Exmouth Community College is having a hairy time of it …

Letter sent to parents – Owl recalls a time when pupils were sent home for having hair too long!

Does hair length affect exam results?

Note to College – this is called a “fade cut” – do keep up!

“Dear Parents & Carers

We are noticing an increase in students who are choosing to have more extreme haircuts which involve very long hair on top but with very short hair around the sides. We would like to remind parents and carers that we do not allow students to have their hair cut below a grade 2 or to have very extreme differences in hair length. If students do get their hair cut extremely short then I am afraid we will have to keep them out of lessons until it has grown back to a suitable length.

Many thanks for your support with this issue.”

Exmouth Community College

Vote for Boris Johnson because he eats chips …

“Boris Johnson thinks you are an idiot.

Nowhere is his absolute contempt for your intelligence more on display than in his latest election broadcast.

The Conservatives have released a video suggests you should vote for Boris Johnson because he drinks tea, eats chips and makes strange shapes with his eyes.

Boris Johnson thinks you are an idiot.

Nowhere is his absolute contempt for your intelligence more on display than in his latest election broadcast.

In the past, when politicians have posted these sort of videos I have fact checked them. Within the last six months I have done it with both UKIP and Brexit Party politicians.

And yet I can’t do that with this video. Is this because his comments were so watertight and researched not a single hole could not be picked in them? No.

The reason we can not fact check it is because his nearly five minutes video contained literally no facts, no verifiable figures and no substance.

You may think this is strange. After all, these videos are basically a job interview. You, the electorate, are the boss and he is the prospective employee. The job is the role of Prime Minister and within this interview process he is trying to convince you he has the necessary policies and ideas to make you safer, more prosperous and healthier.

At normal job interview you put forward evidence that you are equipped for a role. In Boris Johnson’s defence he doesn’t have much experience with this.

Sonia Purnell pointed out is her book Just Boris: Boris Johnson: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity, that Mr Johnson hasn’t had to have that many interviews.

In late 1987 he began work as a graduate trainee at The Times thanks to family connections (though he was dismissed after making up a quote).

He also got a job at The Telegraph from knowing editor Max Hastings, through his Oxford University Union presidency.

So how do you fill a five minute election video with no facts. In turns out you seize on a pile of cliches and make out like you’re just one of us.

It seems that Mr Johnson (I refuse to board the cliché coach and call him Boris or Bojo) believes that simply making you believe he is like you is enough for you to give him the keys to our NHS, armed forces and children’s futures.

1. Vote Boris: He loves chips

In less than five minutes Johnson managed to talk about: fish and chips, steak and oven chips, takeaways and marminte.

You can almost hear his top advisor Dominic Cummings’ thought process.

“Everyone has to eat food right?” he thinks as he goes through the data from dozens of focus groups (while simultaneously catching up on Russia Today).

“If people see that Boris likes food then they will find him relatable and want him in charge.”

The amount Johnson mentions the food he likes is frankly ridiculous.

Trust me, I also eat food…
It is like he Googled “what do normal people cook” and just said he liked it.

“Fish and chips or a Sunday roast?” he was asked.

He replied: “I think fish and chips on a cold night on a beach, you can’t beat it.”

You hear that? He likes chips, you like chips. He likes the beach, you like the beach. Is there a plan to stop pollution of our beaches? Who cares! Beach, beach, beach, beach, beach.

If you are suspicious of Johnson’s culinary skills look no further than his comment on his Brexit deal which is “oven ready” so you just “slam it in the microwave and it is there”…

2. Vote Boris: He likes old music

“What is your favourite band?” asked the resident brown nose filming the video.

“It is either The Clash or the Rolling Stones. Mainly I listen to the Rolling Stones nowadays so make of that what you will.”

Everyone likes the Rolling Stones and The Clash so therefore everyone will like Johnson right?

Most people have a soft spot for the bands that were big during their university years but not Johnson.

The may be because he is a rock purist. Or it maybe because the UK number one during his freshers week at Oxford were the “tank-topped bumboys” Culture Club with Karma Chameleon.

Don’t think that pretending to like a universally popular band is this is cliched and opportunistic? Just ask Gordon Brown (if he doesn’t have his noise cancelling headphones on listening to the Arctic Monkeys).

To be fair, this cliché may not have come from focus groups but instead from the Madonna song Music which reads:

“Music makes the people come together.

“Music makes the bourgeoisie and the rebel.”

3. Vote Boris: He likes tea

If the love of Marmite, chips and Mick Jagger doesn’t make you think Johnson is ready to lead our country then guess what – the guy makes his own tea!

In the video he is filmed making his own brew. Not only that but he is such a man of the people he used one of those boiling water taps that people have in their offices. No expensive Russell Hobbs kettle for him.

‘I like tea, vote for me’

Of course it is entirely feasible that he always makes his own tea though he did make one absolutely rookie error. An error so dire it is likely to create more mistrust than his rampant history of sexual infidelity. The man left the tea bag in to walk around the office?

Perhaps he is such an alpha male leader that no tea is strong enough for him – or maybe he just never makes the tea himself and thinks the bag just dissolves.

As anyone who has made tea in work knows, it is all about trying to get the tea bag from the cup to the bin without dripping on the floor and annoying the cleaner.

4. Vote Boris: He has a dog

“Woof woof!”

What is that sound? No not Johnson when he sees a “lovely piece of tottie” but the sound of his dog.

“How do you typically start your day,” says a voice off camera (whose title is presumably head of relatable question asking).

The Tory leader replied: “I tend to get pretty early and take the job job down for a walk and the dog does his business.”

In the great spectrum of what people love, at one end we have politicians and at the other we have dogs. Clearly there was a hope that this “cute by association” would help, though it could lead to a fall in people’s trust in pooches.

Perhaps this was an entirely innocent chat about his pet and in no way an attempt to use this cliché to gain votes. To be fair, he has only had a dog for about six weeks so it may have been considered noteworthy.

5. Vote Boris: He eats takeaways

We all know that feeling when we get home from a hard day at work and can’t be bothered to cook. We know we should save money and be healthy but just can’t do it. So instead we order take out with the delicious flavours laced with guilt.

Turns out this feeling is EXACTLY the same whether you have worked all day is a hospital or spent and afternoon slowly eroding democratic conventions.

When asked what the most surprising thing about being PM is you might expect it to be “the weight of responsibility” or “pressure of affecting people’s”. Not Johnson. What really surprised Boris “one of us” Johnson was his “incredulity” when he couldn’t “actually get a Thai curry delivered to Number 10” because of security.

One of us! One of us!

6. Vote Boris: He’s nice to the nice young Asian man in the office

‘Who looks less comfortable here? As he makes his way round the office you will notice that almost no one (except him) is under the age of 40.

That is presumably because they are dynamic, forward thinking and down with the kids.

Think a Boris Johnson government will be wracked by accusations of Islamohpobia and questions about him using words like “piccannies” and “watermelon smiles” in his columns? Not a bit of it.

As Johnson makes his way through a corridor a guy, who appears to be of Asian descent, walks down the corridor towards him (totally unprompted obviously).

Johnson greets him (not by name) with a jovial “How are you? Nice to see you.” He solidified this with a hearty backslap.

Now before you hound me on Twitter I am not suggesting that this bloke was undeserving of his starring role in the cliché fest. I am simply suggesting that in a video which was clearly choreographed from start to finish it is no accident that it was a BAME person Johnson decided to be “mates” with.

Or was it an accident, he just happened to stand up and walk past while the Prime Minister was filming a party political broadcast?

7. Vote Boris: He does that thing with his eyes…

‘Could I be more down with the kids?’
The body language, facial expressions and wild gestures used in this video have been honed over years of appearing on Have I Got News For You.

Some of these were clearly supposed to be Churchillian and resemble a football fan celebrating a goal on the terraces.

It didn’t quite work.

At the very end of the video he gave a fist pump which would have made a new born baby look strong.

After saying that we need to “unleash the potential of this whole country” he offers perhaps the most half hearted fist pump since he voted Theresa May’s deal in March…

Beyond the clichés this video says one thing: Vote for me – I am like you.

The thing is I know me. I know I am not qualified to run a country. What I want is someone with a decent sense of right and wrong who has a clear idea of how they are going to make my life better.”


“Climate Emergency debate with candidates for Tiverton & Honiton constituency, 7 pm 28th November, Honiton Community College”

Climate Emergency debate with candidates for Tiverton & Honiton constituency, 7 pm 28th November, Honiton Community College.

Climate Emergency debate with candidates for Tiverton & Honiton constituency, 7 pm 28th November, Honiton Community College

Boris Johnson “obsessed with masturbation”

It’s said Boris Johnson us sex-obsessed. It seems so!
For those who are not in the know, “onanism” is used to describe either masturbation or withdrawal before ejaculation.

and if you are not convinced:

or this:

Read more here:

What is our Local Enterprise Partnership up to these days? They won’t tell us

“The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) new local industry strategy featured prominently at its annual conference in Torquay on 4 November despite it not yet having been published.

It has been signed off by all the partners and seen by other stakeholders, but will remain otherwise unseen until it receives ministerial-level clearance in Whitehall. …”

And this picture of how our LEP compares to the 38 other LEPs is worth (at least) a thousand words:


Mental health benefit of national parks – nearly £5 TRILLION

That doesn’t seem to matter to our TiggerTory councillors who prefer to keep their tight personal hold over their planners and their cordial relationship with developers rather than thinking about the benefits of a Jurassic Nationsl Park on residents and visitors. Curious that.

“You can’t put a price on nature. You can’t quantify the uplifting effects of a walk in the Peak District or the way your soul soars at the sight of a stormy Cornish cliff.

Except, it turns out you can: it’s worth almost £5 trillion a year. Economists have calculated the mental health benefits of the world’s national parks, and concluded that on this measure alone they provide services amounting to a significant proportion of global GDP. And that is before you consider all the other environmental services they offer.

From the smooth cliffs of Yosemite to the jagged glaciers of Chamonix to the wild fenland of East Anglia, protected spaces improve our mood, reduce our work absences and keep us well. By quantifying the magnitude of this effect in Australia then using the tools of health economics to place a monetary value on it, researchers were able to extrapolate what they called a “conservative” global estimate of £4.67 trillion.

“Nature exposure improves human mental health and wellbeing,” the team from Griffith University, Australia, wrote. “Poor mental health imposes major costs on human economies. Therefore, parks have an additional economic value through the mental health of visitors.”

As unromantic as it sounds, economists believe that until nature has a value on a balance sheet it can be depleted and exploited without penalty. In recent years researchers have looked to calculate the value of the natural world in, for instance, flood protection, pollination and climate control.

The analysis, published in the journal Nature Communications, extended this further to consider mental health. The researchers looked at the improvement in wellbeing in 20,000 Australians that was attributable to visiting national parks, then translated this into quality adjusted life years, which is a measure of how easily people can live their lives. Finally, they extended the calculation to the world.

Dieter Helm, a University of Oxford economist who was appointed by the government to value Britain’s “natural capital”, has said in the past that figures such as these are by necessity imprecise, but not considering them in natural accounts is “precisely wrong”. He welcomed the new research.

“This is another bit in the mounting pile of evidence highlighting the huge health benefits, both mental and physical, from nature,” he said. There are great economic gains from investing in natural capital . . . It should be a major priority for the Treasury. It is not just concrete infrastructure that matters: green infrastructure has some of the highest returns.”

Source: Times (pay wall)

Why did Axminster fail to get Town Fund grant? Because it’s in a safe Tory seat

“The Conservatives have been accused of short-changing the poorest communities in favour of comparatively affluent towns to boost their election prospects.

The government promised that the multibillion-pound towns fund would “unleash the full economic potential of more than 100 places and level up communities throughout the country”.

However, 32 towns on the list fall outside the 300 worst-off in England according to rankings from the Office for National Statistics.

Analysis by The Times reveals the extent to which money has been directed towards wealthier areas that are marginal Conservative-held or target seats.

Among the least deprived locations given priority are Stocksbridge in South Yorkshire, where Angela Smith, who won the seat for Labour in 2017, is standing aside after 14 years, and Loughborough, where the Conservatives are defending a majority of 4,000.

Others include Brighouse, Kidsgrove, Cheadle, Worcester and Crawley, which all sit in constituencies that returned Tory MPs with majorities of less than 5,000 at the 2017 election.

Newark, which is ranked 298th in terms of deprivation, is in the constituency being contested by Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary. The list also features Darwen, the Lancashire constituency that Jake Berry, the northern powerhouse minister, is defending.

Andrew Gwynne, the shadow communities secretary, said: “This raises serious questions about the role that ministers and advisers played in robbing some of the poorest towns in the country to funnel cash into Tory target seats in a scramble for votes.

“The towns fund is an insult to communities across the country that have been forced to bear the greatest burden of austerity.”

Will Jennings, professor of public policy and researcher for the Centre of Towns think tank, said more transparency was urgently needed to justify why some of these towns had been included while places such as Tipton, Bootle and Sheerness had not.

The towns fund has also been criticised for failing to fulfil promises made in the Conservatives’ 2017 manifesto, which pledged to replace £30 billion of structural fund money from the EU with a “United Kingdom shared prosperity fund, specifically designed to reduce inequalities between communities”.

Lisa Nandy, Labour’s candidate in Wigan, said: “We were promised real investment, including billions through a shared prosperity fund. Instead we’ve seen money pushed towards marginal towns during an election campaign.”

Analysis of the towns fund was carried out using Office for National Statistics data on income deprivation, one of the key measures ministers were asked to consider when finalising the recipients. This showed that more than half the 100 towns (55) voted Tory in 2017, yet more than three quarters (85) of the 10 per cent of most deprived towns backed Labour at the last election.

The data revealed that the 100 areas chosen to receive funds had an average parliamentary majority of just over 6,000. This compares with an average majority of almost 11,000 in England’s 10 per cent most deprived towns.

Towns Fund money is going to 23 towns with populations below 25,000, the most widely used classification of a small town. One, Tory-voting Millom, in Cumbria, has just 5,887 people.”

Source: Times (pay wall)