Welcome to Angus Take House – a weekly column in which I will be pitting two of the wildest takes the world's great thinkers have rustled up against each other. This is your one-stop shop for the meatiest verdicts and saltiest angles on the world's happenings. Go and grab a napkin – these juicy hot takes are fresh from the griddle.
What’s the story? I’m going to write a blog!
Reasonable take: Yes, a nice little blog about my favourite part of the day and what I think is going to happen in the next series of Broadchurch and stuff like that.
Cauliflower Take: No, actually, a blog about sterilising the poor. Yes, I’m going to write a blog about that.
Of all the things I was expecting to make a comeback in 2018 – nu-rave, goatees, spaghetti westerns – I must admit eugenics wasn’t one of them. Yet, here we are, barely three weeks into the new year and already on our second big sterilisation story. Following the revelation of a controversial eugenics conference held secretly on campus at UCL, a blog post belonging to Tory MP Ben Bradley has surfaced in which the vice chairman for youth suggests poorer people should have vasectomies before having too many children.
In the since-deleted post, from 2012, consbradders32 said: "Sorry but how many children you have is a choice; if you can’t afford them, stop having them! Vasectomies are free." He continued, adding that "Families who have never worked a day in their lives having four or five kids and the rest of us having one or two means it’s not long before we’re drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters that we pay to keep!"
The old posts are full of the Tory legacy myths – casting the poor as a rampant breeders, producing an endless conveyor belt of children until they’ve enough child benefit payments to cover the coveted widescreen TV – but what’s worrying is the apology Bradley has since offered. In a statement he said, "I apologise for these posts. My time in politics has allowed me to mature and I now realise that this language is not appropriate."
Consbradders32, my dude, your language is not the issue. Tell poor people to get vasectomies in French, call it "the snip", politely ask them to "terminate your bloodline please" – you still don’t come over particularly well.
What’s the story? The old Private School vs State School debate.
Reasonable take: One’s good for rugby, the other’s good for society.
Wake and Take: My children moved from private to state, and now they eat marijuana leaves for breakfast.
Writing under the pseudonym "Anne Brown", an anonymous mother has written a revelatory think-piece for the Times detailing how she had to take her children out of private education when her husband was made redundant. The change to state education, she argues, led to a rapid slide towards regular drug consumption and academic failure.
You probably don’t have a Times subscription, so let me copy and paste a few highlights.
My three were never interested, talented or suitably energetic enough to make it on to any sports teams when in the private system. Even so, it was good that they were still made to do something out on the vast pitch every day… At their state schools they were not made to do any PE or sport whatsoever.
I can’t tell you how much pleasure the author takes in bodying her own children. It’s relentless. The main thrust of the piece is: my kids are lazy fucks, but at least at private school they’d have been forced to play cricket.
...they began smoking weed for breakfast on the pavements outside Londis every morning, as was the wont of so many of their peers who were unmotivated and whose school day was so short. I am not deluded. I know they would almost certainly have done drugs in the private system… The number of times I’ve been told that “our little Tarquin” who’s at [insert any public school you care to name] “never touches the stuff”, and seen pictures of said little Tarquin on my daughter’s social media hoovering up a hat-trick of coke, ketamine and MDMA — well, I’ve lost count.
You’ve really lost count? You’ve lost count of the number of times a grainy square image of Tarquin racking up a powerball has slid up the timeline? Is this what private school is actually like? I thought it was just caning and punting.
That “better chance” may only be an illusion in some ways and, for the non-natural-flourishers, the less high-achieving public schools are by no means a guarantee of success. Still, all those huge sums are buying something… If my husband and I had the money, we would have stuck with private all the way.
I actually, weirdly, really admire this piece of writing. I went to a state school so naturally find the portrait of hunched delinquents hoovering gravelly lines of ket in the dining hall laughable. Yet, behind the sweeping insults there are some pretty basic truths in this piece. School is hard, parenting is hard, achieving anything is hard, unless you can afford to buy your way out of certain difficulties. What Anne Brown, whoever she is, is saying, in her own special way, is that you can’t buy talent, but you can buy massive safety nets.
Prime Cut: I sort of agree with the Times piece – in a very roundabout "this is morally bankrupt but fair enough" way – so it’s going to be Tory To Watch 2018, Ben Bradley.