The New Statesman’s rolling politics blog


No 10 attempts to defend Cameron over state school comments

Cameron was “empathising” when he claimed he was “terrified” of finding a good state school.

No 10 has been attempting to explain why David Cameron claimed he is "terrified" of trying to find a good state school for his children.

At this morning's lobby briefing, the PM's spokesman said:

What he's doing was empathising with the issues that many parents face where they are concerned about whether or not there is a decent school locally that they can send their children to . . . which is why the government is committed to a range of reforms to drive up standards, increase choice and increase the diversity of provision.

It's a reasonable defence, but it doesn't make up for what was a major blunder. Not only did Cameron falsely suggest that there are no good state schools in London, he also unwittingly revealed that he plans to give his children a comprehensive education not for their own benefit, but for his.

Here are his comments again:

I've got a six-year-old and a four-year-old and I'm terrified living in central London. Am I going to find a good secondary school for my children? I feel it as a parent, let alone a politician.

If Cameron really does believe that he will struggle to find a good secondary school for his children, why is he not educating them privately? The answer is that, for a "modernising" Tory leader, this would be considered politically unacceptable.

In an apparent reversal of Diane Abbott's decision, Cameron is (at least from his own perspective) putting politics before his children. He should either admit as much or -- a far better option -- visit a few more state schools.

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