Thursday, 6 January 2011
Salute our Ashes heroes-but don't forget the rest.
In a world of increasing specialisation where anyone who understands all of the functions on their mobile phone and can tie their own shoelaces is considered to me some kind of Renaissance All Round Man, genuinely multi-talented people are a cause for celebration. Ashes hero Alastair Cook must be the sort of boy that every mum would be proud of. Educated at posh Bedford School as a result of winning a music scholarship, Cook was a gifted musician, did well academically and of course soon showed himself to be an exceptionally talented cricketer. It has been wonderful to watch Cook in the Ashes Series and it would be churlish to take anything away from him, but I can't help thinking of all those thousands of other kids whose potential will never be realised. Kids who, educated at schools where the kind of facilities available at Bedford are almost unimaginable, and without any of Alistair's advantages, will just never shine at anything. This is a loss to the kids themselves of course but also to the rest of society and it's a loss that can only be made worse as the real impact of spending cuts starts to be felt. I fail to understand how the likes of Cameron and Osborne can sleep at night.