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Actually, Boris…

August 10, 2012

On Monday the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was on the Today programme (listen around 2 minutes in) and said:

“Kids around this country are seeing that there’s a direct correlation between effort and achievement and the more you put in the more you get out.  That’s a wonderful Conservative lesson about life.”

Actually, I would argue, it’s not.  The direct correlation isn’t between effort and success; it’s between funding and success.

In 1996 at the Atlanta olympics the British team had its worst results ever.  Then Lottery funding kicked in and enabled our amateur athletes to give up the day job and become full time athletes with world class training facilities and sport science input.  Even the Telegraph agrees it was the money wot won it.  It may take a village to raise a child; it takes a country to raise an athletics team.  It’s the same correlation between the individual effort and achievement of the children who study at Eton and those who study at the top performing comprehensive… which happens to be the Thomas Telford school in Shropshire – which has now become a CTC and is sponsored by Tarmac.  Who says it’s all about individual effort – you need to work, but you need the resources behind you too.

Which is, in my view, the Conservative lesson about life – those that have, get.

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