A while ago, Labour party policy wonks used to talk about "blue-sky" thinking. "Let's be prepared" they said. "to think the unthinkable. Let's put away our political dogmas and ideologies and consider what actually is going to deliver the best and fairest deal for everyone."
[Incidentally, "blue-sky thinking" always turned out to involve privatization - of the postal service, of transport, of social services, of health, etc. etc.]
Well, I want to try a bit of "blue sky thinking" here.
True, the suggestion that private schools should be banned - that all children resident in the UK should have no option but to attend state-funded schools - will strike many as ridiculous.
Many will say banning private schools is impossible. There are legal obstacles (such as European human rights legislation), as well as social and political obstacles, they'll insist. So it's not even worth considering.
Well, I am not so sure it is impossible. In particular, I suspect that if they majority of people in this country realized the extent to which their own children's chances of success are crippled by a small, wealthy minority intent on buying their own often second-rate kids a leg-up at others' expense, we might well find a rising tide of opinion moving against private education.
But in any case, whether or not it is impossible to ban private schools, it is surely still worthwhile pondering their legitimacy. Which is what I plan to do over the next few blogs....