Daily Archives: 10 November 2005

Irony Blair

I’ll shut up about political ironies soon, I promise, but I forgot about Blair claiming that it was “better to be right and lose than to be wrong and win.” Very Old Labour. SNORT!

And then we have the Great Leader accusing MPs of being “out of touch” – this being the man who took us into a war based on a false prospectus and in the face of public opinion? DOUBLE SNORT!

More ironies

With apologies to any American readers out there, a couple more notes on my bemusement of the sheer zaniness of British politics:

  • The Government pontificating on the need to listen to professionals when it comes to the police, while doing the exact opposite in the far more complicated field of medicine.
  • Labour legislating to prevent “losers” in first-past-the-post elections to the Welsh Assembly from also standing in the top up list elections, and calling for similar reforms to be made in Scotland, while simultaneously rewarding one of their most famous losers in this year’s General Election with a life peerage.

Loading the dice

Over at the Apollo Project, Peter links to an interesting article about selection in secondary education, and its inherent randomness.

It isn’t clear in the article, but the local authority it refers to could well be Bromley, where I grew up and attended the Grammar.

Either way, it certainly reflects my experience, where it did indeed appear fairly random who got selected and who didn’t. What’s more, plenty of people I went to school with had extra private tutoring to get them through the 11-plus (I didn’t), which was why it was disproportionately posh.

Resources will always be limited, and I don’t oppose choice in principle, so I’m not opposed to randomness in allocating people places. But just as catchment areas give rich people who can afford to move an advantage, selection rewards those who can afford extra support. If we’re going to have randomness, the least unfair way of managing it would be an actual lottery. Misty eyed nostalgia about the wonders of Grammars doesn’t get us anywhere.