Neither the government, nor Ruth Kelly herself are handling her “disabled child at private school situation” well, either on a moral or a political level.
On a personal level, I respect Ms Kelly’s decision to do what she feels is the best for her disabled son. However, this does not make it appropriate for her to send her child to an independent school while remaining the government minister for education – given that this proves beyond any doubt that she does not believe the system you are running is capable of providing her child with the education that he needs.
In any line of business, refusing to use your own product shows that you are happy to inflict it on others while being fully aware that it is poor. Being minister for education, as it is conventionally understood, involves not admitting that the education system is poor. On this basis, Ruth Kelly has no alternative but to resign, and anyone seeking to defend her on the basis that she’s doing the best for her family in a hard situation should have the knee-jerk sympathy beaten out of them with an iron bar.
However, shifting the goalposts a little, there is one way in which Ms Kelly could keep her job: if she publicly admitted that the education system does not adequately provide for the parents of children disabled in whichever way her son is disabled; announced the steps that her department was going to take to address these flaws in the system; and announced a date when the system would be sufficiently fixed to regain her own personal confidence. Sadly, this involves concrete policies, personal responsibility and admission of culpability, and therefore will never happen.
Meanwhile, David Cameron is absolutely cleaning up – unlike me, he can profit massively from the situation while not even having to criticise Ms Kelly. “We all have to make the decisions as parents first, not as politicians. Ruth Kelly is a parent first and foremost“, he says, while the papers do the job of pointing out the context that Mr Cameron has a disabled child who attends a state school.
Mr Cameron is an ex-PR man, and therefore definitionally unscrupulous and untrustworthy. I think it would be pushing it to suggest that he had his child deliberately disabled for political advantage, however. Also, fuck, this bastard is going to win, isn’t he?
Update: Tampon Teabag makes the above paragraph look inoffensive.