Curate's Egg (laid by a serpent)

Richard Harris rhh1 at
Sun Aug 17 19:12:16 MDT 2003

Jurriaan wrote:
> Subject: The Serpent's Egg
> What is interesting is that the Minister, while admitting the existence of
> social classes

I think you will find that were he asked specifically about this, he would
say he used the term 'social class' to refer to groups identified by
cultural norms and lifestyle.  In fact, the New Labour mission is to
disintegrate the social classes by widening opportunities.  If working class
boys do poorly at school, it must be because of some form of discrimination,
either direct or 'institutional.'

> as a fact of life which the education system can do nothing
> about, is now focusing on feminism as a possible bogey to explain poor
> performance by poor white boys.

So why not suggest that working class boys might be more comfortable and
motivated in an environment very different in tone from that of middle class
female teachers (yes, I know English primary school teachers are very much
working women)?  Because if people are not fully involved in society, it is
because they have been excluded, geddit?  Individual 'crimes' of indirect or
institutional social exclusion have to be sought out.  The problems of
society are rooted in individual or group attitudes that need to be

Now this is smart stuff - The Third Way.  Its very strength being that there
is more than a pinch of truth in this analysis.  New Labour really did seize
the moral terrain beloved by every liberal and social democrat.

There actions, constant war abroad and draconian measures against non-white
would be immigrants, asylum seekers or otherwise, give the lie.  But the
labour movement in Britain as not rejected these people as their case,
grasped well by Jurriaan, challenges the left to explain clearly how social
class works not at the abstract level of Das Kapital I, but at the level of
life on the street.


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