Saturday, 9 October 2021

Reading John Le Carré. Nationality. Children reading.

Phil and I have been reading John Le Carré. We’re not re-reading all the Smiley novels, but if I can locate them we might get round to that. No, rummaging through the collections of books we have all over the place, we both independently found books we had not read before. Or at any rate, we didn’t remember having read them but you never know!

Coincidentally in today’s paper I read that John Le Carré died an Irishman, which might seem odd as he has always seemed like an archetypal Englishman, probably voiced by Alec Guinness. He was able to apply for Irish citizenship because of his maternal grandmother came from County Cork but it seems that what pushed him into the decision was Theresa May when she said, “If you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere”. So he appears to have decided: if you want to make me a citizen of nowhere, I will become a citizen of another somewhere.

He’s not alone in seeking citizenship of elsewhere in order to remain European. I wouldn’t mind doing so myself but I suspect the best I can manage is Yorkshire! 

Our small granddaughter went home from school this week with her first reading book. She has long been “reading” to her smaller brother: in other words showing him her favourite story books that she knows off by heart. But now she has her first actual reading book from school. It’s nice to see her making progress. The estimable Michael Rosen has written an open letter to the Education Secretary, who wants to tackle illiteracy in our country. As Mr Rosen points out the Tories vowed to eradicate literacy years ago and swore they had found the solution. What went wrong? he wonders. 

Meanwhile, I read elsewhere that subsidies for children’s tv might be about to be cut: 

“British children could miss out on the next Peppa Pig or Bob the Builder if the government decides to stop subsidising television shows for young audiences, according to kids’ TV presenters.

They are warning that many distinctly British programmes for children could vanish from screens if ministers choose to cut funding for UK-made kids’ programmes later this month.”

The best thing about kids’ tv on the BBC is the absence of adverts. I can’t say that Peppa Pig is the most riveting of television but I suppose very small children have a different point of view and it might lead children on to reading Peppa Pig books. And there are children out there watching youtube videos of other children opening parcels of toys and clothes and so on. Surely that’s not good. There are also apparently children as young as nine watching anti vaccine TikTok videos. Scary stuff! What are nine year olds doing on TikTok?

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

1 comment:

  1. This summer a mother came to me about classes this fall. She had her agenda on her phone, but she didn't have it with her because her daughter was watching TikTok videos at that moment. Her daughter is nine and already considers herself a little diva. I fear for some children.