zondag 7 juni 2009

D-Day Landings remembered

Sixty-five years ago the allied forces landed on a beach in Normandy, France. The Canadian, British and US soldiers who risked their lives on that historic day, as well as the ones who perished, were honoured yesterday by important leaders such as US president Obama, the French president Zarkozy, PM Gordon Brown and the Prince of Wales.
The attendance of this member of the Royal Family was especially appreciated by the British veterans since the host of the commemoration ceremony, Zarkozy, had not invited the Queen. Some of the veterans had a picture of her on them, as a way to protest against this snub.


Personal reaction:

First of all, I think it is good to keep remembering the Second World War and to be aware of the fact that we are living in peace and freedom thanks to the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives. The attendance of so many important people at this ceremony underlines the importance of this awareness.
The little uproar over Zarkozy and his decision not to invite the Queen made me smile a bit. I reckon that the attendance of Mr. Brown as PM of Great Britain should really enough next to the leaders of the other countries. There is no need to be offended when the British Queen is not regarded as the most important person on the planet. The reaction of the veterans was probably fuelled by the strained relations that have always existed between the French and the British

zaterdag 6 juni 2009

Class sizes prompt teacher’s debate

Scottish teachers are becoming increasingly discontented with the sizes of their classes. They are even considering going on strike.
The government has stipulated that classes in primary education should not have more than eighteen children. However, in practice this aim is only reached in half of the councils in Scotland. Most councils claim that they do not have the financial means needed to cut down class sizes. Ronnie Smith, general secretary of Scotland’s largest teachers’ union – the Educational Institute of Scotland – is of the opinion that the Scottish government should take its responsibility, and that members of Scottish parliament should make sure that the promises they made about this subject are kept.


Personal reaction:

It seems to me that this problem has a political nature, based on how the Scottish authority is structured. First, there is the Scottish government that is also linked to the government of Great Britain as whole. Then there are the local councils, or local authorities. They enforce the government’s acts in their respective territories.
In this case, the local councils have not obeyed the laws that were fixed by the government. I am not sure if the Scottish government has the power to take measures against this kind of behaviour, but I do agree with Mr. Smith that if MSPs promised to reduce class sizes, than the local governments should be forced to make sure that this really happens.