TCW readers really appreciated Ollie Wright’s reading recommendation The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Fascinating comments, insights and directions to other sources deserved a blog in themselves.

Picking just a few:

Mark Taha commented: As Solzhenitsyn once said: ‘Oh Left-wing thinkers and intellectuals, students of the avant-garde, when you hear the barked command “Hands behind your backs!” and begin the long march towards the Archipelago, only then will you begin to understand.’

Cassandra directed us to the Russian painting The Road to the East, which you can see here. Can someone tell us who the artist is? Abominable _Yeoman pointed us to the movie The Lives of Others, which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language film in 2007, about the Stasi in 1980s East Germany: ‘Watch it and ask yourself how much progress we’ve made since the Berlin Wall came down?’

James Chilton recommended Anne Applebaum’s book Gulag: A History of the Soviet Camps as ‘a reliable and readable account up to the collapse of the system’.

Moving on, parts one and two of Chris McGovern’s ‘Whistleblower teacher’s messages of despair from the front line’ elicited more than 300 comments, plus a number of suggestions to remedy classroom chaos and teacher abuse. Corblimey recommended putting Anna Soubry in a classroom with low IQ kids to see what language and the intimidation she’d have to put up with. ‘All MPs,’ he opined, ‘should be compelled to teach on camera in inner city schools’. Not such a bad idea.

Nick Booth’s ironic ‘alternative’ policing suggestion ‘It’s all a bit sci fi but how about putting bobbies on the beat?’ encouraged John Birch to ponder in a similar vein:

Allowing and even encouraging (by lack of effective punishment) crime to take place at the levels that it is today makes me highly suspicious. Has anyone ever read a study on the positive effect of crime on the economy? After all the huge number of people necessary to clear up behind criminals, all those middle-class jobs in the prison service, judiciary, probation, welfare, hospitals, paramedics. They all create turnover in the economy in one way or another linked to crime. Then we have security services, cctv, locksmiths, insurance companies, all those replacements for items stolen. And so it goes on. It makes me wonder if going soft on crime is being used to boost the economy.

Food for thought – and another satire, Nick?

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