‘Privileged background’ is the buzz phrase in this election.
Cameron apparently has, so does Clegg, Gordon Brown would tell you that despite being the son of Manse in a poor neighbourhood, he didn’t.
What exactly does privileged mean in this context? I ask in particular after reading this blog post and its comments.
Under-privileged is a special word in Nu-Labour speak. It is something to be avoided at all costs, something which can only be eradicated by eradicating ‘privilege’ itself.
A privilege is theoretically a special right or advantage that only one person or group has. In election-speak, it has been reduced to one colloquial meaning. That either your parents could afford to, and decided to, pay for your education – or, if really pushed to its limit, that your parents were sufficiently motivated to encourage you to overcome the ‘handicap’ of not having a private education.
Nu-Labour is obsessed with the notion that a plain ordinary state education requires a tump of money poured into its teaching staff in order not to leave you ‘under-privileged’.
In comparison with the Nu-Labour definition of ‘privileged’ it would make more sense to pour the money into the parent’s pockets, to enable them to pay for the education that miraculously turns you from under-privileged into privileged – but no, they prefer to put the money into teaching staff.
Yet they concede themselves, that even if you go to a state school, you can still qualify as ‘privileged’ if you had parents who encouraged you:
I think you have just inadvertently admitted that you did have greater educational opportunity than most others. Your assertion, that your parents wouldn’t have dreamt of leaving the school to teach you to read, says it all really.
So, not really about the schools, more about the parents? If that were true, no child would ever escape the poverty of their background – and millions do, regardless of the state of the parent’s pockets.
The real trap is the socialist didactic which says that you can never escape your background. The sense of hopelessness which they instil into the sons and daughters of their traditional voters.
They have removed something from society which was there as recently as 1980 – hope, belief in yourself, the freedom to create yourself, the personal responsibility to do so.
Generations of working class children have thronged to the public libraries since the turn of the last century. That is what they were built for – not the ‘privileged’ with racks of leather bound books in mahogany cases; they were built for the sons of the coal miners, the steel workers, to escape from the foetid over crowded world of ‘home’, to a land of peace and quiet, knowledge, entertainment, and wonder.
Several generations of children did so. They used the public libraries to teach themselves that which they could not learn in the village school. They believed it was their right to do so.
“Let me just say this though. Education is not a level playing field and to say otherwise is plain silly. Some of these kids who go to schools in deprived areas have almost zero chance of success. For a start, the teachers are not up to standard and the learning environment. Well, it isn’t. Blaming the parents for lack of interest is also daft. They have no options.”
The coal miners of the 1880s had no interest, they had no education, they often actively discouraged their children, especially their daughters – and yet those children grew up to become doctors, engineers, scientists – long before we had a Labour government pouring money into edukashun, edukashun, edukashun.
We have hospitals full of doctors who have come from abroad, some even from mind bogglingly basic environments, with no electricity, scant water, and no public library. Afghanistan, Iraq, teetering on the edge of the Stone Age, still manages to produce educated minds that learn enough to compete with the ‘privileged’ in this country.
Those who are not ‘educated’ in a formal sense, still open their minds to the possibility that there is a better life for them out there somewhere, they trek across land for thousands of miles, they cling to the underside of the Eurostar, the live 10 to a room and grub for cockles.
Yet Nu-Labour maintain their mantra that our feral youth who know no more than the Jeremy Kyle show, a can of Stella and a punch up on the way home from the kebab shop, are suffering from ‘under-privilege’.
In a sense, they are right, they are under privileged. Not because others are privileged, but because they have had removed from them the privilege of believing that you are a fresh life. That it is your life. That you can do with it what you want.
That in fact your life is your responsibility, not your parent’s, not the State’s.
They have been taught – to be ‘receivers’ not ‘takers’.
I am reminded of a girl admitted to Aberystwyth Law School. State educated, a bright girl, but not dedicated enough to have studied for ‘A’ levels – the forgiving State had given her another chance. She was a Welsh speaker, and Welsh speakers were urgently needed to train as lawyers – her language skill was virtually her only qualification.
Now she sat lolled in her chair in a seminar, baffled by the seminar question she had been posed with two week’s warning.
“I dunno” she said – being vaguely bi-lingual.
Eventually she was given the answer.
“Nobody told me that, how am I expected to know?”
“By looking it up in the (exceptionally well supplied!) Law Library?”
“It’s your job to teach me” she replied.
No dear, it’s your responsibility to learn.
- Letters From A Tory » First Class posts on Monday
- April 26, 2010 at 21:34