IT'S a story government spin doctors are hoping will go away. They probably think it's a storm in a New Labour cappuccino cup, mildly embarrassing for the MP involved, but otherwise not too damaging for the Government.
Certain practitioners of black political arts must at this moment be offering up prayers for Donny Tourette to be let back into Big Brother so he can get legless and make another pass at Cleo Rocos , thereby knocking other news off the front pages.
However, the scandal, and it is a scandal, of how former Education Secretary Ruth Kelly is lifting her dyslexic son out of the local state school and sending him to a £15,000-a-year private one is not going to go away. It is too important for that, not simply because of what it tells us about Ms Kelly, an unpleasant home truth that her Bolton West voters might remember come election time, but because of what it also tells us about this Government and its supposed policy of "education, education, education".
It's been nine years since Tony Blair swept to power with what I, and so many others, felt was a genuine desire to offer opportunities to all our children. Back then, had a Minister abandoned the local school they might, just might, have been able to argue that it was below par because of Tory ideas. Almost a decade on, what's their excuse now - leaves on the line or maybe the wrong kind of snow?
The system that Ruth Kelly thinks is failing her son is the one her party has repeatedly redesigned, according to their ideological blueprints. She even acted as figurehead for it for a while. If it's not good enough for her child, how can it be good enough for the rest of us?
Tony Blair has backed Kelly's decision. A spokesman says, "What the Prime Minster supports absolutely is the right of parents to make choices about their children's education". And this would be fair comment if those same choices were available to every parent, not simply those like Kelly who earn £137,000 a year. But they're not, are they?
My six-year-old son is dyslexic. He is in a class of 30 at his local state primary with one full-time teacher and a teaching assistant. When his father and I attended a meeting with his headmistress to discuss what help was available we were offered two 15-minute "catch-up" sessions of one-to-one reading a week.
When I, slightly flabbergasted, asked if the local authority didn't provide anything else, the head said no and then added, "But fortunately you have the resources".
Kelly says, "I, like any mother, want to do the right thing for my son - that has been my sole motivation". Selfishness is not a good enough defence. It's simply insulting to those whose pockets aren't as deep. Ruth Kelly's actions reveal not only the reality of state education for children with special needs, but also reinforce what has evidently become the New Labour attitude towards education for all children - "I'm all right, Jack, sod the rest of you".
It is little wonder the PM is backing Kelly. He and Cherie lifted their own sons out of the mainstream state system by sending them to a highly sought-after Catholic school. Then there is Harriet Harman, one-time Labour council firebrand, and even Diane Abbot. The list of those who say one thing and do another gets longer by the month.
Only this week, the Government unveiled a new code to prevent middle-class parents getting their kids into decent schools by paying a premium on the price of a house in the right catchment area. Schools are being advised to select by lottery instead.
So what's left to parents who, in the words of Blair's office, want to, "make choices about their children's education"? Either they have to find £15,000 a year like Ruth Kelly or perhaps we could all become Catholic like Cherie Blair?
Using every trick in the book to secure their own children the best while trying to prevent other parents doing the same has become a feature of this Labour Government. Within Ruth Kelly's smug New Labour circle, giving your kid a leg-up while leaving everyone else's to rot may be acceptable. Outside, however, it stinks.