Past TimesEd

6th June 2003 at 01:00
75 years ago June 2, 1928

One of the worst things about pauperism is that it is hereditary. The history of the English Poor Law is in some ways a commentary on that painful fact... If the pauper child can be divorced from pauperism, can be set in a new environment altogether, the predisposing tendencies towards the pauper mind will have nothing upon which to operate.

50 years ago June 5, 1953

If public criticism were taken at its face value, it might sometimes be supposed that education went backwards, and that each generation was worse than the last... There is nothing like a public beanfeast, Tuesday night, for example, for righting such delusions. Admittedly it was drizzling, but there were fireworks, the public houses had been open all day and would be to midnight - and yet the crowds were sober, orderly and kind... Compare all this with a print of Hogarth's or Dore on a Victorian gin palace...There has, in fact, been a slow, steady improvement in popular manners, which the schools have helped to bring about. If teachers want to see the results of their work, let them look at rejoicing crowds. It ought to cheer them up.

25 years ago June 9, 1978

There is nothing like a couple of stimulant drug tablets for bringing on an attack of righteousness among the sports authorities. They tolerate, even encourage, cynical fouling on the football field, or fast bumpers at tail-enders on the cricket ground; but the slightest rattle of the pill box brings them rushing to the defence of the highest standards of sportsmanship... It would be interesting (and deeply shaming) to know how much medication has been prescribed by aspirin-age GPs for this summer's exam candidates. Why not a dope test for O-level candidates?

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