Friday, May 15, 2009

Hurrah for the pitchforks, glinting in the sunshine!

When I was a school governor, year after year, the question would come up - how do we get more parents to turn up to the annual parents' meeting? Year after year, only two or three parents would turn up to this legally required meeting. They were far-outnumbered by all the governors and teachers who were on a three-line whip to attend.

All sorts of ideas were tried to get more parents coming to the meeting. Flyers, letters, wine and other inducements. All failed. I suggested that the only way to get more parents coming along would be to tell them that we are going to show them the new sex education video to see if they like it.

Then I noticed in the paper a school whose annual meeting for parents was heaving with parents. Standing room only. How did they manage it? - I breathlessly asked myself. Simples. (Sorry if that is annoying but we love that advert in this household) They fouled up their finances and had to make two teachers redundant.

So when people now say "Wouldn't it be nice to have more parents coming to these meetings?" I say "Be careful what you wish for".

People are always bleating on about people not being engaged in politics. I always reply: if you threaten to close something or do something else deeply unpopular, you will soon get people turning up to meetings in droves.

And so we come to the current furore. People are certainly engaged with politics this week, aren't they?

So I say, stop complaining and treating it like some sort of dark crisis of democracy. Go with the flow. It's actually a sign of a healthy democracy. The people run this country - so let's welcome their input and go with it.

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