When I was reading Nick Cohen’s “What’s Left?”, the one thing the other half kept asking was if Shami Chakrabarti had come in for any criticism. Fortunately for him, his heroine was not mentioned.
Recent events, however, have shown her damn herself utterly. What she highlights is an element of the left who are ideologically driven to the point where they are either hoping that a) people don’t notice they are behaving in a completely hypocritical manner or b) are deluding themselves they are not.
I fear that in many cases, it is, in fact, the latter. Does this happen on the right? No doubt, but that’s not the focus of this post.
So Shami believes that grammar schools and selection are wrong while choosing to send her own child to a selective private school. Twice she was asked to respond to this over recent weeks and twice she gave the same terse answer – she lives a charmed life in a lovely house and eats well while some of her neighbours are homeless and go to food banks, does this make her a hypocrite?
Not on the issue of food and housing it doesn’t because, to my knowledge at least, she is not actively seeking to prevent others from eating the same food or living in a nice home. Nice deflection Shami, but you were asked about education.
The issue of paying for her child’s education is in some ways secondary to that of selection in the current climate. It would seem she has convinced herself that it is fine in the private sector but not in the state sector. What is the difference though? In theory, most, if not all, the arguments against selection apply equally to both sectors. It is perfectly feasible to hold a position which allows a choice of private and state schools without supporting selection. That is not what her ilk on the left choose to do.
She wants a private education for her child because it confers advantages. Selective education confers even more. Why pretend otherwise? Like Diane Abbott before her, she has gone down the line of a weak defense while admonishing those who would make similar choices for the exact same reasons.
Of course one doesn’t have to go far to uncover the hypocrisy of the left in education. An overwhelmingly middle-class left-leaning teaching profession has systematically denied the kind of academic education that their own children benefit from to the poorest. Selection based on political beliefs is fine, by the 11+ is horrific.
If the left leaning want to demonstrate a credible position on selection in education, then a reality check is needed on many levels.
Piously holding onto leftist beliefs and ideas means nothing when simultaneously trying to get away with a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude. Hypocrisy is hypocrisy no matter who you are or how much you convince yourself it’s different when you do it.