Intelligent Football, Congratulations to Spain; Start the Week and Liz Truss

A game of football can be analogous to life itself. Maybe we can use football (soccer) to think some more about the factors that contribute to success in both sport and in life.

So – salutations to Spain: quite possibly the most intelligent soccer team ever to grace the planet. They succeeded, in the course of their Euro 2012 campaign and in their victory in a major international competition for the third tournament running, in demonstrating very high levels of all the qualities that we at 3Di so frequently talk and write about:

  • Imagination
  • Creativity
  • Teamwork and empathy, selflessness; social intelligence
  • Self-discipline and responsibility; emotional intelligence; control of egoism & vanity; personal intelligence
  • Spontaneity and speed of positive action & reaction; instinctual intelligence
  • Playing the game in the right spirit – competitive but non-violent; spiritual intelligence
  • Fitness, skill, stamina, speed, athleticism; physical intelligence
  • Tactical astuteness, intelligent strategies; intellect.

Martin Keown, ex-Arsenal and England stalwart, commented last week, “Like Balotelli, I often played with my heart and not my head” – meaning, I often played badly as a result of letting my negative and destructive emotions get the better of me, and I sometimes didn’t allow my better judgement to govern my behaviour on the pitch.

As it happened, Balotelli behaved impeccably once again last night, as did the rest of his team. There were very few cynical or ‘professional’ fouls, and no violent conduct, in spite of Italy being outplayed for the majority of the match. It would appear that both sets of players have the utmost respect for one another, and both teams played their part in producing an interesting, enjoyable and ultimately satisfying match. The best team won the 2012 tournament, and the second-best team came second. Sometimes there is justice in this world, and sometimes people get their just desserts. And sometimes intelligence triumphs over sheer power, aggression, gamesmanship and foul play. Well done Spain and Italy.


There are good days when I begin to think the light of understanding is beginning to penetrate the layer of ignorance that surrounds our discourse about education, and there are bad days when I begin to wonder if it ever will. “Start The Week” on BBC Radio 4 this morning started the week very badly indeed.

Elizabeth Truss is the Member of Parliament for South West Norfolk. One of the new intake of Conservative MPs, dubbed the ‘New Radicals’, she looks to an alternative future where “decline is not inevitable”.

‘Britannia Unchained: Global Lessons for Growth and Prosperity’, co-authored by Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Elizabeth Truss, will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in September.

I mean – Britannia? Unchained? Whose growth? Whose prosperity?  Who the hell talks about “Britannia”? And chains? Like – it’s even possible to chain a country? It’s not even a country we’re talking about. It’s just a nebulous concept – more like an entity, like “UK PLC”. It’s rubbish.

The Telegraph has described Ms Truss somewhat disparagingly as “OK looking, if a bit dodgy in terms of dress sense.”

According to Wikipedia, “Truss was raised in a northern, left-wing household – her father is a professor with an interest in mathematical logic, who refused to campaign for her election to Parliament, and her mother was a member of the CND.”

Good on you, pa. You too, ma.

 “She worked for Shell as a commerical manager and Cable & Wireless as economics director, and became a qualified management accountant. Truss became the deputy director of Reform in January 2008, where she advocated more rigorous academic standards in schools.”

Oh dear. These reactionaries love their buzz words words like “rigorous“, “academic” and “standards“. What they really want is for the academic pyramid to have sides that are ever higher and steeper. To be even more stringent in sorting out the sheep from the goats. To make the high academic achievers attain ever higher scores in tests and exams. They really believe that this would be transformative for Britain.

And the qualifications of this 37 years old whizz-kid Member of Parliament to speak with such authority on education? None whatsoever.

 “In March 2011, she wrote a paper for the thinktank CentreForum in which she argued for an end to bias against serious academic subjects in the education system so that social mobility can be improved. Truss wrote a further paper for the same thinktank in May 2012, in which she argued for change in the structure of the childcare market in Britain.

In September 2011, she co-authored ‘After the Coalition’, a book which seeks to challenge the consensus that Britain’s economic decline is inevitable by arguing for the return of a more entrepreneurial and meritocratic culture. A further volume, ‘Britannia Unchained’, billed as “an insightful and critical assessment of Britain’s challenges in the face of future uncertainty”, is due to be published in September 2012.

In October 2011, she founded the Free Enterprise Group, of which she is the convener, supported by 38 other Conservative MPs.”

Hmmm. 38 supporters. Out of a total of 305 Conservative MPs. This is the extreme right wing of the right wing.

3Di is affiliated to no political party and is completely neutral as far as the 3 main parties are concerned. They all contain people of widely varying abilities, knowledge and experience. However, we do see the need to speak out when we come across people stridently advocating ignorant policies on education.

3Di strongly supports the recent pronouncements of the CBI, for example, which is by no means a left-leaning organisation. It does, however, speak with great sense when it argues for the abolition of all ‘academic’ exams for pupils aged 16.

Ms Truss speaks no sense whatsoever.

“She read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Merton College, Oxford.”

So she’s a philosopher? Er, no. She’s an arrogant think-tanker whose views on education are utterly ludicrous – unless you happen to think that her reactionary ideology has some relevance to the learning needs of pupils of all abilities in the 21st Century.

Why the hell was she invited on to “Start The Week”? She has nothing interesting or original to say. She’s a complete reactionary, and presumably a disappointment to her progressive parents. But of course Ms Truss hates “progressive education”, and like all the Colonel Blimps in her party she blames “progressivism” for all the ills in our education system.

This isn’t really meant to be a diatribe against Elizabeth Truss – who thoroughly deserves to be left alone in Norfolk and completely ignored. It’s not even aimed at the ignorance of modern two-nation Conservatism. It’s simply asking the question – Why invite such a twit on to a so-called serious programme like Start The Week, and why let her get away completely unchallenged with a sales pitch for her book and with propagating her ignorant views on education? Isn’t Andrew Marr supposed to challenge, on behalf of his listeners, the views of the programme’s  guests; or is he now just a career “presenter”?


See also:

About 3D Eye

Gary Foskett and Clare Blackhall are educationalists, writers and consultants. We work with schools and other organisations who share our vision of how schools, businesses, etc should work in the 21st Century. We also run courses and contribute to conferences - speaking about our three dimensional model of intelligences and how schools, colleges and universities can develop the full potential of all their staff and students. We also offer consultancy for businesses and public sector organisations to support staff training and organisational change and development. For more detailed information read our blog at or see our website at
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