How odd that as winter finally begins to dwindle, and the clocks go forward, industrial unrest should kick in. Spring of Discontent doesn't really have the same ring to it, does it? As public sectors workers - including tens of thousands of teachers - descend on London tomorrow for the snappily-titled March for an Alternative, there will surely be less need for donkey jackets and warming thermos flasks than a nice Zara spring cardi and a ready supply of MS cava. Comrades; vive la revolution!
But seriously, anger is undeniably in the air. This week, of course, featured Boy George's second Budget. With inflation rocketing, youth unemployment at a record high and economic expansion next-to non-existent, it seemed rather ambitious to have badged it "the budget for growth". Especially when viewed through the edu-looking glass where the cuts are undeniably beginning to hurt - local authorities are being emasculated, sixth-forms financially pillaged and support services pulled apart. All this, before most schools even have next year's final funding settlement agreed. The question rattling around every headteacher's brain is surely, "How much nastier can this get?"
If they really want to find out, they could do worse than asking their nearest FE principal. It's bad in FE, man. Really bad. Colleges are facing budget cuts of 25 per cent over the next four years, together with any number of "retrenchments" in the rest of their services. No wonder, then, that FE staff are so angry. And on Thursday this became a reality when they became among the first part of the public sector workforce to strike in defence of their pensions. And over a pay deal they consider to be derisory. This opened up the very real possibility that quite a few lecturers will have been manning the picket line mid-week then heading to London at the weekend for the cuts demo. Now that is activism.
Before you pop down the shops for a nice big box of aspirin and extra large bottle of budget voddy, please do bear this thought in mind: IT'S NEARLY EASTER. So kick back, relax and turn off George Osborne. Oh, and try not to think how many whiteboard markers you could buy for the cost of Kate's dress.