John Major, traitor and adulterer and candidate for the worst Prime Minister of post-war Britain (all right, all right, it is a crowded field:….Eden, Wilson, Heath, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron) has opined on the subject of the ‘elite’. He has just noticed a phenomenon of which most of us will have been aware for some time. The UK is still being run, despite the best efforts of Guardian readers, by white, middle-class, privately-educated men (and women). This, he says, is “truly shocking”.
If he had not spotted it before, one is bound to wonder upon which Planet he is currently lodged. Frankly, the man is a nincompoop.
The Daily Telegraph reports thus:
The dominance of a private-school educated elite and well-heeled middle class in the “upper echelons” of public life in Britain is “truly shocking”, Sir John Major has said.
The former Conservative Prime Minister said he was appalled that “every single sphere of British influence” in society is dominated by men and women who went to private school or who are from the “affluent middle class”
More than half of the Cabinet, including David Cameron, the Prime Minister, George Osborne, the Chancellor, and Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, are thought to have gone to private school and are independently very wealthy.
In the speech to Tory party grassroots activists on Friday evening, Sir John – who went to a grammar school in south London and left with three O-Levels – said: “In every single sphere of British influence, the upper echelons of power in 2013 are held overwhelmingly by the privately educated or the affluent middle class. To me from my background, I find that truly shocking.”
Sir John blamed this “collapse in social mobility” on Labour, which despite Ed Miliband’s “absurd mantra to be the one-nation party they left a Victorian divide between stagnation and aspiration”.
It is the blame-apportionment that catches the eye.
Some fifty years ago we saw the beginnings of the Comprehensive School system. We are now looking at the baleful record of that truly awful system of education.
It was a Labour idea, of course, which saw its early burgeoning from 1965 onwards. As it spread to all parts of the land, local authorities progressively destroyed one of the greatest vectors of social mobility that there was: the Grammar Schools.
Today 90% of children go to comprehensive schools. Some of these schools are every bit of good as were Grammar Schools. But the vast majority are simply a tribute to the Great God of Equality: children emerge from them equally ill-educated, equally ignorant and equally stupid.
Meanwhile the private sector has kept up and even improved its standards. Is it any surprise that they dominate?
Just take one example. the teaching of foreign languages has been progressively trashed. It is an insignificant part of any curriculum you care to name. The private schools teach it from an early age and most Public schools teach a wide variety of languages. Whereas French, German and Spanish were the staples, one may find Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Arabic these days. Result: privately-educated job-seekers will usually have at least one if not two languages to go armed into the jobs market.
The process of comprehensivisation of schools has been pursued by all governments, Labour and Conservative. Tory policy has been hostile to Grammar Schools for years. They are equally guilty in this case.
John Major is a hypocrite.
There is one party in the UK, however, that would restore this vector of social mobility: UKIP. Whilst eschewing selection, UKIP would allow local authorities to open new ones or restore old ones.
They could happily sit alongside comprehensives or Free Schools. Then let us see which does best, not merely at providing education but in creating social mobility.
Proof of the pudding, you see, is in the eating.