And as John Elledge shows, that nationalisation includes the biggest appropriation of Church land since the Reformation.
What is going on?
I think I put my finger on it back in 2007 when I reviewed Reinventing the State - the social liberal riposte to the Orange Book - for the Guardian.
I suggested that Liberal Democrat activists would:
appreciate the way Huhne's vision of a rich diversity of local provision contrasts with the Tory idea of popular schools taking over the rest: "It's been a good half for the school: the match with Harrow was won, and St Custard's was purchased through a leveraged buy out."That sounds like me attributing my own eccentric enthusiasms to the party as a whole, and I have forgotten what became of the idea of popular schools taking over the rest.
But it was clear back in 2007 that the Conservatives believes schools should be run as much like private companies as possible.
Hence the recent emphasis on chains of academies. Hence the Budget's removal of parent governors as part of its nationalisation of schools.
What I fear will come next is the gradual privatisation of what the Treasury has nationalised.
As John Elledge says,
Which schools have held out against academisation? They're disproportionately small (larger ones are more likely to be able to afford in house IT teams and so forth). They're disproportionately likely to be primaries (secondaries are larger). And they're disproportionately likely to be rated outstanding (if it ain't broke, don't fix it).
And what type of schools are disproportionately likely to be small but outstanding primaries? Faith schools.Taking on the churches my look a bridge to far even for George Osborne, but it is easy to imagine a campaign against small schools.
We will be told that they cannot offer the facilities and breadth of curriculum that our children deserve. Expect to hear the 'global race' invoked.
And what will become of these closed small schools? Just think of the prime building land they occupy in the centre of sought-after villages.
The forced application of a business ethos to education will result in narrowed educational provision and a diminished life in many communities, even if the schools stay in the public sector.
But is hard to resist the prediction that, at some point in the process, the Treasury will take the opportunity of cashing in and selling off schools to the private sector.