Opinion – The frustrating experience of trying to legally immigrate reveals France’s true attitude toward immigrants. Source: An Immigrant in France – Editorial – The New York Times – John Gelmini

This article from the New York Times from Dr Alf about the attitude of the French bureaucrats dealing with immigrants reminded me of my experiences of emigrating to America to get married.

I had to produce reams of paper about my previous jobs and financial status, I had to sign a piece of paper saying that I would not be a public charge for 5 years, my father-in-law had to accompany me to the then Department of Immigration and Naturalisation in Tampa, Florida, a drive of more than 220 miles (round trip) and produce an affidavit saying that he would support me should I become unemployed, my then now estranged wife had to undergo a very intrusive interview, dealing with her reasons for marrying me, my-father-in-law was interviewed separately to cross-check the facts.
I had to produce my medical records and I was medically examined twice, to ensure that I was not the bearer of a dangerous or contagious disease.

My fingerprints and a form had to be completed by the police in Tampa, along with a series of photographs to satisfy the immigration authorities, and the immigration authorities wrote to the UK Home Office to establish that I was not a criminal.

Whilst undergoing this process, I was often in rooms with a veritable United Nations of divergent people and the tone of one’s interviewers was one of skepticism, pressure and hectoring.

The French may have attitudes to immigrants that this intrepid reporter for the New York Times didn’t like but she ought to try going through the process of immigration and citizenship into her own country, as I did and then compare the two experiences.

The US media is quick to point to finger at other countries but does not necessarily give to same publicity to weaknesses in the US public sector bureaucracies.

John Gelmini

Opinion – Illiteracy will cost global economy $1.2tn in 2015 | EurActiv – John Gelmini

The fact of illiteracy has to do with trendy teaching methods, schooldays which are too short, and useless teachers, plus heads who fail to maintain discipline in schools. It is also due to television and the tantalising of swathes of the various populations by social media, mobile phones and websites with inane content.

UK state-schools rank 44th in the world and regularly turn out 1 child in 5 who is illiterate, unable to read/comprehend a bus timetable, unable to communicate except in monosyllabic grunts, and with no social graces or work ethic.

The situation is made worse by parents who feed their offspring food which has no nutritional value or fail to provide them with any food at all.

Whilst on assignment for insurance companies who deal with the urban and rural poor, I have seen houses without a single book or magazine in both the UK, and in certain areas of America where people are particularly financially challenged.

Under those circumstances, one can see how the illiteracy, which Dr Alf writes about, via this EuroActive article, costs what it does.

The costs are greater than the cited $1.2 trillion USD of course, because illiteracy is rife in prisons. This due to the fact that such people cannot get jobs and thus resort to crime and then need to be sustained by unemployment benefits by taxpayers following their incarceration.

National competitiveness is damaged by skills shortages and the proliferation of a feral underclass of essentially economically useless people, who have to carried at the expense of everyone else and cannot even be used by the military or in factories because they possibly lack the mental capacity to operate modern weapons systems or make things that our exporters can sell.

The actions needed to transform this abysmal situation are:

1) Fire all ineffective teachers and trendy heads and derecognise teaching unions

2) Increase the school day to 12 hours, with homework on top, and Saturday classes for slow-learners

3) Replace all teachers with new highly competent ones and place troublesome children in schools run by former Army officers, retrained as heads and taught by former soldiers retrained as teachers (similar to America’s “Troops to Teachers” program)

4) Re-introduce whole-class teaching and use the best elements of the Chinese, Singaporean and South Korean school systems

5) Compel all pupils to wear uniforms, and clean their schools at the end of the day as happens in Japan

6) Have one curriculum and teach useful languages (these are in order are Mandarin, Brazilian Portuguese and Arabic for Europeans) and Spanish for Americans

7) Make children read one piece of great national/global literature a month, and test them on their comprehension

8) Teach children to speed and photo-read so that they can take in more data faster

9) Re-introduce rigor and discipline into the learning process and into the management of schools

10) Teach pupils alpha-brainwave entrainment, so that they can learn faster and remember more

11) Increase the proportion of male teachers and teach all teachers to use NLP

John Gelmini