The Curmudgeon


Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Agree With Michael

Wee Nicky, you may remember, once described child imprisonment at places like Yarl's Wood as "morally indefensible", and it is possible that some Pavlovian drooling reflex has been stirred by Michael Gove's recent use of the same words with regard to child imprisonment at places like Eton. Suddenly noticing that the coalition is full of privileged, privately-educated bullies, Wee Nicky has decided that he agrees with Michael Gove and that the private education industry's grip on Britain's elite should be broken. To that end, Wee Nicky is launching a two-week drive on social mobility, which will be just the thing to counter a few centuries of entrenched privilege. He did publish an "initial social mobility strategy" a year ago, which nobody noticed; but Wee Nicky now wishes to underline it as the central theme of his ministerial career, possibly in order to counter any impression that he might once have had some interest in electoral reform, abolishing tuition fees, defending the National Health Service, pioneering a new politics, and so forth.

Wee Nicky's plan is this: at the moment, schools are compensated to the tune of £488 for every infantine resource to which they must dole out free meals. The money is not ringfenced, so the schools can spend it on worthier causes if they wish. Wee Nicky is perfectly happy with this arrangement and has no intention of changing it, but he does intend to make a speech. In order to inject energy into the process, Wee Nicky will be joining forces with Alan Milburn. Education in Britain may, just possibly, be quite the same again.


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