Learn to copy the luvvie lobby

27th November 1998 at 00:00
PE and health bodies should take a leaf out of the luvvies' book, and form their own powerful lobby, according to Tony Banks, the sports minister.

Mr Banks - famously known as the MP amazed to be appointed sports minister - also told a conference of the National Council for School Sport, in Nottingham last week, that he now realises he's in the wrong Government department.

Labour has bracketed sport with culture and media. But, said Mr Banks, every other country he visits has a minister for education, youth and sport. "I have a sneaking feeling that we've got it wrong. The department I need most contact with is education and employment."

Mr Banks said physical education was vital to a child's development. "If we haven't got them interested in PE and sport by the time they have finished primary school then we've lost them."

He was spectacularly dismissive of his prepared text when it came to the curriculum review. He attempted to reassure the 250 delegates from the education and sports world of the Government's commitment to PE in primary schools. "There's no question of primaries dropping PE and sport."

Then, after some fulsome praise for the value of PE and sport for a healthy body and mind, he urged his audience to emulate the arts' lobby and campaign for PE and sport.

"It's incumbent on you to make your views known. The arts lobby is very mobile, articulate, well-organised. They turn up outside Number 10 Downing Street, rally in Trafalgar Square, write letters to the papers, make a fuss and get results. Where's our lobby? Let me tell you, as a minister, you're useless unless you've got a lobby behind you."

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