Monday, December 19, 2005

Class education

John Prescott wants a class war. His reaction to Eton-educated David Cameron’s leadership of the Conservative party has nothing to do with issues and everything to do with background. Because Cameron went to a good school he is the enemy, never mind that the Labour cabinet is filled with men and women who went to selective schools. Prescott thinks he can rally the Labour party as the party of workers against the middle-class. It would be interesting to see him try it, but the Labour party collectively are not idiots. Supposed class divisions have limited traction among British voters and Labour’s strategists know it. Issues are want count, and there is a serious issue in all of this.

Education has come full circle, from the abolition of Grant-Maintained schools in 1997 back to the proposal for Self-Governing Trust schools today. The government has finally recognised that it is better for schools to run themselves than to be branch offices of a monolithic education authority. Enter Prescott and his cronies stage left, with their cries of a two-tier education system and their terror of academic selection. Their instinct is to level down education, so that it is equal for all even if it is equally bad. The last thing they want is for schools to be free to improve themselves because some would end up better than others. That might end up benefiting the middle-class and they cannot have that.

Hang on a moment though, isn’t Prescott a Cabinet Minister? Doesn’t he have a duty to support government policy? In the midst of the class war it appears that the Prime Minister’s authority is the first casualty.

Class war: Prescott attacks Blair's education reforms and Cameron's 'Eton Mafia'

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