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Innula Zenovka

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The problem is that this guy is the favourite candidate of just about everyone other than people holding similarly extreme views to those of the Conservative Party members who will ultimately choose the winner.

 
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Innula Zenovka

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I wonder how this will go down with the membership, predominantly elderly, of the local Conservative Associations who will make the final choice.

Speaking as an older person myself, and having in mind both Hunt's tenure as Health Secretary and his party's recent track record when it comes to sorting out anything) I think he might have phrased the second sentence rather more felicitously:

 

Arkady Arkright

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Sensible stuff, as always
I was thinking more in terms of diluting the social influence of top private schools, so having been to one of those schools is less likely to open doors which would otherwise be closed - as simply being an alumni of such would no longer imply one's place in the social hierarchy.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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I was thinking more in terms of diluting the social influence of top private schools, so having been to one of those schools is less likely to open doors which would otherwise be closed - as simply being an alumni of such would no longer imply one's place in the social hierarchy.
Yes, but how?

Case in point. An old university friend of mine, who read law, was pretty much the poster-boy for this sort of privilege -- wealthy upper-middle class family who were family friends of the Rockefellers to the extent that they often holidayed with them on their (the Rockefellers, that is) yacht in the Med, mother a working Conservative life peer, that sort of thing, who attended an exclusive prep school, Eton and then Cambridge. Perfectly nice guy and quite able but he was certainly not noticeably brighter or more able than most of his fellow students (including me) from somewhat more humble backgrounds.

Anyway, come our final year, when the lawyers who intended to pursue careers at the bar were trying to find pupillages (essentially on-the-job training and mentoring with an established barrister), my chum -- absolutely deadpan -- said he couldn't understand why people were finding it so difficult to obtain places -- he'd had several very tempting offers already.

Mind you, he then added, with a disarming grin, it probably helped a bit that his mother was a friend of the Lord Chancellor, who often dined with his parents, and that one of his godfathers was the Lord Chief Justice.

My point is, Eton's just part of the package. People from that kind of background are obviously going to have a much easier time of it than the rest of us.

The problem isn't the privilege, so much as what they do with it. Most of the Etonians, Harrovians, Wykehamists, Harrovians and so on I knew back then have gone on, obviously assisted by family money, social connections, and their excellent and very expensive educations, to make deserved successes of their careers in their chosen fields.

Had they come from more modest backgrounds, they'd obviously not have enjoyed similar successes but I have no doubt that they're the kind of people who would deservedly do well in most fields -- intelligent, able, capable of hard work and commitment, loyal and generally decent.

The problem is with the uses to which Johnson is putting the advantages -- both his own not-inconsiderable natural abilities and the ones his father's wealth and his connections have given him -- to such selfish and destructive ends.

"It reads like he wants to be the second coming of Harold Shipman." - I love it ! 👏
So long as he doesn't put Chris Grayling in charge.

ETA:


It’s a bold vision. And I suppose it would substantially reduce the country’s spending on healthcare and pensions and remove a lot of Brexit party voters from the electorate. Still, I did expect a slower descent into our murderous dystopia. He didn’t mean it, knucklehead! This isn’t a plan to exterminate the elderly. It’s a badly written promise to make sure that, when they do die, it’s dignified.

I see. More like a phased-in, compassionate senicide. He doesn’t actually want to kill anyone, OK?

Are you sure? It might help us make sense of his behaviour as health secretary. Honestly, he doesn’t. Just a few days ago, he tweeted another meme saying: “If we are going to unite the country, we have to show we are serious about uniting the generations.”
 
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Sid

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Mom and dad's old boys networks are more important than the school the siblings attend. Of course he/she needs proper education, but it opens doors for them, while others still looking were the keys might be hidden.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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Mom and dad's old boys networks are more important than the school the siblings attend. Of course he/she needs proper education, but it opens doors for them, while others still looking were the keys might be hidden.
And for many purposes, I am not that sure it matters. I mean Rory Stewart, Johnson's polar opposite in this election, is another alumnus of Eton and Balliol, but I'd far prefer him as PM to any of the other Conservative candidates.

Heavens, if it wasn't for the fact he's in the wrong party, I'm pretty sure Stewart wouild be a better PM than Jeremy Corbyn.
 
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Arkady Arkright

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Yes, but how?
So where would you suggest we start correcting the social inequalities ? I must admit the guillotine has a certain attraction, but I faint at the sight of blood... (and I can't knit)
So long as he doesn't put Chris Grayling in charge.
Delightful quote from Dead Ringers, about the Tory leadership contest - "Even Chris Grayling threw his hat in the ring. Though he missed and his hat rolled away and destroyed Coventry."
 
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Kara Spengler

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I am sure part of this that has people freaking out over there is the whole ableism angle. When you have a chronic condition (or even an acute one) the quickest way someone can get you to freak out is to threaten the JIT deliveries that keep it topped off. No deal and such may be buzzwords to other people but for some you are quite literally talking lives.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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So where would you suggest we start correcting the social inequalities ? I must admit the guillotine has a certain attraction, but I faint at the sight of blood... (and I can't knit)
Since there's not a lot we can do, at least not to my mind, to remedy the structural inequalities I would say are inherent in the global capitalist economy (and I deeply distrust anyone who tells me it's even possible) I would start correcting social inequalities by trying to ameliorate their worst effects.

So I'd be concentrating on doing something about the shameful fact that apparently about a third of children in British schools are in relative poverty, as are about 20-odd percent of families in Britain, which would involve things like fixing the Universal Credit debacle and trying to ensure that children don't have to attend school hungry, and that many girls in some areas regularly have to skip school for a few days each month because they can't afford sanitary towels, and they're taught in oversized classes.

That bothers me far more than the fact Etonians stand a far better chance of becoming Prime Minister or judges or whatever than people from more ordinary backgrounds.

My cousin, for example, could probably have afforded to send his two children to expensive public schools if he and his wife had wanted to. Instead, they sent them to the local comprehensive, but since they could afford to live in a lovely old converted rectory in a village in David Cameron's constituency, the local comprehensive (you may not be surprised to learn) is a very different place from the local comprehensive in a run down part of either his or my respective home-towns.

I'd be more than happy to see all kids have similar material and educational advantages to my cousin's two. One is now enjoying a very promising career as doctor -- though was clear from pretty early on she's a remarkable young woman who would have succeeded even without her family's material advantages.

The other isn't in her league but he's a pleasant and, when he tries, intelligent young man, who certainly has benefitted from his parents' comfortable lifestyle, and I'm a lot more confident he'll have a happy and reasonably successful career than I would have been had his family circumstances been different.

That sort of social inequality bothers me far more than the fact that Eton and Oxford supply so many ministers and PMs.

Priorities, please. Let's make sure teenage girls don't have miss school because because they can't afford tampons before we start worrying that old Etonians stand a better chance of becoming PM than do they.

Delightful quote from Dead Ringers, about the Tory leadership contest - "Even Chris Grayling threw his hat in the ring. Though he missed and his hat rolled away and destroyed Coventry."
Most of the contenders in the Tory leadership contest give the impression that they're the sort of man who, asked to get the cat down from the roof, would set fire the house to get it down. Some would do so only as a last resort, while others are just desperate to be given some matches and petrol.

Chris Grayling, however, would set fire to next door's house by mistake, assuming he didn't manage to set fire to the petrol station first.
 
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Arkady Arkright

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Priorities, please. Let's make sure teenage girls don't have miss school because because they can't afford tampons before we start worrying that old Etonians stand a better chance of becoming PM than do they.
Do you consider those two issues to be totally unrelated ?
 
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Innula Zenovka

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Do you consider those two issues to be totally unrelated ?
No, in that I believe they are structurally related -- we in the UK live, as I suggested, in a capitalist society, which in turn is part of the global capitalist economy, and it seems to me that social inequality and social deprivation are inherent in the structure of such a society.

However, the fact that two phenomena have, ultimately, a common cause does not mean that one is caused by the other.

That is, I do not see how, in itself, closing down Eton, Harrow and the other leading public schools, and even passing a law (a pretty grotesque one, invented for the purposes of argument) to the effect that no one may become a member of parliament who was not educated in a regular state school in the UK or elsewhere, would do much to ameliorate either social inequality or deprivation.

Everyone who can afford, after all, the £14,100 plus extras per term to send his son to Eton -- that is, the annual fees are over three times what many people earn in a year -- is still going to have that money, and clearly that's going to give his children a pretty massive advantage in life whatever sort of education they receive and where they receive it, and which they'll doubtless use to advance their their own fortunes and, in turn, those of their children.

So much the same people, from much the same backgrounds, will doubtless go on to enjoy highly successful careers and exercise considerable power and influence in finance, business, the law and so on, and, as and when necessary, fund political campaigns and politicians in order to further their political purposes, rather as the Barclay brothers, owners of the Telegraph group, have employed and boosted Johnson for year (despite their very modest original family background), or (moving rather downmarket) Aaron Banks -- who did attend a fee-paying school, but it was hardly Eton (see below) -- has bought and paid for Nigel Farage and Brexit. And there's always Rupert Murdoch and various American right-wing billionaires on hand to fund folks, too.

So, al in all, I don't think that the social and economic background from which leading politicians are drawn causes inequality and social deprivation. Rather, I think that, it's a symptom of the injustices and deprivation inherent in the structure of society itself (possibly inherent in any sort of society of any complexity but certainly inherent in capitalism).

Nor do I think that the fact he attended not Eton but a selective grammar school (an historical foundation but fully part of the state system by the time he was there) necessarily makes Dominic Raab a better candidate than Rory Stewart. Nor do I think Sajid Javid (educated at the local comprehensive and then an FE college, apparently) is necessarily a better candidate than Stewart, either.

Would you prefer the final shortlist to be Raab and Javid? Seems to me it wouldn't do much for social equality.

At 13 he was sent to a “third-rate” boarding school, Crookham Court in Berkshire, which closed in 1989 after Esther Rantzen’s That’s Life programme exposed three of its teachers as paedophiles. He was never abused: he was too busy committing his own transgressions, getting expelled for an “accumulation of offences” that included selling lead filched from the roofs of school buildings. He accepts that his expulsion was entirely justified. It would have happened much earlier, he says, except that the struggling institution needed his fees.

He moved on to St Bartholomew’s in Newbury but was expelled again, this time for a “monumental pub crawl” that ended in a daredevil car stunt. His “lack of educational attainment” ruled out university, so he returned to Basingstoke, where he sold paintings, then vacuum cleaners, then houses. “I was quite good at persuading people to buy things they didn’t want to buy,” he says.

 
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Chin Rey

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That is, I do not see how, in itself, closing down Eton, Harrow and the other leading public schools, and even passing a law (a pretty grotesque one, invented for the purposes of argument) to the effect that no one may become a member of parliament who was not educated in a regular state school in the UK or elsewhere, would do much to ameliorate either social inequality or deprivation.
That would be too extreme of course, after all upper class twits are also people and should have the same rights as other people. :p

But there are two problems with "elite schools" like the prestigious British private schools and the American ivy league universities.

One is that they are symtomps of societies that put appearance over substance. I haven't studied this in detail of course but I can't see anything that suggests the quality of the education these institutions offer is particularly high, if anything it's a bit on the low side. It's all about getting the most presitgious name on your graduation papers and - of course - getting to party with the right crowd.

The other problem is that isolating future leaders from the society at large ain itself makes them less qualified for leadership since they won't be familiar with the problems they are supposed to handle.

This isn't something that can be solved over night though, it can't even be solved in a single generation. It takes time.
 
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Tigger

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So..... the electoral commission went to see the Brexit Party at around the time of the European elections, there had been complaints that their method of funding (i.e. requesting anonymous donations of under £500 via paypal) were likely going to be used to receive impermissible donations.
The request follows a report released by the commission last Wednesday that said the party’s structure “leaves it open to a high and ongoing risk of receiving and accepting impermissible donations”.
As a result the Brexit party has now been told to go back and review all of it's donations, including all of those under £500 and make sure they are all permissible. Except the language used is they must "satisfy themselves" that the payments are permissible.
“They need to go back and look at the payments they have received, over or under £500, and they need to satisfy themselves that they are sure those amounts of money are permissible. And if they are not, they need to forfeit those amounts of money.

“It’s for the party to satisfy themselves of that – and we’ll be watching them do that work.”
They will also have to amend their systems to collect names and addresses and make sure that the address associated with that payment method used matches the given address.

Waiting now to see what kind of tantrum Farage throws over this and whether they actually do as they are told.

 
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Bartholomew Gallacher

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No, in that I believe they are structurally related -- we in the UK live, as I suggested, in a capitalist society, which in turn is part of the global capitalist economy, and it seems to me that social inequality and social deprivation are inherent in the structure of such a society.
Norway is also a capitalist society, but those two problems are there much less wide spread than in the UK.

What's being missing in your statement is that social inequality and social deprevation is mostly a problem in countries where the state decided to do little up to nothing against it. The mitigation of the two is exactly what many states have been doing since decades.

Worse are only states like the USA were redlining was a thing and many people are still living until today with its consequences.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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Norway is also a capitalist society, but those two problems are there much less wide spread than in the UK.

What's being missing in your statement is that social inequality and social deprevation is mostly a problem in countries where the state decided to do little up to nothing against it. The mitigation of the two is exactly what many states have been doing since decades.

Worse are only states like the USA were redlining was a thing and many people are still living until today with its consequences.
Yes, exactly so.

Norway, on your account, has done exactly what I suggested the UK has failed to do -- that is, take measures to ameliorate social inequality and social deprivation.

That's not the question -- the question is to what extent the existence of schools like Eton College is to blame for the UK's (and perhaps also the USA's?) failure to undertake similar measures.

I say that that extent is not terribly great.
 

Tigger

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Yes, exactly so.

Norway, on your account, has done exactly what I suggested the UK has failed to do -- that is, take measures to ameliorate social inequality and social deprivation.

That's not the question -- the question is to what extent the existence of schools like Eton College is to blame for the UK's (and perhaps also the USA's?) failure to undertake similar measures.

I say that that extent is not terribly great.
There's no real way to extract one part of an inequitable system and say that this part, taken alone, accounts for this much of the problem. But there can be little doubt that these public schools exist as a powerful symbol of the difference between the privileged and everyone else. Myself, I'd like them shut down, yes the privilege will still exist but its partially symbolic and removes one of the most hated divisions between "them and us".

I'd also want to see that public bodies, civil service, judiciary, whatever be compelled to reduce the number of public school pupils in their number (not instantly), but whatever new recruiting is done should be held to a quota until the massive inequality in these bodies is rectified.
 

Innula Zenovka

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Innula Zenovka

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There's no real way to extract one part of an inequitable system and say that this part, taken alone, accounts for this much of the problem. But there can be little doubt that these public schools exist as a powerful symbol of the difference between the privileged and everyone else. Myself, I'd like them shut down, yes the privilege will still exist but its partially symbolic and removes one of the most hated divisions between "them and us".

I'd also want to see that public bodies, civil service, judiciary, whatever be compelled to reduce the number of public school pupils in their number (not instantly), but whatever new recruiting is done should be held to a quota until the massive inequality in these bodies is rectified.
How long do you think it will take the effects of all this to reflect themselves in the politics of this country? A few decades, at least, I would think, before the effects of closing places like Eton manage to work their way through the system.

Meanwhile, about those girls who missing out on their education right now because they have to miss school when they need tampons they have no money to buy, and all the children being taught right now in under-resourced schools with overcrowded classes whose families depend on foodbanks...