Thursday, 4 November 2010

Another Labour MP denies his own hard work and intelligence

So yesterday we had Bridget Phillipson claiming that a large part of her success in life was down to a £20 a week government subsidy.

And now we have Andy Burnham trying something similar.

My passion in politics is raising aspiration for all. It was forged by the disorientating experience of going in the 1980s from a Merseyside comprehensive to Cambridge University. I spent my first two years fearing the tap on the shoulder and a polite request to leave. But, as I began to see past the façade of opinionated self-confidence, I realised just how unfairly we distribute life chances in this country. It’s still true today – postcode rather than potential determines where a child ends up. 
Hmm. So would Andy Burnham like to give a reason as for why he got in to Cambridge?  Was it all just a fluke? Or could it be down to the fact that he was bright and he worked bloody hard?  Could it also be down to the fact that however class-bound some of our institutions are, they do offer opportunities for those who are bright and work hard - opportunities that men and women in other societies would die for? What's interesting here is that Labour MPs are keen to suggest their success depends on Labour institutions - eg EMA - but very much less keen to suggest their success depends on other institutions - eg Cambridge university, its openness to bright pupils from all walks of life.

From what I can see, Burnham is slagging off the system that did him so well, and suggesting to bright kids that they can't succeed if they've got the wrong postcode. This is an extremely odd way to promote aspiration. How about he tours some of the tough inner city schools out there and tells the kids that if they knuckle under and work hard, they can succeed. I mean, it worked for him...

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