I used to be very left wing.
Even in my most radical days, the one point of variance I had with my fellow travellers was education. In England (not Britain as a whole) state schools are now judged to be amongst the worst in the developed world. However the 'Public' Schools (read private and very exclusive) of England are reckoned on, in the same piece of analysis, as being the best in the world. This has been obvious to anyone since the 'dissolution' of the Grammar Schools.
Traditionally, the cleverest schools in England have included:
Winchester; Westminster; St Paul's (both boys and girls); North London Collegiate; Cheltenham Ladies College etc.
This set intersects with but does not map perfectly upon the 'best schools', a list of which would include schools that are not as academically orientated.
Grammar Schools, until their abolition, gave the best chance of social mobility that England had seen since Agincourt (This day shall gentle your condition). From the postwar period until the 70's the Oxford and Cambridge intake consisted of more Grammar School pupils than alumni of the great (or even minor) Public Schools. There are still a few Grammar Schools left, but they are, as folk point out, selective. Selection is regarded as a bad thing. Yet the few good state schools in England are oversubscribed to such an extent that house prices in the catchment areas for such schools have in some cases a 30% premium. This is in the English housing market, which is madness anyway. This means that parents who can afford to live in the catchment areas of good schools will claim those places, which is a selection by income. Grammar Schools selected by ability, which to me seems fairer.
However, there aren't a lot of Grammar Schools in London.
Given all this I can understand anyone of any political hue sending their children to a 'Public' School, should they be able to afford it.
The equivalent sort of secondary education to the one I had (with a recognisable curriculum) now costs £25,000 pounds a year. There have been numerous years when I haven't earned that in total. I despaired of ever educating potential children, which is probably the reason I didn't have any.
If I had a disabled child or an educationally challenged child, of course, if I could afford it, I would attempt to give them the best possible education in the circumstances.
Now I must admit something. I don't like Ruth Kelly. I don't like what she stands for. I don't like her links with Opus Dei. I don't like the fact that she has acquiesced to, abetted, and been an apologist for, the war in Iraq (which in my eyes makes her a war criminal of a kind).
But I do like the fact she's doing the best for her son, and as she seems to need defending on this (and possibly only this) I find myself, surprised maybe, but nevertheless coming to her defense.
Or am I just showing prejudices typical of my caste and culture.