THE CITY GRUMP
There is a huge hullaballoo over how to award exam grades to our school children since the government decreed they aren’t allowed to actually sit exams in 2020. Understandably nobody likes uncertainty but let’s take a moment to examine the worth of the education system that so many are getting worked up about.
Firstly there is an argument to be made that apart from reading, writing and arithmetic what do we actually take away from school in terms of study anyway? I will take a bet with anyone reading this over the age of 30 that they cannot remember the details of their GCSE or A level course work, so what use was all that? For example, as part of my A level course work on the French Revolution I remember having to read a book on Artisans and Sans-Culottes but now I have no idea what it was about. No doubt that out of school educational source, Google, will tell me.
Having attained some sort of A level, whether by exam, dodgy algorithm (I can remember the phrase garbage in garbage out), or teacher’s assessment, what is the child faced with at university? I suggest it is now almost indisputable that apart from a handful of universities and some vocational degrees, the massive grade inflation now being handed by these seats of “learning”, as they fulfil Tony Blair’s objective of putting 50% of A level pupils through university, has debased degrees to such an extent that they have almost become worthless. Bearing this in mind I would also suggest very soon now employers will twig this and no longer give credence to degrees outside Oxbridge and perhaps four or five other universities. Accordingly, hundreds of thousands of graduates will have clocked up tens of thousands of pounds of debt just for the ability to socialise and have sex away from the prying eyes of mummy and daddy. Oh, hang on a minute, social distancing rules and masks means you can’t even do that.
Which brings us to Covid19. At the time of writing Boris (missing , presumed in Scotland fighting off the rain, midges and angry Scots) has kept 67 million of us on a very tight rein indeed. If we have the temerity to take a holiday abroad we face being quarantined. If we would like to go shopping we have to wear a mask and if you live in some parts of the Country you may be sent back into lockdown. Thousands of people are not being checked for cancer symptoms, mental health problems are on the rise and businesses up and down the land are struggling to stay afloat. Meanwhile our national debt soars. And for what? Let’s look at the facts, starting with death. I have researched the ONS stats for death rates in England for the period July 23rd, being nearly 3 weeks after many lockdown restrictions were eased, and 18th August, which is the last available figure. These are the numbers:
In addition, my understanding is that circa 600 hospital beds are occupied by Covid19 patients out of a total of 141,000 beds.
Dear Reader, I ask you do these numbers suggest that 67 million of us should be told to continue to creep around because a great plague is upon us?
But I hear you cry, surely we must continue to do things like wear face masks if we want to keep the number of deaths down to next to nothing? Well let me tell you about face masks. Today the Financial Times reports that in a meta-analysis by the World Health Organisation of 29 studies that showed face masks were effective only 3 concerned their use outside hospitals and of those 3 none involved Covid19.
Meanwhile countries like Spain and Belgium with widespread face mask use are reporting rising infection rates. It doesn’t take a professor of epidemiology to work out why. In reality the public buys a face mask, uses it, stuffs it in a pocket, reuses it and so on. This means that someone with Covid 19 infects the face masks, repeatedly touches it and then touches other surfaces, thus spreading the virus. In reality hardly anyone uses their face mask just the once and, just to add to the stupidity, nearly all the face masks worn in public do not prevent aerosol transmission.
In conclusion it must be obvious by now that, compared to our highly damaging and useless education system, Covid19 isn’t at all lethal. Perhaps if the university education system had spent more time encouraging their students to rigorously analyse what they were studying and to always question outcomes and focus less on general wokery, we would have rebelled by now against our Government’s Covid bunkum.
The City Grump has spent some 40 years in the City of London. He started as a stockbroker’s analyst but after some years he decided he was too grumpy to continue with the sell side of things so he moved to the buy side and became a fund manager for the next 20 years, selling his own business in the 1990s. Post the millennium, he found himself in turn chairing a stockbroker, a financial PR company, and an Exchange. He still keeps his hand in, chairing a brace of VCTs and investing personally in startups. The City Grump’s publications are available here.