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Blunkett refuses to embrace Tory icons

The Labour party has dismissed as irrelevant a provocative pamphlet written by the research director of the Fabian Society which urges the Left to embrace all the icons of Tory educational policy.

The pamphlet by Stephen Pollard calls on the Left to admit that comprehensive schooling has failed and to consider ideas that have long been regarded as the exclusive property of the Right, namely: vouchers, selection, GM status for all schools and the abolition of education authorities.

The pamphlet has been published by a right-wing think-tank, the Social Market Foundation, rather than the Fabian Society, which is affiliated to Labour. But the Fabians' general secretary, Simon Crine, insists that this was because "the original proposal was too weak" rather than because it was ideologically unsuitable.

David Blunkett, the shadow education and employment secretary, said: "The Social Market Foundation is backing schemes which would offer excellence only to a few and would abandon the rest of our students."

Mr Pollard, who is a Labour party member, accuses "Guardian-reading liberals" of paying lip-service to the comprehensive ideal while educating their children privately.

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