The tavern’s regular day-time population has been temporarily increased by the presence of the Artful Dodger and an assortment of friends on study leave – which seems to be a euphemism for sitting in the garden consuming inordinate quantities of lemonade and ice cream.
In conversation with these youngsters about the recent expenses scandal, it emerges that, while admirably well-informed about the American electoral system and Catherine the Great, they have no knowledge of rotten or pocket boroughs, the Reform Act or Keir Hardie, let alone scandals like the Darien Adventure, and a fairly rudimentary grasp of Parliamentary history outside certain clearly-defined areas.
Not unusual, I hear you say? Well, no, not in general, but these are intelligent young adults who will, in the next few weeks, be sitting A level Politics and History, aiming for careers in journalism and the Law, and most of whom are preparing to vote on June 4th.
‘But it’s not on the syllabus’, they say. And if it’s not on the syllabus at University (for those who get there; as pupils at an above-average school for GCSE results, their chances of getting a place to read History have been drastically curtailed by Ed Balls & co – but that’s another story), then presumably they won’t hear about it at all.
Small wonder then, that our politicians seem to be stuck in an endless cycle of reinventing the wheel.
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