“If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal. It’s normal.”

The Pope

The stupid things people in positions of power say. “My good friend Dr Gasparri?” What does the Pope do to his enemies? I have spent my life in schools preaching it is never ok to hit another person. I remember as a Y6 class teacher in Tower Hamlets when the ‘in vogue’ insult began with “Your Mum…” The number of times I intervened between two incensed kids scrabbling at air (One face incandescent with rage and the other beaming smug bravado). This is how the Pope is described on http://www.churchauthority.org “That means that he (The Pope) represents Christ’s love and concern for every single individual.” How’s that going Francis?

It all reminds me of a song off of an old Hip Hop LP from the 90’s by the group The Pharcyde:

“Ya mom is so fat (how fat is she?)

Ya mama is so big and fat that she can get busy

With twenty-two burritos, but times are rough

I seen her in the back of Taco Bell with handcuffs…”

Would I be offended if someone insulted my mother? Offended enough to give them a punch? Sorry mum I love you a lot but I’d never take to violence because someone said some words I did not like. I might send them glitter in an envelope BUT violence? I believe that as the so-called grown-ups of the world we should be preaching compassion to the young. It should be our first value. Last week I blogged about ‘Character’ education and how it was needed but maybe the Army were not best placed to deliver it. I add Religion to my list.

It seems to me that many leaders could take lessons from children. My experience with children over the years tells me that they are not born hating. They learn to hate. It is given to them and adults are to blame. Spend an hour or two in any reception class. You will see a multitude of emotions (Tantrums, confusion, frustration, care, kindness, creativity…) but hate? Therefore, how can we live in a civilised world in which the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church can say it is normal to hurt someone who insults you. If I wrote a newsletter that said:

Dear Parents and Carers,

In assembly on Wednesday I expressed my concern that “Unkind” words were being used far too often on the playground. To resolve this issue I have made some amendments to the school’s behaviour policy. We have introduced a new school rule:

If someone says something that hurts your feelings it is OK to punch them.

I have stipulated that ONE punch will be enough.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Kindest Regards

Old Primary Head

I also found myself annoyed with Nicky Morgan this week, using the Paris killings as a way in which to promote the importance of British Values. British Values? French Values? Human Values? Was she really saying that having British Values taught in schools would stop horrific things happening?

The education secretary said the attacks by Islamic extremists in the French capital were an example of what happens “when people don’t appear to respect some of those values”. My first question is, “Who is educating the people who need to be educated?” I have not come across ONE person in the circles I frequent that has not been utterly horrified by what has happened. They all went to state schools.

But, this is a serious drive – British Values:

“These British values have been defined in various strategies, by the Home Office, and we are asking schools to think about how they promote them. Ofsted will be looking at them when they visit schools”


The rule of Law

Individual Liberty

Mutual Respect

Tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs

There is nothing wrong with this list. I believe in them all… But watching The Super-Rich and Us I found that Jacques Peretti investigation into how the super-rich are transforming Britain make me question the very root of values- it was very clear that the people in the position to make the biggest difference have clearly not been practicing what is preached to every one else… Therefore:.

Values? Whose Values?