‘VALHALLA’ – The Dream of Michael Gove


The 1960’s witnessed

The dying embers

Of a class driven

Education system

Where the rich

Whatever their

Academic attributes


The exceptionally gifted few

From the lower classes

Were awarded

Their chance in life


The rest were consigned

To the scrap heap

That was

The secondary modern

Education system


At such institutions

The offspring of masses

In number

Of the few

In power

Were ‘trained’

In blue-collar tasks




Kept fit

Made ready to be

The cannon fodder

Of hierarchy

Just in case


At 11 years of age


The vermin

Duly dispatched

To the Secondary Modern

A place of ‘learning’

A fair reflection

Of the inequitable

Ways of the time


The social revolution

That was to occur

Had not yet taken hold

Though its time was at hand


The Secondary Modern

Boys only

A place of strict

Sadistic discipline

Of inadequate facilities

And for an entirely

Impractical being

Like me

An institution akin

To an open prison


The assembled consignees

To this toxic


Waste dump

In significant part

Were embryonic thugs

Whose modus operandi

The perpetration

Of violent deeds

That is the way of things

When nothing is taught

Save for screwing in



Threat of

Corporal punishment

Meant little

To the hardy sons

Of the proletariat


Knife crime

Acts of savage violence


Or covered up

The levels of violence

Bettered anything since

By a country mile

When testosterone

Runs rampant

Threats of corporal punishment

Serves to increase

Not reduce

Those levels of violence



Italian variety

The weapons of choice

Every boy had one

The knuckle-duster


In regular playground use

Invariably premeditated

Net result

An uneducated populous


Michael Gove

Would have the clock

Turned back

To those days

He views as


The fool


17 thoughts on “‘VALHALLA’ – The Dream of Michael Gove

  1. history done with superb proletariat passion – sounds almost Dickensian – here, in my view, our public educational system had been excellent until the 60s when it began severe ruination that has yet to reverse – I still have my 60 year old “Italian flick-knife” known here as a stiletto switchblade – I open my mail with it

    1. All young Americans I have met over recent years are far more eloquent than their peer group from this nation – subjectively. We simply replaced what was wrong with what was inadequate. Your founding fathers I suspect would have had it a very different way across this entire globe? Arguably your founding fathers were the greatest socialists of all time. I accept you would debate this point however. Fascinating thing is education – especially so if ones background is a poor/low income one.

      1. oh, I could talk an entire book on the subject of American education – my heart aches for the institutional deprivation of youthful intellect in any/every nation, especially the indigent young – as to the USA founders, most of whom I venerate, you are correct that I’d debate your assertion – they were as remote from socialist ideology as Friedrich Hayek was from Karl Marx – or perhaps Edmund Burke from Granville Hicks

    1. Cheers – by the way I’m trying to ‘follow’ you on the League of Mental Men but as yet haven’t worked out how to do so. So should you get a strange follower appear in the next day or so it will be us at the League!

      1. Ah ha! Right now I have been following the mighty League, shy about posting, happy I’ve met more people like me, the spiritual continuation of the Gods: Month Python!

      2. And Peter Cook and many others. Keep those posts of violence unplanned and unpredictable coming. By the way The Arsenal did – with much difficulty – make the FA Cup Final for the first Saturday in May.

      3. By the balls of Conan I shall watch beloved Arsenal win the FA Cup! And otherwise I shall delve into the cobwebbed memories and see what I can come up with.

      4. We won 3-1 against West Ham last night to put us back into European Champions League qualifying position thus all is well in our house presently. Still 4 nervous games to go before the season is over though.

    1. As an old lefty who had an appalling education at first a Secondary Modern then at 16 a Grammar School (boy that was awful as well – I must put it to poem/story one day) I have a loathing for what that fool Gove is trying to do. I know a lot of teachers and fine folk they are – also, after 4 kids – the youngest in his last year at uni – I have seen first hand how good our education could be if left alone to evolve as each area/community has entirely different requirements. Gove forgets that back in my day there were ‘less’ subjects to be covered – an important point I think when trying to compare like with like! Thanks for the comment – sorry about the rant.

  2. Okay, I had to look up Michael Gove on Wikipedia and then reread your poem, which already sounded a tad angry when I first read it…and I think I understand why.
    I wouldn’t know what education is like in England, but I’m inclined to take your words for it…
    I spent a few years in Suriname, a country that’s seen tumultuous times in the 1980s and 1990s…as a consequence, education had really taken a beating, meaning the current generation of young people is nowhere near as educated as the ones that went before them…Your poem reminded me of that:S

    1. Gove is a Tory – right wing – and his desire insofar as I can see – is to return to days of yore when the few got a fine education and the multitude of rabble get next to nothing! People like him make me proud to be a socialist no less!

      1. Thanks…will read a bit more about him…I must say I know next to nothing about British politics, but it’s nice to learn about it…perhaps I could do a blog on Gove one day;)

      2. I can do better than that Sir – will scan a Kim story that I suspect not many, if any, will see outside the UK and email it to you. ‘Tis all about a barber using a Kimmy poster in his shop just down the road from the NK Embassy in London. Think you’ll like this one.

  3. I’m with you on this subject. I came up the route of ‘privilege’ – boarding schools from the age of eight. Wildly variable education; different variety of bullying. With our children, we had the great luck of landing in an area where the earliest comprehensives, ‘Village Colleges’, had been established. Our children were able to walk to school and received a great education with a complete mixture of their peers. The result is savvy, competent, cheerful, book-munching adults. The teachers are there, we need to let them get on with the job and give all kids similar chances.

    1. Agree 100%. So many new subjects that kids have to learn these days that weren’t even subjects when I was young, yet everyone moans about those kids and their teachers. So unfair methinks. If we go back to the old days we’ll end up with millions like me with a ‘chip’ on their shoulders for ever – you only get one chance at being young; something Gove and his ilk overlook! Thanks for the comment by the way – appreciated.

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