After the gold rush has come the clamour to “secure the legacy” of the London Olympics from politicians desperate to get the electorate to look somewhere other than at the state of the economy. And complicit in this flagrantly dishonest exercise have been the hacks, some of whom are so keen both to offer the Government line and to appease their editors that they do not concern themselves with reality.
What if I do send my f***ing kids to private schools, c***?!?
Thus it has been with Tim Shipman at the Mail, who has taken a 10 Downing Street press release, together with the agenda of his legendarily foul mouthed editor, and delivered this magnificently fraudulent sentiment: “The Prime Minister is to reveal the primary school National Curriculum will be rewritten this autumn to ensure all pupils play proper sports”. Proper sports, eh? And, as the man said, there’s more.
“The move will end the culture of ‘prizes for all’ which has afflicted some schools since the educational establishment decreed no one must fail in the 1960s”. Who is this “educational establishment” of which you speak, O great Shipper of bull? The Mail could, of course, indulge in the mystical art known as “five minutes’ Googling” and see that almost all schools already do competitive sport.
And here’s more obedient recycling: “It will also see trendy exercise classes in schools, such as ‘Indian dancing’, replaced by sports”. Ah, two things here, says he while slipping into Jon Stewart mode. One, Young Dave made that “Indian dancing” remark without checking his facts (once again), and two, “Indian dancing”, if it’s the modern form of Bhangra, is a very thorough aerobic workout.
Better, in fact, than spending most of the lesson hanging around waiting for a turn to run a race, do a long or high jump, chuck a discus or shot, or maybe have a go on whatever gym equipment the school can lay its hands on. Shipman ought to check out what is really happening at the sharp end with school sport, as it is squeezed by yet more budget cuts, as Fiona Phillips has outlined at the Mirror today.
But no, all that Mail readers get is more of the press release recycling: “At present, the curriculum covering PE is a jargon-filled eight-page document. This will be torn up and replaced by a one-page document, including a requirement for all primary school children to take part in competitive team sports”. Yeah, one page, because if it was good enough for the Ten Commandments, it’s good enough for schools, eh?
What is difficult for Shipman and his fellow hacks to get into their heads is that Team GB stands third in the Olympic medal table, with (right now) 26 gold medals, and that this is after 13 years of supposedly detrimental Labour rule. The disconnect between editors and their senior staff, most of whom have never set foot within a state secondary school, and 90% plus of their readers, could not be more stark.
But this kind of drivel bashes all the right demons, so that’s all right, then.