Haverstock School used as pawn in political game by Ed Miliband

Haverstock School is at the centre of Labour leader Ed Miliband’s attempts to reinvent and distance himself from his public school Tory counterparts.

Political commentators for many years have branded the comprehensive school in Haverstock Hill as “Labour’s Eton” and it counts Ed and David Miliband among its esteemed alumni.

At the Labour Party conference this week, ‘‘Red Ed’’ tried to draw on his background (slumming it in Primrose Hill?) to drive a wedge between his image and that of posh PM Cameron.

His comprehensive schooling was also name-dropped in a party political broadcast to coincide with the conference.

The school is familiar with being used as a chip in the political game, an antidote to the high jinks, high-tea and tails of Eton.


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Picture, if you will, a Haverstock School reunion with Ed sharing mixing decks with fellow school leaver X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos, while his brother is roughed up in the playground by EastEnders’ Phil Mitchell, actor Steve McFadden, also a former pupil.

In a political swipe, the Labour leader said: “My family has not sat under the same oak tree for the last 500 years.”

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But how does Haverstock School headmaster John Dowd feel about being a cornerstone of the Labour leader’s public persona? “Obviously we are pleased with the publicity because it’s about the idea that we are supporting and promoting every day,” he said. “It’s good to be able to be part of something that Ed regards as a positive part of his life. We want all our students to have positive experiences, whether they go on to be statesmen or working in Sainsbury’s.”

Pressed on the comparison with Eton, Mr Dowd confided in Heathman: “It’s not like we’re going to get the rowing eight on Regent’s Canal, but Eton is a successful school and it cannot be bad to be compared to that. But we’re clearly very different and proud of that.”

Mr Dowd and Ed both.

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