Boyle's epic goes with the grain

1st July 2005 at 01:00
There was inevitably a feeling of indigestion last week when the Cultural Commission issued such a mammoth 500-page report that was somewhat difficult to digest (page four). How appropriate therefore that the Boyle commission's major concern was about whipping up an "appetite" for the arts and how schools should play a central role in stimulating it. The proposals for schools are well-focused and reflect the direction of travel on which many schools are already embarked. As far as schools are concerned, this report goes with the grain.

It will be a pity if the wilder shores of criticism prevail to derail the whole enterprise, such as the accusations of Soviet-style prescription, or if the commission's efforts become bogged down in infrastructural squabbling. The commission may have made its remit unnecessarily complex and, a bit like the Scottish Parliament itself, strayed towards too much legislation.

But critics would do well to take on board the benign wisdom of Bishop Richard Holloway, chairman of the Scottish Arts Council, who said in a television interview that his calling made him interested more in transformation and less in abolition. So even if the Scottish Executive does not embrace the report in its entirety, it should take on board the 22 education recommendations and avoid throwing baby Boyle out with the bath water.

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