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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

What hope for the future?

I read an article recently concerning author George Courtauld who has recently published a book titled The Pocket Book of Patriotism which his basically a hand book of all things British from the words of 'Land of Hope and Glory' to a list of the @Pink' countries at the height of the British Empire.
This book was inspired during a train journey when George overheard a fellow passenger took pity on a young boy with his arm in a sling and offered up her seat to 'Little Lord Nelson'.
The boy gratefully accepted the offer but looked utterly baffled: 'you know?'said the woman 'Admiral Nelson? England expects?' The boy replied 'Oh yeah, the guy in Star trek'
This got me thinking as I too have heard examples of 10 -14 year olds completely ignorant of not only historical figures but history in general unless it can be assimilated to a TV programme or computer game. Just ask the average 13 year old who was Socrates or Plato, name a books of James Joyce or Dickens or recite any lines from any Shakespeare play and I think you will receive a blank look.
The problem lies with the current state education system which has become so multicultural that there is little whish or time to dwell on patriotic events, dates or people, the words of great Hymns or Anthems.
However what will happen in two generations time? Only pupils receiving a private classical education or students who go onto study classics at university will know of these great deeds and these will be a minority so small that our National heritage will reside in libraries. This has already started happening with Hollywood adaptations of World War 11 events where history has been altered to suit American film goers - the Battle of Britain, D-Day, obtaining the Enigma decoder all films where Britain has been airbrushed out and our future generations will believe this. It is up to us to educate our children, God help any child who has been deprived of the joys of Vivaldi, Holst or Elgar, the words of Shelly or Keates and the paintings of Turner or Constable?
Take your child to a Museum, Art Gallery or an opera Now!


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