For a long while one of the main indices of social mobility was how many young people went to university from families where previous generations hadn't done so. For many post-war working class grammar school kids it was probably the index of mobility.
I've written before about my own experience of this and how social mobility isn't the same thing as social justice - by a long chalk. But it says something of a society that education - and at the very least a veneer of meritocracy - is held up as vehicle for mobility. So the irony hasn't escaped me that in the same weeks as that social ladder is being kicked away from a generation of school-leavers , we have the phenomenon of 'The Apprentice'. It's a telling reflection of our times that brown-nosing, back-stabbing and bullshitting are now the preferred routes to 'betterment'.
This year and as in previous years, the winner was someone - like Lord SirAlunSugar himself - who was self-made and had experienced a heart-warming 'journey' to get into the corporate world. I've got nothing against winner Stella English. I've been to Thamesmead a couple of times on anti-fascist activities - and can confirm that the estate she is from is every bit as desolate and downright scary as it is portrayed: Fair play to anyone who has managed to get out of it.
But surely after all that there are more worthwhile things to aspire to than a middle-management position at Sugar's IT-to-the-public-sector business Viglen Limited ?