Went to see the great Christmas film, It's A Wonderful Life
, at the BFI yesterday and was struck by how this old American film is a devastating critique of privatisation. The Coalition and Michael Gove should all watch it over Christmas. It tells the story of a man, George Bailey, played brilliantly by Jimmy Stewart, who battles against a rapacious and evil capitalist, Potter, in his small town. Just as Bailey is about to commit suicide, he is visited by a second-class angel, Clarence, who shows him what life would have been like if he had never been born. Without Bailey there would be no one to battle against the privatising power of Potter. In a bleak nightmarish sequence, the non-existent Bailey sees the town has become a horrid slum, full of bitterness, monopolised by Potter's companies. I won't tell you the ending -- in case by any remote chance you haven't seen it! -- but suffice to say, it ends happily because the "co-operative" spirit wins out.
It struck me that it's important Christmas message for those who seek to privatise education and create an unbridled free-market amongst our schools; the system will be taken over by the Potters of this world who will seek their own personal profit and gain above the needs of our children. As the film shows, it's the co-operative spirit that creates happiness, purpose and achievement in our society; we need to foster that. Time again, we see in research and our personal lives, that when people pull together and help each other, then success flows for everyone, not just a greedy few.
Oh, and Happy Christmas everyone! Thanks to everyone who's made this site should a vibrant place for discussion about our nation's schools. xx