SOMEBODY is slipping hallucinogens to our front line key workers and it has to stop.

I realised this only the other day when I heard that teachers were considering industrial action to get more funding for schools.

This is in spite of the fact that the very important and very highly paid folk in charge of handing out the funding say our schools have never been so well-heeled.

As those very important people have no reason to lie, I used to think teachers and other front line public sector workers who make such complaints were simply mistaken. That’s why I suggested the other week that head teachers who claim, for example, that they don’t have enough teachers will probably find some overlooked ones in the staffroom if they search carefully enough.

Now I realise that these delusions are so widespread, and not just among teachers and head teachers, that hallucinogens are the only possible explanation.

For reasons unknown, but perhaps to sew discord and unhappiness, sinister forces are slipping terrifying drugs to people who work in our schools, hospitals and even in certain sectors of our police forces.

It is clear that our schools are bright, airy and luxurious places, exquisitely furnished and equipped and in tip-top condition.

Desks, benches and chairs are chosen from the catalogues of our most respected cabinet-makers, every floor is covered with top-of-the-range shagpile carpeting, textbooks are leather-bound and if any piece of equipment so much as makes a slightly funny noise it is instantly replaced.

Exams and tests are consistent from year to year, marking systems are rooted in pure logic and common sense, and regular inspections use clear and enduring criteria which ensure teachers, staff and pupils know at all times precisely what they’re supposed to be doing and how they’re supposed to be doing it.

Unsurprisingly, this wonderful learning environment means young people are queuing up to train as teachers and spend their entire careers in a well-paid, satisfying profession. Headteachers have to fight their way through throngs of desperate would-be teachers in order to reach their offices every morning.

Why is it, then, that so many teachers experience this wonderful vista and then complain that schools are crumbling, equipment is falling apart, books are knackered and outdated, the pay is nothing like adequate for the workload involved, they are having to add to that workload because of staff shortages and they barely know from one month’s end to the next which randomly-generated set of official guidelines they’re supposed to be following?

As I’ve already said, the only possible explanation is mass hallucination, and the introduction of a sinister substance is the only cause which makes sense.

Perhaps whoever is responsible is pumping it through the air conditioning or heating vents.

The culprits are clearly very well-organised and resourced, as they are also operating in our hospitals and perhaps our police stations.

Why else would doctors and nurses claim so often to be hopelessly overwhelmed when the official line is that the NHS is better off than ever?

And why would frontline police officers complain about cutbacks when we’re officially safe?

Meeting the full force of the law

LAST week saw Olwen Kelly of Swindon Women’s Aid correctly accuse the justice system of failing victims.

She highlighted short sentences and compared restraining orders to dogs without teeth.

Her comments set me thinking, and I realised that not everybody is failed by the law when it comes to some of the offences domestic abuse survivors are obliged to suffer.

There is a certain group of people in this country, made up of both men and women, who are guaranteed not only a prompt hearing when they report violence or threats, but also a justice system with more teeth than a great white shark.

Anybody who, for example, threatens - or in some cases, merely insults - a member of this group can rightly expect to be tracked down and, at the very least, warned that if they do anything like it again they’ll have the book thrown at them.

Should they repeat the conduct, they can expect - again entirely deservedly - to be arrested, dragged to court and locked up.

This may well happen - and rightly so, as I’ve said - even if they don’t indulge in any form of physical violence.

Perhaps those who endure the foul outrage which is domestic abuse should consider joining this special group, so as to be sure that their persecutors will be dealt with properly.

Or perhaps the members of the special group, whose responsibilities include making the laws of the land, should see what they can do to prevent innocent people from being attacked and terrorised.