Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Mudlark

This is the title of an old film, which, amongst others, starred Alec Guinness as Disraeli.
It is the story of an orphan boy who finds a cameo in the mud of the Thames mud of Queen Victoria, and he decides to see her, give his respects and try to get her to come out of mourning and show herself to her subjects again.
He has various adventures and eventually meets the Queen, and she emerges into the adulation of her later years.
But there are three wonderful parts of this story.
The first is Disraeli in the House of Commons, lambasting the august members for failing the child. Our own present leaders could quite properly be so castigated.
The second is spoken by a minor character. When discussing a course of action, the character says " He is an old and wily politician - he knows nothing can be gained with a minuet." Too true. If only the present crop would be committed and say so.
Finally, the John Brown character, played by a famous Scots actor whose name escapes me but has Finlay in it, quotes the second Book of Kings. " Is it well with the Child?"
The whole thrust of the arguement was that we need to take care of our children. We need to stop child killing child. We need to make sure they are in a stable home environment. We need to give them parameters beyond which we do NOT allow them to go. There was an excellent piece on Radio 4 about young offenders being subjected to a proper programme of discipline ( not full of catchy phrases) and relying on - as the programme director described it - large men with testicular authority.
Above all, for God's sake, let's stop the nonsense that means that 50% - I'll repeat that - 50% cannot pass GCSEs in Reading Writing and Arithmetic. I don't care which party does it. I don't care HOW they do it.
But by God I want them to do it.

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