It’s Mean and Beastly and Not At All Funny
A Hint of Squid Breath

When Scolding is the Payoff for All That Piety and Angst

Guardian reader SanityRestored

I’m prepared to judge you. Sorry if you don’t like it. But for the damage you are inflicting firstly on your own kids, and secondly on society in general, don’t I have the right to judge you?

Guardian reader NorthernLass81:

A decision that cannot really be justified.

Guardian reader ivanpope:

Every single comment you make is a Tory comment… I’m not sure that you really fit in at the Guardian… 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). You are just following the norm, but I can still dislike you for that.

Guardian reader smallactsofdefiance:

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

Guardian reader sammace:  

An utterly immoral act.

Guardian reader Jonathan Staples:  

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

Heavens. And the Great Moral Horror that has these righteous souls so indignant and a-twitch? The Guardian’s education journalist Janet Murray has – oh my - sent her daughter to a fee-paying school:

I’ve been asked how I can reconcile writing about education for the Guardian with having a child at a private school… Deep down, I don’t think I ever really had a problem with private education. It just didn’t seem socially acceptable to say so. 

Of course the sound of a thousand hands being wrung and knuckles being cracked has had some effect: 

When I walk Katy to school in her straw boater and blazer, I sometimes sense people – particularly other parents – judging me.

And so, 

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. 

Unrepentant! Fetch the stones. 

Has Ms Murray not heard the sermon of Arabella Weir, whose definition of a “good, responsible citizen” still rings in our ears and swells our hearts? And who tells us that state schools are virtuous because they teach children “who to be wary of, who to avoid” and “how to keep their heads down,” (though how these things will be learned is oddly unexplored). And what of Kevin McKenna, a man no less pious, who tells us that parents who view the comprehensive system as inadequate – perhaps because of their own first-hand experiences – are by implication wicked and that such parental waywardness is intolerable and should be banned? Has Ms Murray not been told by those who know better that children aren’t special and should be sacrificed for society and the glories of socialism? Perhaps she’s been reading those surveys of state school teaching staff in which respondents report “a climate of violence,” “malicious disruption” and damage to personal property as “part of the routine working environment.”

Clearly, the sinner must be punished. For the greater good, obviously. 

And so Guardian reader AMS150 obligingly implies that Ms Murray, and anyone who makes similar choices for their children, doesn’t like brown people: 

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. 

See? It’s the paper of the nation’s most caring, enlightened and tolerant people. Which is why several readers take comfort, indeed pleasure, in the belief that Ms Murray may soon be fired for her heresy thus leaving her unable to afford her daughter’s tuition.