Saturday, 21 August 2010

John Hume backed academic selection

Back in 1993 the journalist Fionnuala O'Connor wrote In Search of a State: Catholics in Northern Ireland.  One of the Roman Catholics she interviewed was John Hume, then leader of the SDLP, and the conversation came round to the subject of academic selection (pp 23,24).  O'Connor summarised the case against academic selection, describing it as 'socially divisive' and stating that it 'unfairly favoured children from more literate, middle-class homes'.  She then continued
Hume still will not have that.  'There's no education system in the world that'll put brains into someone who hasn't got them,' he says.  'Selection means that people of ability, no matter what their social level, can break through.'
I can't remember when the SDLP changed its stance but there you are - John Hume, a founding father and long-time leader of the SDLP supported academic selection.


  1. Not sure pointing out parties that have 'changed their stance' is a good idea, especially given that Stormont is full of parties that have performed abrupt about-turns for politically expedient reasons, including the DUP.

    Interesting book by the way, but like everything, should be taken in context of the time in which it was written.

  2. As circumstances change so indeed political parties have to adapt to those changed circumstances. However that is not the point I was making. The most interesting point here is John Hume's argument in favour of academic selection.

  3. I must confess that I haven't heard Mr Hume's stance on academic selection lately, although I do know that this issue is carved along the usual unionist/ nationalist lines. I have the book in question so I'll have a wee look at it when I have the time... It would be great if once we could have some political cross-community unity on what is an important issue, or any important issue for that matter!

    It is a real Dogs Dinner mixed with fudge!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.