In my view elitism means 'favouring a section of society at the expense of others with no reason', ie getting jobs for family and friends, only employing people from certain backgrounds, basically picking and choosing favours for people you prefer who are no better than anyone else.
The dictionary says "government by an elite, consciousness of belonging to an elite, the favouring or creating of an elite" which extends the same principle, such as the hereditary House of Lords who govern by birth alone, and only allowing men to vote in the past etc.
Imagine my surprise when our current government (ie not the left wing opposition) said they would never bring back grammar schools as they were elitist. Now where exactly in the above descriptions does educating the best academic pupils with specialised teaching come up? No, the present system of the rich paying for selective schools which need Common Entrance exams to get in are elitist, not because they need to pass an exam to get in, as every single profession on the planet requires passing exams or a practical course, but because only the rich can afford them, unlike grammar schools which do exactly the same thing for nothing.
So why would a government shun any successful (as proved by decades of past success of poor students) system because it does not appeal to the masses. Ah, that was it. Just like Labour want 50% tax (more in France) knowing the total amount collected will always be less above 40% or so as people no longer work as much or hide what they do earn. That is physically bad for the economy, but appeals to the masses, who believe the rich should be punished, unless they win the lottery or rob a bank in which case they suddenly start voting to help themselves, unless they are so hidebound (like the middle class professionals who are left of Labour) they blindly hate so much they will always vote against the rich although they are the very people who will suffer if such a policy became reality. If they hate money so much very few give the same amount to charity even though it is theirs, which they could all do, but all hire accountants to squirrel away as much as possible for themselves so they can pay even less than they are supposed to.
Now the general opinion free selective education is elitist is not restricted to one specific issue, but represents a general attitude, one which would work to remove the general elitism, quite properly, such as reducing hereditary peerage, but then once completed then move on to what they like to call positive discrimination, where political parties and the BBC alike work to employ women and ethnic minorities because they believe they need more, so reject competent applicants who tend to be white and male, crossing the line between creating a neutral balance where everyone gets an equal chance (as in grammar schools, as everyone could get in as they all took the same exams) to, well, an alternative elite of women and ethnic minorities. All elitism is identical, tribes in Africa have the best jobs in some governments because of their family line, much as our House of Lords. Sunni and Shia Muslims are selected in many countries in the same way, with both frequently leading to wars, and the Indian caste system which was so successful in its elitism it could cripple someone's future for life.
Now tell me I'm crazy, but opening the doors equally to everyone and letting them succeed by their own merits sounds to me the exact opposite of elitism, and the art of doublespeak, saying the exact opposite of the truth as people trust you (like global warming causes colder winters and more snow), means by saying a policy actually designed to counter elitism is elitist just shows the proponents to be outright liars who should never be trusted under any circumstances to run a country or a pissup in a brewery. Imagine being led by rulers who not only know it is not correct, but deliberately claim offering all children a free good education if they need it is wrong? If they lie about that, then how much else are they lying about, and what do they think of you believing it's OK to do that, possibly as the opinion polls tell them it makes them more popular, like Labour raising the tax to 50% even though it raises less money. And guess what, by denying poor kids a good free education only the rich can afford one again so they are literally promoting an elitist result by doing so.
They're almost clever, but not quite.