"Singer Billy Bragg has warned that the government's education reforms risk stifling creativity and leaving the pop charts the preserve of a well–off public school elite.
Bragg used a lecture in memory of broadcaster John Peel in Salford to criticise education secretary Michael Gove's plans to scrap GCSEs in favour of an English baccalaureate. He also turned his ire on and 'culture–clogging shows' such as Simon Cowell's The X Factor on ITV1.
The singer and leftwing activist said the government's proposed new education system threatened to exclude creative subjects from the core qualifications expected of 16–year–olds.
'At a time of cuts to the education budget, the pressure on schools to dump subjects like music and drama in favour of those that offer high marks in performances tables will only grow,' said Bragg.
He criticised the 'insistence that knowledge is more important than creativity', adding: 'As Albert Einstein said, imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited while imagination embraces the whole world'.
Bragg, delivering the second annual John Peel Lecture at the Radio Festival on Monday, said: 'Under the English baccalaureate, with its reliance on a single end of course exam, the child with the creative imagination will always lose out to the child with the ability to recall knowledge learned by rote."
(John Plunkett, 12 November 2012, The Guardian)
Billy Bragg "John Peel Lecture", photograph: Andrew Stuart/Radio Festival/PR.
"Wikileaks, with its simple 'keep the bastards honest' ethos, aims to discourage unethical behaviour by airing governments' and corporations' dirty laundry in public, putting their secrets out there in the public realm. The site won Index on Censorship's 2008 freedom of expression award because it's an invaluable resource for anonymous whistleblowers and investigative journalists.
Among Wikileaks' recent triumphs are its publication of top–secret internet censorship lists. The blacklists from Australia, Thailand, Denmark and Norway demonstrate exactly how censorship systems are abused to suppress free expression. The Thai list featured sites criticising the country's royal family and the Australian blacklist turned out to include a school canteen consultancy. Despite its child porn mandate, less than half of the Australian blacklist were linked to paedophilia. Also on the list were satanic and fetish sites, anti–abortion websites, and sites belonging to a kennel operator and a dentist. Publication highlighted the lack of transparency in the process and gave impetus to the 'No Clean Feed' campaign which opposes the Australian government's internet filter proposals."
(Emily Butselaar, guardian.co.uk)