JR at conference

I will be speaking at meetings at the Conservative conference on economic growth, grammar schools, the EU and public spending. They are all on Monday 8 October, which is Economy day at conference. The details for those interested are:

10.30 am “Local Growth” Hall 8B at the ICC (inside security) organised by Westminster City Council

12.00 noon “Are grammar schools a key to restarting socila mobility?” Conservative Home Marquee (inside security)

14.00 “Leaving the EU?” Bruges Group Main lecture theatre of Birmingham and Midland Institute Margaret Street (outside security)

16.30 “Cutting the deficit” Conservative Policy Forum Hall 1 ICC (inside security, party members only)

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  1. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink


    I assume that all of the speaking engagements you have listed will take place outside of the main conference hall and therefore are unlikely to be televised.

    Reply: That depends on media interest for the first three. Media will be welcome. The public spending one is an official event, and is closed to the media.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      JR :”The public spending one is an official event, and is closed to the media. ”
      Are all official events closed to the media? It sounds as though the organisers are determined to make sure your voice isn’t heard by the public. Too embarrassing for the leadership to have the real facts about cutting the deficit presented.

      Reply: No, not all official events are closed to the media.

    • Richard1
      Posted October 8, 2012 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      Many of us who wont be at the conference would be very interested to see & hear some of these events. It would be v easy & cheap for the Party to video them & put them on a website.

  2. Steven Whitfield
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Uncle Redwood,

    Would it be possible to post the text of your speeches so those that cannot attend conference can hear your views ?

    reply: I speak without notes or texts but I will give you edited highlights in subsequent blogs.

    • Steven Whitfield
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Thank you that is much appreciated. Four speeches in one day without notes is quite an achievement – respect due to the mighty Redwood!

  3. Atlas
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I wish you well with your 2 pm meeting!

  4. Disaffected
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Yesterday Hague showed great contempt for the public and Tory MPs who want an in/out EU referendum. He claims the government will reject an in/out referendum, but might opt for a repatriation of powers in the manifesto. He further stated a change in relationship is required. We all know that is not possible, the whole purpose of EU Treaties are to create greater union and once powers are given they cannot be taken back. Mr Hague knows this so where does this leave his opinion yesterday a genuine pledge, place him in the land of politically correct green EU fairies, misleading, disingenuous or lies? Perhaps you could find out for us plebs.

    A manifesto is not legally binding or honoured, as we have learnt this parliament, including all the U turn and chocolate tea pot guarantees.

    So perhaps you and other colleagues need to get real, as Brown would say, and leave the party or change the leader.

    • Bryan
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Mr Hague knows that his ‘pledge’ comes from cloud cuckoo land.

      He also today in the Daily Telegraph says that he is a supporter of the single market and always has been.

      As the single market disappeared years ago under the weight of more and more treaties, where has he been?

      Not back on ten pints a day I hope!

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      What will work is a specification of powers to be reclaimed and treaties to be repealed, drawn up several months before a General Election, a purge of Conservative candidates that refuse to sign up to that specification, and a deadline for the EU to complete negotiations.

      I know that this goes against the ‘broad church’ tradition of the Conservative Party, but when the very existence of the country is at stake there can on this one issue be no room for dissenters.

      Reply: This work is well advanced. We have reviewed the many powers we need back, and published work on it. Mr Hague is now meant to be reviewing our review.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 6, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        That might work for a small number of trusting souls, but not for the far larger number who have realised that party manifesto commitments are worthless in legal terms and if the party forms a government then it can and will renege on any that it finds too inconvenient.

        • Disaffected
          Posted October 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

          A bit like the referendum Block.

  5. roger
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Sorry to be pedantic John but should the 12.00 noon meeting you refer to be 12.45 as per the Conference booklet. Need to know. Wish to attend. Best wishes.

    Reply I was told 12 noon, but the Conference brochure may be right.

  6. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Westminster City Council and other London Councils could indeed make a contribution to local (and national) growth by some simple supply side economics: allow the private sector to build more housing for rent throughout London. This may well involve building higher in some locations, with communal gardens, which may in turn need revisions in planning policy. But let the market decide; don’t try to control it.

    As things stand, London houses are not affordable to most people in their 20s and 30s and rents have risen as a consequence.

  7. Steven Whitfield
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    At 16:30 please do some much needed tub-thumping and call for an end to continuity Brown at the treasury. I presume the Chancerer and David Cameron will be present.

    Reply: I would not expect the PM to be present, but he knows my views already.

    • Steven Whitfield
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Reply: I would not expect the PM to be present, but he knows my views already.


      I suspect he has some knowledge of your views Mr Redwood, but he has blatantly ignored or is unable to understand your sage advice.
      How can you have a meaningfull discussion on the economy with a PM that exchanges the word ‘deficit’ and ‘debt’ asthough they are the same thing?. It’s like trying to teach a child algebra before when they are unable to count up to ten.

      We are being run by a bunch of college kids and it’s time for senior members of the party to step in and steer the ship away from the rocks.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted October 6, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        As I have said before “deficit” in the context used is a terribly misleading word smacking ineluctably of a cumulative not an annual measure. We need an Act of Parliament making it illegal not to say “annual deficit”. I appreciate that the term debt is another story.

  8. Acorn
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Before you write the EU bit of your speech have a look at http://moslereconomics.com/2012/10/03/thalers-corner-28th-september-2012-poor-macro-money-data-eurozone/ . It don’t look good.

  9. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Ref, your 14 hrs presentation: please warn against any further symbolic disasters (like dec. 1211 “veto”) which will only further isolate the UK. A new relationship is not built on further animosity. That’s not the way to get à la carte on the menu.

    • Timaction
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Peter, whilst the English want trade and friendship with our European allies we do NOT want anything more. On this side of the Channel we have been systematically lied too for over 40 years by our mainstream politicians (LibLabCon) who have signed us up to further EU integration by stealthy treaties. We have only recently been “allowed” the truth as it was becoming difficult for our lying traitorous leaders to keep up the pretence. Now the cat is out of the bag there will be a referendum at some point but the conversation by the politicians at the moment is only about allowing us a referendum on some repatriated powers which we know will not be allowed by the EU. We will put the bare feet of our politicians towards the fire until they give us our In/Out referendum and a return to democracy or there will be trouble. The EU was only ever sold to us a trading block, nothing more. Everything else has been stolen from us.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 6, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        @Timaction: If the British wish to have the UK leave the EU and just have a trading relationship, ok of course. Greenland was an early example of leaving this club.
        May I just point out though that there is a national component to your problem, after all, you say that during 40 years you were mislead by your own politicians. That attitude will not necessarily change overnight once you’ll have left the EU. Wouldn’t you also require reform in your democracy? Also, don’t you think there are certain benefits of being inside the EU? Even the strongly eurosceptic Open Europe, an Engish “think-tank” argues for that.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Of course not, we should ask nicely before being refused.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 6, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        Denis, the UK already has many opt-outs and it doesn’t intend to participate in the most defining European characteristics, Schengen and the euro. I could see Britain opting out of many parts of legal cooperation (130?), as long as the rest of the EU, the other 88%, can ensure that the UK won’t be granted any unfair (economic) advantages. E.g. If we on the continent were to risk any social dumping from Britain (unfair competition), I’d prefer the UK to exit completely and just have a WTO relationship with us.

        • Jerry
          Posted October 8, 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink

          @PvL: That should be “EU” (…the most defining EU characteristics…), not European. Please stop hijacking the name of a continent were more countries are not in the EU than are, or did I miss Russia’s membership application?…

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 9, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

            Dear Jerry, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, all of them proud Schengen members and proudly outside the EU, whereas EU members Bulgaria and Romenia, Cyprus, Ireland and the UK are NOT Schengen members. Schengen was started outside the EU by European countries and is a typical European development. Your EU-aversion cannot change that, sorry.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mr van Leeuwen, Except that we want to be isolated if isolated means governing ourselves and foreigners minding their own business.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 6, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

        If that’s what you want, fine with me.

    • Jerry
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      @PvL: Do not worry yourself Peter, the one thing the UK will not be is isolated in the world, if nothing more we are the founding member of the “Commonwealth”, but also have very good relations with China (especially Hong Kong), India, many countries in the middle east and Far East, then of course there is the USA. On the other hand the EU has little real influence in the world, even the EU’s membership of the WTO would likely be open for cancellation should EU start to break up.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 6, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        @Jerry, if you mean trade relations. I do think that the EU has more power than the UK. The UK may have sympathy.

        • sm
          Posted October 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          If the UK stopped its subscriptions the EU would need to resolve its own issues fairly quickly, it would not have to worry about the UK . We really would be OK , so don’t worry about us unduly. Its France/Germany you should be worrying about, they will need to decide who is going to pay and how?

          The EU/Euro is on the cusp of implosion or centralization and probable greater and later implosion.

          The downside of our politicians dishonesty is that the when we do leave it will cause more dislocation due to the fact of their compounding their errors. Doubling down. The first loss is the cheapest.

          We want Europe to succeed, but are fearful we are just proping up a monstrous mistake, at the expense of the democracy in Europe and in the UK.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 7, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

            @sm: Actually, I experience our (Dutch) democracy as quite vibrant. Lots of flavours to chose from in September, even if I were only to look at EU issues. The financial impact of the UK leaving the EU isn’t all that big with the UK net contribution still much less than one tenth of one percent of EU GDP. We’ll survive that shortfall! The apparently much wished for euro collapse has been hyped for years from across the NorthSea, only one of the reasons that China is now considered a better eurozone friend than the UK (the country “with no friends, only interests”). For Britain to think that one day its attitude won’t backfire on it politically I consider as naïve.

          • sm
            Posted October 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

            Its been backfiring on us for the last 35+ years?

            We are unfortunately still a part of an embryonic Federal European Superstate. We have never been asked? Ever wonder why?

            Trade, friendship and close co-operation but not union.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted October 8, 2012 at 12:20 am | Permalink

      The UK regrets its Acts of Accession to the Maastrict, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon treaties and wishes to revert to the relationship between UK and Europe that existed at the time the Single European Act was passed. Essentially, this would mean that the powers of the EU and its courts would be sufficient to make the Single Market work.

      This is not an extreme position. If you insist on representing it as such, you will drive hundreds of thousands of people into the ever open arms of UKIP.

  10. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Some notes on grammar schools.

    The DID provide a route for social mobility in the days when most of the population was written off to a non-academic route through life, because they were the only way people could escape that. The number of children who gained access to this route for social mobility was tiny and it only worked because this was the case.

    These days the picture is far more complex as society has decided it does not want to condemn a large proportion of its children to a non-academic route through life when they are 11.

    A full grammar school system is likely to be a barrier to social mobility as in general the families of the children who can prepare them well for the 11+ (the professional and affluent families) will get in an the rest won’t. The scale of the interventions which are needed to prevent this happening are enormous. It’s just about do-able but the challenges should not be underestimated.

    However in places where there are only small numbers of (usually quite small) grammars the picture is not so bleak as it’s more likely that a comprehensive system can thrive around them without too much extra intervention. But in these cases the grammar schools are not so much a route to social mobility – they serve other purposes instead. They provide cost effective high quality education because they can employ good teachers who can’t cope with challenging classes but who can thrive if they don’t have to deal with them. They can also be reservoirs of academic excellence which can be a good resource for a wide geographical area. For example in the North of Cumbria we only have one proper grammar school – in Penrith. It’s situated beside a large good comp which quite a few of the academic children choose to go to because their friends are going there or because of the wider variety of subjects it offers. The grammar school does things like providing maths master classes on Saturdays which children from all over the county are invited to.

    The key question is – is the existence of the grammar schools creating schools where social mobility is significantly compromised or not?

    The same argument applies to questions regarding the expansion of grammar schools. What will happen to the children at the rest of the schools? I know Michael Gove doesn’t think this is an issue but most of society recognises that it is – especially if they are encourage to reflect on it which they should be.

    I think the question you are being asked to address is silly John because the answer is so obvious.
    Here’s a link to a really good discussion about education and social mobility. Why not show them this video instead if you’ve got audio visual? Gove was the headlined speaker but he dropped out and I suspect the quality of the discussion is all the better for it. If you listen to the audio version (which includes the questions which reveal a lot more) you can hear me asking the first question.

    Reply: Your answer to the quesitons posed by the organisers of the meeting will doubtless be different to mine, so that surely makes it worthwhile discussing.
    Why do you accept special academically inclined independent schools for rich chilldren but not something similar for children who do not have rich parents? Do you accept special football, cricket, ballet and music academies?

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink


      Grammar schools do not condemn a child to a non-academic route through life from age 11. There were always other routes for late developers (like me) including ONC, HNC, BTECs, mature studentships, correspondence courses and the OU.

      The 11+ is a test of parental commitment and support rather more than it is of the child’s ability. It does not cost a lot to prepare for but does require some dedication and a respect for teachers and education.

      This is what is transmitted to the child and ensures that the schools have classrooms filled with pupils (forward facing and not sitting around in groups) who pay full attention to the teachers.

      What the grammar schools are really attempting to filter out with these tests is not the children but the parents who are likely to storm up the school drive at every attempt to instill some discipline. The amount energy expended in dealing with people like these (and their unruly children) can destroy a good school.

      As the remaining grammar schools are all well oversubscribed and there appears to be huge demand for them it proves that they must be doing something right. Can’t we have more ?

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted October 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        PS, I feel that in many cases the desire for grammar schools and private schools is not so much elitism as to escape the sheer awfulness of the comprehensive system which exists in many parts.

        Labour politicians are particularly adept at avoiding the worst of the comprehensive system.

        My own comprehensive school was formed after the abolition of the local grammar schools and had many ex grammar school teachers on its staff. The mixed ability streaming in the first year did for many of us at high school as we’d been doing rather well academically until then.

        Few of the teachers stood a chance. Four of the pupils were convicted for various murders while I was there. For anyone not in the top two sets it was more like a borstal than a school.

        This rather proves that a good school is far more about catchment than it is about teachers.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted October 6, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        Hi Kevin,

        I this post I think you’ve made some good points.

        However you should understand that good mixed ability teaching in year 7 can be brilliant for kids and is very highly respected. I do know there were some bad versions of it around which were stop gaps for there being a lack of teachers rather than real teaching but you shouldn’t judge all mixed ability teaching based on such a situation. As I’ve said before I’m happy to come and demonstrate proper mixed ability maths teaching in a local school so that you can clearly see the difference between what it is and what you got.

        Beyond this point (and in subsequent points below) we have an interesting theme emerging which is the idea that social mobility should be for those children who are from highly motivated and well organised families rather than for children with great ability – who should be dumped with all the disruptive and lower attaining children in an sink school environment if their parents don’t come up to scratch.

        So lets just clarify that posters here are really talking about social mobility for parents based on their skills at pushing their children on at age 10, not for children based on their skills.

        I understand this is an attractive view for some Conservative voters, as many other hugely damaging policies (such as discounted private school places) have been, but in my opinion Conservative politicians should be looking to be leaders of society, not people who sink to the lowest common denominator which will gain them the maximum number of superficial and easy votes.

        Separating children at the age of 11 based on how organised and driven their parents are is not a view I believe in because in practice I’ve found that taking the very able and gifted children from less organised families, separating them from their intelligent peers and putting them instead with lower attaining children is a toxic thing to do. It’s really hard to stretch them and they become immersed in bad rather than good habits. Because they’re very bright the quite reasonably become very angry and deeply disaffected. But though reasonably easy to follow if you concentrated that’s a point that sufficiently complicated for the Tory press to miss completely. So what the heck – who cares about the consequences for reality – the Conservative party only cares about getting itself elected at whatever cost to society doesn’t it? We have that demonstrated day after day after day in education. So go for it.

        But then as I’ve said before – if the alternative to the grammar schools is a very good comp then I don’t actually mind that much. Just don’t understimate the cost and challenge of making that the case.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted October 7, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

          Rebecca – Thank you very much for your time and such a thoughtful response. I have full respect for your education and mathematical discipline in particular.

          I am with you that I don’t distinguish between a good grammar and a good comprehensive. My guess is that they share that same magic quality: supportive parenting.

          It is vital for society that supportive, productive and aspirant parenting is rewarded and not stifled for some misguided notion of equality.

          The pre-history of a student’s success is as important a part of the story as his graduation – the culmination of years of generational endeavor to climb the social ranks. Rarely does this happen in one generational bound and doubtless every middle-class family has its ancestry of latent academics who were too busy earning the family crust to get to wear the cap and gown.

          It would seem unfair, then, to skip that family’s turn for the sake of another because they were deemed to be more ‘advantaged’.

          This is the whole point of meritocratic society. Where it has been earned there should be advantage. Like it or not, advantage is measured in money. It pays for tuition which – in turn – demonstrates the parental intent to support the selective school. Otherwise – if we disallow this and weight against those who have done the right things we strip away a vital mechanism for progress and effort.

          As it happens – in the case of grammar schools – it doesn’t take a lot of money, nor a lot of advantage. In fact that ‘advantage’ is now considered to be something as simple as a child having two parents.

          For the sake of studying some past papers or sacrificing a family holiday for tuition application to grammar school is open to most. It is unfortunate that there aren’t more spaces and in this the Tory must carry some of the blame.

          Having diverged from you a little (OK – diverged a lot) I now wish to come back onto your path. I agree with you wholeheartedly that it is tragic – for both the good of themselves and the good of our country – that many brilliant people remain undiscovered and wasted.

          I have yet to see an argument in this thread which defeats Mr Redwood’s match winning juxtaposition with selectivity in sport. In thruth there isn’t one so I am unsurprised that it hasn’t appeared.

          My answer ?

          Talent scouts.

          As with sports scouts, send these out to find talent where it exists in disadvantaged areas and bring these people in.

          We must, however – above all else – segregate the disruptive and unwilling from ALL classrooms, no matter how brilliant and wasted they may be. Their effect on the rest can be truly infectious.

          • Electro-Kevin
            Posted October 7, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

            I ought to add that what we are talking about may be academic anyway (excuse the pun.)

            If the claims are true that A-levels have been debased through grade inflation then there is a much more serious problem than the types of school available.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      My understanding of this is like cardboard over Paris Rebecca. This is the Tory part conference so I do understand this. Other than state funded private schools. Are grammar schools a key to restarting social mobility for the middle classes on the cheap? Is the real question, We do accept special football, cricket, ballet and music academies for those with some talents in those areas John. Not just a middle class backgrounds as most grammar schools. Just excluding riff raff.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted October 6, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        Grammar schools = middle class backgrounds.

        Rubbish. Dangerous rubbish at that.

        Britain has slid inexorably down the international educational league tables in recent decades. Fewer working class people reach cabinet level since the abolition of grammar schools.

        Was that the plan ? Ironic that most of them who implemented it were the product of grammar schools.

        Mixing academically able kids with unruly ones in the hope that one will pull up the other does not work.

        The more dominant characters will always pull everyone else down. The more dominant character is usually the unruly and violent one. My own education (and that of countless others) was utterly ruined because of this wicked and foolish policy.

        The disproportionate amount of time and resources spent on the disruptive – at the expense of those keen and willing – is truly staggering

        Until we sort this out I can’t think of a better time to introduce MORE grammar schools to give working class kids a leg up.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 6, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

          Grammar schools = middle class backgrounds. Errr! What do you not understand?

          • Bazman
            Posted October 7, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

            You all understand and so you should. Ram it.

          • Electro-Kevin
            Posted October 7, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

            What do I understand ?

            Well let me think…

            Thanks to my mixed-ability comprehensive education not very much, I’m afraid.

            My reason for living henceforth is not to repeat the same for my twin boys.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted October 8, 2012 at 12:31 am | Permalink

            Grammar schools were based on passing the 11+ exam. If you are saying that only children with middle class backgrounds succeeded, you are more or less implying that working class children are too thick to pass the 11+ or similar.

            Fortunately, it just isn’t true. RA Butler bent over backwards to ensure that it wasn’t true when he produced his Education Act after WW2. I attended a Direct Grant school (a fee paying grammar school with a substantial number of assisted places for children of the poor). Believe me, it worked.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          Heavily weighted towards the benefit of the middle classes. What are the 70% who fail supposed to do when so much resources have been put into grammar schools? Have a think as to why they were abolished.

    • forthurst
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Social mobility is not the objective of grammar schools, but its inevitable consequence. There would still be a majority of middle class children in them because that is how human genetics operates.

      ‘Unfair coaching’ is bound to take place when grammar school places are not available for the proportion of the population that could benefit from them. On the other hand, with grammar schools a normal component of state education, ‘coaching’ would become a constituent of normal classwork before the exam.

      Comprehensive education has been a disaster for this country but its implementation was made much easier to force through because of the failure to provide the Technical schools (the responsibility of local authorites) to offer alternative courses of study for those who did not need a solely academic education.

      Why do you people think you’re entitled to engage in social engineering? Most social engineers have a malign purpose such as that of the cultural marxists, although I would not accuse you of that.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted October 6, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

        “Social mobility is not the objective of grammar schools, but its inevitable consequence.”

        Let’s not have a return to 1950s education, let’s go back to Victorian society where the underclasses really know their place…….


        • forthurst
          Posted October 7, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

          You’re the one doing the boring on this site.

        • forthurst
          Posted October 7, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          “Why are you here?”

          certainly not to offer highly repetitive trendy leftie and totally failed policy options on edukashun.

          perhaps you are not aware that this blog is primarily about a view of conservatism and a future for this country argued for by JR; it is not, for example, intended to be a commentary on the performance of Michael Gove as education secretary.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      One of the major problems with grammar schools was that there was a stigma attached to anyone who didn’t get into them. Unless this stigma is removed grammar schools will be perceived by the majority as schools for those who can afford tutors and be opposed by the majority of the population that will never benefit from them.

      Perhaps the solution is to encourage schools to specialise in a subject, such as maths or computing, so parents with a child gifted in this subject will be able to send their child to a school where their child can develop their talent.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 6, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        Stigma is the word. In 1979 the system was integrated and the divisions were laid bare. Unfortunately for the fantasists I saw all for the next five years. Ram it.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted October 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

        These policies are more effective in areas of dense population than in rural areas uanime5, where children are not likely to be easily able to travel to other schools.

        They do, however, have another benefit which is that they allowed the government to give out funding which led to real improvements quite efficiently through a ‘draw down’ method – where schools bid for funding they really believed they could used wisely and effectively rather than getting uniform handouts. It’s worth bearing this in mind too.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted October 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        Uanime5 – one of the major problems with your rationale is that the whole country slips down the global tables and gets poorer.

        Then we ALL get stigmatised.

        I dispute your ‘ majority of the population will never benefit from them’ quite the reverse of the reality in fact – as is usual with your arguments.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted October 7, 2012 at 7:12 am | Permalink

          Further to that, Bazman,

          We now have the situation in schools where ‘stigma’ is attached to being bookish, where it is ‘not cool’ to want to learn and where boys deliberately sabotage their own education to fit in with their peer group.

          Abolishing grammar schools has done nothing to eradicate stigma.

          A friend reports from Croydon (near where I grew up) that there were 4000 applicants for 160 places at the local grammar school.

          That indicates to me a deep anxiety about schooling in that area and not any particular desire to be elitist.

          Commenters here for the case against grammars cite ‘middle class-ness’, and misuse of wealth as a reason why grammars should not exist.

          If that were so these people would be paying for private education. The truth is that they can’t afford to. The likelihood is that a good proportion of grammar school children – the majority – come from working class/blue collar families.

          • Electro-Kevin
            Posted October 7, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink

            Sorry – Uanime5, that last comment was directed to you.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

            Probably because the grammar school was the only decent school in Croydon at the time not necessarily because of the quality of the grammar school. Get many ‘dead arms’ at school from the oiks Kevin? I would have given you a couple of ‘acres’ too.

      • Jerry
        Posted October 7, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink

        @uanime5: “Perhaps the solution is to encourage schools to specialise

        Well done “uanime5”, you have just described the Grammar and Secondary Modern systems! 🙂

        Oh and ‘being a failure’, going to a Secondary Modern didn’t stop either socail mobility nor employment mobility as plenty of kids went on from their Secondary Modern schools to technical college via trade apprenticeships -some were even sponsored (leave of absence and funding) by their employers to attain BSc’s etc.- and thus became highly successful in business.

  11. outsider
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    How much debate is there going to be about the future of BAE Systems, which is by far the most important immediate short-term decision for the future of the UK economy? Are there going to be any meetings on this? Are you going to speak on it? Is there any planned discussion about this in the main hall? Or will there just be a lot of hot air about entrepreneurship and small business while the elephant is ignored?

    Reply 45 Conservative MPs have written with their concerns to the government recently. The Business Secretary is reported to be considering a referral of the bid to the Competition Authorities. I have not read the merger documents and background papers so I have not written on the topic. A Parliamentary Committee is currently holding an enquiry.

    • Jerry
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      @JR Reply about BAE: Never mind competition, what about national security…

      Reply: That is an issue which the Secretary of State can consider and can be part of any enquiry

  12. Chris Rose
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I won’t be there, but my heartfelt desire is to see Government spending reduced more vigorously. No one ever got spending down by twiddling a few knobs, sitting back and letting it happen. It requires ceaseless, relentless prodding and effort.

    Your ideas on this subject are brilliant, John; so give it all you’ve got!

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      And John please be sure to read Simon Heffer today. Never were truer words spoken, especially the bit about Cameron pushing policies positively detested by his own supporters or rather former Tory supporters. Is he mad?

  13. dan
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I’ll bet JR blathers on about re-negotiating our membership of the EU, then remains within the fold of a despicable traitorous party which hands over billions of our borrowed money every year.
    God it makes me puke.

  14. Merlin
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    1) cut the deficit faster

    2) A grammar school in every town and city

    3) in out referendum as apron the eussr

  15. Merlin
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    3) in out referendum to get us out of the EUSSR asap

  16. fkc
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Good luck and keep up the good work for us all!

  17. nemesis
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Some catching up with North & Booker, I think: Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      When Merkel wants some change to the EU treaties she doesn’t give notice that Germany is leaving the EU under Article 5o on voluntary withdrawal from the EU; instead she takes the obvious course of using Article 48 on revision of the treaties, and so far since the Lisbon Treaty came into force on December 1st 2009 she’s successfully got two treaty changes that she wanted.

  18. Jon
    Posted October 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Good luck, hope you get more people backing you.

  19. Mike Stallard
    Posted October 7, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Grammar Schools – of course. But we are looking in the wrong place entirely. Of course syphon off the people who want to spend their adolescence reading and studying and being nerdy into special schools. You could call them G&T Special Academies or whatever so long as it isn’t “Grammar Schools” because nobody except for Boris Johnson and Toby Young believes in Latin any more.
    No. Where we should be looking is at the people who are normal – the ones in the middle of the laffer curve. They deserve better than the present vast pseudo university campus, impersonal, factory model of “you’re just another brick in the wall.”
    The small Secondary Modern worked really well. It produced people who were the backbone of the community, who lived all their lives in one place and people who got stuck in, got their hands dirty and supported the local football team. they married (how quaint!) local people too and settled down happily with an extended family.
    Everyone knew their names.
    Bring them back. Community schools. Real Comprehensives.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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