Let’s grow up and get rid of private schools.

Good night’s sleep and feeling a little better than of late. Off to have dental check at hospital this afternoon. I’m getting a little depressed with the constant sore throat, I know it will eventually go (hopefully) but it seems as if I’ve had it for a very long time. There is a local group who get cancer patients together to have some sort of group therapy and they should be contacting me soon, I’ve vacillated about whether to participate or not but think I will. The treatment I’ve had has been severe and has affected me a great deal physically and I’m becoming more aware of the emotional and psychological effects as well, I am a different person but I’m not sure how I’m different.

Last night I was also thinking again about this blog and it’s psychology as well as my own. Stuff about myself has lessened as treatment has finished and recovery is well under way. There is still the getting of results but that is still 2 months away. Am I going to carry on ranting away about all my perceived injustices of the world?

Yes I am, and today instead of the usual sort of stream of consciousness bollocks I want to write a more focussed piece about an injustice that is close to my professional heart, is stifling the life chances of an ever increasing number of people in this country and is detrimental to the well being of this country. It is the ever increasing prevalence of the privately educated in areas of life that previously afforded those from less privileged backgrounds opportunities. It will not be about those areas that are already well known: the old etonians in condom cameron’s bulligang, the judiciary, thendiplomatic service and higher echelons of the civil service and the like. Instead I want to focus more on the arts, an area where one would think it more down to whatever innate talent and drive individuals have.

First up I would like these institutions to be called what they are: private, not public, schools. I went to a grammar school and these were modelled on private schools. Whilst I quite enjoyed my school days I never felt totally comfortable and knew that segregation of young people a bad thing. Many who go to private school experience extreme segregation from their parents and homes as they will be sent off at a tender age, often 7 or 8, to boarding school and this is emotionally and psychologically damaging to such young children. There is increasing evidence of this: http://www.joyschaverien.com/  Joy Schaverien has termed it boarding school syndrome.

Anyway I digress a little. I have read various articles in recent months about the increasing prevalence of the privately educated in the arts. In acting we have the likes of the privately educated racist cumberbatch and redmayne up for oscars and Julie Walters expressing the opinion that she doesn’t think she would have the chances she did as a young actress and despairs at the number of begging letters she gets from aspiring young actors who cannot afford to go to drama school. One oft quoted aspect of private education is that it instils and breeds confidence and that is a pretty important component of acting and performing. Add to this a 400 seat purpose built theatre, a head of theatre, a director in residence, a full-time designer, carpenter, manager, wardrobe mistress as they have at eton and the already privileged have a massive head start on those less fortunate. Despite this all concerned will claim that it is ‘raw talent’ that brings their success, as may be, but from a very small pool. Also acting is notorious for many actors being out of work so it helps to have rich parents.

I was in London in the early 80’s when alternative comedy came about and it was very exciting and great fun as anyone could have a go. Delve into the academic provenance of current comics and the same story emerges. For example up to the end of series K of QI there had been 114 appearances, 43 were privately educated, that’s about 38% (remember 7% of all children are privately educated). Even ‘thick’ Alan Davies went to a private school.

Now you would think that pop music might be different and 25 years ago in 1990 it was with just 1% of chart musicians privately educated. A survey in 2010 showed an astonishing 60% of chart musicians went to private school, including everyone’s favourite chris martin of coldplay.

And so it goes on in the rest of the arts and sport, even footie is getting more privately educated players.

Her’s a spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Xk0iSzutXsNlthkNQwJy9ymu5vhJcbZuSBhd7Pgts9I/edit?usp=sharing, shows some differences to my earlier quoted figures, especially with pop, but the one I quoted was from a snapshot in 2010. Either way we live in a class ridden, ‘elitist’ society and there is precious little meritocracy.

And it is compounded by many of these institutions being all male and mostly white, so the narrowing is enhanced.

The answer, if like me you want change, is obvious – get rid of private schools; time we stopped tugging forelocks (I can’t anyway since my hair fell out) and grew up a little. It seems the Green Party are the only ones who might even consider this, at least they’ve debated it and are committed to a proper comprehensive school system.

Don’t know why the gargoyle might be against plain fag packets, would give him and ucrap a little more space for policies.

Manifesto 72:

  • probably had it before but no harm repeating: abolish all private schools.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.


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