political

Schooling Nick Clegg’s son: Nick and Stephen are both wrong

School classroom. Photo courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu/photo/213004Over on Lib Dem Voice, Nick Thornsby has argued that the schooling decisions made by Nick Clegg and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez for their children are none of our business.

For pretty much the same reasons as those Stephen Tall has given, I think Nick T. is wrong about that. But I think Stephen too is wrong with his implication when he says:

Politics works when it is representative, when leaders understand the lives lived by those they seek to lead. If too many of our politicians become too detached from the grind of everyday reality — if they don’t use state schools or travel by bus or use the NHS — how can we hope they will come up with solutions that help the majority?

That’s because politicians deciding to spend money on trying to get the very best for their children isn’t being detached from the lives of those they seek to lead. It’s doing just what those they seek to lead do too. For the poorest of parents, it may be about scrapping together a few extra pence for a treat for their child. For the richest, it may be about expensive private schooling when faced with underwhelming state school options. Either way the motivation is the same – prioritising your children and doing what you can to help them.

That’s a shared emotion, playing out differently for people in different circumstances.

If a politician is a parent, I’d far rather they shared that emotional instinct than that they made it play second-fiddle to other considerations.

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