Grounded by the imminent arrival of traditional British Bank Holiday weather, I'm scanning through the Sunday papers this morning. Among the stories that caught my eye was one in the Mail on Sunday, an excerpt from the book, Fantasy Island, by Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson, which explores the many myths of Blair's Britain, with some interesting facts. Among them, "Between 1992 and 1999, our fastest-growing occupation was hairdressing" and "Britain is not a creative economy, but a cooking, cleaning and call-centre economy in which millions are toiling away in low-paid, low-skilled jobs."
If you don't wish to feel depressed, then don't read it but then in other papers, we have news that police will have anti-terror new powers to stop people within weeks - part of the Prime Minister's legacy - and that among the new powers the authorities have is one to lock people up in a mental institution indefinitely if they are seen as presenting a danger to the state; a popular device in the old Soviet Union. If the same rule could be done to crazy politicians of all parties then at least it might appear fair to the public at large!
And in The Observer, worries that Britain is 'sleepwalking' towards US-style segregation of schools along racial lines , revealed by government figures that show many towns are developing schools that are overwhelmingly white, Asian or black.
The Conservatives, last night outlined a plan to reverse the segregation - setting targets to ensure white and Asian pupils are educated together but the solution on offers appears to lie in targetted integration, which sounds vaguely like the "bussing" which created so many problems in the United States and which I am sure may have the same result here if it is tried. That's not to say that we should not work to prevent segregation but the environment in many UK cities is such that it is almost unavoidable, raising much more worrying questions over the nature of an increasingly divided society in years to come.
The fact of the matter is that nobody appears to have a practical answer to a problem that reflects human nature and the way in which groups with a common identity or ethnic background tend to congregate. What would you suggest?