That's the Daily Mail's job, after all. If it wasn't for their daily blast of shock-horror, the country wouldn't have anywhere near enough cases of heart problems and high blood pressure to blame on smoking, drinking and the overweight.
They are getting desperate these days though. Now that they no longer have Labour producing four or five blasts of insanity every day, they're scraping the barrel for their stories.
One such is the story of Muslim children being allowed to drop out of music lessons because Islam, in some interpretations, forbids them learning an instrument. This is, apparently, a Terrible Thing.
I remember school music lessons. They were compulsory for two years and I couldn't drop that one fast enough. Oh, I like music, but it always sounds better when someone else is doing it. If we'd had the rule that Muslim children could be excused music lessons I'd have been turning up with the Quran tucked under my arm.
We had to learn to play a perforated wooden tube called a recorder. No drums, no guitar, none of those instruments played by the bands we liked. Instead we had to learn an instrument we'd never heard of and which really didn't fit into the heavy-rock mould at all. I'm sure, in the hands of an expert, it must sound very nice but all most of us ever managed to produce was a fair impression of an asthmatic owl hooting into a drainpipe.
You can only make a living at music if you're good at it. I'm not and never will be. That was evident long before I left the infants' school and there should have been a note on my file saying 'On no account allow this child to sing'. It would have saved later music teachers considerable anguish.
Joining the school choir was compulsory. I was ejected on the first day (I think it was the second or third note), along with a couple of others, in case our tunelessness infected the entire group. This was in Wales, remember, where they are serious about choirs. We still had to attend the music lessons. It was pointless, it was like forcing blind people to sit in front of a silent movie for an hour, and there was really only one reason for it.
All subjects were compulsory to start with. Art, history, Spanish, French, Latin, music, woodwork - everything. Including those subjects that we could demonstrate complete incompatibility with by the end of lesson one. Even at that early stage we had separate biology, physics and chemistry lessons, not this watered-down green-tinged nonsense known as 'science class'. I don't know why there is such resistance to teaching Creationism in 'science class' since most of the rest of it is now based on 'this is just so, now shut up and believe' anyway. Perhaps it's not apocalyptic enough for modern green science.
Everyone tried everything and then we could choose which ones we wanted to do in detail for O level. Most of us had a pretty certain idea of which subjects we wanted to do by the end of the first term. After that it was an endurance test.
If those early music classes had not been compulsory they would have been smaller - but they would have contained only those who were interested in learning about it. If those art classes had not been compulsory I might have been spared the wrath of the art teacher on more than one occasion. He could whack harder than the chemistry teacher, too.
Some things must be compulsory. Maths and English are skills nobody can get by without. Everyone needs at least a basic grasp of those. Art, music, sciences, don't need to be compulsory quite so much. If you plan to be a builder, you'll be well served by knowing about gravity, about the reactions that set cement, as well as arithmetic and geometry but you don't need to know how to mix colours. That's the decorator's job.
These Muslim children are unlikely to grow up to be musicians, not because they have no skill but because their religion forbids it. If they leave their religion (assuming they survive that) and find they have musical ability after all, then it's never too late to put a skill to use. In the meantime, the fact that some Muslim children aren't learning to play Wheezy the Owl on a little wooden pipe is not a big deal at all. If they were being kept out of maths or English lessons, the uproar would be justified but music? It's not limiting their future career choices by very much, is it? I mean, they're certain to be allowed to take home economics classes. Chemistry, too.
I'd say the uproar is more likely to come from the other kids in the class. "Why do we have to keep doing this if they don't have to?"
The poor hacks at the Mail will soon be reduced to bikini shots and speculation on the biology of Lady Gaga's reproductive organs. They're pretty much at that point already. Today's paper includes another 'Oh my God! A fox!' story. The fox didn't bite anyone, it was just... there. Foxes can thank their lucky stars they don't smoke because then they'd really be in trouble.
I blame the government, you know. Their new, not-completely-lunatic approach is a hell of a culture shock for the rest of us.
Still, it won't be long before they do something outstandingly stupid. They are politicians, after all.
Just hang in there, Mail reporters. There'll be some proper insanity along any time now.