I came across the following ad in a recent issue of the gorgeous Angels & Urchins glossy quarterly for the Nappy Valley set.
I have to admit here that I’m actually one of the privileged few women to actually have been able to have her babies at the Portland. And yes it was fabulous.
What this ad made me think about more deeply, however, was social mobility and the primary predictor of a child’s socio-economic attainment in life is not her race, postcode or IQ. The number one predictor of success is the educational & employment attainment of her parents. So it’s actually not ridiculous at all that the babes born at the Portland Hotel tend to do pretty well – including pursuing both the elite careers as well as those in the arts (the upper education of which is increasingly becoming the preserve of middle class and above).
Social mobility isn’t as bad here as it is in America (see Robert Putnam’s Our Kids), but it isn’t very good either. The Social Mobility Commission’s June report reiterates the that social mobility can’t be improved by focusing just on schools, unis and workplaces. “Parents provide the foundations for children’s progress in later life and government must do more to support them in doing so.” Too right. I don’t like to be pessimistic, but good luck with that.