Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The weak minded live in the gutter ...

Today, my weekly shop was delivered with a free copy of the Times. This single act falsified the old adage that the "best price is free".

Had they attempted to charge for it, I would have refused. Since it was free, I ended up wasting precious time. This gutter rag is so poisonous, that its use to wrap fish and chips would cause a major health scare.

Whilst I don't agree with ad hominem attacks, the first opinion piece I read deserves no quarter. Magnus Linklater's miserably titled "Don't try to teach pupils who can't learn".

Magnus' argument, I use that word out of generosity not merit, is that it is not worth trying to educate those from the most deprived backgrounds. As someone who was brought up in his early life on a London council estate but managed to get to Cambridge through good state school teachers, I feel tempted to tell this old fart to stick his head in a pig.

However, I'll show restraint (but not much).

Magnus' drivel questions whether those from deprived backgrounds have the ability to absorb academic subjects. His polemic would have us investing in enthusiastic children from suitable backgrounds (i.e. those in the middle to upper classes) whilst the rest of us learn vocational skills.

Magnus would reinforce the social divide by depriving those from deprived backgrounds because of their background and regardless of ability. He theorises that perpetually consigning a whole class of people to vocational work would be in their interests. Stuff and nonsense.

He conflates ability with background and resurrects the old arguments used in eugenics. However, the poor are not somehow defective and ability is not the preserve of the rich.

We have a disgraceful lack of social mobility in this country. This is the problem we need to solve.

I will however agree with Magnus that there is one case where the perpetually weak minded live in the gutter. It's in the press and Magnus' shockingly poor analysis provides plenty of evidence of this.