Like most people on the centre-left, I have grown up with the idea that Grammar Schools are elitist and socially divisive. But the ongoing row in the Tory Party over the issue has forced me to take a fresh look at this, and in particular to ask myself what a "progressive" position on academic selection would look like in today's world.
Reluctantly, I have come to the conclusion that Graham Brady is right when he argues that selection by academic ability is a greater engine of social mobility than selection by house prices.
Near to where I live in Derbyshire, there is a former Grammar School which nevertheless retains many of the facets of one, which is regarded for miles around as the school to get your children into.
As a result, house prices in that village and the surrounding area are a good 20-30pc higher than in those areas which lie slightly outside the catchment area, meaning that only better-off families can in fact afford to send their kids there.
I don't doubt that there are countless other examples of this kind of effect across the country, a consequence of the exponential growth in house prices since comprehensive education was but a twinkle in Tony Crosland's eye.
By ditching his party's previous policy on creating new grammars, Tory leader David Cameron thinks he is being "modern" and "progressive." In fact he is doing what the Tory Party has historically always done - standing up for the interests of the wealthy elite who can afford homes near the top state schools against those who have to make do with what Alastair Campbell called "bog standard" comprehensives.
In my view, if Gordon Brown wants to lead a genuinely progressive government, as well as outflanking Cameron on an issue of real concern to the hard-working classes, he should take a very close look at what Graham Brady and the other Tory rebels are saying.
How about this for an autumn conference speech soundbite, Gordon? "Read my lips - no selection by house prices or interview under a Labour Government."