When Gordon Brown was busy trying to defend his inheritance tax cut on Wednesday, one of the insults he chucked at David Cameron was:
I have to say, that with him and Mr. Goldsmith, their inheritance tax policy seems to have been dreamed up on the playing fields of Eton.
Was that wise? Does it matter where someone went to school? It's not as if going to a private school is a quintessentially Tory thing to do, is it? For example:
- Iain Gray MSP, Labour's leader in Scotland, went to George Watson's, a private school in Edinburgh.
- Alistair Darling MP, Labour's Chancellor of the Exchequer, went to Loretto, a private school in Musselburgh (as did Fergus Ewing MSP).
- Harriet Harman MP, Leader of the House, went to St Paul's Girls' School, a private school in Hammersmith.
- Jack Straw MP, Labour's Justice Secretary, went to Brentwood School, a direct grant school at the time.
- Hilary Benn MP, Environment Secretary and son of Tony, went to Norland Place School (a private school for early years - Conservative George Osborne also went there) and Westminster Under School, a private prep school before completing his schooling at Holland Park School (not private).
- Ed Balls MP, Labour's Education Secretary, went to Nottingham High School, a private school in Nottingham - which is probably where it got its name.
- Shawn Woodward MP, Northern Ireland Secretary, went to Bristol Grammar School
- Tessa Jowell MP, Paymaster General, went to St Margaret's School for Girls, a private school in Aberdeen.
- Jim Murphy MP, Scottish Secretary, went to Milnertown High - a fee-paying school in Cape Town, South Africa (that may be normal in SA, though, I don't know - and the poor guy had to put up with being in a country with a racial divide).
- Peter Hain MP, Welsh Secretary, was educated at Pretoria Boys High School, a private school in South Africa and Emanuel School, a private school in Battersea.
- Lord Adonis, Transport Secretary, went to Kingham Hill, a private school in the Cotswolds.
- Richard Baker MSP, Labour's Shadow Justice Secretary in Scotland, went to St Bees, a private school in Cumbria.
- Jackie Baillie MSP, Shadow Health Secretary in Scotland, went to Windermere St Ann's, a private school in the Lake District.
- Des McNulty MSP, Shadow Education in Scotland, went to St Bede's, a private school in Manchester
Of course, there was Tony Blair who went to Fettes College, as did Ian McKee MSP.
Where your parents sent you to school and whether they paid a fee to send you there doesn't matter a hoot in politics. What does matter isn't where you came from, it's where you're going. What school tie you wore is massively unimportant compared to what your policies are and what you intend to do with power. It doesn't matter whether your policies were conceived on playing fields or fancy restaurants, it's whether you're a desperado.
Mind how you go!