Thursday, January 27, 2011

Layer 430 . . . Posh and Posher, Public Schools, Grammar Schools, Government, People Power and Spy Power


Working class men and women used to be in Parliament, but not any more. These days you need to be something like the son or daughter of a church minister, preferably with a first class degree in politics, philosophy and economics, or law; preferably from Oxbridge.

So said Oxzen in Layer 428.

Andrew Neil presented an interesting and serious programme on politics this week -

Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Run Britain

David Cameron and Nick Clegg seem made for each other: Eton and Oxford meets Westminster School and Cambridge. But does the return of public school boys to the top of our politics say something worrying about the decline of social mobility in Britain?

Andrew Neil goes on a journey from the Scottish council house he grew up in to the corridors of power to ask if we will ever again see a prime minister emerge from an ordinary background like his.

In this provocative film Andrew seeks to find out why politicians from all parties appear to be drawn from an ever smaller social pool - and why it matters to us all.

Dear Andrew! What a wanker.

Just like the public schoolboys he interviewed for the programme he thinks life is all about "competition", and getting to "the top". Therefore his answer to increasing 'social mobility' is to create more and more highly selective grammar schools.

You can't fault his logic, really. Bring back selection, hot-house more of the working classes and middle classes, get more of them into Oxbridge, get more of them studying PPE, and get more of them into Parliament. Brilliant. What's more, (ex-working class) wanker Tony Parsons agrees with him. Such a pity their logic is based on false premises.

Their thesis seems to be that you can't change the system - and what's more all the main parties will continue to want MPs who have been to Oxbridge, studied PPE or law, moved on to being "special advisors" for MPs, and put themselves up for selection for safe seats. Therefore we need to create more confident, more academically successful young people from 'ordinary' backgrounds (ie non-public school) who can 'compete' for the right to go down that route.

These dopey fuckers don't even realise the many contradictions in what they're proposing. They don't approve of Parliament being full of elite toffs who know nothing about real people - therefore they say we should use selection at the age of 11 to create a non fee paying elite of 'ordinary' people who will go to Oxbridge and go forward to become our political elite - who then may or may not identify with the communities they came from, and may or may not represent their interests adequately.

These guys can't even conceive of a Labour party (let alone a Tory party) that chooses people for safe seats on the basis of being rounded, experienced, enlightened human beings who are in touch with the real world, and have a decent value system, rather than arrogant Oxbridge graduates with PPE degrees.

All credit to Neil for questioning the existence of a Parliament full of toffs, millionaires, ex-public schoolkids  and Oxbridgeites - but null points for wanting a Parliament full of grammar school educated Oxbridgeites.

Next thing you know these people will be recommending selective breeding as well. Fucking working class Tories.

Interesting that Parsons dropped out of his Essex grammar school when he was 16, according to Wikipedia. Maybe he got bored with it, or frustrated with academia. Maybe he just needed to earn a living. Or maybe he just saw himself as a bit of a rebel, fancied a bit of a rock & roll lifestyle, and fancied his chances as a self-styled "hip, young gunslinger".


Katharine Hamnett CBE was on Newsnight last night, arguing that our forests should stay in public ownership.

"Why do you want the government to own the forests?" asked the presenter.

Hamnet shot back, "NOT the government! The forests are OURS! They're not the property of the Labour Party or the Conservative Party - they're ours!"

The presenter looked gobsmacked. But this is the real point. People are starting to understand that we don't want government to be our rulers - we should expect them to do things on our behalf. But first we have to articulate what we really want. It's stupid to just vote for parties on the basis of what they offer in their manifestos. WE have to make demands and expect our elected representatives to act on our behalf.

People argue that the banks, for example, shouldn't be nationalised, on the grounds that governments are crap at running banks. More false logic. We don't want the government to run the banks - we simply want and need the banks to belong to we, the people, and it's then down to us, by whatever means necessary, to appoint the right people to run them. If the banks are now too big to fail, which they clearly are (as Robert Peston has shown), and far too powerful for governments to control, then we need to take control of them, and make them work for the long term benefit of the country as a whole, and not just their shareholders.

As for governments doing the bidding of their people, events in Tunisia and now Egypt are showing what can happen even in the most repressive of societies when people start to stand up and make demands. It was the same in Eastern Europe some time ago. Non-violent people power can cause massive political and social change, when governments are seen to be illegitimate.

Nobody asked for our country to be run by a load of toffs and bankers. It's now up to David Cameron, who I still think would ideally like to be a One-Nation Tory, to demonstrate that his is a government of the people, and for the people, even if it isn't by the people.


The News Corps phone hacking scandal is hotting up. We now have police officers investigating why other police officers failed to investigate the hackers and the hackers' paymasters properly. They will also have to look into whether police officers were receiving money from journalists and newspaper groups. The stench of corruption hangs heavy in the cold winter air. Rupert Murdoch has even cancelled his Davos jaunt in order to direct strategic operations aimed at salvaging the image of News Corps, such as it is.


Curb the banks? The government has propped them up at every opportunity

Here's the story of how Cameron and Osborne secretly tried and failed to kill tougher European rules on bankers' bonuses

by George Monbiot

It's bonus season, the time of year when bankers show us what they really believe. As soon as they get their money, they spend much of it on land and houses. They know that these are safer investments than the assets in which they trade. If they trash the economy again, they at least will survive.

This year the frenzy will be almost as bad as ever. But it could have been worse. Here is the story, revealed by a leaked document, of how our government covertly tried – and failed – to kill tougher European rules on bankers' bonuses, and how the chancellor of the exchequer appears to have misled parliament.

The prime minister and the chancellor have been playing a double game. They claimed they wanted to tame the banks. In reality, they were protecting them. They never meant to address the economic polarisation of this country, or to check the incentives which caused the last crash. Their intention was always to pamper the rich and to make the poor pay for their follies. As the leaked document shows, the Conservatives are ready to risk the whole economy to help the filthy rich get richer.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment