“Free tertiary education is also the issue on which progressive movements in Europe have had the most striking success; and in this Corbyn echoes Blair’s breakthrough on the NHS in 2000, when he argued to increase health spending, not because he loved waste, but because if they could afford a higher per capita spend in Europe, why couldn’t we?
It’s a terribly elegant argument, marrying social generosity with a pride in British exceptionalism, which must have something for pretty much everyone. Once you’ve accepted that, the promise of maintenance grants sounds like a detail.”
“Finally, the promise of investment in adult education is a platitude – who could possibly want adults to be less skilled, less fulfilled, than they could be? – that masks a huge shift in priorities. Further education, known in the political class as what happens to other people’s children, has been underfunded for nearly a decade.”
FE colleges have been appropriated to become ill-starred academies, and places on English and literacy courses for adults have been slashed. To reverse this would be life-changing for the least privileged: and yet it arrives as a very anodyne notion, that learning should be lifelong, an idea from neither the left nor the right, but the civilised mind.”
For political class, read Guardian readers, who now make up over 40% of the membership of the Labour Party. A membership with only 26% in it deemed to be working class. If one were solely to rely on the Guardian for one’s view of the world then one would think that all young people, despite only a third or so going to university, are in student debt. Of course, in the world of both Zoe Williams and Jeremy Corbyn, they, more often than not, probably are.
I will say it again, free university tuition fees are a blatant move to win votes in the Labour leadership election, just as they were last year. However, if not accompanied by targeted measures to increase the diversity of students getting to university admissions interviews as well as possibly an increased number of university places then free university tuition merely entrenches, not challenges, the privileges of the class to which Jeremy Corbyn and Zoe Williams belong.
Social mobility “can only happen when slots at the top are open and that must mean the sons and daughters of incumbents failing to fill them and sliding down the ladder. Privileged people fight tooth and nail to avoid such a fate for their children. They spend on schools and college and network fervently.”
When Jeremy Corbyn proposes to disarm the privilege of the middle class then Zoe Williams, and only then, will his NES be worth praising as being in any way ground breaking and socialist. When Tamsin, Tarquin, Seb, John, Owen, Abi and Zoe start cavilling at the implications of Corbyn’s NES then I will sit up and take notice, but not before.
I make no apologies for not doffing my cloth cap and tugging my forelock at the generosity of Squire Corbyn and Lady Zoe Bountiful.
Oh, yes, that principle? That we, the Labour Party are committed to equal opportunity for all, whatever their sex, their age, their disability, their gender, their race, their geographical locality, their circumstances, their background and their class.
“Find a moment to honour our D-Day heroes today, despite everything else that’s going on”
Former paratrooper and Labour MP, Dan Jarvis, explains how, when faced with today’s terrorist threats, we can still learn from the heroes of D-Day, and take a moment to remember them. But today, just as then, those freedoms are under attack. Then it was the Nazis, today it is terrorism.
On Thursday, the nation’s attention will be focused on the General Election and what it means for our future.
But today, as we recover from another terrorist attack on London we should also take a moment to remember our past. Because for me, whatever else is happening – the 6th of June will always be D-Day.
D-Day has a huge significance for everyone who has served in our Armed Forces; not least because the term ‘D-Day’ is still used to plan military operations. But the D-Day that began at 6:30am on June 6th 1944 has a special significance.
It was five years since the beginning of the Second World War and four years since the allies had withdrawn from mainland Europe. And was the largest amphibious invasion in history, with more than 158,000 men were carried by over 4,000 ships and thousands of landing craft.
For thousands of young men, that moment 73 years ago began with a ramp lowering in front of them. Some would arrive on beaches that were unopposed. Others would immediately be struck down by a hail of machine-gun fire.
I remember talking to one D-Day veteran in my home town of Barnsley who had spent 40 hours in a boat. He told me that the crossing had been so hazardous that when they finally arrived at the Normandy beaches they were barely in a fit state to fight. But they didn’t want any fuss and they just got on with it.
But the battle for Normandy did not end that day; there were many more hard battles fought over the following 80 days.
The human cost of that victory can still be seen today at the 27 war cemeteries dotted along the Normandy coast. These contain the remains of more than 110,000 dead from both sides. Standing in front of those graves it is impossible not to feel both humbled and inspired.
That’s why, despite everything else that is going on at the moment, and the horrors of the London and Manchester attacks, we should today find a moment to honour these people and what they achieved for us.
The heroes who took up arms 73 years ago did so to defend the freedoms we still enjoy today. But today, just as then, those freedoms are under attack. Then it was the Nazis, today it is terrorism.
If we are to again overcome those threats and protect our freedoms, we must remember the unity and purpose that generation showed, and what they achieved.
That, much more than our differences, is what should still define us today.
I gather some white (middle class, male) Corbyn fans Labour are not happy with responses to this meme?
I think, perhaps, people might not be quite so incensed, if it read “Only Labour can be trusted to enable Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people help themselves to exploit their potential to the full.”
However, even that statement is offensive, because it implies that other parties, some of whose voters Labour needs to attract to win elections, cannot be trusted on this matter.
Unfortunately for Labour, Corbyn, when appointing, not recruiting, people to the Office of Labour Leader, invariably appoints white, middle class (some very affluent), even upper class, mostly male, some even ex public school & Oxbridge, types to well paid positions in Labour’s hierarchy:
Corbyn, from the outset of his leadership, adopted a family, friends and associates approach to appointing people to key Labour positions. His son, Seb, is a perfect example of his casual nepotism.
Corbyn might put his own house in order when it comes to recruitment exercises by adopting the best practice to be found on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.
May be Corbyn should put equality of opportunity at the heart of his organisation before seeking to lecture others on their failings? Then perhaps women, the working class and BAME might start taking him seriously when he pronounces on matters such as inequality and how to enable those suffering from it, to help themselves to tackle it.
The days when elderly, quite affluent, well intentioned, but not very bright, white middle class men got to speak for others should be well and truly over by now. Take a look outside, it is 2017 and not 1917, is it not? Women today have got the vote, along with all men, regardless of class, unlike in 1917.
Labour should be about helping people to find their voices so they may speak for themselves. They should not be expected to rely on people like Corbyn, who invariably say what they think those they patronise want saying. Quite often, they do not act so much as interpreters or loud hailers as not especially loud mistranslators.
To be fair, Corbyn does wish to do unto others as he would have them do unto him. I, however, favour treating others in the way they would wish to be treated. I may only do so by asking them what they feel and want. If Corbyn adopted such an approach then may be we might see fewer memes and statements like the one above.
Many in Labour do not approve of Corbyn’s paternalistic approach to tackling inequality.