John Harris's piece for the Guardian on Monday morning was a good example of how sentiment can dilute rational thinking and potentially blight the progressive movement. In what amounted to an emotional rage, Harris claimed the glorious victories of Ennis, Farah and Rutherford on Saturday proved once and for all that state schools can produce Olympic champions.
Of course nobody was doubting that. What we all want to see is more state school children reaching their potential and becoming Olympians. Statistically it is still the case that to go to a private school offers you a better chance of representing your country at the Olympic games.
To want to challenge that failing and break open the barrier for all to have the opportunity to thrive is not a criticism of the state sector. It is not, as Harris seems to think, an elitist views that those who go to state school are somehow inferior. That they lack a competitive edge. It is not a neo-fascist argument of social evolution, but one that says a state school pupil is unlikely to become a world-class athlete if their school does not have athletics facilities.
Labour should be making the argument for school sport - pointing out the remarkable achievements of the last Labour government in this area, the cuts this government has introduced and the work that has to be done. Harris's warped logic seems to conclude that the achievements of Ennis and co. put a stop to the scrutiny of sport in state schools. This defensive argument is wrong. Mo, Jessica and Mark should all make us strive harder to ensure state schools have the facilities to provide opportunity for all.
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