Monday 7 December 2009

Quick! Pull Up The Ladder!

Tom Harris yesterday reposted an article of his from October which claims that he has no agenda at all against privately educated politicians of any hue. Just that they are up to the job.

One would expect nothing less than such candour from him, much as we have come to expect a disarming honesty with regard to his opinions.

The problem, as usual, is that Harris's level-headed view is in stark contrast to the deeply dogmatic one of his party. Or the leadership thereof, at least.

I’VE TRIED, believe me, I’ve tried. But however much effort I commit, I just cannot bring myself to give a stuff about whether David Cameron was a member of the Bullingdon Club or a direct descendent of William IV or whatever.

I don’t care if he has a trust fund worth millions or a cut glass accent that makes him sound like a member of central casting on a Jane Austen period drama. His class and background, the school or university he went to, who his family are connected to… nope – zero amount of interest here. Bo-ring.

Perfect common sense. Yet the celebration of British excellence in education, regardless of social class, seems lost on Labour, as Constantly Furious has highlighted.

Cambridge University is celebrating its eight hundredth anniversary this year. As part of the celebrations,the Empire State Building in New York will be lit with 3 million light blue bulbs today and tomorrow to mark the occasion.

On Monday, images of Cambridge University were broadcast across Times Square and a representative from Cambridge rang the NASDAQ closing bell.

Why are there not similar celebrations in our major cities?

To Gordon Brown and his fellow class warriors in the rapidly sinking Labour Party, the University represents not achievement and ambition, but privilege and elitism.

I haven't said much about Gordon Brown's 'playing fields of Eton' remark previously as it was not only rather desperate, but also a trifle obscene, in the way it contradicted the original, noble usage afforded to that phrase as a form of high regard toward those who were stubborn enough to fight off 1940s subordination.

Brown, of course, is made of no such stern stuff, as he clearly illustrated, by supinely signing away our rights, without our mandate, in contravention of a manifesto pledge behind which he was happy to stand in 2005.

Working Class Tory has pointed out that there are plenty of privately educated toffs on the Labour benches, even an Old Etonian. Yet, as Guido points out, Labour still don't see the hypocrisy in attempting to make one's mode of education an issue for the next general election.

The motive, of course, is pure socialist envy. It has never changed, and never will.

I'm entitled to talk about this, being a working class kid who was badly failed by the much vaunted 1970s Labour comprehensive system, the only option then being private education. A service given to me voluntarily and without fee.

But Labour seek to saw through the rungs of the ladder which gave me, and many Labour MPs, a proper education, to the detriment of talented working class kids everywhere, for purely class-led reasons.

Now comes the latest attempt at "death by bureaucracy" – this time by using health and safety legislation to impose significant additional costs on private schools, and to make it more difficult for them to pass inspections. The Department for Children, Schools and Families has the power to "de-register" a private school, effectively closing it down. As we report today, under the latest rules, private schools are to be inspected every three years to ensure they comply with child protection and other health and safety laws, whereas successful state schools will be inspected only once every five years.

The ancient buildings in which private schools are often housed can cause endless problems for complying with both the demands of heritage regulations and the requirements imposed by other legislation, such as the Disability Discrimination Act.

In their zeal to jealously punish the well off, Labour are also restricting the chances of their own kind.

Until such time as the comprehensive system matches the excellence of private schooling, it is quite criminal to punish children on purely class-led political lines.

And if any of the 60+ privately-educated Labour members of parliament are fully behind this quite shameful educational assault on kids, then I have nothing but contempt for any of them in pulling up the ladder from which they themselves benefitted.


Neal Asher said...

They'd close down Hogwarts in a second!

Neal Asher said...

Playing fields of Eton, flat Earthers, deniers ... Brown is getting frustrated and angry. Don't we understand that he has our best interests at heart, don't we understand that we should JUST DO WHAT WE'RE TOLD!

Anonymous said...

Is the public getting a glimpse of the bully hitherto reserved for his unfortunate staff? It beggars belief that the leader of our country resorts to ridicule of AGW-sceptics and has the gall and wickedness to use children as a political pawn. He might not have been privately educated, himself, but Brown is a graduate of Edinburgh University which hardly ticks the equality box.

On a lighter note, was it fhere that I read about Poole's Christmas tree ( described as an over-sized traffic cone made of astroturf)? Heard on the radio that it's been vandalised and removed for 'assessment' LOL. It's being replaced by a proper tree despite the elfin safety concerns that resulted in the traffic cone in the first place.


banned said...

Anon 18:28, ta for that cheering news from Poole.

" 'playing fields of Eton' " laughed out loud when I heard that on the car radio, it was so obvious that Brown had that stored away in his little brain box to bring out at an opportune moment ( not that it was ).

Labour played the same trick with secondary schools as when the post office abolished second class delivery. They abolished the old Secondary Moderns and most Grammar schools and then set up their new system which resulted in almost all State pupils going to new...Secondary Moderns re-named 'comprehensives'.

Old Holborn list of privatly educated Labour MPs.

subrosa said...

This all started with the introduction of comprehensives, here in Scotland anyway.

'Let's bundle them all into one building then teach to the lowest common denominator'.

Hence many excellent vocational and academic schools were lost forever and we just sat by watching. Shame on my generation.