The introduction to this article from the New Statesman last year puts it more kindly: "There is a law of the Labour back benches: if they do it in Sweden, it must be all right."
That article looks at the Swedish experience of school vouchers. This policy was introduced by one of the country's short-lived right-wing administrations, but has been maintained by later social democrat governments.
It suggests that encouraging more independent providers of schools within the state system in Britain need not be the disaster that some Liberal Democrats fear:
I hold no brief for the voucher mechanism, but I do believe that choice and diversity are Liberal virtues and find a system like the Swedish one attractive.
Up to the late 1980s, Swedish education was highly centralised. Central government controlled finance, overall educational goals and the curriculum. Yet over the next few years, the school system became one of the most decentralised in the EU. In 1992, education vouchers were introduced, allowing parents a free choice of schools. The vouchers represent up to 75 per cent of the per-student cost of the local state school and can be taken to any approved private school, whether profit-making or not, denominational or not. The Stockholm-based Research Institute of Industrial Economics has found that the competition has led to improved standards in state schools and that vouchers have not led to greater advantages for the more affluent: on the contrary, poor Swedes choose independent schools in greater numbers than rich Swedes.
The reforms were set up by a conservative-led government, but were sustained and amplified under succeeding social-democratic administrations. The number of private schools - privately operated rather than fully privatised: they get state funding according to the numbers enrolled - has grown rapidly. In some urban areas as many as 30 per cent of all children attend them.