Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/160/7823
New Labour's phoney attack on elitism: End The Class Divide
NEW LABOUR are panicking. They had hoped to call and win a general election next spring.
There's just one problem. Labour's focus groups tell them that people are "unhappy because they felt that living standards were worse, there had been no improvement in health and education."
Blair is apparently having sleepless nights over the 'rise' in Hague's 'popularity'. So, in a transparent attempt to try and win back some 'popularity', New Labour are attacking the elites of Oxford and Cambridge and claiming they will spend an extra £28 billion in the public sector.
Labour ministers are attacking the class system and snobbery that prevents a working-class student from admission to Oxford because it is a soft target for them. They must think we're soft if they believe we're fooled that they're launching a crusade against the real vested class interests that dominate Britain.
It is New Labour particularly who are carrying out measures that deny working-class children the right to a decent education. Labour continues to prop up the elitism that exists in Britain's education system and has reinforced it.
The continuation and deepening of selection in schools means that it's likely Tony Blair's newest born will enter a high-flying educational establishment, while millions of working-class kids will go to underfunded, overcrowded state secondary schools, staffed by teachers who are expected to meet unrealistic targets before they get pay increases.
The introduction of tuition fees is just as responsible for the low proportion of state school pupils going to university as elitism. Their introduction means that any child lucky enough to make it through the state system will either have to choose between a lifetime saddled with tens of thousands of pounds of debt or of not going to university.
If Labour was going to be really radical it would abolish private education and scrap tuition fees and restore the maintenance grant at a decent, living level. It would not only promise more money for public services it would also ensure a radical shift of wealth towards working-class people.
We need to remove the power of big business to dictate what opportunities working-class people have. Such an approach is the real, radical, socialist way to end elitism and privilege.
In The Socialist 2 June 2000: