"We want our children to be programmers and rocket scientists, able to compete with the best and brightest in Europe, Asia and America. But the rest of us also need to be far more willing to break down the barrier between maths and the mainstream.
"To see what happens without such mass knowledge, consider the state of the public finances – the defining political issue of our time, and the reason for the formation of the Coalition. Encouraged by George Osborne’s talk of “paying down the deficit”, the vast majority of the population believe that the Coalition is cutting the national debt. In fact, it is merely reducing the rate at which it increases. All told, it is set to rise by more than 60 per cent within this Parliament – but in a poll carried out last year by the think-tank Policy Exchange, only one in seven people had worked that out."