Country Life magazine has produced its
"39 steps to a better life" its "pick of the 39 skills the nation's youth should have outside the academic sphere . skills that we believe will contribute to a fulfilling life, as well as increasing their sociability and all-roundedness. We are assuming certain talents as almost automatic for a child of the 21st century, such as familiarity with the internet and how to get into a nightclub "
Do you agree with the list below, or can you suggest your own alternative list of skills?
Is the list relevant for all the "nation's youth" or only for those who read Country Life or are likely to do so in the future?
How many of these could you do?
1. Cook three different dinner party menus
2. Say 'Can you help me please' in Arabic, Cantonese, Urdu, Spanish and Russian
3. Play a musical instrument, even if it's just the tom-toms or a mouth organ
4. Ride a horse to jackaroo standard
5. Be a 'tech whisperer', able to fix and set up the latest technogadgets
6. Talk about five classics of English literature with authority and passion
7. Perform resuscitation on someone who has stopped breathing
8. Know how to grow carrots from seed, distinguish five native trees, identify 20 flowers and arrange a bunch
9. Handle a shotgun, skin a rabbit, gut a fish and pluck a pigeon
10. Repair a bicycle puncture and fix the chain
11. Dance the eightsome reel, waltz to Strauss and bop to Lady Gaga
12. Taste the difference between Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay and know how to mix a mojito or margarita
13. Write a memorable thank-you letter
14. Recognise music by Mozart, Elgar and Handel
15. Put up a shelf and change a plug
16. Tie a bow tie, bowline and Bloody Butcher
17. Sail a boat across the Solent
18. Carve a joint of meat
19. Tell the difference between Gothic, Baroque and Palladian architecture
20. Make a speech, entertain an audience with a joke or an anecdote, and sing at least two songs by heart
21. Drive a tractor, reverse a trailer, renew engine oil and change a wheel
22. Find their way round five capital cities
23. Host a party and put others at their ease
24. Sustain a 10-shot rally at tennis
25. Build a bonfire and lay a fire
26. Perform three good card tricks
27. Identify five constellations and find the North Star
28. Score a cricket match
29. Talk knowledgeably about five British landmarks
30. Uncork and pour a bottle of Champagne
31. Iron a shirt, sew on a button and sew up a hem
32. Amuse small children for at least an hour with magic tricks and storytelling
33. Read a map, pitch a tent and pack a rucksack
34. Be authoritatively acquainted with at least one work by
da Vinci, Constable, Degas, Turner and Canaletto
35. Manage a bank account
36. Slip away from a football riot
37. Address a member of the Royal Family
38. Complain effectively but politely in a restaurant
39. Deliver a lamb
Perhaps, Mr Gove, with his love of the traditional, could include some or all of them in the English Baccalaureate. Alternatively, his Cabinet colleagues might like to consider some of the following for would-be MPs:
1. Cook up a mixed menu manifesto.
2. Say 'Can you help me please' in Mandarin, Swedish, American English, Ancient Greek, Latin and Nonsense.
3. Play doublethink on policy, holding two contradictory ideas at the same time.
4. Back the right political horse.
5. Be a 'techno-phobe', able to exclude subjects like ICT from the EBacc.
6. Talk about five ideas imported from overseas with authority and passion.
7. Perform resuscitation on a policy that has stopped breathing.
8. Know how to grow ideas from thin air.
9. Handle a political storm, have the skin of a rhinoceros, gut an opponent and claim a victory from a defeat.
10. Repair a broken idea and recycle it.
11. Dance the political tightrope.
12. Tell the difference between dogma and reality.
13. Write a memorable spin letter.
14. Recognise political mood music.
15. Put up obstacles while changing tack.
16. Tie yourself and others in knots.
17. Sail a boat across troubled waters.
18. Carve up agreements and slice budgets thinly.
19. Tell the difference between Gothic, Baroque and Modernist politics.
20. Make a speech, entertain an audience with a (sexist) joke or anecdote, perform a volte-face and sing at least two (Benny Hill) songs by heart.
21. Drive a tank, perform a u-turn, reverse your policy, and change direction while claiming you were going that way all along.
22. Find your way round five capital cities at the taxpayers' expense (gets you out of the country for a while).
23. Host a party and put others at their ease about your expenses.
24. Sustain a 10-shot rally at Prime Minister's Questions.
25 .Build a bonfire of the quangos and lay the seeds of your own destruction.
26. Perform three good tricks.
27. Identify five celebrities and persuade them to back your policies.
28. Score an election result.
29. Talk knowledgeably about five British landmark TV programmes to make you sound in touch with the electorate.
30. Uncork and pour a bottle of Champagne.
31. Pay someone to iron a shirt, sew on a button and sew up a hem and claim for this on expenses.
32. Make small children cry during election photo opportunities.
33. Have an exit strategy, pitch your political tent then pack a rucksack.
34. Be authoritatively acquainted.
35. Manage a bank account.
36. Slip away from a Commons riot.
37. Address a member of the Royal Family.
38. Complain ineffectively but politely.
39. Deliver a dog's breakfast.