Monday, July 07, 2008

"We are not a country crying out to be run by old Etonians"

So sayeth the Hon Jaqueline Ashley, daughter of an MP and life peer (Rosebery Grammar, Epsom - state selective at the time - now admission via postode - not exactly ASBO Comprehensive), wife to Andrew Marr (Loretto, private).

Let's take a look at the Gordon Brown (Kirkcaldy High - state Scottish) cabinet. Gordo himself had a highly selective and academic state education and was at Uni when he was 16.

Alistair Darling (Loretto, private)

David Miliband (Haverstock comp - 3 B's and a D)

Jack Straw (Brentwood, private boarding)

Jacqui Smith (Dyson Perrins, comp)

Des Browne (St Michaels, Kilwinning, Catholic Scottish)

Alan Johnson (Sloane Grammar, Chelsea - state selective)

Hilary Benn (Holland Park comp)

Wee Dougie Alexander (Park Mains High, state Scottish and United World Colleges, private - scholarship)

John Hutton (Westcliff High, state selective)

Harriet Harman (St Pauls Hammersmith, private)

Peter Hain (Pretoria Boys High School, private)

James Purnell (Royal Grammar, Guildford - private)

Paul Murphy (West Monmouth school - state selective when he went there - it's actually a spin-off of the private Monmouth school)

Ruth Kelly (Millfield prep, Sutton Girls High and Westminster - all private)

Hazel Blears (Wardley Grammar School - state selective)

Geoff Hoon (Nottingham High School - private)

Ed Balls (Nottingham High School - private) Ed Miliband (Haverstock comp)

Andy Burnham (St Aelred's Roman Catholic High School - Catholic comp)

Shaun Woodward (Bristol Grammar School - private)

Cathy Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland (unknown - anyone know ?)

Yvette Cooper (Eggar's School, state comp)

So of the 21 our of 22 members of Gordo's cabinet we know about

9 went to public school

4 to selective grammar schools - the schools they don't want your kids to go to

2 to Scottish state-funded schools - which are generally much more internally competetive than English schools

6 went to comprehensives - and of these, two were the sons of an eminent professor (admittedly a Marxist), one the son of a Cabinet minister (admittedly a Marxist lunatic). Yvette Cooper is the daughter of the chairman of the British Nuclear Industry Forum and former general secretary of the Prospect trades union.

Only Andy Burnham and Jacqui Smith could be said to have risen from ordinary families to cabinet status via the comprehensive system.

Ain't the Labour classless society wonderful ?

(see also the educational backgrounds of Guardian journalists and 20th century Prime Ministers).


Battersea Boy said...

For the latter part of his secondary education, Peter Hain attended Emanuel School, Wandsworth, when his parent removed to this country. IMHO he was a right pain, stopping us from enjoying some of our favourite puddings with his energetic boycot of everything South African.

Although I, and a couple of friends, were fortunate enough to have obtained an LCC Scholarship to Emanuel, it is not clear whether Hain attended on a fee-paying basis or if his high-quality education was subsidised by the British taxpayer.

After a most regretable incident involving drawing pins being scattered on the hallowed turf at Twickenham shortly before an International Rugby Match, Hain went onto lead the Young Liberals. I am led to believe that a meeting with Jack Straw (possibly at LSE) convinced him of the impossibility of a meaningful political career with the "yellow peril" and led to him joining the Labour Party.

I have always been disappointed that Hain never seems to include Emanuel School in his published biography. It's almost as if his Welsh constituents would not have approved of him being educated there...

Laban said...

Emanuel School ? I have a feeling that's where Prof Laurie Taylor sent young Matthew, who went on to be Director of Communications and then of Policy for Nu Labour, and ended up running Blair's policy unit.

Anonymous said...

It's especially interesting to compare the backgrounds of the rising generation of pol's who are in their early 40's. That is from the period of time when the comprehensive revolution had truly taken hold. Well on the Tory side we can definitely see what happened: the toffs are back in. With Labour - Balls, Cooper etc private/selective schools predominate.

Milliband and Benn went to comprehensives, but as you noted, had the cultural capital to get on. Bright working class kids need to be extracted from their environment and then pushed - which grammars did.

Anonymous said...

Well done, Laban, you know how to look at backgrounds. Could you perhaps now investigate the ethno-religious backgrounds of Russian Communist and Western 60s radical leaders? And perhaps compare the frequency of a certain such background appearing amongst these groups with said background's commonality in the general population?

Laban said...

Can't you change the record, Alex ?

Unknown said...

Good to see that David did poorly? With all those advantages too.