Monday 9 July 2012

Reet Elite

It's school sports day once again and in the last race of the day - the whole school hundred metre dash - all the children are neck and neck. Parents watch with baited breath as they near the finish line. Then, one child starts to edge ahead. The crowd lean forward in their seats and, as one, urge "Slow down! Slow down!" But it is too late and Johnny's mother hangs her head in shame as Fast Johnny breasts the tape ahead of the field.

She'd brought him up to  be equal. She'd been fierce in her determination for him not to excel in any endeavour. What mattered to her most in life was bringing up the perfect, equal child. After all her efforts, she just knew he had to be the ultimate - more equal than all the rest put together. But, despite her best efforts he'd shown himself up to be - she spat the word - elite!

The word 'elite' has recently gained new currency as the number one pejorative hate-label for anybody looking to lay blame for perceived injustice. Here it is levelled, probably correctly in this case, against bankers. But it is tossed around freely to refer to political and religious elitism whenever an argument needs to be won (or at least drawn!). In education, so corrosive a term has it become that we end up with today's story about 29-Resit-Boy and a pitiful indictment of the blind rejection of anything so repugnant as individual excellence - all must have prizes.

Conspiracy theories abound regarding shadowy groups like the Freemasons, Opus Dei and the sinister-sounding New World Order. Today's Lords reform debate originates from the same fear of the power of elites. The Left frequently conjoin the words to mint the phrase 'power-elite', making it sound all the scarier.

So, where where do you want to stop your elitism? Were you ever a Sixer in the cubs? Is a 'Team Leader' a symbol of an oppressive hierarchical society? How dare households have a head? How would 'first past the post' voting work? Or PR for that matter? And - this is crucial - who would lead the fluffy little ducklings all in a row to swim in the park pond?

We've just had Wimbledon. And footie's Euro 2012. Yesterday was the F1 British Grand Prix and this month London hosts the Olympics - the most blatant worship of the world.

You want equality? Really?

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