[audioplayer src="http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_13_March_2014_v4.mp3" title="Toby Young and Fraser Nelson discuss Michael Gove's personality and the attacks from all sides"]
[/audioplayer]A few weeks ago, I was a guest at a huge tea party for children’s authors, publishers and commentators at the South Bank, but the atmosphere, over the cupcakes and finger sandwiches, was decidedly frosty.
Knowledge can be successfully transmitted and received only by those who recognise its value. If our governments have regarded education as valuable, however, it is usually as a means to some political goal unconnected with knowledge. As a result, our school system, once the best in the world, is now no better than the average developed country for numeracy and literacy.
Many on the left see schooling as a form of social engineering, the purpose of which is to produce a classless society.
When I trained as a teacher, seven years ago, these are some of the things I was taught: it’s better for pupils to discover a fact than to be told it. Children learn best working on authentic, real-world projects. Schools and traditional subject boundaries are silos which stifle the natural creativity we all have within us. And this last fact especially: there is no point teaching a body of knowledge, because within a few years it will be outdated and useless.
Talking to Israelis feels a bit like talking to fans of Millwall FC. ‘No one likes us, we don’t care,’ sing Millwall fans. Israel is the undoubted Millwall of global affairs, loathed by almost every Westerner who considers himself decent and they’ve adopted a similar cri de coeur. ‘Europe doesn’t like us. Americans do not like us. We can live with this,’ says a kippah-wearing guy at the Western Wall.
[audioplayer src="http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_13_March_2014_v4.mp3" title="Josie Appleton and Camilla Swift discuss the rise of the dog police" startat=1509]
[/audioplayer]‘Be careful!’ shouted a woman on the North Wales beach. ‘The dog police are back!’ Using her walking stick to help her, Lynne stumbled towards the path leading off the beach as fast as she could, followed by her border terrier, Bonnie.
Vladimir Putin still swears that there are no Russian troops in Crimea, so their mission is to say as little as possible as they invade this holiday region in their unmarked uniforms and vehicles. It is remarkable how soon you get used to shouting questions at these heavily armed special forces soldiers while they pretend not to be Russians. They tend not to take the bait: the most you’ll get out of them is a curt ‘Nyet’.
No city really multitasks like Paris, shorthand for romance, culture, fashion, gastronomy and the kind of street life you find on Robert Doisneau calendars. The £69 Eurostar return opens up a vista of civilised pleasures: the best cheese shops (Androuet), the loveliest perfumeries (Serge Lutens, Palais Royal), the best markets (Marché des Enfants Rouge), the prettiest dolls’ house shop (Pain d’Epices), the most engaging museum (Jacquemart-André).