“The right hon. Gentleman caught the Whigs bathing, and walked away with their clothes. He has left them in the full enjoyment of their liberal position, and he is himself a strict conservative of their garments.”
“… expressing thus publicly my belief that a Conservative Government is an organised hypocrisy …”
Benjamin Disraeli in the House of Commons (17 March 1845)
New Canterbury Labour MP Rosie Duffield campaigned on an anti-grammars platform at the General Election. Both of Ms Duffield’s sons went to Simon Langton Grammar School in Canterbury.
Ms Duffield told a Canterbury Christ Church hustings in May that the Kent Test was “horrible, divisive and stressful”, but also revealed both her sons had gone to grammar schools – with one still attending and the other deciding it was “too competitive”.
Daniel Hamilton, who has been tipped as a future Conservative challenger in the city, has written an open letter to the new Labour MP, “At the general election, you fought – and were elected on – a manifesto which pledged not to “waste money on inefficient… vanity projects” such as grammar schools. You personally described grammar schools as “unequal” and “damaging” and refused to support the expansion of local grammar schools – a move which will increase pressure for places at excellent schools.”
But the Labour Party has hit back at attempts to smear Ms Duffield, saying you, “can’t opt out of the system (despite Miss Duffield saying one of her sons was no longer attending Simon Langton Grammar School), but you can disagree with it”.
A spokesperson for Ms Duffield said, “As far as we are concerned this is just an attempt by the Conservatives to raise the profile of Daniel Hamilton. He doesn’t live here, as far we know he lives between London and Stockport.
Rosie cannot opt out and choose to go to a comprehensive. With regards to the education of her son, she has worked within the constraints of the system she’s been given. Kent is a grammar county.
The grammar school system in Kent is broken, it does not work, which is why we are campaigning for a fairer system for all at the point of access.”
The grammar school system in Kent does work, but for the few, not the many:
The few to whom Labour pledged universal free university tuition, free universal childcare, free universal school meals, cheaper rail fares … And, if they are earning less than £80,000 per year, no Income Tax and National Insurance increases for five years or for the length of of Corbyn’s first Parliamentary term as Prime Minister.
One would think, going by Labour’s rebuttal, that there are no secondary schools, other than grammar schools, within the Canterbury constituency, or for that matter, Kent. Also, that there are no non selective schools.
Neither is the case.