Parental choice and diversity sound like concepts with which hardly anyone would disagree ("For once, Gove is right", 25 August). This is why they provide such an effective cover under which the Education Secretary can dismantle our state education system.
In practice, most parents only have a choice of two or three local schools (fewer in rural communities). The idea that they can scan the country for a school perfectly tailored to their child is totally unrealistic.
And even the best intentioned parents could not be relied upon to second guess which direction their 10-year-old's interests and aptitudes might begin to lead a few years later. The technical school linked to the motor racing industry at Silverstone may look less suitable when your 14-year-old son develops an all consuming passion for environmentalism. And what about the rights of a child whose parents might make naïve, ill-informed, ideologically driven, or even bigotted choices on their behalf?
This is why it is so important to guarantee a truly broad education for all, which only a genuinely national curriculum can do.
For "strivers" working hard to provide a reasonable standard of living for their families, work commitments compel them to use the nearest school that is not oversubscribed.
Surely the education of a child should be aimed at maximising the potential of that child. This can only be achieved if the school has the wide range of avenues which can only be provided by a school with considerable resources.
None of the countries whose education system we admire subjects its educationalists to such abysmal governance.
The issue with education policy since the end of the grammar schools system in the 1960s has been that we assume that a diverse set of individuals, with different abilities, learning styles and ambitions are suited to a "one-size-fits-all" approach. Michael Gove's free school reforms are addressing this and we should all welcome them.
David Cameron's temper is, it would seem, every bit as fiery as Gordon Brown's was alleged to be ("Cameron shows even true blues turn red", 25 August). The questions now are whether Clegg can act as a brake, and whether the political errors that result from unrestrained Cameronism will have a negative impact on Tory election prospects. Instead of retailing largely fallacious stories about Ed Miliband's leadership, perhaps the media will focus on this.
The case for a mix of power sources that includes renewable energy is unequivocal and the Government cannot overlook the potential that shale gas presents. In America, shale gas has dramatically reduced CO2 as well as reducing dependency on imported fuel. That is not to say we should accept fracking without robust checks on safety and suitability.
Burgess Hill, West Sussex
In Spheres of Influence, Hugh Montgomery's favourite animals are described as seals (The New Review, 25 August). But the picture is of a sea lion, a completely different beast.
Why does Janet Street Porter comment on Mary Beard's comments on Twitter (Editor at large, 25 August)? Because she feels the need to, which is why Mary Beard made her comments. Which is why, as a really crumbly, grey-haired oldie I feel the need to comment on JSP's comments. This could run and run.
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