Nelson’s column

We live in interesting times. Regime change everywhere. All across North Africa the people are rising up and taking to the streets determined to free themselves from decades of tyranny. Osama Bin Laden is found a stones throw from the Pakistan military academy, resulting in the Obama administration hanging a question mark over the Pakistani government’s commitment to the fight against terrorism. 25, 000 Spaniards illegally occupy Madrid’s central square, camped out through the night ahead of the national and regional elections in protest at the government’s austerity plans. After 15 years of New Labour, the United Kingdom returned a Conservative government that only scraped in by the skin of its teeth through a coalition with the Lib-Dems – a coalition so unpopular with the people of Scotland that they have turned to the Nationalists, giving them a majority government, leaving Labour, the traditional party of Scotland, floundering and flapping like a trout on the river bank.

And even at a local level the council’s decisions are being rigorously questioned on a regular basis and these questions are being rigorously ignored on a regular basis. Our education system is being chopped up and re-designed by “people who know better” at Haywire, er, I mean, Hayfield House. Confusing talk of blueprints, consultations, hubs, closures and not closures makes us all scratch our heads wondering what will become of our children’s education.

So within these educational shake ups should we develop lessons that inform and prepare our bairns for the world we are sending them into? Should we be honest with them and let them know that their future will be full of changes, curve balls and disappointments? It is only fair that we let them know that even if you make huge decisions and commitments (like moving to Shetland to work and have a family) that even one decision from a sole civil servant or bureaucrat can cast your seeds on stony ground.

So here is something I know better about – poetry. I propose to Hayfield House some recommendations to for the Shetland curriculum in order that our children are best prepared for the world they are about to enter. I present to you:

Nursery Rhymes for Modern Times.


Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after
Unfortunately, as the local doctor’s surgery had been shut down, the ambulance had to negotiate the Yell Sound ferry and Jack and Jill died of their injuries on arrival at Gilbert Bain.


There Was an Old Woman Who Lived In a Shoe

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
She had so many children she didn’t know what to do
She gave them all broth without any bread
Whipped them all soundly and sent them to bed
The social services tried their best but due to budget cuts and UK laws protecting mothers’ rights the children had to suffer in silence.


This Old Man

This old man, he played one
He played nick-knack on my drum


Little Bo Peep

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep and doesn’t know where to find them.
Thankfully she received a substantial subsidy from Brussels.


Little Miss Muffet

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet
Eating her curds and whey
Along came a spider and sat down beside her and frightened Miss Muffet away.
Miss Muffet’s neighbours formed a vigilante mob and went around the village beating up all the spiders they could find shouting taunts like “go back to Spideria, Spidey!”

Three Blind Mice

Three Blind Mice, Three Blind Mice
See how they run, see how they run
They all ran after the farmer’s wife who cut off their tails with a carving knife
The environmental health shut down her Market Kitchen Restaurant when they found three dead blind mice.


Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
Humpty called Injury Lawyers Direct and he received £25,000 compensation.


Georgey Porgey

Georgey Porgey pudding and Pie
Kissed the girls and made them cry


The Grand Old Duke of York

The Grand Old Duke of York
He had ten thousand men
He marched them up to the top of the hill
Then he marched them down again
Then he disbanded the regiment and those not suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome managed to earn £4.50 an hour as night watchmen and strip club doormen.



Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake Baker’s man
Bake me a cake as fast as you can
‘Cos the factory is getting shut down next week, you are being made redundant and your job is being outsourced to Bangalore.

Sandy Nelson


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