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That's a wrap, a column debriefed.

Byline: Wilf Lunn

Here is the last in the current series of columns by Wilf. He is taking a break to concentrate on the next stage of his autobiography IMET a chap at the Tuesday market who said he'd read my articles in the paper. I was quite pleased. But, he then went on to say he never finished them because he had a short attention span. So this next bit is for the 'Short Attention Spanned.

To simplify how bad things are, I understand 'The Pound Shop' in Leeds Is closing down. Too many people have cars with nowhere to go and mobile phones with nothing to say. You need read no further.

To justify a life on benefits I heard the argument put forward that although people took money out of the system it was justified because they were putting money back by paying tax on the cigarettes they bought.

You may think they are wrong in their flawed logic but before you criticise look around you.

One of the largest, if not the largest employer in Huddersfield is the town itself.

This to me is on a par with a household where all the occupants pay each other to do the cooking and washing and the only money coming into the house is from the lad's paper round. The whole thing is doomed.

As far as I can see the main earner is the university. It brings money in but this is cancelled out by all the supermarkets taking it out of the town. Finding ways to take more money from the populace to pay obscene wages was King John's downfall. It isn't a bottomless pot. Where is our modern Robin Hood now we need him? Remember the Pyramid Selling schemes, the South Sea Bubble and Tulipamania. If you don't remember history you are condemned to repeat it.

The town is spawning bookies, cheque cashing shops, pawn brokers and the unfair competition of charity shops all leeching the cash away. The populace are being led by the media to believe you don't need any talent to earn vast amounts of money. Hope for the future is in the lottery, bingo, the bookies and the no talent shows.

All of this is not new, remember the play and film, Love On the Dole set in 1930's Salford where the girl's only ticket out of poverty was to go off with the local bookie.

The way things are going there'll soon be enough bookies to go round for the girls but who will bet with them then? Perhaps they'll bet with each other. Isn't this similar to my premise of us all paying to do each others' washing? When I first went into teaching they had just raised the school leaving age to 16.

At the time they hadn't really sorted out raising it from 14 to 15. So all the ones desperate to go out and start working at 14 were now being kept at school mainly learning how to skive for two years instead of one.

So-called formal education gets longer and longer and does not suit a lot of people. I always felt that most teachers knew little about life because they never left school to be educated into maturity. I remember guys who left school early saying, "I was educated at the university of life".

There was a lot of truth in that. The girls that started work in the mills at 14 and 15 to earn money were sneered at by the Grammar girls.

If money is the barometer of success the girls that went on to university thought they would earn more. They were wrong. If they married and had a family they never caught up with the overall earning of the mill girls. To me the word education means to bring out and make the best of the potential talent of the pupil not shove useless stuff in. I remember parents from countries that didn't register births applying for UK birth certificates.

They would insist their children were younger than they actually were. They believed that the longer the kids went to school the better educated they were, even if they learned nothing. This all backfired when they realised they wouldn't get their pensions till they were very old. This attitude was not peculiar to them, we are all now led to think that spending a long time in so called education is a good thing. We are persuaded to go along with this by older people because we tend to believe older people are cleverer because they have lived longer and are more mature. This of course is rubbish.

Some older folk are just as daft as they were at 15. I am, of course, the exception although many don't think so. The intelligent working man in the past, who, due to various circumstances, could not go on to university, would often go into the unions. Then easy access to further education took all these intelligent guys away and left the self opinionated to run the show. It's all getting worse because formal education is getting longer and longer.

The teacher pupil relationship encourages immaturity and some kids never become adults.

The stages in life are getting longer. At one time, we lived a life in cycles you could cope with; a few years at junior school, a few years at secondary school and if you were of that ilk, technical college or university. These were stages that you could cope with.

If you were unhappy, like I was at Grammar School, you still had hope that things would change when you went on to the next cycle.

Farmers knew that if they had a bad harvest there was only a year to the next harvest a copeable time span.

Now you go to school to serve a life sentence of what I regards as mainly dumbed down education that only requires a short attention span to achieve one of the many worthless degrees and spend the rest of your life wondering what went wrong. This of course massages the unemployment figures. There goes my Honorary Degree. Mixing with adult workmates is delayed and thus maturity. Many don't ever become what we once considered to be adults. They are fed information geared to a short attention span. Raw masculinity is no longer admired.

Sean Connery, Gregory Peck, Yul Brynner, John Wayne and my childhood favourite Lash LaRue, are being replaced by the likes of Leonardo De Caprio, Johnny Depp, Hugh Grant and Ant and Dec.

In my view, all these guys are the equivalents of the Dick Whittington principal boy/girl in pantomime. The current acceptable tough guys all appear to be chefs that swear a lot.

Michael Winner reckons that's because these chaps deep down know it's really a woman's job. Despite all this I still think we live in the best county, the best country and best of all possible times, so far. The teacher's report comment, 'Room for improvement' I think is apt or 'Trying'. I generally wrote 'Very Trying' I write this column as a sort of diary of present incidents but mainly of stuff from my past. I recall some pundit saying of Sir John Gielgud before he died that he was constantly appearing on television talking about his past life.

The pundit said it would be a good idea if old folk were taken away and debriefed about their lives. I look on this column as my debriefing. At the end of a TV show the director would say, "That's a wrap" I think that this phrase is really appropriate to the end of a column, because at one time it would have ended up wrapped round the next day's fish and chips.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Article Type:Column
Date:May 22, 2010
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