Leading Article: Testament of youth

SO DAVID Blunkett wants pupils to read works by Vera Brittain, David Attenborough and John Berger in the new national curriculum. The Conservatives' David Willetts thinks Blunkett's list of non-fiction authors is a bit leftish and suggests that Roger Scruton, Friedrich von Hayek and Margaret Thatcher would be his choice. Both lists provide ample scope for hilarity, but the exchange is also cause for concern. When the national curriculum was introduced 10 years ago, critics feared that it would be vulnerable to political control and ministerial whim.

So far, the sinister political control envisaged by the pessimists has not materialised. Ministerial whim is another matter. Blunkett's list is not compulsory, but schools will take it seriously. It would be sad if politicians were to become more concerned with scoring points than with deciding what children should learn to equip them for life.

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