Too many Old Etonians or too many young Estonians?

Education Secretary Michael Gove, himself a public-school boy, has a problem with the number of Old Etonians in Dave’s cabinet.

Personally, as I suggested the other day, I don’t care about the educational background of our cabinet members, their sex, race or religion. I do have a problem with their competence, or rather lack thereof.

However, I’m not sure how drawing our leaders from idiot-spewing comprehensives would improve the quality of government in Britain. I rather think that would make it even worse, which is saying a lot.

Mr Gove hastily reassured his cabinet colleagues that he had no problem with the individuals involved, and his comments came only from the vantage point of his remit.

Every child, said Mr Gove, must be the author of “their life story”. He thus not only highlighted the problem but also inadvertently illustrated it by following a singular antecedent with a plural possessive pronoun, thereby avoiding the toxic word ‘his’.

In general, Mr Gove’s use of English is astonishingly bad, especially for a professional hack and education guru. Perhaps, when all is said and done, private schooling doesn’t confer the same educational advantages as it did in the past.

The overrepresentation of Old Etonians reflects a situation Mr Gove called ‘ridiculous’. It’s “a function of the fact that… more boys from Eton go to Oxford and Cambridge than boys eligible for free school meals.”

Why does he suppose that is? Is it the inbred nepotism and cronyism of Oxbridge? Or is it the fault of our comprehensives that can’t teach pupils even basic literacy and numeracy? One would rather think it’s the latter.

Contrary to what the dominant egalitarian ideology insists we believe, not everyone can qualify for our best universities, or even the worst ones. Yet everyone can and must be taught the elementary skills required for survival in the commercial world.

Lumping all children together on the basis of a virtual-world ideology is a sure recipe for educational disaster – and a guarantor of more, not less, social stratification in the real world.

When free schools mainly teach pupils how to use condoms but not how to use their brains, parents will strain every fiscal sinew to educate their children privately. Obviously, the richer the parents, the more likely they are to succeed.

Research bears this logic out with irrefutable ease. Countries that have retained grammar schools have for all intents and purposes eliminated the link between the parent’s wealth and the child’s education.

Cross-checking the performance of 15-year-olds against their social background, the study published by the European Sociological Review showed that in Britain 9.4 percent of the variance was caused by the pupil’s social background.

In Germany, which has happily retained grammar schools, the corresponding figure is 1.4 percent. Almost seven times lower.

When schools are used as laboratories for social engineering or else as ideological battlegrounds, they’ll produce results diametrically opposite to the ideologues’ stated  intentions, though probably consonant with their innermost cravings.

The ruling elite’s political survival depends on an illiterate populace. After all, if people were taught to express themselves with good grammar and proper cadences, they wouldn’t want to be governed by the likes of Gove or his friends George and Dave.

Also, once confined to the idiot-spewing comprehensives, how motivated do you suppose English pupils will be to improve their language skills when most of their classmates don’t speak English at home and are encouraged to uphold their ‘culture’ at school? Not very, would be my guess.

The problem isn’t with the sheer numbers of foreigners – witness the superb mastery of English so many Indian pupils used to attain in their own country under the Raj.

Whatever they spoke at home, they were told in no uncertain terms that only English must be spoken at an English-language school – and spoken properly, with no allowances made for the pupil’s native linguistic background.

According to our prevailing PC ideology, this sort of thing would be downright offensive for not being sufficiently multi-culti. Force an Estonian or Indonesian child to speak correct English, and you may leave him with lasting psychological scars.

It’s so much better to leave all pupils, regardless of their nativity, in a state of savagery – and not even the noble kind so beloved of Rousseau.

So what’s Mr Gove going to do about this, other than pander to class resentment already alive and well in Britain?

Oh yes, he’s loudly and hypocritically proud of sending his own children to Greycoat School in central London. It happens to be one of the top 10 state schools in Britain, with a waiting list to rival Eton’s, but Mr Gove leaves this detail out of his rhodomontades.

Is he going to announce that, should the Tories retain power, they’ll phase out comprehensives over the life of the next Parliament? Will they decree that our schools will insist on all pupils adapting to the English civilisation, rather than it adapting to them? Will he reinstate grammar schools?

Yes, and schweinen will fly, as my friend Angela likes to say, always adding that in real life they don’t fly and this is simply a figure of speech. It’ll be a cold day in hell before our spivs realise what a social and cultural catastrophe they’ve perpetrated in Britain. And a positive freeze before they really do something about it.

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