October 27, 2005


Naval heroes (and bishops) have lost their place in our history (Ferdinand Mount, 28/10/2005, Daily Telegraph)

Who better to celebrate the immortal memory of Horatio Nelson than Richard Chartres? The Bishop of London's resonant baritone would shiver the timbers of any quarterdeck. And his forthright eloquence still makes some of us wish that it was he who had been translated to Canterbury.

So when Dr Chartres discovered that his daughter's GCSE history syllabus concentrated on Twiggy and the Vietnam war, and had no space for Nelson (or any event more ancient than the Wall Street Crash), I was not surprised that he blistered the beams of St Paul's Cathedral.

"There has never been a generation better informed about 'now' with so little sense of how we came to be here," he thundered at the Trafalgar bicentenary service last Sunday. "Every child in this country ought to have the opportunity of meeting Lord Nelson and considering his legacy." [...]

Yet, oddly enough, I am not too downhearted. What may ultimately prove more significant than the unsatisfactory detail is that at last a Labour government is pointing in the right direction - away from political control over schools and towards greater independence.

Blair doggedly denies it, but his independent state schools do build on the model of the Tory grant-maintained schools that he so recklessly abolished. So with all their limitations, the new schools deserve a welcome that is better than tepid.

Except that Tories don't understand Mr. Blair any better than conservatives understand Mr. Bush.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 27, 2005 11:18 PM
Comments for this post are closed.