10th September 2010 at 01:00
1910 Special: The Diary of a Gentleman Policy Adviser

MONDAY: Great commotion within the Board of Education. Those of us who toil in the Engine Room of Policy must devise a Counter-Offensive against Fleet Street, which is full of nostalgia for Ye Good Olde Days, when education adhered to simple principles and was enforced with brutal, improving violence. The new Government wishes to make its mark with Educational Reform, yet remains in thrall to papers such as the Daily Mail - a scurrilous publication in its infancy, which we placate as a Cholicky Babe. A recent Leader Article in the d-mned rag looked back with fondness to the last century "when we had a Code of Education and the Three Rs: rote reading, rote writing and rote arithmetic. Alas, our effete youth - in want, perhaps, of a World War to stiffen their resolve - are more interested in bicycling, socially 'networking' and listening to what nowadays passes for Popular Music".

TUESDAY: We assemble in the Plenarium, where much thought is applied to The Problem of the Popular Prints. One wag observes that this Agenda Item sounds like one of Mr Conan Doyle's detective mysteries. He is taken outside and flogged. Shortly after Luncheon (soup, bot sherry, roasted pike, a dozen oysters, 1 capon, 1 gallon of porter, jam roly-poly, custard and brandy) a moment of Damascene inspiration. Rather than stifle this fledgling profession of "Teachers", should we not most earnestly encourage its growth? It will surely not be long before the Popular Prints decide that it is these Teachers, not the Government, who are to blame for our Nation's ills.

WEDNESDAY: To an Educational Conference and Seance at the Guildhall. Some radical notions discussed (exempli gratia: moustaches on Masters no longer compulsory; the teaching of d-mned FRENCH; replacing Capital with Corporal Punishment for those Children of the Poor guilty of persistent insolence). Also, some amusing conversations between Mr Sanguini the Supernatural Interlocutor and several Mediaeval Scholars who appeared as clouds of Ectoplasm, speaking - bah! - in d-mned FRENCH.

THURSDAY: I am filling my inkwell when a messenger-boy brings me a note. There is to be a new Committee (a "Latus Cogitans") for the exchange of new ideas. My knowledge of Latin is serviceable at best, but I fancy this roughly translates as "large receptacle for the containment of liquid, given over to the Science of Thinking". Yet more tomfoolery, wasting the Board's time and money.

FRIDAY: Oh, I am invited to JOIN the Latus Cogitans, which I now perceive to be a d-mned Good Idea. We will discuss the Problem of Girls: how best to prepare them for a useful life at home, or to become "Dinner Ladies". Pip pip!

As found in the archives by Ian Martin.

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