Change – an extract from ‘Farther from the Sun’.

Some people travel to far off countries and take photographs of people and buildings from different times and cultures.



Because I was mouthy the staff voted me on to the governing body. I was the staff representative. They put me there to stir things up.

I did stir things up. I wanted the school to change. I wanted the students treated better. I wanted education to be expansive, caring and interesting. The governors at that time were a conservative bunch who resisted change.

It was apparent to me that the governors were ‘old boys’ who wanted to see the school run the way it was in the 1930s, the ‘good old days’. They wanted the kids to wear smart uniforms, get caned and know their place. They wanted the school to be selective, after all, what was the point of teaching ‘thick’ kids? They never wanted anything to change, least of all their power and authority.

I didn’t agree.

At my first meeting, I encountered one millionaire businessman governor who slagged off the present teaching staff as ‘lazy people who couldn’t hold down a job in the real world’. As the bastard had never stepped a foot inside the school when the kids were there, and didn’t have a clue about the planning and marking that took place out of lessons, and how hard the staff worked, I had to put him in his place.

After the meeting, the Chair of Governors, stopped me in the corridor, grabbed me by the throat and pinned me up against a wall, furious and shouting in my face. He called me a ‘trouble maker’.

I concluded that I had to be doing something right.

You have to laugh don’t you?

If you want to build a better world you’ve got to be prepared to change the old one. If you believe in equality you have to fight for it.

Remember; once you stop fighting to improve the situation, the bastards will use every means they can to wrest power away from you. They want their privileged position maintained. They want things to stay as they are.

These people are the same elitist group who’ve always run things. They do it in the background and are slippery like greased shit. They appoint the bosses and pull the strings. The bosses are the ones who take the flak. They are the front. The real power lies behind them.

One thing I rapidly discovered was that this was a game of attrition. A person cannot easily change the big things; you keep chipping away at the small stuff until you have created a successful momentum. The big stuff follows.



My old man was in charge of an office of telephone reporters. It was a very responsible job. He was good at it and he worked hard. Many of the people working under him earned more than he did. You see they had unions that fought for their pay. My old man was management. He had to rely on the goodwill of the bosses. He didn’t automatically get a pay rise.

When he died I found copies of some of the letters he’d written to request a pay increase: ‘could you see your way to’ and ‘following the efficiency’. It was pathetic. They saw the wording as weakness and never seemed to see their way to provide him with the pay increase he deserved. He should have adopted a stronger tone and demanded a pay rise. They would have respected that.

The person who took over from him started with a salary that was over twice the level of his pay.

It makes me mad. These people will always give as little as they can get away with. They are greedy. He deserved better than that.



Some people read books that are made up stories of the lives and adventures of fictional people.


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