History remembers bog-standard deed

24th September 2004 at 01:00
Over the past five years, how many billions of words must have been uttered or scribbled about British education? The TES alone produces tens of thousands of mots justes each week. And in every school, countless well-formed phrases are expended on the subject every day.

So, out of this multitude, which words have been chosen to be preserved for the edification of history? The new Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, published this month, adds only two recent sayings about education to those in its last edition in 1999: Alastair Campbell's block-headed insult: "The day of the bog-standard comprehensive is over," and the then education secretary David Blunkett's mealy-mouthed response that he did not recognise or use the term.

A bit depressing really. We preferred another quote in the new edition of the ODQ, from Juvenal, c. 100 AD: "Rehashed cabbage wore out the wretched teachers".

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