Everything changes. This is true of flowers and trees, people, societies and political institutions. It is really no more than the nature of the world; even if we do nothing at all, things change of their own accord. They decay, fall apart, mutate into other different things. Those who oppose this sort of change in society and politics are often called conservatives or, in a more pejorative way, reactionaries.
I have been reflecting upon this since Michael Gove announced the latest revamping of the national Curriculum. For a Conservative, he has certainly shown himself eager to change things. (Although his latest ideas suggest that his idea of change is really moving back to the way things were in schools during the 1950s, which is sound Conservative doctrine indeed!) The way that hospitals are run, schools, the police, army, Inland revenue; all our institutions are constantly in a state of flux. Many of us get a little irritable about change, particularly as we get older. There is however one group of people who seem to oppose any and every change to do with their own chosen pastime or lifestyle. These are home educators. It does not matter what is being suggested or by whom it is put forward; you can guarantee that home educators are against it. Change might be taking place in all other aspects of life in modern Britain, but as far as home educators are concerned, any change involving the law or regulations connected with their own practice is bound to be a bad thing.
I have encountered this sort of blind devotion to maintaining the status quo in other groups. Fox hunters for instance have always been convinced that any sort of change to the law about their own hobby would be an unwarrantable intrusion into their private affairs. Members of gun clubs too always seem to find new laws infringing upon their civil liberties. These characters, like home educators, seem to have a Panglossian view of life; that this is the best of all possible worlds and that any change is bound to be for the worse. It is the same attitude which led many Tories to oppose the Great Reform Act in 1832 and I can understand how they feel. I dislike change and new things myself. One observes that in Wales, consultations are now taking place with home educating parents and local authorities with a view to changing the way that home education is regulated in that country. Already, the murmurs of discontent have started and are likely to grow louder in the future. The battle cry is, 'Why change anything? this is the best possible system that human ingenuity could devise!' This has been the rallying call of reactionaries and Conservatives through the ages and the aim is always to stop things changing.
I shall be interested to see what happens in Wales. Somebody emailed me this morning, suggesting that the exercise in Wales has been encouraged from Westminster and is an attempt to see if a new system could be tried in Wales before being introduced to England. I have no idea if this is true, but it is, I suppose, certainly possible.