Local Politics

Charles Arthur has a [“thoughtful screed”:http://www.charlesarthur.com/blog/index.php?p=417] up this morning about why he’ll vote Green, though he lives in a constituency with an unshakeable Conservative majority — and “the MP”:http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/alan_haselhurst/saffron_walden is the deputy speaker.

It’s a nice argument, but I live in the same constituency and I have news. There is “no Green candidate”:http://politics.guardian.co.uk/hoc/constituency/0,,-1267,00.html here. What we do have, perhaps uniquely, is _three_ candidates to the right of Michael Howard — Ukip, Veritas, and English Democracy.

This is worrying for social democrats, in a deep way. The reason people move out here from civilisation is really, of course that the state schools are incomparably better than in London. State provision works, probably because the children are better parented. But why is it that state provision works better in places where the political culture is so much opposed to it?

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4 Responses to Local Politics

  1. Charles says:

    OK, there isn’t a Parliamentary candidate – but having just voted, I can confirm that there is a local government candidate, who certainly got my X.

    As to your point: the reason surely is that incomes generally are higher, which means the council is able to spend more money on things like schools and less chasing council tax defaults etc. Less repair, more building (in the general sense).

    The question is a bit like “why is it only people who live in expensive areas can afford to send their children to public school?”. It sort of answers itself once framed like that.

  2. acb says:

    I’m not sure the school question does come down to money. After all, grammar schools delivered in much poorer areas than some of the places where the state system fails now and with much less equipment.

    It seems to me much more likely that the crucial factor is parental backing, expectation, and discipline. These may correlate with having money, but they are not caused by it. If anything, the causal relationship is the other way round. The cultural explanation suggests, though, that lack of stable, supportive homes not only causes school failure but poverty as well. So the link between poverty and bad schools (and vice versa) may just be a correlation.

  3. dave heasman says:

    Isn’t it likely that a lot of people say they’re fleeing to the outer ‘burbs for the schools, but actually it’s for the “all-white” experience? The right-wing parties might think so.

  4. acb says:

    I think it depends, rather, on which suburb they flee to, and where they come from. For a potential BNP voter the idea that blacks in achools make them worse is so self-evident that I don’t think you can disentangle education from immigration as an issue. Certainly, some of the places in South Essex were populated on that basis. But I’m not so sure about North Essex and Saffron Walden. I don’t think Charles and Jojo are natural BNP voters, somehow.

    But it is an interesting point. “Education” can be a flag for for all sorts of things.

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