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Chest thumping all in vain


MICHAEL RUDDER

Chest thumping all in vain

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YEARS AGO during one of my occasional wide- ranging discussions with the late Sir James Tudor I asked him, “Whose idea was it to provide free secondary education?”

In a flash he responded, “Mr A. E. S. Lewis.” And he added the words which most chest thumping members of his party would never say in public, “And we didn’t have very much to do.”

Yes, I was surprised to say the least, since I knew he would probably not have said such in public. He also knew that I would never have noised his response abroad and as such we would continue to have frank exchanges during which I might neither be agreeing with his party’s position nor he with ideas.

On the other hand, sometimes when one hears a speaker or reads their writing one thinks about the appropriate descriptor. Such was my dilemma on Sunday, May 15, 2016 when I heard and saw an individual, shall we say, “testifying” on the television news.

The descriptive word bigot (defined by Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary as one obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his own church, party, belief or opinion) came to mind.

I can’t say that the speaker is obstinate or intolerant but in declamatory style he reminded his audience that he went to The Lodge School – a sixth form school – and having left there – with, one imagines, the appropriate certification – he could have attended any of a number of prestigious universities and he named a few.

But, on the other hand, he asserted one could not have gone on to any such institutions if one had attended a newer secondary school such as the one he named. Good thing the current principal and pro-vice chancellor at UWI Cave Hill did not accept that she would be so disadvantaged, as a graduate of Ellerslie.

Was he saying in a rather chest thumping style, I am better because I went to an older secondary school? (These schools got free secondary education after the Secondary Modern schools).

There are no doubt hundreds of graduates from every secondary school – still existing or defunct – who can be found throughout every profession or calling there is. Everyone is born with vast amounts of flexible intelligence.

MICHAEL RUDDER

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