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July 25, 2012

Comments

rjmadden

Thinking your children deserve a decent education is 'an utterly immoral act'. I'm glad we've cleared that up.

AC1

It's not even that. You want to CHOOSE the school your children go to! How awful.

It's extortion funded sector schools and their parental subsidy that's totally immoral, their dismal educational performance is just an inevitable and totally predictable result.

David

rjmadden,

“Thinking your children deserve a decent education is ‘an utterly immoral act.’ I’m glad we’ve cleared that up.”

Yes, being prepared to spend extra money on your children’s education is apparently an act of wickedness. It’s “damaging to society,” “cannot be justified” and is tantamount to racism. Instead, you should want your child to make do with whatever the state offers, even if this diminishes her opportunities and makes her life miserable, frustrated and boring.

It’s a strange moral calculus, but very Guardian-esque.

Starfox

If I ever become a multi-billionaire I will buy the Guardian Media Group and immediately close the Grauniad down. Firing their entire staff would, I am quite certain, be better than sex.

The historic final edition will contain pieces from all my favourite libertarian writers and a cover headline of "No more Guardian. No more CiF. Suck on that, you twisted, hateful, lefty CUNTS."

That's how angry people like Janet Murray make me.

Anna

What’s the article next week? Are you going to justify joining BUPA?

Oh no. Some people pay extra for private health insurance. IT'S A MORAL OUTRAGE!!!!!

We should just brick them all up inside Guardian HQ. For the greater good.

peter horne

"If I ever become a multi-billionaire I will buy the Guardian Media Group and immediately close the Grauniad down."

Ok, but don't close down the auto-trader or any of the other members of the trader group. I love cars me, and anything else that belches carbon dioxide, and besides they annoy the life outa the nasty fascist anti-semitic Guardianistas.

Anna

It’s commonplace for those of a leftist bent to move to the right as they get older (i.e. as they acquire income, assets and status).

I didn’t "acquire" my income and assets. I earned them.

Parents will perform the most extraordinary mental contortions in order to justify why their child is so special they must ditch their principles.

Leftists will perform the most extraordinary mental contortions in order to rationalize why their children aren't special and why no-one else should have nicer things.

David

AC1,

“You want to CHOOSE the school your children go to! How awful.”

Yes, it’s a bit like being scolded for stepping out of the way of an oncoming bus.

And of course there’s Polly Toynbee, the left’s high priestess of rationalised spite, who tells us that alternatives to the state system should be “scrapped” because British education is “blighted by private schools.” Interviewed by the Scotsman in 2008, Polly made her feelings on the subject quite plain: “Personally, I'd close them all down.” Not only does Polly wish to shut down avenues of escape from her scrupulously egalitarian one-size-fits-all educational model, she also wants to raise the age at which it’s possible to leave. Apparently we must all suffer together and for as long as possible.

rapscallion

The Guardian comments thread is demented.

David

rapscallion,

“The Guardian comments thread is demented.”

Predictably, it’s enormous and overwhelmingly hostile. But it is, I think, instructive.

There’s lots of self-righteous name-calling (“sell-out!” “snob!” “elitist!” “Tory!”) and there’s quite a bit of this: “I don’t want to hear your lame arguments.” Several readers accuse her of wanting “racial exclusivity.” At least a dozen readers call her “selfish” for paying for her child’s education while also paying via taxes for the state system she doesn’t use. (Paying twice, for her own child and for others, apparently makes her mean.) And being pious and tolerant lefties, there’s plenty of this: “I hope you don’t write for the Guardian for much longer.” Several indignant readers are pleased by their belief that Ms Murray’s confession of deviance will cost her her job, thus making her child’s tuition unaffordable.

It’s socialist altruism, see?

Mr Potarto

When I read through the comments I saw several that attacked her for paying to give her child an immoral advantage over their own children.

Whenever I read about the immoral advantage of public versus state school, my mind goes to the children in China who live on rubbish dumps and in Central America, working as prostitutes. If we accept that advantages not available to all are immoral, what is the moral solution to being born in a rich, relatively safe country? The only solution I can see is to reject the premise and accept that life isn't fair and make the best of what you have.

Either that or ship your children to Guatemala.

sackcloth and ashes

During the early 1980s, my mother taught at an inner city comprehensive which was going downhill fast, largely due to the efforts of the Inner London Educational Authority and the trots in the NUT.

Staff room discussions were usually dominated by the iniquities of private education, and how socially divisive it was, up to the point she let slip that she sent both her boys (self included) to a fee-paying school.

As a consequence, she often found herself being button-holed in the corridors by the most hard-left revolutionaries amongst her colleagues, all of whom wanted her advice on how to get ones kids into an independent school, rather than a failing comp like the one they were working in.

Janet Murray comes in the same category as my mother's colleagues - and I would expect a large portion of Guardianistas. It's just that she's honest enough to admit how hypocritical she is.

Starfox

You never know. Maybe the sheer ugliness of the vitriol from her readers will help Janet Murray to an epiphany: maybe she will wake in the night and realise that she's wasting her time beating herself up over doing her best for her daughter; maybe she will realise that Guardian readers are actually spiteful, bigoted scumbags who can never and will never be happy.

Go on, Janet. Tell the haters to go fuck themselves.

David Gillies

"In my experience, the unsaid agenda behind many parents “wrestling” with the idea of sending their kids to private school is that they don’t want their kids to go to a school with ethnic minorities."

What a prat. Ethnicity was absolutely no bar to attendance at my public school. Failure to a) win a scholarship or b) fork over the 25,000 quid annual fees, on the other hand, were. I mixed with any number of Hong Kong Chinese, Zambians, Latin Americans, Arabs. It was really very egalitarian. You had to pass the entrance exam. Didn't matter how rich you were. There was a wide range of academic ability although, curiously, even those of a less scholarly bent seemed to get a good clutch of O- and A-levels and find their way to university if they chose. I mingled with sons of African potentates, daughters of Lloyd's underwriters, boys whose fathers left school at 16 and became self-made millionaires. Obviously those who were both thick and poor were pretty scarce, but they're largely unreachable by modern pedagogy anyway.

Luckily the vile crab-bucket world of Lefty Guardianistas is fairly hermetic. It's instructive, if slightly nauseating, to lift the lid off the bucket occasionally and watch the crustaceans inside claw at any of their number who makes a bit for freedom, but thankfully their repulsive attitudes hold little sway in the wider world (despite their ubiquity in the 'media' and arts.)

sackcloth and ashes

Just for the benefit of the Guardian's readers, here's a list of all the class traitors who went to fee-paying schools.

http://ianbone.wordpress.com/2008/05/23/guardian-journalists-who-went-to-private-schools/

I think it's fair to ask where their children went. Particularly Isabella Mackie, who by happy coincidence happens to be the editor's daughter.

David

David Gillies,

“…the vile crab-bucket world of Lefty Guardianistas…”

I may have to borrow that one.


Lee,

Just about to head out for an hour or so. Could you be more specific?

Franklin

Unfamiliar with the acronym, I thought BUPA was a hate group or something. Then I looked it up. Health insurance is the next tier of moral turpitude to which one descends after private school? We've officially gone from political sentiments I don't agree with to political sentiments I don't comprehend.

David

Franklin,

“Unfamiliar with the acronym, I thought BUPA was a hate group or something. Then I looked it up.”

Heh.

Alcuin

Kurt Vonnegut may have become a daft Leftist fart in his old age, but in Harrison Bergeron, he depicts a future in which the dreams of these ghastly Guardianistas actually comes to pass. There is a short film of it here - watch and weep.

I wonder if Ms Murray will continue to extol the virtues of the education system that Crosland and Williams foisted on us in the 1960s? If there is anything worse than her personal hypocrisy it is arguing for the denial of the choice that her own wealth gave her to those with less of it, and saying they should be grateful for the crumbs from the table of their socialist betters.

I expect Crosland and Williams wish they had taken out the Public Schools that kept their aethos and whose continued excellence throws the dreary failure that the state sector has become into such sharp relief. Now even the socialists find it impossible to join our current miserable self satisfied elite without a private education. How many of the Guardian's finest went to a comprehensive school and do you need two hands to count them?

If Gove really wanted to make a difference he would introduce a voucher system (like Chile) and abolish all state education structures - the Ministry should function only as a regulator and provider of vouchers.

AC1

Harrison Bergeron is readable here.
http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html

Furor Teutonicus

XX I plan to send Katy to a state secondary if I can,

Whew. Her soul may yet be saved.

but if I find myself dissatisfied with what is on offer, I will go private again. XX

Bugger it if it is "good for Katy" or not? This cow appears to be willing to do/say/write anything that gets her a shag from the Papers owners.

Darleen

Oh my ... I wonder what the reaction would have been had this poor woman had written she had decided to home-school her daughter.

I mean any reactions after all the exploding heads.

David

Also, this caught my eye, by Guardian reader “smallactsofdefiance”:

Just admit the truth: you rather like the fact that your money can buy your child an advantage denied to others.

It’s interesting that the presumed motive is – must be - status and one-upmanship (and therefore illegitimate). As if the desire to give one’s child a more effective education must be driven by gloating. This assumption is repeated with remarkable confidence by other commenters.

But if I were a parent, I’d want to help my child avoid the kind of state education I experienced, which was pretty dismal, by no means uncommon, and occasionally hazardous. One of the school’s dozen or so major predators amused himself by whipping a bootlace across the faces of anyone looking overly studious. Disorder and thuggery aside, the egalitarian ethos of state schooling is generally hostile to both ability and basic proficiency. My long-suffering German teacher couldn’t believe that his ‘A’ stream students had no idea what a subordinate clause or nominative case was, because structural knowledge of the national language had been deemed superfluous by his egalitarian predecessors. The disregard for grammar is still propagated by, among others, the communist, poet and BBC regular Michael Rosen, who tells fellow Guardian readers that “there’s no such thing as correct grammar.” For Rosen, the learning of grammar is inegalitarian and should therefore be frowned upon.

And the situation hasn’t improved in recent years. A 2011 survey – conducted by the Guardian Teacher Network – found that 40% of those surveyed had been bullied by pupils. Student aggression and misbehaviour were among the most frequently stated reasons for teachers leaving the profession. In one school year, 44 teachers had been hospitalised with severe injuries inflicted by pupils. A survey conducted the previous year by the National Union of Teachers found 79% of respondents saying indiscipline and aggression had made effective teaching all but impossible.

However, Kevin McKenna claims that it’s “an insidious lie” that comprehensives are frequently substandard and often stifle children with ability. Naturally, he wants to ban escape routes from the state’s comprehensive system, which, he’d have us believe, is fragrant and glorious. By McKenna’s moral reckoning, parents who view the state system as inadequate – perhaps because of their own first-hand experiences – are by implication wicked. And so they should be stopped. Similar noises are made by dozens of other pious Guardianistas, all of whom claim to care so very, very much.

Henry

"In my experience, the unsaid agenda behind many parents “wrestling” with the idea of sending their kids to private school is that they don’t want their kids to go to a school with ethnic minorities"

Yeah, actually "in my experience" many parents who suddenly come face to face with the reality of getting the best for their kids, start to see the world with a little more clarity. They are not racists at all, they just get a very vivid realisation of the difference between a good education and a bad one. And where you're likely to get the former.

This reminds me of Laurie Penny* pontificating about child-smacking on Channel 4 once, oblivious to the suggestion that maybe a little actual experience of being a parent might help to inform her.

* yes her again. See here for a dominatrix/slave-like, and utterly vacuous convo between her and a male feminist busily agreeing with her - that the Indy saw fit to publish on Monday. Highlights include Penny graciously conceding that "female feminists are going to have to be a bit more forgiving and generous in our corrections from time to time"

Stuck-Record

You can always spot totalitarians. They're the ones who build walls to stop people leaving 'paradise'.

AC1

>If Gove really wanted to make a difference he would introduce a voucher system (like Chile) and abolish all state education structures - the Ministry should function only as a regulator and provider of vouchers.

I would go further, and say that vouchers still have the problem that.
a) they externalise the cost of children to society, and subsidies lower quality.
b) Parents are (directly) paying nothing, so their expectations are similarly low.

So to remedy this I would make the state Loan parents the cost of their child's education if needed, and they merely pay the interest on the loan*.

The state is then right-sized to it's ability to force parents to ensure their child is being educated (as the state is good at force only).

*I'm a Georgist/Capitalist so Every adult would be getting a regular Citizens dividend (People could defer their C.D. and that could be used to fund Loans).

David

Henry,

When smug met obsequious. I think this rather captures the tone.

Chris Thompson

Private school alumni dominate in Oxbridge, the arts, the media (especially the BBC), the City and are even making inroads in popular music (all those kids with mockney accents). This can't be healthy for the country, and the depressing results are there for all to see. Rich or relatively well-off parents buy their kids a private education so their offspring won't have to suffer the results of educational and social mis-management by a series of governments of all stripes, many of whom sent their own kids to a private school or - because they had the money to buy into a select catchment area - a highly prestigious comp. And, of course, going to a private school means meeting the kind of people who will be useful in later life. Meritocracy benefits everyone, but we seem to be farther away from it now than we've ever been, especially since the Grammar schools were closed.
Don't spout self-serving guff about private education being a choice. It's out of reach for the majority, that's the whole point of it in this country...and it's partly responsible for the UK's slow, grinding descent into mediocracy.

Chris Thompson

Should have bee "mediocrity", of course...although rule by the mediocre does also apply.

AC1

Chris Thompson

Read Harrison Bergeron. I think we can safely say that holding people back for "the greater good"* will never work.

*The sating of envy.

rxc

It seems that the Guardian readers are really most upset that one of theirs has become a heretic. And this supports an idea that has been building for a while - "progressivism" is really a religion. It is supposed to be rational and scientific, but when you get down to how it is actually practiced, it is a religion. It is filled with core beliefs that cannot be questioned. Evidence to the contrary is suppressed or ignored. There are evils and evil people who need to be gotten rid of, and there is also heresy and apostasy (e.g., Ms Murray).

It applies to the progressive fields of politics, redistribution of wealth, the environment, education, technology, etc. They use the same techniques everywhere - guilt, sin, beautiful words that have no real meaning, promises of redemption, the fall of mankind from an earlier state of perfection and expulsion from paradise.

Interesting. Maybe they are the modern replacement for the Catholic Church.

sackcloth and ashes

@ Chris Thompson

Private education pre-exists state school education. If you want to attribute any factor to the two-tier system of education for British children (fee-paying schools, the surviving grammars and quality comps for some; sink estate failing comps for the other), you might want to blame the following:

(1) A more or less constant drift from the 1980s onwards which has diluted the quality of qualifications, making it it far easier to achieve high grades at GCSE. This is the government's responsibility, and has been an attribute of both Conservative and Labour Education Secretaries.

(2) An ideological drive characterised by the NUT and certain educational authorities (e.g. ILEA) from the 1980s onwards, which treats any form of positive achievement in and out of the classroom as 'elitist', and which rather than raising standards in classrooms has focussed on the lowest common denominator.

(3) A teaching ethos (encouraged also by HMG) which sees a declining focus on such core skills as basic arithmetic (times tables, mental arithmetic, working without a calculator) and key language skills in English and foreign languages (grammar, vocabulary, spelling etc).

(4) A system of classroom discipline which has essentially collapsed in many schools, which means that violent and disruptive pupils that break up classes and attack fellow students and teachers are difficult to punish. The knock-on effect of overall education has been catastrophic.

(5) A process of union politics (practiced in particular by the NUT) which makes it exceedingly difficult to sack incompetent and lazy teachers, and which institutionalises mediocrity. It seems now that the only sackable offense out there is to address the Conservative Party conference.

(6) Over the past thirty years, we also have the emergence of a pernicious culture amongst pupils (notably in inner-city comps, and notably amongst black and white working class boys) which regards learning and hard work not as a means of betterment and progress, but as something which cissies and battyboys do. This is the kind of mentality which fuels gang culture, and which also exploded on the streets of London and other English cities last year.

Blame any - or all - of the above for the failure of education in this country, and the fact that thousands of kids are left on the scrapheap. And ask yourself how all these developments could be countered and reversed.

clazy8

Lefties tend toward moral relativism except when they have strong opinions, in which case they are simply right. But SanityRestored is having trouble ignoring the contradiction, so he attempts to resolve it by creating, ad hoc, a rule that allows him to "judge" if the object of his disapproval "damages" society (in his estimation, of course). "I'm prepared to judge you." Ooooooh, he's going to cast a potent spell! But the poor guy has to reassure himself that his judgment has any power at all: "Sorry if you don't like it." Sounds like something I might have heard in secondary school.

David

Stuck-Record,

“You can always spot totalitarians. They’re the ones who build walls to stop people leaving ‘paradise’...”

The default malice of socialism is rarely more apparent than when discussing education. Earlier this year, while professing his own “belief in social justice,” the Guardian’s George Monbiot also took delight in the idea of “shutting down private schools.” As is the case with almost every other Monbiot article, the eagerness to frustrate, diminish and coerce wasn’t hard to find. In this case, the targets were people Mr Monbiot regards as having “undeserved advantages,” by which he means their earnings. “Rather than opting out of the state education system,” he wrote, “they would be obliged to fight for its improvement and better funding.” Clearly, parents must not be permitted to educate their own children as they see fit using their own money in a voluntary transaction. Again, that would be wickedness. Instead, they must submit to Monbiot’s grotesque formulation of “social justice.” A formulation that entails the abolition of parental autonomy and a basic liberty.

I have little doubt that Monbiot, like McKenna and the rest, imagines himself to be a good and caring person, a compassionate warrior for “social justice.” At least he tells us so often enough. But shutting down escape routes, locking people in and robbing them of freedom, which is what he and his peers advocate, doesn’t suggest altruism or compassion. It suggests sadism.

tolkein

Every comment to the effect that parents should not be allowed to opt out but instead fight inside the state system is a confession that the state system needs fighting.

So why not try to fix the state system, if it's so broke? And if it's actually not so broke, why the problem with people sending their children to private schools?

Confession. Both daughters went to our (excellent) state primary, whence they went to a State grammar and State University (Cambridge). I don't think the State system is that bad in lots of areas of the country. London, where a lot of the media commentariat lives is, I understand, very different. That's the reason for the angst. In the end, children triumph over ideology, but the angst is real.

Rob

“The Guardian comments thread is demented.”

Two unnecessary words there.

Starfox

All the righteousness and wringing would be a lot easier to take were it actually from the common Joes the Guardianistas claim to care about, rather than from pampered, wealthy know-nothings like Monbiot. I guess it's just a guilt thing. The pseudo-intellectual contortions these guilt-ridden posh twats deploy to disguise that simple fact are presumably a salve to their egos.

Chris Thompson

AC1

Exactly. The private education system in this country holds back thousands of state-educated kids by turning many sectors into restricted preserves, and the results are clear to see in our god-awful political class, clueless bankers and crass, vapid media.
The state system is nowhere near good enough, but for the most part the people who are in a position to do something about it are not affected by it. As I said, private schools don't always provide a better education, but they do open doors for the kids of well-off families. That's why people send their kids there - and holding talented kids back is a recipe for decline.

David

Chris,

I’m not convinced that the existence of private education “holds back” or has some scandalously damaging effect on people who don’t experience it. (If little Sarah or Sam wants to be an astronomer or author or electrical engineer, the existence of, say, Bales College or Wisbech Grammar doesn’t seem to pose a crushing obstacle to their ambitions.) But state education can, and often does, have a damaging effect on those who do experience it.

Lee

Would any of the free-market fulminators here like to defend or explain the charitable status of British private schools?

David

Lee,

I wouldn’t. But then I don’t know if I qualify as a “free-market fulminator.”

David Gillies

Lee, it's a stretch, but one effect is that it does bend the cost curve down. If charitable status were abolished then fees, which are already pretty eye-watering for the better schools, would become even more astronomical and make them even more socially exclusive. There's also a tail inhabited by the lower-ranking schools, many of which would be tipped into non-viability by even a modest increase in costs.

I think this could be remedied by allowing the cost of school fees to be tax-deductible (after all, parents of children in fee-paying schools are still paying for State education of which they and their children are not the loosely-termed 'beneficiary'). Alternatively, in a voucher-based system, there should be no bar on what kind of school could accept them. Neither of these is politically possible.

sackcloth and ashes

'Earlier this year, while professing his own “belief in social justice,” the Guardian’s George Monbiot also took delight in the idea of “shutting down private schools".'

Would that include Stowe, his alma mater?

Hypocrisy, thy name is Monbiot.

@ Chris Thompson

I have outlined my reasons why - from my own observations - the state sector is in trouble. These have got nothing to do with private education whatsoever. Would you be prepared to comment more on the six factors I've outlined?

As 'tolkein' puts it, the state sector needs fixing; largely due to the ideological preconceptions of politicians and teachers who have shared the Guardian's mindset.

Sam Duncan

“In my experience, the unsaid agenda behind many parents “wrestling” with the idea of sending their kids to private school is that they don’t want their kids to go to a school with ethnic minorities.”

No prejudice like Lefty prejudice, eh? Oppressed brown people are too poor for independent education, I suppose.

I'd like to know what that “experience” is. I spent my entire schooling in the independent sector, and had plenty of Pakistani, Inidian, Chinese and Afro-Carribean classmates. Not to mention French, Italian and American. Indeed, I have no doubt that the ethnic mix was more diverse than at the local comprehensive, which was pretty much exclusively white and Pakistani, the other groups being relatively small here in Glasgow, and concentrated in certain districts. (It also goes without saying that there were Roman Catholics in the same classes as Protestants, which you don't get in the Scottish state sector.)

In fact, Muslims in particular like independent schools, because it's hard to get single-sex education in the state system. (Although, to be fair, the only girls' school left in the north of Glasgow is a state Roman Catholic secondary. And, sure enough, it's packed full of Muslim girls, despite the nuns.)

As to charitable status, most independent schools are run by charitable trusts on a non-profit basis: there are no education barons chomping on fat cigars, laughing all the way to the bank at their clever tax dodge. You might think the fees are steep, but they still don't pay. Removing tax-exempt status would only serve to make them even more exclusive. Which is presumably, as with the abolition of the Assisted Places Scheme, the whole idea: you can't make the “schools for toffs” argument if they demonstrably aren't.

David

Sackcloth,

“As ‘tolkein’ puts it, the state sector needs fixing; largely due to the ideological preconceptions of politicians and teachers who have shared the Guardian’s mindset.”

As noted in a previous thread, the odds of state education ever being uniformly satisfactory, or even mostly satisfactory, seem somewhat remote. And yes, the shortcomings of comprehensive education aren’t just, or even chiefly, a matter of funding; it’s also an issue of intake and ethos. Money won’t change the bell curves of ability and aptitude and it won’t shift egalitarian ideology, which, in my experience, was one of the major problems. If, for instance, the prevailing thinking in a school is a bit like this, in which children are basically vehicles for propagating an egalitarian worldview, then the biggest problem facing those kids, especially bright kids, is the thinking itself. And if pupils aren’t being taught English grammar or even spelling on ideological grounds, then not teaching grammar and spelling in a slightly nicer classroom won’t make much of a difference.


[ Added: ]

There’s a grim irony here. Our pious Guardianistas pretend to be the saviours of education, and of clever kids from modest backgrounds. But the more closely state education matches the typical Guardianista worldview, as aired by Monbiot, McKenna, Toynbee, Weir, Williams, et al, the more likely it is to fail clever children and indeed be hostile to them.

AC1

The state education system is broke, because it's a state education system. The way to "fix" it is to get rid of the state provision bit.

Squires

"The private education system in this country holds back thousands of state-educated kids by turning many sectors into restricted preserves..."

This is like arguing that privately owned automobiles hold back the development of public transportation. Like private automobiles, private education (even, gasp, home-schooling) allows one to go places the state doesn't care to take you - or that statists don't want you to go to at all.

Remember the next time you find yourself on public transportation, trapped next to some drooling weirdo, cretin, or crusty addict - they were a kid, once, and other kids spent years trapped next to them, in a system also designed down to their level.

AC1

Squires

It's pure projection. They want to hold back Kids getting a quality education, so they write that the non-extortion funded schools are somehow holding kids back via magic or some other intangible force, when it's the the other way around, State failure and it's ideological supports that are failing children and thus holding them back.

Dr Cromarty

Presumably by the Guardianistas' logic feeding your children well and teaching them to read, swim or ride a bike gives them an unjust advantage in life that you've bought which is therefore immoral.

Gordon Walker

At least the Guardian subscrition list may, come "le grand soir", give us the names of some of the people to be parachuted into North Korea, there to enjoy a few nights free of planet destroying electic light, then eat grass, curse Gaia and die.

Squires

"...there to enjoy a few nights free of planet destroying electic light, then eat grass, curse Gaia and die."

The amount of grass that grows in any given year is a finite resource. Any paramarxists who partake of eating something so indulgently green and leafy will be guilty of holding back those North Koreans who are forced to make do with consuming boiled tree bark.

David

I think Brian Micklethwait captures the guts of it:

In my opinion, a pro-state-education lefty who sends his/her kid to a private school, because that’s the best school they can contrive, is doing the right thing. I disagree with them about the goodness of state education, not with them doing the best for their kid. What is really creepy is if you send your kid to a terrible school, which you know is terrible, purely in order to be ideologically consistent. Sending your kid to a good school, even though you officially don’t approve of such behaviour, is a tad hypocritical. Deliberately sending your kid to a terrible school, when you had the choice not to, is downright evil.

For some reason, the name Arabella Weir springs to mind.

Readers may also remember the Guardian’s ostentatiously class-conscious Zoe Williams, who doesn’t approve of private education and wants to humiliate parents who can no longer quite afford it, and who does all this while omitting any mention of her own, rather deluxe, education. As I said in reply:

Some may be wondering whether Ms Williams will send her own children, Thurston and Harper, to the nearest comprehensive, where teachers are virtuous, noble and “believe in parity.” Or maybe she’ll choose somewhere more salubrious, like the school she attended with its grade II listed buildings, nine science labs and educational trips to remote parts of the world. If it’s the first option on principal, that seems negligent, even cruel. The second option, however, is merely hypocritical. And if she won’t settle for a school similar to the one I attended and instead searches out a state school that’s a little less rough and ready, where children named Thurston and Harper won’t risk being whipped across the face, then that doesn’t exactly support her argument either.

Hairy Harry

"So I wonder what you thought of Dorian Lynskey's piece on the article?"

Dorian Lynskey is basically a bald chimp with a word processor (like most Guardian writers, hah). I don't take much of what that music critic says seriously.

ErisGuy

"Deliberately sending your kid to a terrible school, when you had the choice not to, is downright evil."

Maybe. But the quoted paragraph omits half the equation. The pro-state education lefty deliberately creates terrible schools for other people's children. As moral failings go, this is far worse than hypocrisy.

Creating the terrible schools is waging war on the helpless while preening about one's caring nature. Should the peasants storm the castle with their pitchforks (and they should), both the lefty and child are likely die for this bit of hypocrisy.

watcher

Lefties want YOU to send your child to a state run hell-hole, but the urge is less insistent for their own offspring. For example, see how many of the NuLab great and good avoid sending their precious brood to be beaten up or watch people spit at the local fight factory.

But then lefties are always quick to talk about things that others should do. The whole subject of private education gives them a reason to moan loudly, and in endlessly talking about what others should do they neatly dodge the issue of what they themselves do.

Railing at others cunningly masks their own uneven outlook and personal greed. So if you can help bail out the slop by sending your little ones to a comprehensive but not asking about theirs, they would be very grateful.

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