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Compulsory levelling down
It is with good reason that Socialism has been called the politics of envy. Because not everyone has something, nobody should have it. And if some are more intelligent than others, such intelligence must be beaten out of them, until everyone is mediocre. David Thompson:
Time for another Classic Sentence from the Guardian. Or rather the Guardian’s Sunday sister paper, the Observer, where Kevin McKenna attempts to convince readers that a one-size-fits-all comprehensive education is all that any young person could possible want. Indeed, should Mr McKenna get his way, it’s all they’d be permitted to have:
The ultimate iniquity, though, is that independent, fee-paying schools are allowed to exist at all.
Savour that for a moment. Ponder the big, generous heart behind those sentiments. It offends Mr McKenna that private education should be allowed to exist. How dare some parents want the best for their children when the best is something not everyone can have, or indeed benefit from? Notice that smell? It’s the funk of socialist arrogance and nasty urges to control. By Mr McKenna’s reckoning, it would be less iniquitous to deny parents the right to use their own money to benefit their own offspring in a private and legal transaction of their own choosing. According to this moral calculus, parents who view the comprehensive system as inadequate – perhaps because of their own first-hand experiences – are by implication wicked. And so they should be stopped. Sadly, the details of how private education would no longer be permitted remain mysterious. Would parents daring to venture outside the state sector be imprisoned or merely fined? Would private education become a black market phenomenon? Nor is it clear whether these totalitarian urges would extend to after-hours tuition, home coaching or the punctual doing of homework.
Stalinist as New Labour is, it will never abolish private schools - where would Labour MPs send their children? Stalinist is an appropriate word, since under Communism - and Socialism is Communism in waiting - the Inner Party always hothoused their own children.
The greatest act of educational vandalism committed by the Left was the abolition of the grammar schools. Private schools were going out of business before the destruction of decent state schools forced parents, many of them by no means rich, to scrimp and save to go private. Some comprehensives are good considering their mixed ability intake, but most are mediocre to appalling, a fact which rampant grade inflation fails to disguise.