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An admission of failures

The latest social engineering proposals from the government are out on University education.

If I wanted my son to get into Britain’s ruling class, this is what I would now have to do, according to these plans. First, I would get him into the most expensive private school I could possibly afford. Then at sixteen I would have an arranged divorce with my wife, and I would move with him to the worst sink estate I could possibly imagine. Somewhere grim and remote would do the trick, perhaps the Belle Vue South estate in Carlisle?

And now comes the tricky bit. Once ensconced in Carlisle, we would track down the very worst comprehensive school or sixth form college in North Cumbria, and bung him right in there on the register. But what we wouldn’t do, of course, is actually send him there, oh no. We’d do lots of private tutoring during the week, instead, and send him in late to the ‘official’ college, one or two days a week, and encourage him while there to complain about girlfriends, spend hours on a mobile phone, and generally look surly around the campus, wearing various disgusting grunge clothes. That would be stage one. Stage two would be to get him predicted A-level grades of two ‘E’ grades, from the pinko lecturers. It would be a bonus if said pinko lecturers could be persuaded to try to interview him privately about his failure to attend. After missing two appointments we’d send him in on the third while stinking of Carlsberg lager and Drum tobacco mixed with cannabis, and get him to moan about the pressure of work, and the whole essay he had to do every term. Stage three would be to attain grades ‘BBC’ in his A-level finals (not too high, you’ll notice.)

At his subsequent Oxbridge University entrance interview, using my ancient medical knowledge I would try to give him lots of hypodermic scars on his forearms, and get him to wear a grubby bandanna and a FCUK T-shirt with holes in it. He would turn up late for said interview and spend his time in the waiting lobby beforehand ‘reading’ a jazz mag. Even better, he would keep glancing down at the jazz mag while the interview took place. Splendid!

And then, Bob’s your Uncle, he’d get a place at Balliol studying law, and then subsequently a place in the ruling elite feasting upon the tax revenues of the serfs, perhaps starting out as a state-franchised barrister. Why, you might ask? Because we’d be following the new government social engineering policy of rigging places at Universities to cover up the failures of the state comprehensive system. Just think, he’d be from a terrible school, he’d come from a sink council estate, a broken home, have drugs problems, difficulty focussing on work, girlfriend difficulties, he would smell, smoke, drink, and swear routinely, but despite having terrible A-level predictions, he would have ‘worked hard’ to achieve ‘BBC’ respectability, although without getting anywhere near the ‘AAA’ grades that people from good private schools would have had to attain to get the same University place. Marvellous!

Even better, the parents of those people from the good private schools would be forced to pay for my son’s University fees, and with a bit of luck, even be forced to buy his student drinks via a large maintenance grant. £xcellent!

Obviously, once he’d graduated my wife and I would re-marry, and we’d burn the FCUK T-shirts.

Welcome to the wild and wacky world of socialised education. I just hope house prices don’t go up too much in council sink estates, when the above pattern of educational achievement becomes the norm amongst the middle classes trying to get round the latest insane set of education regulations. I wish they’d rise up and revolt, to throw off their shackles of socialism, but they won’t. (Though I’d love to see them prove me wrong.) What they’ll do is adopt mad schemes like that suggested above. You see, to live in modern Britain is to adopt the mantra, ‘Mustn’t grumble’.

12 comments to An admission of failures

  • A_t

    “failure” to get up to the same level as private schools seems bizarre; if private schools weren’t better in some way, they wouldn’t survive. If state schools improved, private schools would surely be forced to up the ante or be forced out of the market. I understand you’re opposed to state education in principle, but that seems like another issue, and can’t just be addresssed by saying “these institutions which make every effort to be better than state schools, and have far more money at their disposal, are better! shock horror!”.

    & also, how many people are going to go to this amount of bother just to get their kids into uni? I agree, the proposals are flawed, but at the same time, universities (and the country as a whole) should have an interest in letting in the most intelligent and capable students. If there’s a clear pattern showing that you can get people from Eton who’re clearly stupider than people from a Gateshead comp, despite earning the same grades, why not use that knowledge? Any previous educational disadvantages tend to get ironed out pretty quickly once at university, so if you allow for these differences, you’ll probably get a better selection of brains than just judging on A-level marks alone. I think the government’s plan to force universities into following these ideas is very wrong though; if it makes sense, let them do it. If it doesn’t, fair enough.

  • Johnathan

    A_T, you are incorrigible. It seems pretty clear that deliberately making life harder for privately-educated school pupils in furtherance of some Pocrustean “ideal” of equality is going to lead to some nutty outcomes.

    The tragedy of what is happening is that under the old, admittedly flawed grammar school system, the chances of genuinely bright kids from poor backgrounds getting into the higher reaches of academic life was was probably far higher. It says a lot about the vengeful anti-meritocratic views of the Harold Wilson govt that it scrapped grammars but left sink comprehensives and private schools intact.

    Education is one of the few areas where I think that france and Germany are actually more sensible.

  • toolkien

    Regardless of perceived positive outcome, the State should be removed from the process of education as education is simply one form of conditioning and the State should not be in the business of conditioning citizens. In the US, the educational system simply perpetuates mediocrity in the name of egalitarianism under the manipulation of State financed education. This manipulation is evident as even the most ardent ‘conservative’ guffaws at the notion of ending public education and ignores that it is the most far-reaching socialist program in existence in the US. They are so conditioned they don’t view as such. State education embeds the notion of no feasible alternatives (vouchers etc) so deeply very few question its propriety. So while there is some quality and efficiency attributable to State education, it is far outweighed by its left leaning socialist make-up and its placement of its viewpoints in the minds of its citizens with its goal of its own perpetuation (hence why no alternatives are brooked by its members and the associations they create (e.g. unions)).

  • Edmund Burke

    I do not know about Germany, but in France there is a rush this year into private schools, with parents fed up with the constant strikes and disruption in the public (Fawlty) schools.
    Also, all graduates of the Bac have the right to enter University, with the result of massive overcrowding and eventually very high drop out rates. Wheter this is better than the “positive” discrimination being carried out in England, it is still not a satisfactory way for a nation to treat it’s youth.

  • Tim in PA

    How the hell did you guys let your country slide that far? Oh yes, I forgot, you let yourselves be disarmed by your government.

    At least the crap going on over there (and in Canada and Australia, for that matter) helps people here in the States see what the socialist bastards are going to try and pull.

  • Tony H

    Tim in PA, you’re saying PC attitudes in US schools, colleges and your education system generally don’t exist? Good grief! And attempting to link this to gun control is positively surreal. Anyway, check out the firearms laws in e.g. Washington DC, Chicago and NYC – what a bunch of cissies, letting themselves be disarmed by their local government…

  • Harry Powell

    I would have said that reading a jazz magazine demonstrated a spark of culture, unless of course you meant a jizz mag.

  • Andy Duncan

    Harry Powell writes:

    I would have said that reading a jazz magazine demonstrated a spark of culture, unless of course you meant a jizz mag.

    I’ll leave that up to you, Harry! 🙂

  • A_t

    🙂 i appreciate being called incorrigible, although i’d question that; i’m quite corrigible on occasion, just take a bit of convincing.

    but… ” It seems pretty clear that deliberately making life harder for privately-educated school pupils in furtherance of some Pocrustean “ideal” of equality is going to lead to some nutty outcomes. ”

    well… we’ve got nutty outcomes at the moment, where smart, capable people end up as labourers or on the dole because of where they came from, and people whose intellectual abilities are seriously deficient end up going to university & working for Reuters. Certainly pretty nutty. No matter how your system’s set up, it’s going to have some nuttyness; it’s a nutty world. Suggesting that A-level results are the be-all & end-all in terms of assessing how talented a university applicant is, is pretty nutty in itself.

  • We don’t need the Department of the Access Regulater. We don’t need to set the denizens of sink estates easier hurdles to climb. We don’t need universities to deny a place to anyone on the basis of his or her background. Where exam passes and the interview fail to identify the most able and deserving, a “G” test should be employed. The result would be infinitely more reliable and less productive of the resentments that will flow from the government’s current policy. It would be politically neutral, too. Not that political neutrality is highly valued among academics.

  • A_t

    ok…. i give in; what’s a “G” test?

    … & as to ” We don’t need to set the denizens of sink estates easier hurdles to climb.”

    the counter-argument would be, without the ropes & harnesses middle-class kids get, at present the hurdles are correspondingly harder for said ‘denizens’ to climb.

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