Tobes in a tiswas

The Hon Tobes has written an open letter to Andrew Slaughter, the MP for Hammersmith, the borough in which he hopes to locate his West London Free School. As I have reported in this blog on previous occasions, Tobes hopes to take possession of Palingswick House, displacing 22 local charities in the process.

The general thrust of this letter is to ‘expose’ Slaughter’s’ supposed hypocrisy in his opposition to Tobes’s vanity project. But this is, for all intents and purposes, a philosophically bankrupt position that hinges on the MP’s formative education. Tobes whines,

I’m writing to you to express my disappointment about the manner in which you’re campaigning against the West London Free School. Nothing wrong with your decision to oppose the school. I was hoping you’d be more sympathetic, given that the classical liberal education on offer at our school will be similar to the education you received at the fee-paying Latymer Upper School.

The suggestion here is that Slaughter chose to go to Latymer Upper Scho0l rather than his parents taking the decision to send him there. No matter. Palingswick House is next door to Latymer and the WLFS will possibly share some facilities.

I don’t know what sort of philosophy they teach on PPE courses but whatever it is, it does not equip the student to think logically, critically or rationally. It would seem that the philosophy component of PPE is geared towards statecraft and weasling one’s way through arguments.

Towards the end of the letter, he says,

You may have decided that the classical liberal  education you received is no longer suitable for the 21st Century. Let’s debate that, too. I’m all for a vigorous exchange of views. But instead of engaging in this sort of rational exchange, you’ve decided to invent reasons to oppose our school. Why poison the atmosphere with this unending stream of lies and smears? Have you so little regard for the democratic process? Are you so convinced that you would lose the argument if you stuck to the facts?

“Facts”. Is that what this is about? Perhaps the Hon Tobes could tell us who is on his steering committee and what kind of relationship one of the members has with Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

I found this comment interesting, Young admits to meeting Andrew Slaughter only once,

Far from being reasonable, he told me he thought the school was part of a wider plan being put in motion by Stephen Greenhalgh to “ethnically cleanse” the borough. I gently pointed out that we weren’t planning to have a “whites only” admissions policy, but it made no odds. Barking.

I think you’ll find that the phrase used by Slaughter was “social cleansing” not “ethnic cleansing”. Melodramatic? Not our Tobes. Surely not! As for Greenhalgh’s ambitions for the borough, those have been well-documented.

On Thursday, Hon Tobes asked the question “Are these the best childrens books ever written”? Are you asking us or are you telling us, Tobes? To be honest, it looks like a rhetorical question. In fact, it looks like he scanned his book collection and made up the list from that. Will Tobes be imposing his taste in literature on his pupils? It looks like it. Does he have any experience of teaching or formulating a curriculum? No, he does not.

According to his Wikipedia entry, Young did not attend a public school. Perhaps this is his way of addressing his feelings of inadequacy – by vicariously  experiencing a classical education through his pupils.

UPDATE: 2157

Andy Slaughter responds to Young’s shrill attack in today’s Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle.


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Filed under Hammersmith & Fulham, London

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