Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

Rules for romance

Sir: Lara Prendergast describes a floundering generation desperate for reliable love but with no real idea how to find it ('Sexual reformation', 4 November). Our culture has forgotten the basic principles of forming successful relationships. My daughters apply three simple guidelines on choosing boyfriends wisely. One, does he fight for you? Men's commitment is linked to willingness to sacrifice. He needs to show that he will put himself out for you. Two, is he marriageable? I'm not saying marry straight away. But he needs to have characteristics such as kindness and generosity. And three, can he make decisions? Commit to things and stick at them? Does he decide, rather than slide? Result, four young women who are confident about their relationships and have made good choices. My guidelines for my two teenage sons? Be that man.

Harry Benson

Research Director, Marriage Foundation, Cambridge

Classroom failure

Sir: As a fellow recent casualty of the Scottish education system I wholeheartedly agree with Madeleine Kearns' article on its current state under the SNP ('Class struggle', 4 November). I am a staunch critic of Tory education policies in England, so specifically chose Scotland for my training as a secondary English teacher. To my horror I found a disheartened and disjointed education system which, though nobly idealistic in theory, was characterised by vagueness, uncertainty and disorganisation in practice.

Although it is only part of a continuing public sector tragedy which is detrimental to both teaching and learning in Scottish classrooms, the Curriculum for Excellence perfectly encapsulates both the political arrogance and lack of organisation of the SNP in wilfully changing a system that once worked well for Scottish children.

Their aim was to leave a legacy in education. In the light of the recent catastrophic drop in attainment levels in reading and writing, that legacy is one of failure, with a whole generation of Scottish pupils as the victims.

Mark Oliver


Someone I know

Sir: I note that Mr Lloyd Evans, in reviewing The Young Marx (4 November) writes: 'The inaugural show is a comic biography of Karl Marx written by

Richard Bean and someone else.' The 'someone else' is Clive Coleman, an esteemed colleague and the BBC's Legal Affairs Correspondent.

Martin Bashir

London W1A

Mansur the martyr

Sir: I hold no brief for Reza Aslan but I must point out some important elisions in Alexander Waugh's review of God: A Human History (Books, 4 November). Mansur al-Hallaj, the Sufi saint who declared 'I am the truth', is indeed a controversial figure in Islam. …

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