Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Political Propaganda - Some Things Aren't All They Seem To Be

I did have to smile at the way GetReading reported on the open letters supporting the two candidates in the national Labour leadership election.

“Find out how many leading Labour party members in Reading backed Smith compared to those who came out for Corbyn” wrote veteran reporter Linda Fort.

The report then went on to describe how 40+ "prominent Labour members" had signed up to a letter supporting Smith and this was set along side a Corbyn supporting letter signed by 10 current councillors. 

Make of that what you will - or what it implies.   

The instigators of the pro-Smith letter have been telling each other on social media how delighted they have been with the coverage. Others have talked about the importance of winning the "PR war".

PR war? Is it a sign of confidence or desperation that the letter of 10 current serving Labour councilors needed to be met with a mighty barrage of 40+ signatures creating an impression – intended or not – of an over-whelming majority in favour of Smith?

I remember that in a previous national party leadership election a former leader of Reading Labour group proudly declared that he was "ABB" - anybody but Blair. Listening carefully to my fellow Labour members debates I have sensed that very many supposed "pro-Smith" are actually not that, but simply "ABC" - anybody but Corbyn.

Anyone familiar with the dark arts of propaganda knows the value of that the old saying “A lie will get half way round the world before the truth has got its boots on”, so it is not so surprising that there has been no clarification from the pro-Smith signatories that they are not all  "leading Labour party members in Reading". I'm sure, by the way, this has never been their direct claim - just how the press interpreted it.

A scant inspection of those listed by Get Reading as pro-Smith include former Reading comrades who are now scattered far and wide - but are NOT members of the Labour Party in Reading. A few examples - my friend Howarth now lives in Newcastle, Morris in Plymouth, Hartley and King in London, Zieleinski in Scotland ... I could go on. All good honourable friends, but none living in Reading. And some, as one current councillor put it, "who are they?": please, be more respectful.

It was quite literally laughable – a good stunt well played – but not that funny when we think that many could soon be three-time losers in today's politics: on the losing side of the last leadership election, the losing side of the Brexit debate (something we need to think long and hard about in places like Whitley and Hexham Road), and if as expected , once again be on the losing side of the leadership elections.

If that proves to be the case, what will they have to say to the party and the town? 

PS And by the way Linda, you could have described me as Cllr Terry's husband, rather than the other way round - Liz and I, at least, agree on that!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

URGENT: ReadiFood Bank Is Running Short Of Food

I hate posting this, as I think it should all be so unnecessary, but ... I noticed a post on facebook - this appeal for food stuffs, which I am repeating here.


(We can sort out the politics another day!)

Tinned Vegetables
Tinned Potatoes
Tinned Fruit
Tinned Spaghetti
Tinned Ready Meals
Tinned Puddings
Please Please Please donate either direct to ReadiFood at Boulton Road or instore at your local Waitrose or Tesco.
Thank you very much.
Please share this post with your Church, work, family, friends.

31 - 33  Boulton Road  Reading  RG2 0NH

Opening hours:
Monday to Thursday - 10.00am  till 4.00pm
Fridays - 10.00am till 2.00pm

Please telephone 0118 987 2672 to ensure someone is available.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Reading Pupils Achieve Better than National Average in SATS

PUPILS in Reading achieved results above the national average in this year’s tests for 11-year-olds for the first time in ten years.
The tests taken in May 2016 by Year 6 pupils are the first to assess the new and more challenging national curriculum which was introduced in September 2014.
In the 2016 results, 54.4% of Year 6 pupils in Reading reached the new expected standard in the combined measure of the reading, writing and mathematics tests. This is higher than the national average of 53%.
This is the first time in over 10 years that Reading pupils in Year 6 have risen above the national average in the combined score, which is a critical measure in relation to the government’s floor standards.
Attainment by Reading pupils in writing was 75.8%, above the national percentage at 74%. In the reading test 65% of pupils achieved the expected standard, compared with 66% nationally. In the mathematics test, 67.7% of pupils achieved the standard compared with 70% nationally. In the grammar, punctuation and spelling 74.7% of pupils reached the expected standard compared to 74% nationally.
Councillor Tony Jones, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Education, said:
“I’m particularly pleased for the children and staff, within all schools and academies, who have worked in close partnership to achieve results which are above the national average.
“While not being complacent or thinking this is high enough, it is important to note this is the best overall results for Year 6 Reading children in 10 years, in terms of the national picture. This puts those children who have done well in a good position as they start their secondary education.
“I would like to congratulate all pupils and their families on their individual achievements.”