Reading papers no way to relax

27th July 2007 at 01:00
A life in the year of Emily Shark

i've been looking forward to this. Sitting under a tree, reading the papers. It's like the scene they always use in films to show a nice peaceful afternoon. A gentle smile, a page turning. Summer.

I don't feel very relaxed, though. A fat cloud is sitting almost directly above me. It's shifting itself to take better aim. Also, I can't understand how anyone finds reading newspapers relaxing. At least during term there's barely enough time to read about the horrible, stupid things that happened yesterday. Now I can read about the horrible, stupid things that are being planned for tomorrow.

And you can't get away from school. It doesn't matter which paper you read it's everywhere, from The Daily Wail and The Wail on Sunday to The Cardigan. Gordon Frown has told us he's "passionate about education". Well, he can't very well say, "It's a pain in the arse but it's got to be done," can he? But I don't like it when politicians froth about their passions. It puts me off my supper. I'd rather they just calmly made things nicer for those who do the job. If I've hurt my foot, I don't want a doctor who's "passionate about feet". I just want him to fix my sodding foot.

I wonder what these two funny new departments will mean for us? Through the spotty door we have Children, Schools and Families. Through the stripy door we have Innovation, Universities and Skills. Right, so let's keep innovation out of schools, then. And families... er, and children too. "Just tell Johnny how to use the apostrophe. You're free to take five minutes on it or the whole bloody day we don't care. Make him a good little soldier for our economic army so we don't all get swallowed whole by China. Don't let him innovate until he's at university when it might be useful. All right?" Splodge. It's starting to rain.

Maybe this is why the rules of the game keep changing. No one really knows what the prize is. What is the point of it all happiness, money, or making sure we don't get swallowed whole by China? I think Prime Minister Frown is passionate about the last two. That's why he wants us to teach pupils about money. Someone has to tell them how to manage all the money they won't have because Mr Frown will have taken it away from them. And, of course, it should be done by teachers, those noted fat cats of the public sector. What will we say? "Er, if life doesn't give you lemons, you can't make lemonade. Sorry."

Drip, splot, rumble. OK, cloud, you win. I've had enough anyway. I think we should just have one newspaper and call it The Arse. It would have an education supplement called The Elbow. They'd both have exactly the same front cover. That way, every politician involved in education would have to admit to not being able to tell one from the other.

More from Emily in a fortnight

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