Routed by the skirl of the pipes

11th February 2000 at 00:00
"CULTURAL consultation produces wealth of ideas" trumpets the Scottish Executive at the end of the nation's collective navel-gazing on a national cultural strategy. Unfortunately the ideas do not seem to have gripped the Executive. For its response to this cornucopia is to have . . . another consultation. Is this a substitute for action or just an unwillingness to take action?

To some extent, perhaps, it is not surprising that the Executive is being ultra-cautious since the initial consultation did not seem overwhelmingly clear about what "culture" is - while, none the less and inevitably, being very clear that schools are not doing enough to nurture it. Te Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum, fresh from its own bruising over the cultural content of education, could have told ministers this is a can of worms.

If culture is to be widely interpreted, to include the sporting and the spiritual as well as the arts, schools may well respond that they are as committed as anyone else. But the critics tend to accuse schools of rather more specific derelictions of duty - towards Scots and Gaelic, Scottish history, tuition in the musical traditions from pipe bands to brass bands. Many of these issues are as much to do with resource problems as attitudes.

Another consultation? Yes, Minister.

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