Sayeeda Warsi interview on social mobility
Baroness Warsi, the Conservative peer, cites Leading People in a Guardian interviewby Emile Saner, focusing on social mobility
On the evening of the day Sayeeda Warsi resigned from the cabinet, in protest at the government’s policy on Gaza, her father called her and told her she could come back to work with him. There was a sense that her high-profile stint in public life was over and she could get back to normal – or as normal as one can be with a life peerage. “I’ve spoken to colleagues who almost grieve about leaving ministerial office,” she says. “Having power taken away from you must feel very different to giving it back. I think I was very lucky. I had a huge world to go back to. Politics was not my social life. I didn’t make it a way of life.”
Next week, she launches the Baroness Warsi Foundation, which aims, among other things, to improve social mobility. It will give people, and especially young women, opportunities, networks and internships; the stuff that is there for the taking for the kind of people who went to the right schools – or the right school, if you go by the psychodrama being played out by old Etonians David Cameron and Boris Johnson at the top of the Tory party right now.
She refers to the recent Sutton Trust report that found public life and the top professions were dominated by those who had been to independent schools – 74% of judges, for example, and more than half of the cabinet. “It shouldn’t be that 7% [of the population who attend private schools] are in the top jobs where all the big decisions are made. I still think it is tough being a woman, it is tough being from a black or minority ethnic background, it is tough being a Muslim, but it’s really tough being from a working-class background, and that spans gender, race, religion, everything.”
Read the full interview here