Sword of Demos hangs over Harry

11th September 1998 at 01:00
IT'S BEEN a week of rockets and royals.

First, some bad news for Prince Harry, said to be enjoying life as an "f-tit" - that is, a new boy - at Eton. Tony Blair's favourite think tank Demos have suggested radical ways to modernise the monarchy including stripping the Queen of constitutional powers, slashing the civil list, and getting the Royals to do more to promote philanthropy in Britain - with a special emphasis on education. Demos suggests a Queen's award for the most successful and improving school. It also thinks the royal children might like to try life at a state comprehensive.

The Queen should be discouraged from dropping the grandchildren at the school gates in the royal Roller, though. The school run is said by the Institute of Child Health to be damaging the health of the country's children - putting them at risk of obesity and heart disease.

Better still, parents should sell their cars and use the money to keep their children in designer-style uniforms. It seems designers have realised the potential of school uniform chic. Children will happily wear grey sweaters, sensible skirts, crisp white shirts and flat loafers this season - but only so long as they have Kookai, French Connection and Calvin Klein labels on them.

No such money worries face New Labour peer and mate of the Prime Minister, Lord Falconer. But his decision to keep his four children at private schools is said to have cost the Labour party Pounds 1 million. Despite his rapid rise through the Labour party ranks, Falconer's insistence on educating his children privately has so angered the electricians' union, the AEEU, that it has started a campaign to get more working-class MPs into parliament, using money previously earmarked for Labour coffers.

Perhaps the union could try a spot of blackmail. One 14-year-old was so angered at a 15-day suspension that he posted his headteacher a letter threatening to blow the school "sky high" unless she dropped Pounds 6,000 under a children's climbing frame in Daisy Farm park, Birmingham.

Fortunately for him, jurors at Worcesterhire Crown Court accepted his plea that it was only a prank. He never thought his teachers would take seriously and they cleared him of blackmail charges. But he didn't get away scot-free. The 15-day exclusion has now become permanent.

Equally enterprising, but legal, is another 14-year-old's attempt to become the world's leading rocket designer. Daniel Jubb, blasted his prototype rocket Falcon VII mark 3 into space this week leaving a a vapour trail that could be seen for 20 miles.

The teenager, who as a child enjoyed propelling pressurised drinking straws a few feet in the air, has left Fred Longworth high school in Manchester in order to concentrate on his space career. His parents, who are to teach him at home, have converted their garage into a rocket workshop.

Some academics would have us believe all teenagers are would-be space cadets. A new report by one Professor Howard Parker reveals 70 per cent of young people have tried illegal drugs, with cannabis being the most popular. "They are getting them in college, in school, in bars and in clubs," spluttered a shocked Professor Parker. "These kids could be anybody's children, they're not a bunch of impoverished renegades."

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