Friday, 14 October 2016

No Equality Of Opportunity

If ever there were a couple of subjects that exposes the Labour Party leadership for the bunch of hypocrites that they are, its Anti-Semitism and Education. Now enough has been said, here and elsewhere, about the growth in Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (hardly a surprising phenomena, given the fact that the Labour Party has a growing Muslim membership in towns such as Rotherham and Bradford etc). So I won't waste my breath rehashing what is an obvious consequence of that trend, to everyone except Jeremy Corbyn and his acolytes that is.

Eton Schoolboys Personify Privilege In Britain .....

No, what I want to talk about is non state education for the rich and privileged of the Labour Party. So just to illustrate how deep this hypocrisy really is, here is the latest and most left-wing Labour shadow cabinet in decades (if not ever) and their schools:

  • Leader of the Opposition – Rt. Hon. Jeremy Corbyn MP - attended Adams' Grammar School.
  • Shadow Foreign Secretary – Emily Thornberry MP - attended a secondary modern school.
  • Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer – John McDonnell MP - attended Great Yarmouth Grammar School.
  • Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury – Rebecca Long-Bailey MP - attended The Catholic High School, Chester.
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union – Sir Keir Starmer MP - attended to Reigate Grammar School.
  • Shadow Home Secretary – Diane Abbott MP- attended Harrow County Grammar School for Girls.
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Business – Clive Lewis MP - N/K? Northampton council estate.
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Education – Angela Rayner MP - Avondale School (Stockport Academy) until she got pregnant.
  • Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade – Barry Gardiner MP - attended the Independent High School of Glasgow,
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Defence – Nia Griffith MP - attended Newland School for Girls.
  • Shadow Lord President of the Council and National Elections and Campaigns Co-ordinator – Jon Trickett MP - attended Roundhay Grammar School.
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – Debbie Abrahams MP - N/K Sheffield.
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Health – Jonathan Ashworth MP - attended Philips High School in Bury.
  • Shadow Secretary of State for International Development – Kate Osamor MP - attended Creighton Comprehensive School.
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Transport – Andy McDonald MP - attended St. George's Secondary School.
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – Teresa Pearce MP - St Thomas More School in Eltham, London. (standing in for Grahame Morris MP, who is on leave but who attended Peterlee Grammar School).
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Justice – Richard Burgon MP - attended the comprehensive - Cardinal Heenan Roman Catholic High School in Leeds.
  • Shadow Attorney General –Baroness Shami Chakrabarti - attended Bentley Wood High School, a girls' comprehensive school.
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport – Tom Watson MP - King Charles I School, Kidderminster (Academy status school).
  • Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – Rachael Maskell MP - N/K
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland – Dave Anderson MP - attended Maltby Grammar School.
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Wales – Jo Stevens MP - attended Ysgol Uwchradd Argoed and Elfed High School.
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Housing – Rt. Hon. John Healey MP - attended Lady Lumley's School in Pickering.
  • Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities – Sarah Champion MP - N/K.
  • Shadow Minister for Diverse Communities – Dawn Butler MP - N/K.
  • Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs – Cat Smith MP - attended several Barrow comprehensives.
  • Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office – Ian Lavery MP - attended East School, Ashington.
  • Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Social Care – Barbara Keeley MP - N/K.
  • Shadow Minister without Portfolio – Andrew Gwynne MP - attended Egerton Park Community High School.
  • Shadow Leader of the House – Valerie Vaz MP - attended Twickenham County Grammar School.

As you can see - an awful lot of Grammar schools in that list .... in fact far more than the 7% of the general population who went to such establishments would have suggested. But it doesn't stop there, they also have a penchant for sending their own children to private or independent schools, whilst advocating their closure (for the rest of us).

I have already posted on the fact that Dianne Abbott regularly campaigns against private schools (and against white teachers for black children), but then sent her own precious son to a fee paying private school, rather than trust his education to any comprehensive in her own local constituency. She of course made no logical defence for her son getting an upper-class education, while she wants to deny that same right for working class kids from her own constituency and the country.

She even claimed that it was 'the making of her son' James, getting a £10k pa private education, before he went to Cambridge and is now working for the Foreign Office. Where he is no doubt following in her footsteps - In 2012, only 25 of the 600-plus recruits to the civil service “fast stream” were from working class backgrounds, so it helped her son there.

As late as 2012 she was still justifying it, by saying white people would 'never understand' the Afro-Caribbean culture of parents wanting to do the best for their children (kind of racist comment?), and has she ever really been part of the Afro-Caribbean culture?

Actually it was more an admittance of the failure of that culture when she said: 'I knew what could happen to my son if he was sent to the wrong school and got in with the wrong crowd. I realised they were subjected to peer pressure and when that happens it's very hard for a mother to save her son. Once a black boy is lost to the world of gangs it's very hard to get them back, and I was genuinely very fearful of what could happen.' .... meaning that Afro-Caribbean parents too easily abandon their sons to black gang culture and she wanted none of that.

I may even have listed the others on the left, who have benefited in some way from the non state sector .... Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock, the son of former party leader Neil Kinnock, sent his daughter to a private college. Similarly Ruth Kelly sent her kids to private schools. As did Harriet Harman who was also criticised for sending her son to a selective grammar school.

Dulwich College - Shami Chakrabarti, Privilege Is Thy Name

The latest of these is New Labour peer and Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti who sent her son to £18,000 a year Dulwich College, a private school ... she has spoken out against grammar schools ... but claims for her own child she was only trying to do the “best for her family” .... obviously others are to be denied that opportunity.

In point of fact, almost a third of all the MP's in parliament in 2015 had been to private schools themselves (never mind their children). Understandably this was higher amongst Conservative MPs, with the figure as nearly half (48%), but even amongst Labour and Liberal MP's the figures were still substantial at 17% of Labour MP's who went to private schools, while for the Liberal Democrats the figure was 14%. The SNP MP's are far more on message with their own policies at just 5%.

However at government cabinet (or shadow cabinet) level the figures change e.g. 22 per cent of Ed Miliband's Shadow Cabinet went to private schools, and the figure was far higher in David Cameron's government at 36% of ministers. The average attendance at private schools for the population as a whole is just 7%.

Just for context, and considering the fact that private education has diminished in the UK since the 1960's, these figures are surprising. Some 71% of senior judges, 62% of senior armed forces officers, 55% of Whitehall permanent secretaries, 50% of House of Lords members and 43% of newspaper columnists (Two in five tabloid columnists and one in two broadsheet columnists), were privately educated. So were 33% of MPs, 33% of the England cricket team and 26% of BBC executives.

The Oxbridge university levels for the upper echelons are even higher: 59% of the Cabinet, 57% of permanent secretaries, 50% of diplomats, 47% of newspaper columnists, 33% of the Shadow Cabinet and 24% of MPs went to Oxford or Cambridge University.

In the House of Lords (which is largely composed of party nominated peers), two thirds of Conservative peers, half of Liberal Democrat peers, a quarter of Labour peers and 62% of cross-benchers went to a private or independent school.

So it appears that despite decades of effort to open up opportunity for all classes in this country by successive governments, the UK’s elite remains disproportionately represented by people from a narrow range of backgrounds. As Alan Milburn the former Labour Cabinet minister and chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission said 'It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Britain is deeply elitist.' I agree with that sentiment, but would add that the Labour Party, which should have changed all this as part of its policies, is in fact as much part of the problem it claims exists, than the solution.

Personally I would let people decide what they want for their own children .... but then I ain't no political hypocrite.


  1. In their defence it doesn't help to wear a warm coat because they're cold in Alaska, the important thing is to advocate better education for all.

    1. To misquote Oscar Wilde “I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be morally good and being morally bad all the time. That would be hypocrisy.” ..... because there is no defence for benefiting from, and sending your own children to, privileged educations, while trying to stop your constituents and their own children from doing the same.


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