Fraser Nelson

Facing the protesters

Facing the protesters
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Given that school choice will only benefit those who cannot afford it at present, who could be against it? The answer is the Socialist Educational Alliance, who have decided to stage a protest at The Spectator's conference on school liberalisation on Thursday. They have produced a leaflet (see left, and click to enlarge). "Bring your whistles and drums" it says - 8.30am.

I wonder if Ed Balls will join them, as he appears to agree with the thrust of their argument. "Defend democratic accountability," says the flier. This is the language which Labour left use: "democratic accountability" is code, of course, for political/bureaucratic control. Perhaps my friend Polly Toynbee will be there too, with a placard saying "what do parents think they know about schools?"

I'll say this for the Socialist Educational Association: they have chosen the right event. We have assembled the very best lineup; flying in Mikael Sandstrom (one of the world's leading authorities on school choice, currently working in the Prime Minister's office in Stockholm). We're also flying in James Merriman, who runs New York City Charter School Center, and Michael Gove is giving the keynote speech. It's a conference designed for people who would like to take part in what might just be a British education industry. And how badly we need one.

To be fair to Labour, Balls is in the minority: most Labour MPs are in favour of school liberlisation. It is no longer a theory: it is transforming lives from Brooklyn to Gothenburg. I'll be reporting from our conference on Thursday to tell you how.

UPDATE: Left Foot Forward has a set of questions for Gove here.