Theresa May’s grammar school nostalgia is heartfelt – but wrong | Jonathan Freedland

Selection is wonderful for those who are selected. It’s everyone else who loses out. And mark my words: that won’t be the sharp-elbowed middle class

Did I miss the moment – perhaps it happened over the summer – when Nigel Farage was installed as leader of the country? I ask because a man who has serially failed to get elected to the House of Commons seems to be running the show. Not only will parliament spend the next four years, at least, making real Farage’s dream of a British exit from the European Union, we now know it will also be consumed with another Farage obsession: the return of the grammar school. No doubt we should brace ourselves for legislation bringing back “proper dress” for the theatre, restoring imperial weights and measures, and making the London tube’s Circle line a circle again (to take three items that all appeared in Ukip’s 2010 manifesto).

Related: May's grammar school plans 'put six years of educational progress at risk'

Related: Grammar schools aren’t fit for the world of the future | Paul Mason

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Syria’s agony could be ended – if the US and Russia can reach a deal | Jonathan Freedland

Diplomacy can work: the US and China have agreed on climate change, so the US and Russia can stop Syrians being condemned to face another five years of war

You read of the latest suspected chlorine attacks on Syrian civilians, which activists and rescue workers say came in the form of barrel bombs dropped on Aleppo by a helicopter pilot serving Bashar al-Assad. You see the pictures showing children clutching oxygen masks, grasping for breath. You see people hosing down the young and naked, desperate to wash away any trace of the burning, stinging chemical.

Related: Syrian government 'drops chlorine gas' on rebel-held part of Aleppo

The HNC’s blueprint does put the lie to the notion that the only options are jihadist brutality or murderous Ba’athism

Related: Nearly half of all refugees are children, says Unicef

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