January 20, 2006


Time for schools to be free? With Old Labour, no danger (Charles Moore, 21/01/2006, Daily Telegraph)

If one listens to [Deputy Prime Minister John] Prescott, one hears the authentic tones and beliefs of mainstream British post-war socialism, and so one finds oneself turning to him for enlightenment when his fellow politicians are speaking only in jargon.

On this principle, trying to elucidate the extraordinary row about schools now convulsing the Labour Party, I take as my text some words of Mr Prescott from the same Sunday Telegraph interview.

Indicating that he was not happy with his own government's education White Paper, Mr Prescott explained that middle-class parents were concerned about the quality of their children's education, "which is sadly not the same for working-class parents". "If you set up a school and it becomes a good school," he went on, "the great danger is that everyone wants to go there."

That sentence contains the key to all egalitarian thinking about schools, perhaps to all egalitarian thinking about anything. [...]

[Tony Blair's] instinct is that a good school should be encouraged and that a bad one should close. In the Labour Party, that makes him a heretic.

We can trace the Left/Right divide directly to this question, first posed in the French Revolution, which elevated the pursuit of egalitarianism to the central purpose of the State, whereas the Anglo-American model emphasizes the guarantee of Liberty by the government instead.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 20, 2006 11:01 PM

It depends your definition of a good school.

In the edbiz a good school is one where they turn out little moonbats who are barely literate and numerate, but have learned and internalized the primary lesson that the U.S. with its free trade and individualism is the problem and worldwide socialism is the solution.

Posted by: erp at January 21, 2006 9:13 AM