The end of the world as we know it...

I've used this book many times over the last 25 years in tutorials with A Level students preparing for interviews to read History or Politics at university. It's getting to that time of year again.

The End Of History Bookcover

The end of history?

An interesting concept. I'll do my best to do justice to the argument advanced in the work's 428 pages in following 54 words...

The fall of the Berlin Wall and end of the Cold War in the late-1980s meant that all of the 'big' ideological questions in history had been answered. Western style liberal democracy had won and would not be bettered as the political framework within which to shape human society for the remainder of time.

It's interesting for a number of reasons. Is 'history' linear? Predictable? Over... At least in the sense of the emergence of any viable alternatives to world as we know it?

The recent rise of Religious Fundamentalism and the events of the last six months have certainly reinvigorated the debate, and challenged the assumptions! And also provided me with the stimulus for a whole new set of questions for students in their mock interviews...



Even perhaps Corbyn..?

Maybe it's the just the start of a whole new history?

I wandered into this a little bit on the radio recently. I was asked by BBC Radio Berks to do a spontaneous piece, self recorded, for 'Mark My Words' - a minute or so's unstructured chat on a word or phrase that has a meaning to your role, which goes out on the Sunday Morning Breakfast Show. I chose 'values'...

It hasn't been played... yet. I apparently misinterpreted the brief! It was supposed to be a phrase from a famous speech or song. I've subsequently done it again, with the new piece going out just before Christmas. The original offering going to be revisited in a different, debate format...

But I meant what I said. In times of uncertainty, when history may or not be over, or starting again, it's crucial to go back to core beliefs. To values. I think it is something we rightly emphasise at school. Especially, in contrast to some current areas of public adult life, values as positively reflected in our young people's behaviour.

I'm thinking about all we celebrated at Prize Giving a couple of weeks ago, with so many awards for community service as well as achievement...

Prize Giving with Zinzan Brooke

And our students' self-initiated charity fundraising efforts, like those recently to support the eradication of Polio or for Macmillan Cancer...

Polio Fundraising
MacMillan Fundraising

And the sheer joy, exuberance and talent of youth – the future – at this week's incredible Sound of Musicals production...

Sound of the Musicals
Sound of the Musicals
Sound of the Musicals
Sound of the Musicals

There is after all much that remains very good in the world as we know it here. Our corridor proudly proclaims it...