tue 17/09/2019

Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Run Britain, BBC Two | reviews, news & interviews

Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Run Britain, BBC Two

Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Run Britain, BBC Two

Clearly, it's a one-horse race to the top for the toffs

Grammar-school boy Andrew Neil doffs his cap to no one

Say what you like about the posh – they know their place. Equipped from an early age with a sense of entitlement, they also have access to the oldest and most powerful social network there is: call it what you will, but the old boys' network remains, and you’d be hopelessly naïve to think otherwise. Where would our current prime minister be without it? Tony Parsons, who, as a working-class boy made good, is among a pitifully declining breed, thought he knew: “If David Cameron had gone to a comprehensive school he’d be lucky to be digging ditches,” he spat. That seemed unduly harsh, but after absorbing a few of the stats in last night’s Posh and Posher, it seemed fairly clear what Cameron’s “life chances” – to use old New Labour parlance – would have been, and it certainly wouldn’t have included running the country.

For 33 years all our prime ministers were products of state education. The line was broken only by the arrival of a Labour government

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Watching British politics from Australia is like looking back in time. The class structure still strangles British innovation and creates corruption and resentment. England drowns in sports glory when it beats Australia, like a drunken yob. The death of the Empire requires some amputation for the home country to survive, but nobody is brave enough. The gangrene sets in, and Europe laughs at it's little lost neighbour.

I, too, found the programme riveting and also deeply depressing - as a parent who cannot possibly afford to put my children through public school, it seemed I was watching this compelling commentary while being forced to give up any hope of my children making their way in any of the professions so dominated by this privately-educated elite. And then I remembered that all we're talking about, really, is politics, law and finance. Do I even want my children to become greedy bankers or part of the duplicitous breed that runs our country? No, I don't. Perhaps I'm kidding myself, but, as a journalist, and someone working in the arts (design, architecture), I have no sense whatsoever that these particular fields are dominated by those who went to elite schools - or that anyone I've ever met within the arts is even remotely interested in where you were educated. It's the quality of ideas that counts.....But I could be kidding myself. What I'd like to see is a really thorough investigation of other professions to see if the same 'elite' prevails there too, or whether there is still something of a level playing field, somewhere in the UK professions!

Whilst generally the programme was well informed, I felt that it would have been more informative if he had pointed out which political party has done its best to destroy the grammar school system thus reducing all pupils to the lowest denominator and thereby depriving many poorer, but brighter, children of a decent standard of education similar to that of his own.

Really enjoyed the documentary, I felt very well-informed and pleased to see it's very positive opinions towards grammar schools and hope that it will help more people to come about thinking as such. However, having attended a public school (founded as a grammar school, still remains selective with about average fees ~3000 per term,) I was surprised to see one of my former colleagues in the video debating in the Oxford Union portrayed as the Etonian stereotype which was so often mentioned. I don't believe there was a harder working person in his year; our old school is only responsible for instilling a very strong work ethic in its students and has no more vetting/links to politics than any state college in the area.

Dear j walsh (and Michael Gove): Grammar schools are not like they used to be. They still offer opportunities for the very bright from the lower economic echelons, but they now take in mostly middle-class children whose parents fork out £25 (or more) once a week (or more) for a year (or more) on private tuition which will enable their darlings to pass the 11-plus. The actual poor are consequently on an extremely tilted playing field, and they are running uphill no matter which bit of it they're on. The tutors are meanwhile adding expensive conservatories to their houses and enjoying much better wine.

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