I blame the scapegoats

I blame the scapegoats by John O'Farrell

Book: I blame the scapegoats by John O'Farrell Read Free Book Online
Authors: John O'Farrell
Tags: Satire, Non-Fiction
leaving them useless
for anything other than a career as a stand-up comic.
    Many
working-class parents worry that their children will go off to university and
will be led astray by bad influences, especially if they end up at the same
college as Prince Harry* But, of course, the biggest worry is debt. Since the
abolition of student grants, students from poorer backgrounds have been put off
from going on to further education because they are anxious about the sum of
money they will owe after three years. This is really about confidence. To a
middle-class graduate, £3000 a year may not seem such a worrying sum to owe,
especially when they have seen their parents regularly spend that much on a few
tins of organic cat food from Waitrose. But many working-class kids would be
terrified by the prospect of leaving university owing thousands. That's nearly as
much as their dad spends on chunky gold jewellery.
    Our students have to be adequately funded;
those Lord of the Rings posters
are not cheap, you know. The review of student funding should bring back
student grants so that all social classes can enjoy the three-year cushy
holiday at the taxpayers' expense that we had. It's great that more people are
going to university, but it must go further. People moan about dumbing down,
but more British people are well educated today than ever before. We're not dumbing
down, we're um . . . doing the opposite thing, up. Damn, I might know what the
phrase was if I was better educated.
    * There had recently been some negative press coverage about
Prince Harry's getting drunk at school one afternoon. Journalists were appalled
that anyone should start drinking so late in the day.
     
     

Tyson
bites yer legs
     
    26
January 2002
     
     
    Mike
Tyson said in his defence this week that he is not Mr Politically Correct.
Self-knowledge is a wonderful thing. I'd say the convicted rapist, who once
assaulted elderly car drivers in a road-rage incident, attacked journalists and
photographers, spends much of his time in hostess bars making obscene
crotch-grabbing gestures and is wanted on further sexual charges, is indeed
probably a bit of a longshot for the post of Head of Gender Awareness at the
Hackney Women's Unit.
    Yet
Mike Tyson remains a role model for thousands. Where I live in South London far
more young working-class men have named their pet Rottweilers 'Tyson' than,
say, 'Melvyn Bragg', for example. You never see these blokes standing on the
common shouting, 'Yoko, come here!' or 'Germaine! Get down!'
    But
this week their hero sank to another new low. In a staged press conference with
Lennox Lewis, he proved unable to wait until the fight proper and attacked
Lewis after just ten seconds, even biting his intended opponent in the foot.
The event was intended to generate publicity but it was far too successful. It
was the ugliest melee since that drinks party at Downing Street when Noel
Gallagher bumped into John Prescott.
    Mike
Tyson is supposed to be on medication to control his temper.
    They said to him, 'Mike, you know you're a
professional boxer - well, we're giving you these drugs to stop you being so
aggressive.' No wonder he's so cross. The visits to the doctor were always a
tense affair; last time his physician gave him a gentle tap on the knee with a
little rubber hammer. That doctor gets out of hospital next month some time.
    Tyson
became world heavyweight champion at the age of twenty-back in 1986. But things
started to go wrong fairly quickly. Soon after, he was knocked unconscious when
he crashed his car into a tree, with the result that for a brief period the WBO
heavyweight title was held by a large horse chestnut. The tree then had lots of
gold teeth fitted and was photographed dating Miss Wyoming and pretty soon,
well, he just went to seed. Tyson regained the world title, but has since been
to prison, been fined for punching a referee and been banned for biting off an
opponent's ear. Still, it's better than bottling it all up.

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