By Joe Mellor, In house Reporter
Sir John Major is front page news again, in a comeback as unlikely as a new Gary Glitter release topping itunes.
The state-educated former prime minister, whose father Tom was a famous circus performer, had previously kept a low profile since leaving office in 1997.
John believes the Westminster circus, and other institutions are now run only by the ringmasters, people who attended public school.
Allegedly Major Snr fathered at least five children with four different mothers over a 42-year period.
Now that might explain how John had it in him. Edwina Currie was probably as shocked as we were.
Anyway back to business, Major Jnr must have had some confidence training. He no longer resembles the grey latex character from Spitting image, aimlessly pushing peas around his plate.
Watch your back Tony, there is a new statesman in town.
And this one actually wants to address social mobility.
His re-emergence as a political force began last month when he called for a windfall tax on energy companies.
Now he has now decided it’s the time to address our rigid class based society.
Major, who left school at 16, spoke out in a speech to members of the South Norfolk constituency party.
He said: “In every single sphere of British influence, the upper echelons of power in 2013 are held overwhelmingly by the privately educated. To me, from my background, I find that truly shocking.”
And looking at it he is probably right. More than half the current cabinet were educated at private schools.
David Cameron was educated at Eton, as was the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Right Reverend Justin Welby.
Nick Clegg attended Westminster while Gideon (George to his enemies) Osborne and deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman went to St Paul’s.
This list goes on, for all parties, they attended the same elite educational establishments, but joined different debating societies.
The Shadow Secretary of state for health, Andy Burnham is one of the only senior politicians who can claim to be working class.
He is Labour’s token oik, now Lord Prescott has gone all posh.
Burnham is very much the exception rather than the rule, and to be fair he went to Cambridge as well.
In contrast, Sir John – Prime Minister between 1990 and 1997 – grew up in Brixton and left his grammar school with three O-levels.
State schools now prepare their students for mediocrity, while private schools push for superiority.
But who is to blame for this increasingly elitist society?
John blames “the collapse in social mobility” on the failures of the last Labour government.
It is always easy to point the finger at your competition, but the whole Westminster system appears to be flawed.
To become an MP these days (regardless of party allegiance), the norm is to have attended public school (quite often an elite one like Eton), studied at Oxbridge, became a SPAD (special advisor) and then find yourself parachuted into a constituency seat.
You can’t blame the public when they say politicians are not in touch with reality.
I’m not proposing that every new MP should have worked stacking shelves in Aldi for two years, but some attachment to the real world would be nice.
It appears the post-war consensus, which created a groundswell of support for collectivism, a mixed economy and a welfare state, is now buried with the millions who lost their lives in the war.
But never fear help is on its way.
Eton and Oxbridge educated David Cameron has conceded that there was insufficient social mobility in British society.
He said: “I agree with [Major] that we need a far more socially mobile country. That is something we need to do far more about.
“You only have to look at the make-up of the high levels of parliament, the judiciary, the army, the media. It’s not as diverse; there’s not as much social mobility as there needs to be.”
The coalition introducing university tuition fees of £9,000 was probably not the way to entice poor people to seek higher education, which is the most obvious way to break off shackles of the lower class.
The establishment is back in its “rightful” place and doesn’t want to relinquish its power again.
Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.
But how long will it take the Westminster ringmasters to realise, nobody wants to watch the circus without the entertainment, and they need performers the crowd can relate to.
Maybe it’s time to send in the “clowns.”