I don’t know why I keep blogging about school choice, but I can’t help it. Today Matthew D’Ancona writes over on the Spectator blog that the announcement yesterday on school admissions is ‘an old fashioned public sector rationing system doing its bleak work’.
He adds that ‘The “covert admission practices” [the government] refers to include such supposed horrors as parental interviews, allegedly expensive uniforms or daring to ask parents which order of preference they have placed schools in. This is a Government that talks about “aspiration” and the “personalisation” of services but still prefers the pseudo-egalitarian gesture and the Whitehall diktat’.
My problem is that I think the Right is so inconsistent on these issues. It spends a lot of time talking about ‘producer interests’ getting in the way of personalised services. But the point that it misses time and time again is that producer interests can exist in markets. They [can] arise when producers of services have more power than users even when they are supposed to be serving them.
So markets, per se, are not the solution to the problem the Right identifies with public services. If it is really concerned with producer interests, then is should be arguing for the the governance of markets, which is exactly what admissions procedures are trying to provide.