there are exams in the A level subjects a boy proposes to study.

Those who do not win Sixth Form Scholarships it is possible to begin at the age of 16 and pay full fees. However, this is very rare. It is hard to be accepted.

I do not work for Eton. I am publishing this video as a matter of public service.


THB that the environment is more important than the economy. ================================



we need the plane to live. air. cancer from ozone layer

quality of life. pollution. noise traffic stench. what if we all had a chopper?

happier with less. stress and competition. enough for everyone ‘s need not for greed

we are natural. we are animals. omagine if we had no parks.



poverty. millions die of hunger. no clean water. water is naturallt dirty poo

medicines. ecomomy develops those.

quality of life. electricity . housing . life saving. cars. ambulances. oil needed.

we raise ourselves above animals. big brain. adapt environement. go back to being apes . first world bourgeois nonsense.


debating motions====================================



TH has no confidence in the government.

TH would ban hate speech.

THB that technology has gone too far.

THB we should have annual elections

THW outlaw inheritance

THW introduce proportional representation

THB that we should use the dollar as our currency

THW introduce a maximum income

THW abolish immigration controls all over the world

THB in one government for the whole world

THW pay reparations for slavery

THB that immigration has done more harm than good

THB that freedom of expression is dangerous

THB that quotas for women are needed in some professions

THW require all adults do military service





THB that we should abolish coursework

THB we ought to abolish exams

TH would ban home schooling

THB that nationality is nonsense

THB that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel

THW make PE a daily subject



THB that global warming is the greatest threat to humanity

THB that global warming is not anthropogenic



THW ban cosmetic surgery

T HW rather save a good animal than an evil human

THW let some species go extinct

THW shoot dead poachers trying to kill endangered animals

TH respects religion

THW legalise assisted suicide

THW outlaw boxing



TH prefers family to friends

TH want to live to 150

THB that the best things in life are free

THB that money cannot buy happiness

TH prefers to give than to receive

THB that creativity can be taught

THW rather have a daughter than a son



THB that life is too short to drink cheap win

THB that life is too short to count money

TH prefers beauty to brains

THB that blondes prefer gentlemen

THB that the way to a woman’s heart is through the jewelry shop

THB that girls are sugar and spice and all things nice

THW let the future be the past

THB that diamonds are forever

TH cannot resist temptation

THB that rules are made to be broken






Can you be a debater?=================


bristling with an opinion




a people person. logical

do you ask yuorseld – what are the arguments for and against? How would I get myself out of that as a politician being interviewed

listen to arguments and think you could do better

annoyed at specious or feeble arguments

marshal the evidence.


seek info

broad midned

can comprehend the opposing view ppint


a good listener

stand up tp full heigt. chin up. look around

decorously dressed

feet sholder width apart

breathe deeply

hands by hips fingers open

deploy the info

debate for audience

play to the gallery

mirth. emotion

debate for judge. rational.

forensic analysis of other argument

lawyerly point scoring.




THB that university should be free of charge.======================================



education a right. U D H R. 1948.

means it is not commercialized. no dumbing down. degree inflation.

helps economy. social good.

social justice . no longer in the hands of the few.





hOW much will it costs

dustmen subsidise the dukes

it does not stop grade inflation or dumbing down.

it is socialist and unaffordable

no social good. countries with high unicersity attendance are not all richer.

take responsibility. state should not do everytung.

most countries have moved away from that model.