Posted on: 18 Jun 2012
Written by: chris
Something you don’t often hear: a shadow minister agreeing wholeheartedly with his Government counterpart. However, that’s exactly what happened last week when Labour’s shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said Michael Gove’s new proposals to make foreign language learning from the age of seven compulsory were “absolutely right”.
A brief digression at this point, if you’ll indulge me. I admit I’m not much of a political animal, but after hearing of this shock concurrence, I did spend a little while daydreaming about a world where this sort of political concord was the norm rather than the exception. In the unlikely event I were ever asked by a desperate nation to form a government at short notice, I’ve always known exactly what I’d do: go out and spend a couple of days riding trains the length and breadth of the country, striking up conversations with my fellow travellers and then, in the national interest, insisting on taking their names and addresses. You’ll have guessed the logic behind this already, of course. Given that strangers in a confined space rarely ever disagree with your political opinions (and in fact they never do if you express them sufficiently forcefully), it follows that train travel is one of the easiest ways to find people who think the same way as you do. All that remains is to nominate one of your new colleagues (possibly that rather attractive brunette you sometimes see getting on at Slough) as Leader of the Opposition, and then the two of you can simply form your respective Cabinets by divvying out the remainder by turns, just as you’d pick a pair of playground football sides…
- bump -
Oh, we appear to be back in the real world again. Well, since we’re here, maybe I should make the obvious observation in response to Mr Gove’s proposal. It’s a great idea, and sorely overdue, but I hope he’s planning to back it up with generous long-term funding to produce the necessary supply of primary school teachers fluent in the applicable foreign languages, because these teachers certainly aren’t available in your average primary school today, and there’s only so far you can get by relying on well-intentioned amateurs.