Whilst changing at the gym, I had the misfortune to catch a small dose of Prime Minister’s Questions.  This led me to wonder if, over the last decade, any Prime Minister (or his unelected representative) has ever knowingly and intentionally answered a question.

Perhaps I better define “answer” as being something more than a sequence of words with a vague link to the question.  Let’s say it is a response that would have been graded as B or above by one of my 3rd form teachers if it had been given as an examination answer.  So, for example, if the question was “What was the date of the Battle of Hastings?” the response would have to include the words “ten” and “sixty-six” adjacent to each other and in that order to count as an answer.  A response which blamed the previous government for the lack of discipline amongst Harold’s housecarls before going on to announce that under the current administration Senlac Hill had been reduced in height by 10 feet would not count.

I would like to propose that we change the session to be called Prime Minister’s Answers.  At the end of each session a neutral selection of 3rd form teachers (12 seems a popular number for such panels) would mark his answers – please note that I’m only looking for the standard we would expect an average 13 year old to achieve (I think I should probably call it Key Stage 3 in these modern times).  If on a consistent basis, the Prime Minister scores lower than a C then he or she would be relieved of their duties and moved to a remedial class.  I suspect we would quite quickly move most of our MPs through the highest office in the land and into special needs tuition – but over time, we might gradually move our governing classes to at least a KS3 level of basic knowledge on the core curriculum.  With any luck, this may head off some of the more idiotic policy choices before vast quantities of our money are wasted on implementing them.

An alternative idea would be to cut out the middle-man and let 13 year olds run the country.   I have quite a lot of faith in young people and think this has a half decent chance of working at least as well as the current system, it would appease those who favour a return to national service and would make citizenship lessons (which I suspect are unutterably dull) entirely unnecessary.  As an added bonus, they’d probably be quite cheap as well – though we might run foul of child labour laws (I wouldn’t want to go down in history as some sort of anti-Lord Shaftesbury), but a way round those has been found to handle child actors and paper rounds so I don’t think it should be an insurmountable obstacle.

Feel free to continue the lunacy...

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