You need to sit down for this. You really do.
Out in Beijing, the Dear Leader praised Shanaze Reade, the 19-year-old BMX rider who lost out on an Olympic medal last week after crashing in sight of the winning line:
"She was not happy settling for a silver. She went full throttle for gold.
That is the spirit we want to encourage in our schools, not the medals for all culture we have seen in previous years, but more competition.
It was wrong because it didn't work. It was a tragic mistake in reducing the competitive element in sport. In sport, you get better by challenging yourself against other people. The competitive aspect in sport is crucial for success."
A Tragic Mistake.
You hardly know where to start.
It was socialist commissars just like Brown who forced our state schools to abandon competitive sports back in the sixties and seventies. It was socialist commissars just like him who then denied they'd done so. And it was socialist commissars just like him who ignored the fact that independent schools - which retained competition - have routinely provided around half our medallists, even though they only educate 7% of our children.
When it comes to Tragic Mistakes, you simply can't beat a socialist commissar. From the Great Famines caused by crackpot agricultural policies, to tens of millions of deaths caused by Great Leaps Backwards, to whole generations dragged down by social engineering experiments in schools, the commissars are in a brutal dogmatic incompetent league of their own (see this blog for further discussion).
So having finally confessed the error of his ways* on competitive sport, will Brown now draw the much more general conclusion? Will he now recognise the central importance of competition right across our education system? Will he accept that government has no place in education, other than funding poor kids?
Somehow it seems unlikely. The continuing tragedy of state education looks safe in his hands.
But at least the Tories are now promising real change in schools, with the adoption of the Swedish model. Let's hope they mean what they say.
*Footnote. So does Brown actually accept he's one of the people responsible for the abolition of competition in school sports? We haven't seen his full speech but there's more than a hint that he blames nameless zealots further down the "chain of command" - he and the other top commissars never intended their brilliant ideas for a better world should be interpreted in such a hopeless and destructive manner. Which is of course the David Irving defence - the Fuhrer never ordered the Holocaust, and could hardly be held responsible for the madness of those below him. Cf Tesco government, where the buck always stops with the top guy.