Tuesday, January 08, 2008

David Blunkett doesn't get social mobility

I've just listened to the Today program (BBC Radio 4) give David Blunkett ( the disgraced former Labour home secretary ) time for a long rant that explains his basic lack of a grip on real life.

Oh yes he's had it hard - and then easy - and then was caught out. But what he said goes in part to explain why Labour just can't get to grips with the issue of helping people for fill their potential. ( I hate the term social mobility as it implies an element of class war and also losers being required as well as winners ).

As an example Mr Blunkett used a lad from Sheffield who's ambition was to become a air conditioning engineer. Mr Blunkett started to say there was nothing wrong with that - but then went on to imply the opposite by saying if he's been born in the right part of Sheffield he's have done work experience with doctors and lawyers. ( Not that doctors job prospects look too good under Labour ).

Now how can Labour politicians moan on about vocational qualifications and by implication jobs being of equal value and respect and then come out with that ? Perhaps this young man needed more options laid out in front of him, but if he follows his original idea he's going to do quite allright thank you. If the education system should be doing anything it should be adding to that ambition of making him an air conditioning engineer who runs his own business. This young man will make far greater contributions to society than a fist full of David Beckham studies, media studies, politics graduates ever will.

I know men in mid life who have degree and white collar jobs who are retaining to be plumbers and electricians so they can have more job satisfaction, work for themselves and contribute more. They are much more for filled for doing it.

Blunkett thinks the best idea is to tax higher earners on their child benefits. So the government takes the money in tax, pays to administer the child benefit system, pays the money back, then pays to administer a complex system to retrieve the money back again to spend on a scheme which will no doubt employ a lot of Guardian / Independent readers in a pseudo jobs preaching to kids. ( Do you see the only real effect is to bloat the state [ups Labour's payroll vote] and employ more youth specialists [assumed to vote - um let me see - Labour ] whilst taxing the people who disagree with the policy the most).

I suspect the underlying problem with a lot of Labour party politicians is guilt. Its guilt they developed at University as they tried to drop their middle class accents and hide their public/grammar school educations by campaigning for education for the 'under privileged and working class'. The problem is they have no idea what such people really want, but just assume it must be to be like them. The "I had the opportunity" which must be spread argument.

There are a good number of Conservative MPs who have exactly the experience many of these Labour champaign socialists lack who have come to different conclusions - David Davis, Nadine Dorries, John Major for example.

I've argued before very efficient social sorting by ability, which is what high social mobility means, will create an under class devoid of hope and talent which due to housing structure will be even more concentrated together. Does anyone think that will work well ?

The BBC should challenge Mr Blunkett's assumptions, only most of the BBC employees had the same University experience of middle class guilt, which makes thinking differently impossible for them also.

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