Thursday, 13 May 2010

Our elitist Parliament.

I have long held the view that one of the reasons that Britain is in such a state is because our politicians are so utterly out of touch. Not just because they surround themselves with yes men, or have largely abandoned any ideological vision for the Britain they want to govern instead wanting power for powers sake, but because they come largely from such privileged backgrounds.

38% of Tory MPS went to Oxbridge. The figures are 28% for the Lib Dems and 20% for Labour.35% of MPs went to private schools.

Of course those from well-off backgrounds should of course play a part in politics, but such statistics are incredibly alarming. Having given a talk to Westminster School where Nick Clegg attended as a boy, I just cannot believe the difference in education I received. He ate pheasant for lunch, I watched boys be violent and smash stuff up. I find it hard to believe that he would ever understand what life in the country's worst comprehensives is really like. Making class sizes smaller is simply not the answer, but it is his main proposed solution. Cameron sickeningly wants to bribe good schools to take on poor kids via a "pupil premium".

While UKIP's leader Lord Pearson may have attended Eton College himself, he is living in the real world and doesn't pretend that we live in a fair and equal society, turning a blind eye to social injustice as it is. He champions a cause which will bring tremendous opportunities to poor young people by abolishing tuition fees and restoring grammar schools. while Clegg, Cameron and the Labour Party itself do not.

We are in the 21st century and such elitism should be a thing of the past. Instead, thanks largely to the destruction of selective education, social mobility in this country remains dire. How will working class boys and girls ever see politics as something relevant to them if they cannot identity with any of the individuals they see on TV talking about "understanding the change we need". I know how much I struggled.


Nick said...

I think the real problem is not simply the proportion of private/state educated people in government - we do of course want the most intelligent people to run our country - it is that most politicians nowadays are career politicians who have had no real experience in the real world.

Anonymous said...

Mmm. Peter Oborne's The Triumph of the Political Class gives a fairly comprehensive account of what has happened to British politics.
More working-class people need to enter British politics but, unless you went to the right school, high political office in this country is now a 'closed shop'.
I'm with you Michael. Grammar schools are the way forward. The best single policy a government could adopt to increase social mobility. A way out of poverty for bright-minded, intelligent kids from poor backgrounds. I'm working class and I went to a comprehensive school in Liverpool in the 1970s and 1980s and I fully support a return to grammar schools for the academic children combined with technical colleges for the more vocational children.