Alex Massie

The Tories’ Second-Best Recruiting Sergeant...

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Things have come to a pretty pass when the Secretary of State for Education endorses ignorance and scoffs at knowledge pretending, one is given to understand, that it's just a kind of posh irrelevance favoured only by the terminally stuffy and fuddy-duddy and out-of-touch. Such, however, seems to be the case for you poor English folk, lumbered as you are with the grim Mr Edward Balls. I'd thought Boris must be exaggerrating matters in his Telegraph  column today. As the Mayor puts it:

"Speaking on the radio, Spheroids dismissed the idea that Latin could inspire or motivate pupils. Head teachers often took him to see the benefits of dance, or technology, or sport, said this intergalactic ass, and continued: "No one has ever taken me to a Latin lesson to make the same point. Very few parents are pushing for it, very few pupils want to study it."

Jane Thynne


"Even when he wasn't speaking, the figure of our education minister dominated this excellent documentary like the bully at the back of the class. He is anti-Latin, for example, because "very few businesses are asking for it". Which would suggest he thinks business should decide what gets taught in school. "Cui bono?" asked Anne, but if he got her meaning, he certainly wasn't letting on."

It's not so much that Balls is anti-latin, though that's depressing anyway, but the "reasons" (if they can be so dignified) for his prejudice and what these in turn reveal about his approach to education and all the rest of it. Grim.

UPDTE: Bella Gerens is also unhappy with Mr Colei.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.