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The government's new adviser on social mobility

Michael Crick | 18:02 UK time, Monday, 16 August 2010

It is perhaps not surprising that Alan Milburn should have become the government's new adviser on social mobility.

Look at these exchanges between David Willetts and Mr Milburn in a Commons debate on the issue in June of last year:

Willetts: The right hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Milburn) is also in the Chamber, and he is leading the independent review. The work that has been produced, both originally by the Cabinet Office's strategy unit--that was on social mobility as a whole--and more recently by the panel on fair access to the professions, is excellent. The amount of empirical evidence assembled in those reports is fantastic, and I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman is the right man to push forward this agenda.

Milburn: It is always a great pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Havant (Mr. Willetts). At some points in his speech, his insight and knowledge were in danger of creating a progressive consensus in the House; then, however, he lapsed into criticism rather deeper than I would have expected from him.... One of the things to strike me, following the contribution of the hon. Member for Havant, is that in one sense there is a progressive consensus nowadays in the House. All parties have come to the view that ensuring that Britain is a mobile society is a perfectly legitimate objective--and, indeed, a priority--for public policy.


  • Comment number 1.

    It seemed OK for a GOAT when Brown was PM, but why do Labour resort to name calling when Cameron has a GOAT government?

  • Comment number 2.

    social mobility?

    ok lets start with who can be head of state? oh but we can't because to debate that is against the law. Afghans have a higher principle of democracy than we do. Apparently we are not good enough to have the same rights as afghans and iraqis?

  • Comment number 3.


    I can't find anything in Milburn's CV that equips him for understanding the lower strata of humanity, let alone their 'upward mobility'. Add to that his established espousal of Blair, and it all gets a bit 'IDS' (who granted Tony his war).

    We shall see.

  • Comment number 4.

    Milburn is trying to be a better Tory than the others....and he is succeeding....

  • Comment number 5.

    To the point at issue... Turn Eton into a 'free school' I say. As a baby boommer (and one of the one in a thousand (or more)children with manual worker fathers who went to what are now called an elite university) I rapidely discovered on taking up employement that there were 'grammer achool firms' and 'public school firms' and of course there still are. Now about the same proportion of my sort os people get to elite universities and into the professions or become government ministers. Best to send them to Eton first.


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