Grammar schools: the part they played in May’s downfall

Janet Downs's picture

Theresa May hasn’t quite fallen: she’s hanging on by her fingernails while requesting help from her shadow despite saying he was unfit to govern.   But she’s falling, nevertheless.

When the history of Brexit is written, it’s likely grammar schools will be identified as a factor in the PM’s demise.

Turn the clock back to summer 2016.  The country’s shell-shocked – and divided.  There’s been triumphalism, tragedy and treachery.  Theresa May wins a leadership election.

What would be the new PM’s first policy announcement at this grave time?  A government of national unity, perhaps?  Cross party talks?  Debates to thrash out what kind of Brexit would get Parliamentary support (that is, the kind of debates which have taken place in the last couple of weeks at five seconds to midnight)?

We waited.

And when it arrived, what was May’s momentous strategy about?

Grammar schools.

The country was facing a challenge which hadn’t been seen since the end of World War Two.  And the PM was fixated on grammar schools.

It was as if a PM had announced what logo would decorate government notepaper when all our telecommunication satellites had been knocked out by a hostile power.

The extension of selective education – the government-sanctioned segregation of children at 11 decided on the ability to pass a couple of short tests – has been a constant hum accompanying the descent into today’s soap opera.

There may be an extension to Brexit – or not. The UK may leave in a few days’ time – or not.  There may be another referendum – or not.  The Commons roof may stop leaking – or it may collapse (a metaphor, if ever there was one).

But one thing will remain constant.  When HMS Brexit finally limps into port (or sinks beneath the waves), the final poop-poop is likely to be a gargled cry of ‘Grammar Schools’.

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Mr_Chas's picture
Tue, 09/04/2019 - 11:39

What a load of rubbish! #youwish

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