Mark Andrews on Saturday: Liz's reverse Midas touch and rebooting The History Boys for modern kids

It takes a special kind of talent to go from winning an 80-seat majority to trailing 33 points in the opinion polls in the space of just three years. And it appears to be a talent our new Prime Minister has in spades. A kind of Midas touch in reverse.

Time to reboot The History Boys?
Time to reboot The History Boys?

It has taken Fizzy Lizzie just four weeks to cause financial meltdown through exactly the kind of cavalier attitude towards fiscal responsibility that Jeremy Corbyn was rightly slaughtered for at the last election.

Spending money you haven't got, be it on grandiose plans for public services or unfunded tax cuts, can only ever end in tears. It's like buying a house on a 110 per cent mortgage, or leasing a flash car you couldn't otherwise afford on the never-never.

Liz reckoned conventional economic thinking was holding back growth, but frankly I would rather have 12 years of slow but steady growth than a quick boom followed by bust.

Except that Liz also missed out the all-important boom bit.

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Alan Bennett's multi award-winning play The History Boys is to be dropped from the O-level curriculum to make way for books that 'better resonate with modern Britain'.

Quite why anybody would want to read works that 'resonate with modern Britain' is beyond me, but the History Boys was only written in 2004, so it is not exactly a throwback from the Empire. It also centres around a gay teacher, which you might think would tick at least one of the diversity boxes.

Maybe it needs to be 'rebooted' as they say these days, so that Hector is now a non-binary climate activist, who falls foul of the headmaster when he encourages the kids to super-glue themselves to the blackboard. Irwin, meanwhile could be an anti-poverty campaigner, more concerned about heating and eating, leaving the headmaster in a conundrum as he weighs up the dilemma between the conflicting interests of Extinction Rebellion and Make Poverty History.

Ok, it needs a bit of polish, but it's probably no worse than what kids are being made to read in schools already.

Alan Bennett – not diverse enough?

And if you doubt that, take a look at the recommended 'diverse' texts for Key Stage 2, or nine-year-olds as the rest of us know them.

Amid some pretty healthy competition, I think my personal favourite is High-Rise Mystery, by Sharna Jackson.

Set in a blistering hot summer (no doubt caused by global warming), young sisters Nik and Norva set about catching the killer of their 'community arts teacher' who they find murdered on the stairwell of their tower block.

Not exactly Dickens, is it?

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