chapter  4
Work, worth, talent
ByJean-Pierre Chevènement
Pages 5

Without wishing to be rude to those who are ill-informed, the people whom I seem to have disappointed are primarily those belonging to various cliques and ‘in groups’; perhaps also a certain number of people on the left who feel that this is where their allegiance lies and yet that their outlook is right-wing, since they think that quality, hard work and high standards belong to the right. With a definition such as this, we would be left seeming irresponsible and careless and however much we dress it up, our cause would be lost! As far as I am concerned, I do not hesitate to admit that I consider myself to be a different kind of left-wing. Isn’t it obvious that a solid and well-structured education system can give underprivileged children the knowledge they need that they will find nowhere else? If a child from a privileged background does not learn English at school, he or she is sent to Brighton or California for the holidays. If another doesn’t do very well with grammar or spelling, the parents are able to correct any spoken faults. But if the child comes from an immigrant family or is, as they say, a ‘welfare case’, then who will take them in hand and will correct them? In consequence, a solid and well-structured education system gives everyone an opportunity, especially the most underprivileged children. As you can see, I feel sure enough of my principles to remain undaunted by all that I hear said. The left must not become alarmed because

it is in the majority. The reason I concentrate on success rather than failure is because all children must feel that success is within their grasp. State schooling must respond to the expectations of the majority of parents. In this way it will unite the country and convince it of the need for sustained effort in the educational sphere.