Royston in the snow is fantastic for all ages, but specially for young people – with many great slopes on the Heath for sledging. With the schools closed yesterday, it was like a Winter Sports’ Resort. There was some very vigorous snowboarding too. Today, as I walked our dog Soda before leaving for London, mothers and toddlers were enjoying a more gentle snow ride. If the weather goes on like this, I will dust down my sledge from the garage…
As you can see from my Gallery photographs, the House of Commons is very scenic in the snow, but many of us here are beginning to think that Britain has been transported back in time to the 1970s – what with a heavy winter, strikes across Britain, trains out of action, rising unemployment, a Labour Government that’s lost its way and debts through the roof.
At the House today, Conservatives are putting forward a motion calling for better training for the young and for more young people to be taught to read write and add up properly. This is even more necessary as jobs become harder to find in the recession.
It is a cause of national shame that 850,000 young people are not in education, work, or training – a figure up from 686,000 in 2000. I feel for youngsters who have not learnt to read at primary school, sitting at the back of a secondary school class, hiding from teacher and unable to learn more complex subjects or do any homework. No wonder so many truant or cause trouble. As a society, we need to be tackling this at age 7 years, not 17 years. Of course, we are asking for more courses to help adults who have missed out on the basics, but the real answer is to find those struggling and give them a high degree of help at an early age.