There is a theory that Theresa May's grammar school announcement is just a diversion from the Brexit shambles

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Saturday 10 September 2016 17:00
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The 'dead cat' strategy: throw up something so abhorrent that everyone forgets about the important issue at hand.

As Boris Johnson explained in an old Telegraph column:

Let us suppose you are losing an argument. The facts are overwhelmingly against you, and the more people focus on the reality the worse it is for you and your case.

Your best bet in these circumstances is to perform a manoeuvre that a great campaigner describes as 'throwing a dead cat on the table, mate'.

That is because there is one thing that is absolutely certain about throwing a dead cat on the dining room table – and I don’t mean that people will be outraged, alarmed, disgusted.

That is true, but irrelevant. The key point, says my Australian friend, is that everyone will shout 'Jeez, mate, there’s a dead cat on the table!'; in other words they will be talking about the dead cat, the thing you want them to talk about, and they will not be talking about the issue that has been causing you so much grief.

Following the news this week that Theresa May wanted to lift the ban on new grammar schools, critics have been searching for the thing the government is trying to hide:

In a week when the Government has had to explain that statements related to Brexit from two senior cabinet ministers - Liam Fox and David Davis - did not actually represent the Government they are supposed to, er, represent.

So could it really be?

Plenty of people seem to think so...

But grammar schools are actually quite popular with the public-at-large, as this poll from YouGov in August showed:

Not that abhorrent to everyone, then.

More: Here is a conspiracy theory that might be the only explanation for Owen Smith

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