Opinion

If brains were dynamite…

Share this page

Learning disability nurses in particular and other healthcare professionals in general who possess a modicum of concern for the plight of their patients/clients/service users (delete as applicable) will have been interested to hear the Mayor of London pontificate recently on the state of the nation's IQ.

I hadn't marked Mr Johnson as a likely candidate for inclusionary thinker of the year, but I may have to revise my opinions. It seems that Mr Johnson has arrived at a similar conclusion to an age-old conundrum, as did that revered Victorian thinker Sir Francis Galton.

It was he who, in an 1864 paper entitled Hereditary Character and Talent, remarked that: 'If a twentieth part of the cost and pains were spent in measures for the improvement of the human race that is spent on the improvement of the breed of horses and cattle, what a galaxy of genius might we not create!'

Mr Johnson was slightly more prosaic in his utterances, but he nevertheless sided with the Commonwealth when he made remarks about those with low IQ (less than 85 in his estimation), implying that we are all of the same species. See what I mean about inclusion?

Mr Johnson then perhaps took the gloss off this assessment by suggesting we ought, in the interests of the economy - and perhaps of his future leadership claims - to focus more on that minority whose IQ was above 130. These people, the implication goes, are the future.

But Mr Johnson saved the best for last with an elaborate metaphor on talent and cornflake packets. With gems like these perhaps we could 'cerealise' them?

About the author

Alex McClimens is a researcher in the Centre for Health & Social Care at Sheffield Hallam University. He is a former columnist for Learning Disability Practice and publishes widely in academic journals on disability matters. Current research activities focus on breast cancer awareness and screening for women with learning disabilities.