Hilarious and hypcritical highlights from Nick Clegg and James Caan’s Opening Doors social mobility plan
JAMES CAAN, star of BBC Dragon’s Den and would-be baby buyer is working as Nick Clegg’s “social mobility czar”. The pair hooked up to lunch an initiative called of Opening Doors. On page one of his manifesto, Clegg writes:
Fairness is a fundamental value of the Coalition. Government. A fair society is an open society. A society in which everyone is free to flourish and rise. Where birth is never destiny. In Britain today, life chances are narrowed for too many by the circumstances of their birth: the home they’re born into, the neighbourhood they grow up in or the jobs their parents do. Patterns of inequality are imprinted from one generation to the next.
The true test of fairness is the distribution of opportunities. That is why improving social mobility is the principal goal of the Coalition Government’s social policy.
By definition this is a long-term undertaking. There is no magic wand we can wave to see immediate effects. Nor is there a single moment, or particular age, when the cycles of disadvantage can be broken for everyone. The opportunity gap has to be addressed at every stage in the life cycle, from the Foundation Years through to the world of work. And Government cannot do it alone. Employers, parents, communities and voluntary organisations all have a part to play.
Tackling the financial deficit is the Coalition’s most immediate task. But tackling the opportunity deficit – creating an open, socially mobile society – is our guiding purpose.
Nick Clegg MP
Deputy Prime Minister
Good stuff. And then we all noticed that Caan had employed one of his daughters in three separate roles and another worked for a company he had invested in.
Clegg, of course, benefitted from his dad getting him an internship at a Finnish bank.
“I am a parent, I want to do the best for my child, every parent does. I don’t want us to deny parental instinct. You shouldn’t be sanctimonious about this. All I’m saying is governments, businesses, those who can open doors to youngsters who don’t have the luck and good fortune of having supportive parents and families, I think should do so. Not only because it’s good for youngsters but it’s good for them as well – it’s good for governments, good for business, it makes sense all round.”
What was that bit about birth and destiny “never” being entwined?
At least we know why these celebrity preachers are called Czars.
A few other selected highlights from Clegg’s big plan:
There is a long way to go. The income and social class of parents continue to have a huge bearing on a child’s chances The influence of parental income on the income of children in Britain is among the strongest in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. Parental income has over one and a half times the impact on male incomes in Britain compared with Canada, Germany and Sweden. The lack of social mobility is damaging for individuals. It also leaves the country’s economic potential unfulfilled
Our goal is to make life chances more equal at the critical points for social mobility such as: the early years of development; school readiness at age five; GCSE attainment; the choice of options at 16; gaining a place at university or on an Apprenticeship; and getting into and on in the labour market.
Getting on in work should be about merit not background.
We need to ensure that the jobs market is fair all the way up to the very top. Success should be based on what you do, not who you know
In a fair society what counts is not the school you went to or the jobs your parents did, but your ability and your ambition. In other words, fairness is about social mobility – the degree to which the patterns of advantage and disadvantage in one generation are passed onto the next. An unfair society is one in which the circumstances of a person’s birth determine the life they go on to lead.
He’s not a politician. He’s a ruddy missionary.