Saturday 24 June 2017

Language a bigger barrier than baptism

There should be no choice of primary school, argues Sarah Carey. But why do accusations of exclusion only fall on religion?

New school of thought: Perhaps we should follow Finland’s lead, where 'school choice' doesn't exist and children are doing better as a result
New school of thought: Perhaps we should follow Finland’s lead, where 'school choice' doesn't exist and children are doing better as a result

I'm often accused of being right-wing, which I think is unfair. I firmly believe in the power of public services to achieve equality of opportunity and above all - fairness. But, I'm also a pragmatist. Change comes by increment, not revolution. And most relevant for today's purposes, I'm alert to the ruthlessness of the middle class who dress up their self-serving hypocrisies in pieties - the greatest of all being the dogma of choice. The sanctimonious mantra of choice often disguises the pernicious philosophy of individuality that has created a fragmented, self-selecting society in which liberal slogans are a mockery to those who don't have the privilege of control over their lives.

In some areas of life, the right to choose really means the right to get ahead at someone else's expense. I think a good society is one in which individual sovereignty is pooled for the greater good. A bit like the EU.

For example, in an ideal world I'd ban access to private health care. If the people who made decisions about public health services were obliged to use them, I think the standard would be considerably improved.

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