WESTMINSTER and the wider political world were caught off guard last week by an unexpected and groundbreaking policy announcement from the Labour Party. With an autumn election looking likely, battle lines are being drawn over key issues raised repeatedly on doorsteps up and down the land.
Sensing an opportunity to put some clear blue water between themselves and the Tories, Labour seized the initiative by launching their Kidz Teeth Count campaign, making teachers responsible for showing children how to brush their teeth. Long overdue and embracing a popular theme, this bold addition to the curriculum is merely one component of a far larger programme that aims to promote smart appearance and eradicate inequality for schoolchildren. TCWDF has been sent the complete file – too large to re-print in its entirety, we showcase two of the more eye-catching aspects to this exciting document.
For too long these anachronistic items have been the preserve of a few wealthy individuals. Thankfully, the days when underprivileged youngsters made their way to school barefoot or wearing clogs are long gone. However, we cannot ignore the blatant and shaming fact that many teenagers are unable to tie their own laces. This is nothing short of a national disgrace and one that Labour is committed to addressing as soon as possible. It is simply not enough to say ‘But what about Velcro fasteners’? or ‘What about the twist to tie system’?
Yes, these are welcome additions to breaking down the class barriers that laces present to children, but we cannot sit idly by and see the burning injustice of laces continue. If elected, Labour will introduce a compulsory hour a day lesson, provisionally called Tie up right, tie up tight, across primary and secondary schools. This would, we are certain, have great appeal to mums and dads nationwide.
Hair brushes and combs
We have evidenced first-hand the sorry state of the nation’s hair. This is an issue that affects not only youngsters but also older people. Poor habits learned in formative years can result in lifelong problems. This is self-evident in Boris Johnson and unfortunately with Cherie Blair, memorably caught by photographers receiving flowers early one morning. It was a tragic and sad moment, but encapsulated why it is vital that good grooming is inculcated as early as possible.
Many pupils from deprived homes are simply making do each day by dragging a fork through their hair. Most are completely unaware that there is a range of combs and hairbrushes that would aid them in enhancing their personal appearance. Research shows that this lack of awareness is prevalent in underprivileged households and those on benefits. A recent survey amongst 11- to 14-year-olds revealed a shocking ignorance of paddle brushes, loop brushes, or Moroccan ceramic round brushes. More worryingly, when shown pictures, more than 70 per cent of respondents couldn’t tell the difference between a wide-tooth comb and a porcupine.
Labour would initiate compulsory lessons under the banner Short Cuts, incorporating important elements such as partings, fringes, and the benefits of a friction rub.
There is no denying that Labour under Sir Keir Starmer have latched on to something that is not just significant but something that is very much at the top of the electorate’s concerns. We can only imagine that Conservative Campaign Headquarters have found themselves on the back foot faced with these game-changing policies. The Prime Minister will have his work cut out to come out with some equally headline-capturing statements – it promises to be a thrilling election.