Gary Younge does an exhaustive demolition job on the foreign secretary (Boris Johnson’s white privilege: imagine he was a black woman, 2 March), but I think he lets off very lightly the institution that produces such a narrow-minded, incompetent elite. It is the private boarding school that produces the vandals of the Bullingdon Club. Their abuse and indoctrination of the privileged was well documented in Alex Renton’s recent ITV documentary, Boarding Schools: The Secret Shame.
Someone needs to take the bull by the horns. That means banning boarding for those under 14, and phasing out exclusive “public” schools as we know them. We could do a lot worse than look at how some of them could be converted into what social democratic Denmark calls efterskole (after schools): boarding fifth and sixth form colleges open to all and based round a philosophy of developing civically informed citizenship, and not entitlement.
Perhaps Younge could take a look at this alternative and pass it in the direction of Angela Rayner, the shadow education minister. Clement Attlee, too devoted to his alma mater Haileybury, botched the last opportunity in 1945. Theresa May offers us only a few more grammar schools.
• Gary Younge is very nearly correct to suggest “you could count the number of black women who appeared on Have I Got News for You on one hand”. The actual meagre tally is six: Diane Abbott (on four occasions), Oona King, Trisha Goddard, June Sarpong, Moira Stuart and Desiree Burch. Nine appearances over 468 editions is a shockingly low figure.
Dr Billy Smart
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