The mass ranks of Goats – sorry, Government Of All Talents (sic) – are on a mission to unlock our full potential, whatever it might be.

Gordon Brown has drawn inspiration from the glut of X-Factor style talent shows that swamp our TV schedules and is now a passionate believer that the UK is populated by hidden gems, stars in the making, geniuses who hide their lights under a bushel.

He reportedly likes nothing more than settling down on the sofa with the wife and two lads to marvel at the latent talent on display in Strictly Come Dancing.

We can already see evidence of this snapshot of domestic bliss influencing policy with the announcement that schoolchildren in England will get greater access to high quality cultural activities and performances and encouragement to pursue a creative career.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families says each child will have access to “at least five hours of high-quality culture per week”, with £25m spent on 10 pilot schemes to provide visits to top theatre shows, galleries and museums. Other options include acting, singing and learning a musical instrument or making a film.

The Goats say there will be a particular focus on “those who would otherwise miss out”.

Presumably this refers to the youngsters who spend their free time glued to the TV beefing up their ignorance levels and adopting an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle on a diet on reality TV and other shallow, superficial programmes where ordinary people becoming the stars…hang on a minute, doesn’t that include all those talent(less) shows?

I guess one person’s inspiration is another’s reason for the depressing state we’re in.

There are undoubtedly huge benefits of schools taking over the role of disinterested parents and exposing children to a thought-provoking mix of cultural activities. The Government also thinks pupils should stop being wrapped in cotton wool and is encouraging a return of the traditional school trip.

Whether schools have the time to fit in such trips and cultural activities in amongst the endless tests and other curricular pressures they are placed under these days is anyone’s guess. They may fare better than those parents who are forced to sit their kids in front of a TV or video game as the pressures of time in our 24-hour society make it impossible for them to go on family outings.

Certainly in these days of embracing new ideas, attitudes and beliefs, providing pupils with a civilising weekly fix could go a long way to raising levels of understanding and combating ignorance and prejudice – although the knee-jerk reaction to a certain Archbishop’s recent attempt to discuss ways of embracing other faiths has probably gone a long way to killing off the myth of multi-culturalism in this country.

The Goats have a grand vision for us all and Britain will be inspired to greatness once again, no ifs or buts.


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