One quick question…

4 05 2008

The time of night and my general levels of fatigue will necessarily keep this post very brief and to the point. In fact, it isn’t as much a post as a simple question, especially to the Labourites I know who may read this blog.

Now I know that you are all very much anti-discrimination. In any form. We all know that you shouldn’t discriminate on the grounds of race, gender, age, sexuality etc. Right?

Should we therefore accept the tired old line that Dave Cameron and Boris Johnson are no good simply because, as former Etonians, they represent everything that is wrong with the education system? To me, that seems like discrimination based on the grounds of what school someone went to. This seems a touch hypocritical.

As someone privately educated for all my school life, I will make no apologies for the education I received. I also wish to make it clear I had little choice in the matter (the two schools I thought about at 11 were both private). So is the boring line that either of the two former Etonians simply a poor, irrelevant form of personal jibe which bears little relevance to the topic? I would suggest so…

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19 responses

7 05 2008
tommarley

Personally I don’t use that line of attack. When others do it’s used not because ‘Eton = bad’ but because Dave Cameron’s claims to have changed the Tory Party are rubbish and they are essentially the same people who have held behind the scenes roles’ in previous Tory govts.

I would be very interested to know if Cameron sends his kids to the local comp. But then again I suppose that’s his private life and we should respect that.

8 05 2008
brigidjones

They’re trying to make the point that he clearly does not come from an ordinary background, and did not receive an ordinary education- he comes from an exceptionally priveleged one, and Eton is rather more arcane in its practices than many other private schools. Also like Tom said, the Tories have been ruled by people with this background for forever, and the fact that his background is exactly the same as those who preceded him is ammunition for those who say the Tories haven’t changed.

You’re right, it’s not a kid’s fault what school they go to. Which is why I only resent the actions of parents who sent them there, and those kids who think that private schools they attended were socially fair. But that’s another debate for another time and one I don’t intend to get into here.

8 05 2008
The 3rd Student

Luke don’t think you understand the ‘old school network/boys club’ argument.

It’s based on the idea that the people in charge help one another so that they and there like stay in charge.

This is it not the meritocracy (if you don’t understand this word, feel free to look it up) that we should be living in, in an ideal democracy.

Well basically it’s a suitble way of keeping the status quo, even if you’re not best qualified for the job – you get it because of who you are, do you think this the correct way to run a country? (btw I’m not Labour so don’t trun that round me :P)

Now you may of heard cronyism, well its pretty similar

Hope you found this educational. Please email me if you have any problems, querries.

8 05 2008
Luke_D

I tend not to find anyone patronising educational, sorry. I do wonder why you chose to remain anonymous though when everyone knows who you are?

I’m sorry, but it shouldn’t be a problem what school they went to, regardless of whether every other tory party member in the past went to the same school. It bears little relevance to my mind. Consequently, I do actually understand the concepts you talk about “3rd student”. The trouble is, you are making the assumption based on their education that they are not the best people for the job, something I find to be a bit foolish in all honesty.

I actually think the idea of an old boys network is a rather antiquated notion that is not really relevant to todays society anyway. That is, unless you are interested in discussing stereotypes? I’m sure that a more careful analysis of the Tory party will show to you that they actually did not all go to Eton. Instead, it seems churning through easy to spin myths and hiding behind an arrogant facade will suffice.

8 05 2008
Luke_D

Oh, and I think you will find that this is probably more like a meritocracy than there has been previously in the course of history. You are right though, it is not ideal (it is debatable whether it ever will be), but it is better than it ever used to be.
I’m sure also, if we look at the labour party, we would find a similar case of the same figures rotating around. A quick glance at just the cabinet shows us that, of the 28 members listed on the official homepage, most have been floating around the top levels of government for some time.
Also, it is interesting to note that a fair few of them went to Oxford too (but then there isn’t the same social stigma attached to that now is there…)

9 05 2008
The 3rd Student

I thought you knew who i was anyway?

I’m not saying that there education makes them inadiquate, although being spoon fed is rearly a good thing… I’m just saying that knowing/ being drinking buddies with the boss isn’t a sign that they are perfect for the job…

(please feel free dissagree)

I think you’ll find that oxford is quite a big part of the Old Boys Network, many trories meet there 🙂

Oh and why stop trying to achieve something better?
What is the point on slaping each other on the back now?
‘woo we have a mild form of almost equality, yay our sociaty is almost adiquate woo’
– that’s just loser talk

9 05 2008
Luke_D

I do know who you are, as do most others, hence why I was wondering why you choose to stay loosely anonymous?
It’s funny to hear you talking about being spoonfed, with all your hours of lectures that you have in which the tutors effectively give you all the info you need.
You are also making the presumption that they all knew each other, and indeed are all friends, as I’m sure you are aware, the world is much more complicated than that. As I said previously, whilst it may have been the case that they were “drinking buddies” in the past, I’m not convinced it is anymore.
I’m not quite sure what your point about Oxford is though, my point was that I feel Oxford does indeed hold the same social stigma as Eton, but whilst Labourites are keen to play the Eton card, they are less willing to admit that most of their cabinet is made up of Oxford alumni. To me, it smacks a bit of hypocrisy.
Of course we shouldn’t stop trying to achieve something better. What I said was that what we have now is much better than what we had in the past. What I am fed up with is the notion that whatever this better thing is that we are striving for must be achieved under Labourite principles, as I simply do not buy it.

9 05 2008
The 3rd Student

I use this profile because I can’t assed to set up another one. You know it’s me… where’s the problem?

You keep sugesting I’m a laberite?

A few facts:

7.3% of the population is Privatly educated
59% of Conservative MPs are Privatly educated

17 of the 27 Mps in the shadow cabinate are privatly educated

even Gorge Osbon joined Camaron and Johnson in the Bullington Club.

Strange that it is from such a small interbreding stock that all our werthy leaders should come.

9 05 2008
The 3rd Student

And yes I know theres a spelling mistake…

Oh why Physics students have lots of leatures, because there subject is more valuble to the goverment, so they pay a lot more money to the universityies for each student than history, also physics departments make a nice profit for the university though reaserch, this is then used fund other subjects.

As well as this, the concepts are that are learnt can not be passed on though reading only, they are fare to complex/abstract for such a one dimensional medium.

Also tools are being taught, rather then information, these tools are then used to attack data and create information, unlike history where you just need to read a book that will tell you how and what to think to pass your exams – which in an amazing feat of lazyness are sometimes even ‘take home exams’ to do while watching Neighbours.

9 05 2008
Luke_D

I don’t think I’ve called you a Labourite at any point have I? I would check that again if I were you.
My initial point was that it shouldn’t be a problem where they have been educated, regardless of where they have been educated. I stand by that. I don’t think I have the right to feel better than you because I was privately educated, and I’m pretty sure that applies to the tory party as well.
You’ve not really dealt with my point about Oxford yet have you? I see this as meaning one of two things. Either you think that it doesn’t matter, in which case for you to be consistant, private education shouldn’t matter either. Or you accept that Labour are perhaps not as ‘of the people’ as they would like to pretend, in which case banging on about Eton is terribly hypocritical. Either way, to me, there’s something amiss.
And physics may be more valuable, but that’s because nobody wants to do it. To convince people to do it, the response is just to throw money at the problem. It really does seem like a long term solution. Science is so valuable to the government that they choose to ignore it and make stuff up anyway.
And if you think that’s all there is to history, I really do feel sorry for you sat wallowing as you must be in your own ignorant stupor.

9 05 2008
brigidjones

Why do you choose to remain anonymous yourself, “Luke_D”? Get a good honest blogging name like mine!

9 05 2008
The 3rd Student

I don’t think you got the jist of my original comment luke underscore d, (interesting pseudonym), I was saying that infact it doesn’t matter which school you where educated as long as you are right for the job, the old boy network undermines this. You do not beleive it exsits in the face of blinding evidence, see previous comment.

Physics is vauluble because it produced the chair you are sitting on, the computer you are looking at, the glasses you are looking though, the communication network you are using.

The goverment and companies through money at it so that physics can produce the products that will drive the economie and profits, making the contry richer then diminutive size should allow.

‘problem’ ?

People don’t want to do it because it’s hard, both to get on and to do… it is not a subject you can crusie through. The people who do it (undergrad-students) do not get the money directly… it gets spent on getting in people (lectures) to teach it… and of course, off setting other things.

Oh and I think there are too many oxford people in the labour party, but it is not as bad as the tories. You seemed to be in your comments addressing my comments using the problems labour has as an excuse for the tories having the same problems, that have similar problems is no excuse for either to have such problems.

I think theres alot to history, but as it keeps repeating I’ll just watch the reruns.

9 05 2008
Luke_D

I’m sorry what? Pseudonym? Seriously? I would like to see the straws you are clutching at…
I also didn’t deny it exists, I think all I did was question the idea that dismisses out of hand the candidates based on their educational background. My initial question, which was actually answered a long time ago, has been lost amongst the insistance upon a debate over the merits, or otherwise, of private education and indeed the qualities of one subject over another.
Also, I’m not saying it is justified, or that because one does, it is ok for the other to. I’m just pointing out that to those who use the educational background as a negative thing, the tories aren’t the only ones with such problems. It’s easy for one side, in this case the Labour party, to pretend to be so much better, or as in this case, not so based upon any old boys network, but let’s not pretend that it is just one side with the problem.
Whilst it may be more endemic in the tory party (can you provide the similar figures for the Labour party?), I also still maintain that the notion which you won’t drop of “it happened in the past so it must still be happening now” is ultimately a flawed one, and whilst there may still be a higher percentage of privately educated members at the top of the tory party, perhaps, and here’s the radical idea, perhaps that is because they are genuinely the best people for the roles?

I’m glad you’re content to watch the reruns. Some of us wish to avoid the reruns because we know what happened the first time…

9 05 2008
The 3rd Student

interesting…

So your saying that the small percentage of privatly people are better then the rest of sociaty?

I thought you where anti disrimination?

34% of the labour cabinite where private school educated, the shadow cabinate is twice as much, non of the labour cabinate went to eton compared to 8% of the shadow cabinate.

Also looking it up, it turns out that the labour mps’ have been instructed to avoided the subject anyway, so if their not metioning it, I’m just woundering whats got you in such a pickel over it?

9 05 2008
Luke_D

Of course I’m not saying that, it seems that was a deliberte misrepresentation of my words. What I am saying is that I cannot see why it should be a problem, or indeed why it matters.
I picked up on the matter a week or so ago after Boris had won. At the time the ridiculous amount of left wing press we had scattered through our house used the argument that appeared to run along the lines of “Boris went to Eton. Eton’s for wealthy people. Eton is therefore bad. Boris is therefore bad.”
What I’m saying is that is flawed logic, and I consequently cannot understand why people who went to private schools should be made to feel bad about it. Apparently my radical suggestion was too radical.

9 05 2008
brigidjones

It’s not my fault no one keeps to the cleaning rota…

9 05 2008
Claire

Having seen one of the articles Luke mentioned, it was a piece in G2 last Friday arguing why Boris should not win, I’ve got to say that I remember thinking at the time that it was a very poor piece of reporting and wasn’t in keeping with what I’ve usually come to expect from the Guardian after having 2 years of free subscription (many thanks, Brij) the byline/ subheading was something like we can’t let this “blah blah dithering bufoon etonian win” it struck me as a bit risque and unecessary dragging the whole public school issue into the debate when they had already, legitimately some would say, described him as “dithering bufoon”.

It seemed a cheap shot mentioning his education in this way, the last desperate attempt of a paper to influence Londoners when they could see their man of choice, Ken was falling behind in the polls.

16 05 2008
tomguise

I’ve never argued that people shouldn’t vote for Cameron or Boris because they’re from Eton. It is however ammunition in a much stronger and sophisticated attack on the Tories being out of touch.

I went to private school until I was 16 and I asked to be taken out of it. I’m ashamed my parents put me through such a horrid system, although I’m grateful because it opened my eyes to inequality and led to my joining the Labour Party. Why on earth should I, you Luke, Boris, or Cameron deserve a better education? There is quite simply, no justification, for our shared privilege.

29 05 2008
absorbing

absorbing says : I absolutely agree with this !

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