Do as I say, not as I do

October 24, 2003

The prime minister's attitude to higher education is indicated in an extract from Robin Cook's recently published diaries. The former leader of the Commons writes: "Roy Hattersley tells me of an exchange with a journalist who had just interviewed Tony Blair. He had asked why he had courted the political difficulty of sending Euan to the Oratory when, with his home background, Euan was likely to have succeeded at any school and still secured a place at Oxbridge.

"Tony had responded that the school environment was every bit as important as the home environment. Then, surprisingly, he added: 'Look at Harold Wilson's children.'

The journalist had demurred and said that one son had become a headmaster and the other a professor at the Open University. To which Tony responded: 'Well, I certainly hope that my children do better than that.'"

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