There was a dose of unwelcome reality at college today, at the end of our Friday lesson. A friend, also a redundant teacher, rang to describe how she had a signed on to claim benefits. She went in as a responsible person who has contributed over many years to the education and welfare of people in need. She came out envisioning social unrest on the streets. I know what she means. Our Glorious Coalition have decided there will be a limit to the amount of benefits people can be paid, all in the name of fairness. This is the fairness that says no-one should get more than the average wage in benefit whether they need it or not, whether they've been putting into society for years and have just been made redundant, or not. 'Fair' is going to bite the Government on the bum. If someone gets a big bonus working for a bank that the public (including those of us recently redundant) had to bail out, is that fair? As my similarly redundant friend said in exasperation on the phone,"They're not living in the same world," which says everything that stultitiae non est remedium leaves unsaid.
Stick to helping people with English language, they might say from the comfort of an apparently secure job with a salary above the average (which, remember many people don't get - that's the thing with 'average'). So, back to nostalgia for grammar schools then. But remember this, nostalgia isn't what it used to be. All the same, redundant or not perhaps I can still give a little more advice on language. Perhaps I should bear it in mind myself for these electric paragraphs:
- sarcasm is really really helpful
- overstatement is absolutely catastophic
- understatement isn't too bad
- 'fair' means many different things
- words can come back to haunt you
Have a lovely weekend