The bare-faced chutzpah of Alan Milburn was matched only by the incompetence of the BBC interviewer.
Former Labour Health Minister Milburn was blathering on about how the gap between rich and poor in Britain had widened not narrowed. He had authored a report for Prime Minister Gordon Brown which found that opportunities for the poor had worsened to the point where the middle classes were increasingly dominating jobs in the professions like doctors, lawyers and business.
Something must be done, said Milburn, to stop this outrage, and BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interviewer Sarah Montague just took all this at face value. She asked respectful questions about how this might be done, but ignored the bleeding obvious.
The questions should have gone something like this.
“Surely, if this scenario is true, this is the result of 12 years of Labour government is it not? If the system is failing, surely it is down to you, and all you can suggest is a repeat of these failed policies? Grammar schools might have been brutal in weeding out the bright from the dumb, but at least this meant that the talented poor were able to win a world class education. Surely, instead of cutting off this escape route for the poor it would have been better to increase the number of grammar schools and raise standards in the rest, not dumb them down for all as the Labour party insists on doing?”
“But it is true, isn’t it Mr Milburn, that all this talk in the Labour Party about equality simply means forcing everyone down to the lowest common denominator until we all receive equally crap education or health care or whatever. Isn’t it true that instead of the improvements in education you claim, the Labour party has presided over a shameful trashing of exam standards which is acknowledged by experts not in the pay of your failed government?”
“Is it not a surprise that the poor are being excluded from higher education if you introduce huge charges which mean that any one graduating without their own family funds to pay the bills will face working life with a massive debt mountain to pay off? Has this helped to persuade the poor into higher education?”
“And then you insult us with the final, demented idea. You patronise the poor by forcing universities to lower their standards, rather than seeking to improve education from the ground up.”
I don’t know why Ms Montague didn’t attack Milburn for his bare-faced effrontery. Sadly, there are only two reasons that I can think of. She was too dumb to ask them. Or, as a card-carrying leftie, she was too corrupt to ask.
It was a shame that she couldn’t have taken a leaf out of Kirsty Wark of NewsNight’s book. She interviewed former Labour cabinet minister James Purnell after he had addressed some back street meeting of an obscure leftie organisation where he talked about his infantile vision of a left-of-centre future. (As if he and his colleagues hadn’t done enough damage in their 12 year tenure, they still want to impose their daft, failed socialism on us). Purnell tried to insist that Wark question him about this, as if his failed, childish philosophy could be of any interest to the NewsNight audience. Instead she relentless badgered him on the reasons for his resignation last month, when he thought he was leading the revolt against Gordon Brown, only to find when he turned around to greet his fellow revolutionaries that David Miliband and the rest had chickened out.
Getting back to education and Milburn; isn’t it tragic that with Labour’s failed policies harming the very people it exists to help, the Tories have also dumped the grammar school route (that’s why I resigned from the party). Who is one to vote for at the next general election? Maybe the only solution is grab the pitchforks and march on Westminster.