Private schooling goes right to the heart of who we are

Ahead of Andrew Neil's documentary on social mobility tonight, Matt Gwilliam looks at the high number of public schooled politicians – including in the Shadow Cabinet.

Tonight, at 9:00 on BBC Two, Andrew Neil presents an eye-opening documentary, Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Run Britain, in which he “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”; here, Matt Gwilliam looks at the high number of public schooled politicians – including in the Labour Shadow Cabinet

Last week saw the departure of Alan Johnson from front line politics. His departure is a great loss; he was a formidable politician and in addition, his personal background gave the Cabinet and more recently Shadow Cabinet real credibility with the wider public that increasingly sees politicians as having come from a distinct background.

Recently, the Fabians’ Sunder Katwala proposed a 20 per cent tax on private school tuition fees to fund a real pupil premium for state schools, a compelling and eloquent argument that reminds us that equality of education is at the very core of who Labour are as a party.

Few people would disagree that private education confers privileges and advantage to those who enjoy it, and that going to private school is almost exclusively linked to the accident of birth. However, many argue that private schools are what parents aspire to for their kids and penalising aspiration is not an option – but can the Labour party seize the initiative about schooling in a different way?

In the Shadow Cabinet elections there were calls to have quotas, guaranteeing a third or half of the shadow cabinet must be made up of women. Doing this would overcome any discrimination and force a change in culture. Similar arguments are used for all women shortlists (AWS), which appear to have been a great success at getting more women into parliament.

When it transpired that »40 per cent of the shadow team were women, some thought a quota still important to send the message that the party are serious and never complacent about equality. Perhaps even the debate about quotas before the shadow elections assisted in getting more women elected.

The government’s cabinet is less than 20% female. It is also 59% privately educated – eight-and-a-half times that of the general population (7% privately schooled), a huge overrepresentation. Should the Labour party be once again leading the way, by talking about a cap on the number of privately educated members of the Shadow Cabinet?

When this idea was floated to an MP who was a champion of AWS and positive discrimination for women, the reply came “where do you stop?”, an argument deployed against AWS. The question should really be: “Where do you start?” The starting point should surely be the least represented sections of society with the greatest biases against them.

Men are overrepresented, while non-white members are marginally underrepresented, with private schooling overrepresented in the Labour Shadow Cabinet by around 400 per cent. It would appear that schooling is a massive factor governing outcomes, even in the Labour party.

Though Labour does much better than the Tories it should be more reflective about this bias that attacks the most fundamental of the party’s beliefs about equality of opportunity for all through equality of education. This is particularly important during the reign of Messieurs Cameron, Osborne and Clegg, a fact senior Conservative backbencher David Davis remarked upon this week.

He observed that there is no one at the top of the government “from backgrounds where they had to scrape for the last penny at the end of the week”, adding:

“They don’t have a sense of what a large part of the country, the poorer part of the country, what their views and priorities are.”

A point also made by Dominic Sandbrook in today’s Mail:

“… very few senior Tories come from a relatively poor background. And when ordinary families, already feeling the pinch as the economy slides back towards recession, are confronted with pictures of George Osborne on the Klosters ski slopes, they could be forgiven for wondering whether we really are all in this together.

“Although our politicians often refuse to admit it, the truth is that the state of Westminster is a damning indictment of the death of social mobility…

“For all their gushing rhetoric about change and inclusiveness, MPs of all parties tend to look remarkably similar. And for all their talk about diversity, it is worth noting that a pitiful 11 out of 306 Tory MPs are black or Asian, while Labour boasts just 16 and the Lib Dems none at all.

“The figures on education are even more revealing. Of our 119 Government ministers, 66 per cent went to public schools, compared with only 7 per cent of the population as a whole. And what is more, a staggering 10 per cent went to just one school, Eton.”

The Labour party has worked hard to push up the number of women and non-white members in positions of authority and profile, and though there is still plenty of work to be done, both the members who have filled these positions and the party itself deserve praise. They are role models of which we should be proud.

However, along with this process the party must examine what it is and what equality really means. At our heart, do we not stand fundamentally opposed to privileges or disadvantages endowed by the accident of birth? The ability to attend a private school is one such privilege and given the bias exhibited in the Labour party, members should be concerned and sending a message about it.

The overrepresentation of high profile, privately schooled Labour Members of Parliament sends a message to the party, to kids going to private schools and to kids going to state schools about where they stand in society. It also sends a message to the wider public about who Labour is and who is chosen to represent the party. A discussion about a limit on the overrepresentation of privately educated members in the shadow cabinet, for example, would show the party to be serious and sincere about its values and the vision is has of society.

The issue of schooling is fundamental to who we are as a political movement. Perhaps we should be tackling it with the same self-inspection, vigour and energy that we have tackled other issues of prejudice and injustice.

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41 Responses to “Private schooling goes right to the heart of who we are”

  1. Shan Kelly

    RT @leftfootfwd: Private schooling goes right to the heart of who we are: http://bit.ly/f12vIT writes @MattGwilliam

  2. Shamik Das

    Gr8 article by @MattGwilliam: Private schooling goes right to the heart of who we are: http://bit.ly/f12vIT <— Let's have this debate

  3. Daphne Vial Guthrie

    RT @shamikdas: Gr8 article by @MattGwilliam: Private schooling goes right to the heart of who we are: http://bit.ly/f12vIT <— Let's …

  4. Matt Gwilliam

    Private schooling goes right to the heart of who we are: http://bit.ly/f12vIT @santaevita @andyburnhammp @bobbledavidson @JamesVernoit

  5. Matt Gwilliam

    Private schooling goes right to the heart of who we are: http://bit.ly/f12vIT @sara_e_ibrahim

  6. Tom

    While I don’t want to knock the general thrust of this article, it’s important not to pretend that all private schools are like Eton.

    A great many privately educated children are sent their by their parents at the expense of holidays, a nicer house, etc. and in terms of their wealth and life experience will be similar to most other middle class kids in their area. So not poor, but not posing on Klosters ski slopes.

  7. Mark Stevo

    No.

  8. Debsalini

    How about a ban in the Labour party on people who send their own children to private school? We cannot undo the past, or the choices that our parents made for us, but we can (and must) break the cycle of privilege and at the same time support state schools with donations of time and money.

  9. Sara Ibrahim

    RT @mattgwilliam: Private schooling goes right to the heart of who we are: http://bit.ly/f12vIT @sara_e_ibrahim

  10. Red Whale

    Nice logic Debalini. But as for choices made for us by our parents, neither you or your parents got to choose whether you were male, female or your ethnicity, yet we still impose restrictions on these labels.

    Tom, I think thats a good point to emphasise BUT if we’re talking about the issue of representation, privately schooled are overrepresented by a factor of 4 in the shadow cabinet. Not very representative of the population.

  11. 13eastie

    “Few people would disagree that private education confers privileges and advantage to those who enjoy it”

    This is a ridiculous assertion, an essay in “evidence-based” groundless prejudice and ignorance.

    Private education is a choice parents make for their children, far more often than not involving enormous financial sacrifice and planning over decades. As Tom says, such families often go without many of the luxuries that parents of state-educated children opt to buy.

    British ex-pats and Armed Services families also often have very few options if they want their children to receive a British education.

    To portray all such children as benefitting from an “accident of birth” is grossly disingenuous and depicts you as petty, spiteful, misinformed and bursting at the seams with politics-of-envy rhetoric.

    Only a Fabian could propose a direct tax on aspiration itself!

    And why on earth should parents who actively reduce the family burden on the state through their spending choices (while maintaining their tax contributions) be penalised for so doing, but not those who decide to “invest” instead in trips to Disney World?

    If anything, parents willing to make the enormous commitment to private education should be offered tax relief, and the schools themselves incentivised to favour British children over foreigners.

    As far as quotas are concerned, your argument here is paradoxical. You claim to “stand fundamentally opposed to privileges or disadvantages endowed by the accident of birth”, yet in the next breath suggest proscribing the employment of adults on precisely this pretext. Risible…

    You also seem to make the ridiculous assumption that white, male, privately educated, rich, Christian, privileged, etc. are all negative stigmata which can be used interchangeably as labels for the same pigeon hole…

    But, back in the real world, it doesn’t work quite like that.

    How many different “accidents of birth” are you willing to consider simultaneously (rather than their ability to do a good job on behalf of the constituents they represent and regardless of how they voted) for a single candidate?

    Whom do you chuck out of the shadow-cabinet hate-based-balloon-of-tokenism first?

    SADIQ KHAN: Muslim *AND* Asian *AND* went to his local (ex-grammar) state school, but (alas) a man

    HARRIET HARMEN: A woman *AND* feminist (in fact, so womanly and feminist that her husband managed to win on an all-wimmin short-list) *AND* with a trade-union background, but, sadly she went to St Paul’s School for Girls and,even worse, her family are aristocrats.

    And which works best with the electorate? A chippy, charmless, dogmatic, Labour-though-and-through Scottish academic? Or an affable Fettes and St. John’s educated political genius? (Settle for Red Ed and Brown Ed while you’re thinking about it…)

    PS Mr Baldwin asked me to tell you that you forgot to mention the Tory-led-coalition’s-ideologically-driven-cuts. AGAIN!

  12. Νέα Νέμεσις Εργασίας

    "Comrades! We've figured out how to tax aspiration ITSELF", says Fabian Sunder Katwala http://bit.ly/f12vIT #poshandposher

  13. Νέα Νέμεσις Εργασίας

    "Comrades! We've figured out how to tax aspiration ITSELF", says Fabian Sunder Katwala http://bit.ly/f12vIT @nextleft #poshandposher

  14. Nathon Raine

    RT @leftfootfwd: Private schooling goes right to the heart of who we are http://bit.ly/fm2OLT

  15. Julian

    To be consistent, you should surely go back to who you select as MPs. No more than 7% of Labour candidates should have been privately educated and no more than a much smaller percentage should have been to Oxbridge. Also, no-one whose mother or father is/was a politician should be selected, as this gives a very unfair advantage by accident of birth. Would the Labour party be prepared to go this far? I doubt it, because they would recognise they were losing a lot of real talent and ability by doing so.

  16. Jon Sadler

    13eastie The evidence base for privately schooled children having vastly more opportunity is huge. Whether ‘few people’ would disagree with this is open to debate I grant you that, but the basic tenet of improved access and life opportunities for the privately schooled is real enough.

  17. Philip Shorter

    RT @NuLabourNemesis: "Comrades! We've figured out how to tax aspiration ITSELF", says Fabian Sunder Katwala http://bit.ly/f12vIT @nextle …

  18. Tom

    I’d be very interested in some evidence-based blogging here on LFF looking at *why* there is such an over-representation of privately educated people in politics, before jumping to quotas as being the most effective solution.

    I would also like to see the day when fellow lefties can discuss inequalities in education in a more sophisticated way. For example, growing up in a town with very good local state schools, or in a family with the means to access the right catchment area and private tutors, can put one just as far from a poor kid with a terrible local school as a kid at an average private school.

    The Sutton Trust are very good on the subject. This LFF blog entry, alas, is not.

  19. Mr. Sensible

    This whole issue is an interesting one.

    As I said in response to an earlier discussion on representation of women in I think September, it is important that our government and parliament are as representative of those they serve as possible, however I am in 2 minds on things like quotas and all-women shortlists.

  20. Roger

    Its not just politics:

    Allegedly 60% of UK performers to have records in the recent pop charts are privately educated (and without the awful X Factor this percentage would probably be even higher).

    Most professional-level sports except for football and boxing show similar biases now.

    And as for higher culture I would love to see an age and education breakdown of Equity or the Musicians Union membership.

    This issue is now way too big to be be resolvable by quotas – nothing less than full nationalisation can really solve the problem – and if that’s not an option we could at least remove charitable status and treat these institutions as profit-making corporations.

    And it doesn’t necessarily require a revolution to achieve this: the bourgeois French Third Republic destroyed the Catholic Church’s hold on elite education by perfectly legal and democratic means.

  21. Shamik Das

    This is an important article and an important debate; I’m glad the BBC broadcast the documentary tonight, and 5Live had a phone in on it afterwards.

    Roger, if we’re talking sport, take a look at my article last November during the school sports funding debate, which featured a quote from former Test batsman Ed Smith (who is currently researching precisely this topic for a new book):

    “There is obviously a risk that Gove’s approach will lead to a greater divergence of sporting experience in schools. The real beneficiaries of the decline of state school sport were the independent schools. The gap between the sporting haves and have-nots has undeniably widened.

    “Top independent schools have spent massively on sports facilities. Even as a former professional cricketer, I’m dazzled – perhaps shocked – by their luxurious swimming pools and perfectly mown outfields. Some schools resemble five-star golf resorts. Many private schools have pitches fit for Olympians…

    “The proportion of British Olympic medallists who are privately educated has grown steadily over the past three Olympics to about 45 per cent. The trend is the same in rugby and cricket: more private-school England players, fewer State-school ones.

    “If we could map social mobility within professional sport, it would show a clear downward trajectory. You would expect sport to be a model of meritocracy. It isn’t.”

    Sobering reading.

  22. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    RT @leftfootfwd: Private schooling goes right to the heart of who we are http://bit.ly/fm2OLT

  23. Mr. Sensible

    I actually missed the program; I wasn’t aware of it until reading this article last night!

    Can someone post the link to the program on I Player?

  24. James Grant

    RT @leftfootfwd: Private schooling goes right to the heart of who we are http://bit.ly/fm2OLT via @nathonraine

  25. Richard

    Eastie rails against those questioning the inherited priviliges of “accidents of birth”, accusing them of being “grossly disingenuous… petty, spiteful, misinformed and bursting at the seams with politics-of-envy rhetoric.”
    Only to do exactly the same thing himself by reproaching Harman’s entire family for being aristocrats, despite the fact they are not and only have a tenuous link to the toffcracy by “accident of marriage” in which Harman had no coice.
    Vile Hypocrite!

  26. JC

    The alternative to all this is to use the free market approach of improving state education to a level that private schools can no longer offer an advantage.

    Or divide the population into a large number of separate groupings (does anyone campaign for the left-handed? Are they under-represented in parliament?) and try to balance the representation of these groupings. Does it make sense to require all labour candidates to be state educated? Should they all have worked in manufacturing and be members of trade unions before selection? Who do they represent anyway? Is it the constituancy or the party?

  27. Nearly there Andrew Neil, but we need to nationalise education not restore grammar schools « LeftCentral

    […] defeat and a higher number of Tory MPs. But the privately-educated are over-represented by 400% in the Shadow Cabinet, and Neil claimed that only 6 of Labour’s 60 new MPs are from a […]

  28. Silop

    Isn’t it interesting that in their haste to tackle spending cuts the Tories have apparently overlooked reforming the charitable status afforded to public schools?

  29. WHAT?

    @Roger
    What a ridiculous comment about sport and music. Exactly the same (false) logic that the article espouses on politics:

    We pick our sports players and musicians based on skill level and ability. Nothing to do with their education whatsoever. To suggest that we should be inherently biased against a rugby player because he was educated at a public school is as illogical as being bias against all darts players because they’re fat. For one, it’s not necessarily correct (only just more likely than in the entire populace) and secondly why does it matter? No matter who you are, if you’re the best player, you’ll be on the team. If you write the best songs, you get the music contract.

    We’re not going around demanding 4% of chefs have to be a Muslim, or 1.6% of painters have to be Pakistani so why should we demand it of any other profession.

    MPs are elected because the majority of voting constituents think they are the best candidate for the job. The choice is based on ability for the role (though I cede this may be due to a voters internal perceived opinion of a ‘tory’ or ‘labour’ candidate rather than on a complete study of their personal ability). In no way should we interfere with this meritocracy.

    AWS and enforced quotas of ethnicity are both wrong. Ensuring that X% of candidates conform to quota X can only occur at the detriment of better, non-X prospective candidates. Rather, we should encourage more women and ethnic minorities to get into politics, work with them, promote the idea of standing for public office etc but not preference them over others.

    “Where will it end?” is a valid question. It’d be wrong if we officially preferred white, privately-educated men over everyone else, so why is it not wrong to prefer everyone else over them?

  30. Matt Gwilliam

    Thank you for your comments. I thought I should try and answer some of them.

    In general, I would like to point out that this article proposes no national policy and am not someone who would like to ban private schools. This article is about an overrepresentation in parliament, in particular the shadow cabinet and trying to stimulate debate on it. I would also like to say that halving the number of privately educated shadow ministers would still over represent private schools by a factor of 2, a factor that would allow an all male cabinet, so this would hardly be a draconian act of taking a principle to extremes.

    I guess my question is: “would it be a massive leap to go from all-women-BAME-shortlists to all-women-BAME-state-educated shortlists?” Is this a logical extension or not necessary? Are we happy with this over representation.

    Tom: “..not poor, but not posing on Klosters ski slopes..” I’m very aware of this and I’m also very aware that some parents work very hard and make sacrifices to send their kids to a good school. Some move to send their kids to an excellent state school (which like paying for private school is another example of wealth being used to leverage better education for their children). I’m not saying that any of this is wrong or shouldn’t be happening or even honourable. My point was that there is a massive overrepresentation of privately schooled in the positions of authority. Does this have an impact on how well represented the society at large is? Do privately educated people have a largely different experience from their 93% state educated fellow citizens and if so doesn’t this also have implications for how we are governed? I disagree that coming from a similar socio-economic background means you must have similar life-experiences if you had completely different schooling experiences. I think that school makes up large portion of people’s life experiences and significantly affects their outlook on life.

    Mark Stevo: Good point, well argued and eloquently put.

    Debalini: I’m not totally sure of your tone but I assume you were being pretty negative. This article did not suggest a national policy or a party-wide policy (I refer you to comments I made to Tom). It suggested a debate about the number of privately educated in the higher echelons of UK politics, particularly the shadow cabinet. Red Whale suggested an equivalency with AWS. I think this may be a false equivalency but it should be discussed. Is going to or having the ability to go to private school not a similarly major factor in governing outcomes and your outlook on life? If it is (and as many people argue Cameron must be out of touch because of his background, in particular Eton, it would appear a lot of people think so) then should we be tackling the representation problem in a similar way to how we tackled low representation of women.

    Julian: “To be consistent, you should surely go back to who you select as MPs.” To be consistent with what? The policy on AWS? My point is that only 7% of the population is privately educated and that I would ask, given the fact that 15% of the PLP, 30% of the shadow cabinet and 66% of the cabinet is privately educated, does private education give you advantages more then just better grades and academic ability? If it does, then doesn’t it also follow that this is a bought privilege and skews us away from principles of meritocracy. If a massively disproportionate number of MPs have different perspectives on life to begin with, surely this is poor for democracy. As for “Oxbridge”, I would argue that these institutions are for more meritocratic then private schools, which is a bought privilege. That said, if everyone in parliament had gone to Oxbridge, it would be concerning under the same kind of principles. In any case, your attempt to defeat the main thrust of the article by saying “where do you stop?”, I thought I’d dealt with in the article and would be interested in your thoughts on my rebuttal. It’s about where you start and you start with the biggest non-meritocratic biases.

    Tom2: I would also be interested in some evidence based blogging on this. Alas, I am not an educationalist and am there are already plenty of people on the web who talk rubbish on the subject of schooling and outcomes who have no idea what they’re talking about, so I was trying to avoid joining them. My point is about an over representation in politics and its implications. I would be interested in your thoughts on Red Whale’s (perhaps false) equivalency with AWS and the arguments for AWS. Some of the arguments against AWS: it was tokenism, did not deal with the root causes of sexism and bias, would lead to talent being lost. We did it anyway so I assume these arguments were either defeated, or it was deemed worth it.

    Roger: This article proposes a discussion about a quota in one place alone: the shadow cabinet. In the same way as a quota was proposed for women. I would be interested in your thoughts on the difference between them and why this is a less worth proposal.

    Mr. Sensible: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00y37gk/Posh_and_Posher_Why_Public_School_Boys_Run_Britain/

  31. Mr. Sensible

    Cheers for the link, Matt.

  32. Mark Stevo

    Short and to the point, unlike the ramble above. Don’t they teach the value of conciseness any more?

  33. Tom

    Matt,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I would like to pick one bone:

    “Do privately educated people have a largely different experience from their 93% state educated fellow citizens and if so doesn’t this also have implications for how we are governed? I disagree that coming from a similar socio-economic background means you must have similar life-experiences if you had completely different schooling experiences. I think that school makes up large portion of people’s life experiences and significantly affects their outlook on life.”

    As somebody who went to a fairly middling private school, I think there is truth in this but it can also be overstated. In my own experience, whether or not my friends and colleagues went to a private school is no more a marker of their life experiences and their understanding of others’ lives than their parents’ wealth, the part of the country they are from, their choice of career and voluntary activities, and their current financial circumstances.

    Unless you have personally visited every private school up and down the country, or even a representative sample, I think it’s hard for you to say they have a “significant” and similar effect on people’s outlook on life.

  34. 13eastie

    @13 Richard

    Re. your obtuse misconstrual of my parody of the OP’s quota ‘logic’:

    FOR THE RECORD: There are a great many sane reasons for voters to eschew Ms Harman. Such a list should include neither her genealogy nor her schooling. Ditto Mr Khan.

    If vile hypocrisy is what you seek, hang around a little longer with the “positive” discriminators until they invent an irrelevant objection to a trait that fate has bestowed on *you*.

  35. Matt Gwilliam

    Tom,

    I think I know what you’re saying but:

    I don’t have to visit every man and woman in the country to say that men and women tend to have different experiences of the world.

    I acknowledge that there are private schools and then there are private schools but on the whole there is a difference between the private and state sectors (otherwise the private sector wouldn’t exist). I often find that when raising this issue people assume I myself, and everyone I’ve ever met went to state school, never had the opportunity to go to a private school and do not appreciate that all private schools are not like Eton. My point is that privately educated make up four times as much of the shadow cabinet then the general population and to ask is this acceptable and is it entirely meritocratic? Of course, this one fact about somebody’s background does not adequately describe them and there experience and this article proposes against private schools.

    I acknowledge that I’m now straying into conjecture and anecdote but I suspect the average privately educated 16 year olds probably has less friends who have special needs or have unemployed parents then the average state comp 16 year old. Would this not shape your impressionable mind?

    13eastie: Plenty of positive discriminators are discriminate against me yet I obviously find the chip on my shoulder a little easier to bare, partly because I acknowledge that there is a problem and it needs to be tackled.

    Also who are ‘they’?

  36. Matt Gwilliam

    correction: *and there experience and this article proposes nothing against private schools.

  37. Sarah Hayward

    The issue of private education is difficult to unpick so simplistically. And as a number of commentors point out there’s vast difference in types and costs of education involved. The vast majority of families even well off, professional middle classes couldn’t afford the £30k per year (without any extras) fees for Eton. After taxes it equates to over 50k of salary for a single child. Only 6% of the population earns even the 50K never mind the fact that you’ll need to earn more than that to cover your own living costs.

    As I wrote on my own blog, I think this is as much to do with money and financial advantage. Of which education is a symptom.

    Given that we’re probably not going to ban private education we’re actaully asking the wrong question. It’s how we help, bright able people from poorer backgrounds to get on, not how we stop people from private schools. Because if we do the former…….

  38. Rob-D

    Interesting debate. Few points I’d like to throw in:

    1) Positive discrimination can be a benefit if there is a group that is generally denied access to position/status/upward mobility across all levels of society. Women, non-whites, homosexuals etc have all experienced systemic discrimination in this country and it may be useful to combat that by bringing representatives from that group into government. Education at a state school does not produce the same system-wide level of discrimination and so may not need to be addressed in the same way.

    2) Some parents do scrimp and save in order to send their children to public school. They should be revered for their self-sacrifice. I would be interested to know, of those privately educated MPs in parliament, how many went to ‘middling’ public schools and how many went to ‘top’ ones. Also, how many had parents who could easily afford those school fees? The true ‘elite’ are not merely privately-educated but more likely, from affluent families that can easily afford the best public schools. Can you say we want quotas against those who went to a select group of the best schools AND had the money to easily afford it?

    3) What benefit would positive discrimination provide here? Would it provide role models that would inspire young working class, state educated folk into politics? Would we be likely to see high-school dropouts represented in government? Or would the quota be filled by those that did well at school, had sharp elbowed parents and have nothing in common with the council classes?

    So, if I was to sum up my points: is there a need to promote state educated people? is the true divide those that are privately educated and those that aren’t or is it those that have affluent backgrounds and those that don’t? what would quotas achieve – reduced discrimination, better government or popular with the working classes?

  39. Rob-D

    Sarah: you’ve summed up my point about the ‘true divide’ much better than I could have. Shame I took so long writing my post and didn’t see yours until after I’d submitted.

  40. Debsalini

    Matt,
    Sorry my tone wasn’t clear. I am not entirely against the idea of adjusting the representation of public/state-school-educated MPs. I was privately educated myself and I know first hand how difficult it has been to reconnect with the real world afterwards.
    And I am totally serious about wishing to exclude from standing as Labour PPCs those who send their own children to private school: if we want to break the cycle of privilege, we must do so by example.

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