UK Politics

Winners and Losers

Scotsman writer George Kerevan wades in to the debate on what the Prince of Wales meant in the memo that’s causing all the fuss at the Employment Tribunal:

First, he explains his political position lest anyone accuse him of being a lickspittle of the aristocracy:

As a republican, I hate rigid social hierarchy. As a democrat, I hate class barriers. As a free marketeer, I hate monopoly of any sort, be it economic, cultural or social. But I am not stupid enough to believe that human inequalities don’t exist or can be wished away. The folk who claim to believe that are generally closet elitists trying to protect their place atop the greasy pole by hoodwinking the lower orders so they don’t challenge the establishment.

Then he sticks the boot in to those he believes have misunderstood – deliberately or otherwise – what Windsor Junior said:

The telling phrase in the memo is “without ever putting in the necessary effort or having the natural abilities”. This hits the nail on the head. Of course our society and our educational system should promote high aspiration and endeavour. Indeed, everybody should be given the chance to be a pop star, Education Secretary or (and here Prince Charles might really disagree) head of state.

But eventual success is always composed of 10 per cent aspiration and 90 per cent perspiration. The deserving winner is always the guy or gal who puts in the “necessary effort” to learn the appropriate skills or develop the strength of character to succeed – usually by failing miserably the first time round but not blaming that failure on the machinations of others. Even if some television show plucks you out of obscurity to be part of a boy band or girlie pop group, you are still destined to be only a one-hit wonder, or a footballer’s transient eye candy, unless you have both real talent and a passion to burn the midnight oil to hone that talent.

That message is precisely not what our education system is telling our young people. The PC conspiracy to abolish school league tables, from football scores to exam results, is all about pretending there are no winners or losers; that anyone can win just by asking. And that falsehood – which Charles Windsor was pointing out in his own inimitable, wonky style – is the cruel fantasy the modern PC elite are using to hoodwink our young folk.

On this issue I find myself in the camp of slightly loopy Royals and sharp ex-Trots as opposed to that of the kneejerk liberal concensusmongers whose natural habitat is the Today programme.