Those of us of a certain vintage remember walking to school. Everyone did it. Most of our parents didnât own a car anyway. If they did own a car they certainly wouldnât have taken it out of the garage and consumed precious petrol getting us to school. If we didnât walk as far as the school, we certainly walked as far as the school bus stop.
Now that half the junior population resembles a misshapen rugby ball with feet, and Marks and Spencerâs have taken to supplying school uniforms with a 41â waist â 41â for Godâs sake! â It has been decided that âwalking to schoolâ is a good idea.
Since we are in the 21st century, that doesnât just mean a simple command of âright, in future you walk to school, you fat little gitâ.
First you need a charity. Of course you need a Charity. You canât do anything these days without a charity.
Step forward âLiving Streetsâ a Charity which exists for pedestrians. Really.
They put up a web site. Of course you need a web site. You canât do anything these days without a website.
Step forward the âWalk to school web siteâ.
Our core campaigning work relies on the generous donations of individuals and grant-giving organisations who share our vision to create safe, attractive and enjoyable streets. Your regular donation, no matter how much, is incredibly valuable as it lets us plan future work and projects.
Then you need an MP to sponsor your efforts.
Step forward â Gisela Stuart.
Now you need to go global.
Pupils from across Birmingham will join thousands of children from across the UK and over 40 countries worldwide this October to celebrate the benefits of walking to school during International Walk to School Month 2010.
Now you can have lots of people employed and drawing on those âgrantsâ to devise catchy phrases like âPark and Strideâ â an innovative initiative whereby your parents still get out the 4 x 4 and drive you most of the way to school, but you walk the last few yards all by yourselfâ¦..
If you have any doubt about the validity of this new fangled walking habit, you can read up on its key national indicators â like helping your school to reach NI55, or NI56, there will be lots of forms to tick but you donât mind that do you? You can probably have half a dozen staff meetings on the subject and a parent-teacher meeting thrown in.
How about if your objection is that no one has given you a grant to suggest this? That is covered as well; just âclick hereâ to see how âseveral local authorities across the country are funding this initiative despite the budget cutsââ¦.
If you still need more help with this novel initiative, the charity has a dedicated consultancy team â âfees, fi, foe, fum, I smell more moneyâ â who will be happy to work with your local authority to advise on âsustainable travelâ â thatâs âShankâs ponyâ for the benefit of older readersâ¦â¦
There are brochures and videos to show you how to do it, and training and conferences and everythingâ¦â¦
- We have been providing schools and authorities with resources, ideas and themes for Walk to School Week in May for well over a decade. (and they still need trousers with a 41â waist?)
Or you could just roll back the past 50 years and do it the old fashioned way.
âRight, in future you walk to school, you fat little gitââ¦â¦.
In Godâs name, how did the country get in this state in just 13 years â were we all fast asleep? Does anybody do anything worthwhile any longer, or is the entire country engaged in some Charity or Quango or Initiative?