Maria Miller relives her Welsh comprehensive schooldays


One sentence stood out for me from Maria Miller's letter of resignation to the prime minister.

"As a working mother," wrote the out-going culture secretary, "educated at a South Wales comprehensive school, I know that it is our party that understands the importance of giving everyone the opportunity to succeed regardless of where they come from."

Hmmm...what did she mean by that? Had she become a cabinet minister despite going to a South Wales comprehensive school? Or did it mean that it didn't matter where she went to school? I went to a South Wales comprehensive school so it's a bit difficult for me to work out.

David Cameron would sign up to the latter argument, since his own expensive education is often portrayed as a liability for his party. Rather than take pride in the quality of his education at a world-famous school that has produced 19 prime ministers, Conservatives seem almost embarrassed about it. A party dogged by the perception that it is led by a privileged elite that looks after its rich friends occasionally appears to adopt the "we'd like to apologise for the quality of our education" approach.

Perhaps it will end in a parliamentary version of Monty Python's Four Yorkshiremen sketch, with Tories competing to compare tales of childhood hardship and humble upbringings.

Brynteg, by the way, has yet to produce a single prime minister - but, unlike Eton College, it can claim responsibility for one first minister and 18 Welsh rugby internationals.

David Cornock Article written by David Cornock David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

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