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M'learned friend on social mobility

On the flight from Shanghai yesterday I almost cheered at the letters page of The Times, which was full of hostile responses to Milburn's odious report, as to which I blogged previously.  The best letter was from from a barrister of my own vintage, Nigel Tozzi QC. He wrote;

I was called to the Bar 29 years ago. My mother was a dinner lady; my father was a door to door collection agent for an insurance company. No one in my family had ever been to University.

I was given an opportunity to "realise aspirations", to quote Alan Milburn, as a result of receiving a grammar school education, a full local authority grant that enabled me to go to university and to study for the Bar, and scholarships from Gray's Inn that covered the cost of my training. Of these three facilitators, only the scholarships from Gray's Inn remain.

The professions cannot ensure greater social mobility on their own. We cannot re-educate those who have failed to receive a sufficiently challenging secondary education or who, in many cases, lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. We cannot fund every aspiring lawyer through university.

The root causes for the depressing statistics are government policy towards grammar schools and selective education, and the replacement of local authority grants with loans. It is unfortunate, but not altogether surprising, that a government committee chaired by Mr Milburn could not bring itself to be honest about this.

The vicious ideology of our Leftist establishment is denying opportunity to millions. Both my learned friend and I would be malcontents in unsatisfying jobs if the world had been ordered as it is now when we were young. Labour - and the Leftist establishment in education - are the greatest enemies of the educational aspirations of working people. Such people need a champion now and - if he is an Old Etonian and former member of the Bullingdon Club - so what? Step forward Mr Cameron. Give the lie to Milburn. Not for the sake of your fellow Etonians, but for all the hundreds of thousands of would-be Nigel Tozzi QCs and Tom Paines mired helplessly in the swamps of our education system.


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I really do think you and he are right. It looks to me like Labour actively try to interfere with and prevent any way but 'their' doctrine or way.

From their point of view I guess they prefer that no one gets an education rather than they get one by a non approved method. Then fix the exams so you can't tell how standards have slipped.

Rather than condemning Comprehensive schools on some 'class' basis maybe it would be better if they looked at why they do a better job of educating kids and apply it as widely as possible.

They showed the same attitude over the MMR scare.

The thing to do would have been to give the facts and humour any parents who were still concerned letting them have the jabs separately, that way the kids would have been immunised at least. Instead the forced worried parents to take "their way or the highway" not letting Drs do the single jabs and lots chose the "highway". So now there are lots of kids who had no immunisations.

They come over like they care more about getting their own way than the welfare of people.


Labour - and the Leftist establishment in education - are the greatest enemies of the educational aspirations of working people.

I'm the choir.

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