This week’s TV

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2011 by grahamharrowell

Andrew Neil started well. I wonder whether he ran out of time or whether someone in the BBC got nervous and pulled the plug. In any event his rage guttered out and and his programme ended as a weak plea for the re-instatement of grammar schools, rather than a demand that we not be ruled by a wealthy elite.

The awful truth is that having finally prised open the door of government to allow Harold Wilson, James Callaghan, Edward Heath, Margaret Thatcher and John Major to become Prime Minister ordinary people now find that the old moneyed ruling class have slammed it shut in our faces again.

Not only does it now appear that even Labour only let us choose from Oxbridge graduates, but it seems that even they prefer privately educated recruits. As far as the Conservatives go anything other than Eton is once again not good enough. It took hundreds of years to get universal adult suffrage but now they are clawing back power as hard as they can. The Conservatives aren’t working to bring back grammar schools which they once defended as they realise now that this was the route by which ordinary people could unseat them. No wonder they so love private education and no wonder that these establishments have charitable status.

Another TV programme this week reminded us too that only lawyers from Oxridge (or their Celtic equivalents) need apply for a job in the Supreme Court. Only Lady Hale (the Sian Massey of the judges) appeared to have bucked the trend not only by having attended a normal school but also by being a woman. She was asked whether she thought her colleagues were sexist behind her back and thought they might not be. I can imagine them saying that while she knows all about English law she probably knows nothing about the off-side law. I wish her luck.

The programme also gave pause for reflection on the fate of those unlucky enough to be judged by these people. Judge Phillips (I think it was) said that he didn’t often know what he was going to decide until he was writing up his reasoned argument. He said that often he sympathised with one of the parties but instead of making the fair decision had to make the one that the law required.

To the judges it’s just an intellectual exercise, a game. The soldier, the police officer, the surgeon, the person who has to make a split second life and death decision on the information available at that instant can find him or herself on the wrong end of a deliberation made over a period of days or weeks, in comfortable surroundings with the benefit of all the text books available, private schooling and an Oxbridge education.

We seem to be going back to the 1950s.


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