I ALWAYS thought Alan Milburn to be a sensible sort of chap. He was Health Minister when I was the Shadow Secretary of State and showed none of the leftist ideology of his then boss, Frank Dobson. He told the unions to grow up and used the private sector to make good the shortfalls in public services.
Now, however, he appears to have gone bonkers. He chairs the Social Mobility Foundation and seriously suggests that qualifications should be deleted from CVs to make the process fairer.
What on earth is the point of a CV if not to showcase achievements and qualifications? That is its very raison d’être. When Milburn was recruiting for his ministerial, parliamentary or constituency offices, did he really ask for all qualifications to be redacted?
A prospective employer is unlikely to interview every applicant if large numbers apply so, naturally, he will look at the CVs.
I did myself. A degree in politics? Understood the House of Commons. A-level English? Could probably spell and punctuate. Helping a charity? Probably kind to constituents.
Anyway, it is an insult to a child from a modest home who has got an impressive degree, to pretend that achievement never happened. Imagine the demoralising effect of being told to ignore the grades for which you worked so hard, of hiding your proudest accomplishments, of pretending none of it happened.
Social mobility is vastly aided by grammar schools, so does Milburn approve of those? Social mobility is also aided when merit, not quotas, determine success. A meritocratic society is naturally classless, an engineered one is not. Any employer needs all the information about a candidate that can be got: education, health, achievements etc. It is vital to know as much as possible simply in order to select the best candidate, a statement so obviously true that it should not need uttering.
And yet in the Alice-in-Wonderland world of the Social Mobility Foundation, the less you know the better.
You couldn’t make it up.