Friday 13 July 2007

Gordon knows what's good for you

If you assumed that Tony Blair's departure meant no more moralising policy announcements from Number 10, then think again. Following hot on the heels of the puritanical re-think on casinos earlier this week comes today's promise (threat?) that school pupils are to get five hours of compulsory sport a week. Followed by bracing cold showers, no doubt.

Coming on top of yesterday's unveiling of a new secondary curriculum that will include financial literacy and cookery skills, you wonder how schools will find the time for - er, education (I know I risk coming across like an old fogey, but I'm really just an old socialist who believes in the liberating power of knowledge.) I'm not sure you can make a priority of raising standards in core subjects, as the government say they wish to, and at the same time use schools as a tool for promoting personal 'wellbeing'.

This recent spate of policy announcements, which also include plans to encourage us all to take up volunteering, are often put down to Gordon Brown being a 'son of the manse'. Like Gordon , I had a Nonconformist upbringing, but I don't feel half as enthusiastic as he seems to about imposing its values on the rest of the population.

Theological update:

I've just found out that Brown's background is Church of Scotland/Presybterian, not Nonconformist: it was the word 'manse', which here in England has strong associations with Methodism, that confused me. But you could argue that the same kind of bracing work-ethic Calvinism is common to both.

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