Notes from the Library

Mon, 11 May 2015

Recently a child at my school asked me “Who are you?” and then when I told him I’m a teacher, he said “Are you Korean?” as a quite genuine question. This warmed my heart immensely: he didn’t assume anything at all about me thanks to the colour of my skin.

Fri, 08 May 2015

All my lessons were cancelled today and so I ended up spending about 18 hours refreshing the Guardian live blog and election results page, occasionally going off to get some lesson planning done. And now at last they have the 326 sits for a totally unquestionable Commons majority. The country is going to burn. There is no-one to stop the vast majority of what they intend to do.

I have felt today an actual interest in something outside of myself and the people immediately around me: I really care about this. I didn’t expect to: I haven’t followed the election campaign at all and actually failed to vote because my postal vote arrived on polling day (next time I’ll be sure to vote by proxy). My cousin told me that there’s more to Britain than the welfare state. For me, there really isn’t that much more to Britain outside of whats left of the welfare state, qua country, that I have a positive emotional reaction to.

I don’t know how I can turn this interest into action just yet. But I do feel a change of perspective today. My own personal career and future just became a lot less important to me. This is a step forward. Now it’s time to disconnect from the 24-hour news once more, and try to get on with doing something worthwhile.

Edit 2029Z: Polly Toynbee sums it up:

Every time Labour fails, the key issue is not their ejected MPs nor the great Westminster game, but the hardship imposed on the low-paid and hard-pressed. Every Tory government makes the rich richer and the poor poorer, draining public services dry.

Ignore Cameron’s urbane manner, he is driven by a deep anti-state ideology that will leave the welfare state and the public realm unrecognisable in five years. That is what Labour’s failure means.

Wed, 06 May 2015


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Tue, 05 May 2015

I was listening to this piece of music on the bus and I had some new ideas about it. It’s melancholy but hopeful and quite confident. It says that life is hard and there’s only a little hope in a dark world, but if we keep walking steadily across this overworld, we will find opportunities for both intimacy and greatness, and we can have confidence that we’re going to come across them.

The sense of ‘find’ here is of coming across and calmly approaching, full of the knowledge of the significance or lack thereof of what we’ve found. I don’t mean stumble upon and be pleasantly surprised; we’re to at least some extent expecting these opportunities.

The flute in the track, especially when it climbs to its highest note, expresses our individual fragility as we attempt big things.

Fri, 24 Apr 2015


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