Education secretary Michael Gove has defended his decision to reintroduce formal bullying into secondary schools, and rejected accusations it would mean "two tiers before bedtime."
“There’s striking evidence that bullied people become bullies themselves, so allegations that some children will be tarred for life are untrue. Bullying for some can mean social mobility. And lot of modern tars come off quite easily,” he told a conference of educators
Bullying gained a poor reputation during the Blair years," Gove said. "We take the view that it is the natural outcome of a free society. In the real world, powerful figures rise naturally to the top, and we who write humble columns in their newspapers enjoy a relationship in which we quiver and go a bit red and weak kneed sometimes, faced with the sheer magnificence and power of their throbbing spheres of influence. Inspired by great bullies I have personally encountered, I am now experimenting with bullying myself. What I have learned, and what reminds me of my own schooldays is that this kind of assertiveness has to be focused. A woolly bully is no good to anyone. If it isn't demanding physically and mentally, you're not doing it right.
Our new Citizenship O level will encompass humility and responsible victimhood. These will be examined in a brightly lit gymnasium and efficiently invigilated by smartly dressed highly fit young men in suits and ties and shiny shoes. We are currently thrashing out details.
Asked whether his plans involve a return to the traditions of wet towel flicking, fagging, and using first year oiks' buttock-cleavage as bicycle racks Gove responded: "Of course we aspire to the standards set by our great Public Schools, with their physical firmness, and great traditions of ritual cruelty. But some of us only managed entry into the ranks of minor public schools, and let us not forget the great Australians who rose so majestically to positions of enormous power, giving humble scots like me a part to play in the free press."
" So yes, our examinations at 'O' level will feature questions on traditional power-wielding, but first we need to establish the dress code for those well built invigilators, many of whom will have come from the ranks of the military. And gowns for teachers, and heavy blackboard rubbers and those little hats, what are they called?...Oh God I love this job... "