Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Maths phobia and politics

Gordon BrownIt is a profitable thing, if one is wise, to seem foolish.

It won't come as a surprise to anyone that it's fashionable to diss maths, but I was disappointed at our future Prime Minister's lame effort to ingratiate himself to a class of teens by rubbishing his own maths skills. OK, anyone who spent as long as Gordon climbing to the top of the greasy pole of UK politics is likely to have better people skills than numeracy, but playing the old "Don't call me a boff" card is a bit lame Gordon.

And then it gets worse.

The Royal Society of Chemistry claims that English schools are discouraging pupils from taking A-level maths as they chase higher places in the league tables. It would be easy to believe this, but the RSC boffs have failed to produce a shred of evidence that league tables have anything to do with it (no, I'm not defending educational league tables, I'm having a pop at Gordon Brown, right?). You don't think maybe our future PM's spin doctors have seen the writing on the wall and advised Gordon to dumb it down and that the kids are smart enough to pick up on this? Don't call me a boff!

On the other hand, let's pray that Gordon never sees this:

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