Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/656/11104
TV Review: Posh and Posher Why Public School Boys Run Britain
ANDREW NEIL is a Tory-sympathising BBC journalist. It must say a lot about the present state of British politics that he would present this documentary, Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Run Britain.
He laid out the balance sheet right at the start. While only 7% of the population attended private school, one in three MPs are privately educated. Over half of the Con-Dem cabinet were educated at elite public schools like Eton.
Neil's documentary was surprisingly provocative. From the beginning, he asked whether millionaire Con-Dem MPs can really understand the implications of their cuts programme for working-class people.
Representatives of all the establishment parties were asked why so many politicians come from elite backgrounds. Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather could only say that the issues involved are 'subtle' and couldn't suggest how inequalities in education could be solved.
But she expanded on this 'subtlety' in the next breath: "if you come from a wealthier background you're more likely to get a good education, you're more likely to reach the top."
The question of access to a good education is a question of wealth and a question of class. Teather had unwittingly implied the necessity of a socialist programme to solve these deep-rooted inequalities.
This is why the Socialist Party goes further than Neil, who quite rightly suggested that working class young people should have better access to high-quality education. Unfortunately, his suggestion was to bring back the two-tier education system of grammar schools and secondary moderns.
The Socialist Party believes in comprehensive education. However, we believe that the comprehensive system should receive a massive increase in resources and funding. This means more teachers, on better pay and conditions, smaller class sizes and better facilities.
We believe that the £850 billion used to bail out the banks should be pumped into public services like education.
We need to take the banking sector into genuine, democratic public ownership, with the profits being used to benefit society rather than line the pockets of a tiny handful of billionaires.
All of the establishment parties, including Labour, stand for cuts in education and we need to build a mass campaign to stop them in their tracks. At local level councils controlled by all three parties are savaging public services. It was Labour who bailed out the banks and asked working-class people to foot the bill.
We need a new mass workers' party as an alternative to the Con-Dems and New Labour - to argue the case for a socialist way of running society in the interests of people, not profit, and to create a well-funded, inclusive and equal education system.
In The Socialist 2 February 2011:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party Marxist analysis