Bizarre policy discussions I have on a surprisingly regular basis

(here and here for example, though more frequently in real life).

DD: I see you are shooting your gob off about bringing back grammar schools.
Straw Man Opponent[1]: Yes I am.
DD: How strange; previously I had heard you claim you were a socialist.
SMO: Grammar schools are a profoundly egalitarian policy and only the middle classes oppose them.
DD: Do go on …
SMO: Well, if we don’t have grammar schools then the best education goes to rich kids, either through private education or because of selection by house prices. That means that bright kids from the working class end up in sink schools and can’t go to Oxford.
DD: There are a number of empirical claims there which I don’t necessarily agree with but do go on.
SMO: Whereas if we brought back the 11 plus, there would be loads of grammar schools which could compete with the private schools and the bright kids with poor parents would get a really great education.
DD: What about the other kids? Specifically, what about those kids with poor parents who would not be able to pass the 11 plus. Tt would at least appear at first glance that this group, in which I suspect there would be quite a few members of the working class, would be getting a somewhat worse education than they do today under your proposal.
SMO: The thickies? Fuck ’em.

I really don’t feel the need to read Michael Young’s “The Rise of the Meritocracy”. I’ve been living it for the last fifteen years.

[1] Although Nick Cohen actually believes all of this (or at least he writes that he does in his Evening Standard column; there must be at least a weak relationship).

Update: oh yeh, happy Christmas.


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