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How to really put the kids off sex

SO the Government is spending pound;60 million extolling the coolness of virginity (to teenage girls) and condoms (to their would-be boyfriends) to try and cut soaring schoolgirl pregnancy rates.

What a waste of money. Surely the same effect could have been created for free by persuading prominent politicians - perhaps members of the Shadow Cabinet who have this week reminisced to such effect about their dope-smoking days - to share with us their ecstatic memories of teenage sex.

Every new detail, whether of juvenile snogging (ugh!) to the smearing of a future frontbench stalwart with chocolate spread (yeuch! gross!) would surely be enough to get another half-million or so teenagers to sign the Just Say No pledge. And probably the rest of us as well.

There would have to be a ban on the "I tried it once but didn't like it" school of confessions, of course, but ex-partners of grisly politicians would be free to come out with this time-honoured lin if quizzed by the tabloids. Then virginity really would be cool.

Sounds as if lack of cool has put the kybosh on another bright government wheeze, that of graduation ceremonies for boys who end up leaving school without qualifications. The idea was to promote "self-esteem" and "civic mindedness". Not the words used by potential graduates during a consultation exercise: they preferred "pointless", and "embarrassing".

And that's why the suggestion that school music lessons should be made more popular by the injection of pop and dance should be treated with great caution.

What spotty 14-year-old really wants to dissect the lyrics of Eminem during music lessons? It's well intentioned - but guaranteed to make teenagers think music lessons are even more naff than they do now. Perhaps that's just more reverse psychology in action: introduce Madonna into school music lessons, and Year 9 will be screaming for more Mozart. You just watch.

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