back to grant-maintained schools, introduced by Thatcher is her assault on the concept of society in favour of individualism.And they also mean that parents will:
have to apply for several schools simultaneously (sometimes all the schools in a town if moving into an area) rather than simply asking the local authority to find a place.I am never going to agree with this. I find that I expressed my own views in an article on Comment is Free back in April 2006:
And, incidentally, grant-maintained schools long predate Mrs Thatcher.
If liberalism is to amount to something more than socialism without the identity cards, respect for individual difference must be central to it. Yet British discomfort around social class makes it hard to show that respect when discussing education.
In particular, the suggestion that different sorts of school might suit different children is invariably met with a charge of wanting "to put the clock back 50 years" ...
Meanwhile, the attempt to cater for every need in one neighbourhood school risks maintaining the huge institutions that dogged the comprehensive system from its inception.
But the point of this posting is that Chris's article gives me the chance to make a point I have long had on my mind.
It is that a Liberal Democrat like Chris, who clearly has no time for Tory views on education at all, would probably be far more interesting, and far more use in developing a distinctly Liberal Democrat position, if he talked about how he disagrees with Labour on the subject.
Similarly, the party's free market enthusiasts - like the people around Liberal Vision - would do better to talk about how they disagree with Conservative view on the economy.
It is the people you are tempted to agree with that you should be wary of. And it is the ways you find you differ from them when you think hard about it that are really important.