The opening ceremony marked the start of a two-week period in which everything good has inevitably resulted from the Olympics and anything bad has been the fault of the Coalition.
In the first of a series of blogs this week looking at the politics of class, Alastair Campbell discusses Laura Wade’s Posh. The play, which, if any comparisons with the notoriously elite Bullingdon Club are drawn (of which Conservative trio David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson were all members) opens a more disturbing concern than our political leaders not knowing the price of milk. Last year the Prime Minister denied that there were similarities between the club he was famously a member of, and the destructive behaviour witnessed in the summer riots.
Market forces are the basis of political liberty. Despite the biggest economic crisis for a generation, most of us still believe it. We might get slapped around the face by the system from time to time – by the increasing frequency of rough sleepers we encounter on the way to work, or when we read in the paper about pensioners who can no longer afford to heat their homes – but on the whole, as a society we seldom question the fundamental soundness of the free-market anymore.
There’s a fundamental problem at the heart of our education system: private schools educate around 7% of students yet account for 44.6% of students at Oxford. A familiar statistic, but one that highlights the failure of too many of our state schools. Defenders of educational elitism rightly point out that top universities should take the best pupils wherever they find them. But making this point is too often a way of avoiding the real issue: that our state school system is failing to produce enough bright, confident and hard-working children.
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