A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times

Does anybody in the room remember Windscale? It was a nuclear power station mid Cumbria that had what we could call ‘a bit of a meltdown’ and subsequently got itself a bad name.

In the wake of World War II, the United States government enacted a legislation which prohibited any other nations from receiving the scientific bounty derived from the Manhattan Project (their dabbling into nuclear). This meant that despite the participation of British scientists in the project, Britain was to receive none of the benefits of their research. And the year after the United States' first successful nuclear bomb test in the July of 1945, the British government decided that they must now go it alone and develop a nuclear program of their own in order to maintain their position as a world power. This pilot project eventually developed into the Windscale Nuclear plant. OK?

Alas in October 1957, after several years of already successful operation, the workers at the Windscale plant noticed some rather curious readings from their temperature monitoring equipment as they carried out what should have been standard maintenance. It appeared that the reactor temperature was slowly rising during a time that they expected it to be falling. The remote detection equipment seemed to be malfunctioning (or maybe they were now in the wrong place for the plant’s change of purpose), so two plant workers donned protective equipment and hiked to the reactor to inspect it in person. When they arrived, they were rather alarmed to discover that the whole interior of the uranium-filled reactor was ablaze.

The fire was the worst nuclear accident in Great Britain's history, ranked in severity at a level 5 on the 7-point International Nuclear Event Scale. The two nuclear piles there had been hurriedly built as part of the British atomic bomb project. The accident occurred when the core of the Unit 1 nuclear reactor at the nuclear plant caught fire, releasing substantial amounts of radioactive contamination into the surrounding areas. The fire burned for three days and there was a release of radioactive material that spread across the whole UK and parts of Europe.

Well that was back then and it was always a big ask for people to forgive and forget and at the same time carry on regardless but nonetheless, that’s how the story sort of went, amidst further failures, leakages, and a whole shitload of bad publicity along the way.

The marketing people finally solved the worsening Windscale problem by renaming the now fast breeder reactor plant ‘Sellafield’ while at the same time slapping a visitor centre alongside it, and everyone thought it was all of a sudden, a different, new and improved nuclear power station and the whole fear of nuclear disaster went away forever... so to speak.

And since that day on, renaming any failing institution is now deemed 
the best way to improve things... and it is also by far the cheapest, 
so it's a win-win situation all round!

The proof of this can be seen within the UK education system. In fact my old school Roger Carter Secondary Modern (name changed to prevent being sued), which was always a bit crap, was renamed (again but this time for the sake of the story) Carter Community School (specialising in SPORT, so don't worry about Maths and English and stuff like that, everyone's going for gold here!), and is now only the TENTH worst school in Britain! Hoorah!

Mind you, our old rivals Raquel’s Welch have been renamed (again and again for the same reasons as previously highlighted) TWICE! First as Rossmore Community College and now as the St Abacus Academy, and THEY'VE just been awarded the prestigious ‘worst school in Britain’ award for their efforts, so I don't know what happened there?

According to the local journalistic rag:

Just three percent of pupils leaving the St Abacus Academy last summer scored the benchmark of five A- C GCSE grades, including English and maths. That’s a drop of 11 places in a year for the former Rossmore Community College, taken over by new sponsors; the Boffin University in September 2013 in a bid to raise standards. Today the Education committee has demanded urgent improvements at the school and action from the sponsors to boot. It has also offered to help the school. Yes, and probably because the one town now has two schools in the country’s worst ten!

Is it social deprivation to blame? Well not really, we’re talking about quite an affluent area without the unemployment desolation of the (grim up north) North East or the inner-urban blight of many major cities. It's not even racial, as most of the kids are predominantly white, and in fact it's the sort of area that white supremacists might even move to. (Most of the racism I witnessed as a kid came from the emigres from London and the Midlands).

No, it's actually all about the success of the local Grammar Schools. You see the area never tolerated the country wide move to Comprehensive schooling, and stuck to the old two-tier education system, where the children of the middle-classes and the brightest of the lower orders were prioritised into the Grammar schools for a proper education, whilst the rest of us were basically abandoned or put on hold until they're old enough to work for fast food outlets, go onto the dodgiest of building sites or enter the prison system (assuming they hadn’t all got high on heavy drugs or pregnant beforehand). And until it's recognised as a problem solely derived from SOCIAL attitudes towards working class children, I'm afraid the problem will persist unchallenged.

Now if you could just excuse me a moment, for my mind has gone blank... Oh yes, I had a question for you. Is there a name for this sort of thing or did they change it already?

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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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