Persecution of Public school types

A recent interesting article in the Daily Mail raised the question of how the current breed of Labourites is able to get away with so many sideswipes against one of the UK's once distinguished and respected minorities, the Anglo-Saxon public schoolboy.

Certain ministers and civil servants are able to treat this important minority group with contempt and daily conspire to bring about its extinction as a social grouping.

And yet, until very recently 7 or 8 % of children in then UK were privately educated. That makes a very important minority. Bear in mind that according to the 2003 census the percentage of non-white UK citizens was 7.9%, and it becomes clear that in fact all the talk about misrepresentation of minorities is a lot of nonsense.

The main reason for showing concern about representation of different groupings is not to do with skin colour, but to do with the distinctive perspectives and contributions that different cultural traditions can bring to public life. Politics and the public service are certainly the poorer if they do not include those who can share something of Indian, African and Chinese culture and values with the rest of us. But they are also the poorer if they do not have a healthy contingent of those whose minds have been formed without the direct involvement or interference of the government, in a strong, native cultural tradition which has so much valued the pursuit of excellence, the defence of custom, the genius of place, the sense of duty, the value of truth. To push such people out of public life by stigmatising the 'public school white male' is to advance one step closer to a totalitarian state.

I would wager that statsticians could easily show that all of Labour's new quangoes and bogus ministries seriously under-represent the nation's historic administrative and ruling class. And those who make it in are expected, just like the acolytes of Mao and Lenin, to make a public show of disdain for their own cultural background and upbringing.

This, despite the fact that the private sector has, since its inception in the middle ages, often sought ways to be socially inclusive. The grammar schools shared in this tradition and further perpetuated it. (A recent LSE study showed that the abolition of grammar schools was the single greatest blow to social mobility in the 20th century).

So it's not about snobbery, but about handing on a culture that deserves to be treated with respect and may yet have much to give to Britain.


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