Needless to say liberals loathe the independent schools, denouncing them as elitist institutions that cream off resources to the detriment of pupils in the state sector. It is worth remembering that parents who send their children to independent schools face three financial burdens, since they pay fees to the independent school, they pay taxes to fund the state education sector and they save the exchequer the cost of educating their own children.
A favourite argument of liberals, repeatedly employed, is that if the independent schools were brought into the state system, the performance of the latter would be raised out of all recognition, as a result of the increased pressure to improve standards that would come from parents who currently use the independent sector. Such wild optimism ignores the precedents of the destruction of grammar and direct grant schools, that resulted in a levelling down, not a raising, of standards. The true reason that liberals want to finish off the independent sector is that it provides a constant reminder of the failure of most state comprehensives to meet its high standards.