DEMAINE, J., 2005. The ‘new’ politics of education in Britain’s changing times. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 15(2), pp. 115-128.
The British Labour Party has continued to make progress on education, following two broad policy paths and adopting a pragmatic approach which does not attempt to force these to cross or converge. One path is that of the quasi market inherited from the previous Conservative administration, the other is characterised as ‘intervention’ to support those for whom the market remains almost entirely irrelevant. Some observers regard this dual approach as ‘opportunism’ and Labour’s education policy as a ‘betrayal’ of principle; by which is meant the principle of ‘equal opportunity’. But of course, that principle provides equal opportunity to fail as much as to succeed. Rather than leaving education to the market, Labour has focussed on the needs of those most likely to be failed by the principle of ‘equal’ opportunity in a quasi market.