We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

I fear, however, that we are seeing a back-drop of indecision, buck-passing and even incompetence that will leave this generation more contemptuous of leadership and authority than any I can think of before.

— Alastair Stewart, ending his Spectator article about exam results on a hopeful note.

9 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Ben david

    Theirs is the contempt of narcissists. If only they were more skeptical – but that requires humility.

  • Paul Marks

    If people do not sit an examination marking it is easy – everyone gets zero.

    Making up results on the basis of what teachers say is not acceptable. There was no need for the schools to be closed – and even if there was (which was there was not) examinations should still have been set – again one must not pretend that people have GSCEs and A levels when they have not sat the examinations. It is hard for some people to study at home (because they have to share a room – or whatever), but that is no excuse for making up fictional results for examinations that have NOT been taken.

    However, there are also fears that the examinations themselves have been twisted over the years.

    The purpose of a “A” level was two fold – command of the facts, and the ability to logically a case.

    For example in a history examination – if someone wants to argue that the Reformation was a terrible thing, a Protestant examiner would give the person the highest grade IF they showed command of the facts and argued logically.

    Sadly there seems to have been a falling away from this standard in recent years, basically since the 1990s.

    It was found that the new GCSE examinations did not give people the foundation of knowledge that the old “O” level examination did – so the temptation was to “dumb down” A levels so that people could pass them. But it has been more this.

    There has been a move from “the ability to logically argue a case” to arguing the “correct” case – repeating “the line”.

    For example, a pupil who argues AGAINST the theory that C02 emissions cause terrible problems is not likely to get high marks – regardless of how good their command of the facts are (for example that NASA and others have radically “reinterpreted” historic temperature figures – on the assumption, for which they present no evidence, that the records overestimate 1930s temperatures in the United States) – and no matter how well they argue.

    The principle of “I do not agree with the pupil’s conclusions – but they have argued well, so I will give them the highest grade” is more and more forgotten.

    In short there has been a move in the United Kingdom, especially since the start of the 1990s, from education to INDOCTRINATION.

    Children expected to present the “correct” (leftist) opinions in order to get high grades. Even before the 1990s there was a lot of pressure on pupils studying history to present “Social Reform” in a positive light – people were still allowed to argue that Disraeli and other “Social Reformers” did harm rather than good, but you had to argue really well (the burden of proof was clearly upon the dissenter).

    I must not overstate how bad things were BEFORE the 1990s – as I still got an “A” at A Level (back in the 1980s) and I argued that Disraeli and the other Social Reformers did harm (not good) – perhaps today I would get an “Unclassified” result at A Level for “failing” to give the “correct” answer. I also did a Politics A level and got an “A” grade – although my Economics A level got me only a “C” (given what I wrote I would be utterly astonished if I got anything other than “Unclassified” today).

    Still how far there has been a change from education to indoctrination is hotly debated.

  • polidorisghost

    “…that will leave this generation more contemptuous of leadership and authority than any I can think of before.”

    Not while I’m still alive it won’t be.

  • Itellyounothing

    Nothing breeds contempt like long running familiarity….. Except to Government messiah cultists anyway.

  • Nemesis

    If Universities set their own criteria independent of anything else – wouldn’t that solve a lot of these issues?

  • bobby b

    Cool new system. End the tyranny of scores and exams and objective measure! This firmly backs you in to the proper and just awardment of academic future through social scoring by the already-woke!

    Exam scores are a construct of white supremacy! Better that we simply choose the most worthy by subjective rankings.

  • Paul Marks

    You have got it bobby b.

    Have you considered becoming a Professor of Education (teacher training)? You have, more or less, got their language.

    The weird thing about the United Kingdom is that the Conservative Party now rushes to push the Marxist agenda. Do they know what they are doing? I do not know – but it does not matter if they know what they are doing, as the result is the same whether they know or not.

  • JohnK


    Now I think about it, you are certainly right. If no pupil was allowed to sit an A Level exam, then it follows that no-one achieved an A Level.

    In this year of Covid chaos, it may be that the pupils who should have sat A Levels should be given aome sort of school leaving certificate, perhaps being given estimated A Level marks, but that is the best that can be done.

    The current system, whereby the sinister quango “Ofqual” awards ersatz A Level grades based on how good or bad the historical results of the school are, is clearly unfair. Some pupils are better than their fellows, and yet their non-existent “results” are dragged down by the historical poor performance of others.

    I feel very sorry for pupils denied university places on the basis of “grades” which simply do not exist in reality. I suggest that anyone offered a place at a university on the basis of certain grades should be allowed to take that place. Grades awarded seemingly at random by Ofqual are simply not the same as the grades a pupil would have scored if they had been allowed to sit their A Levels. The universities are turning pupils down on the basis of something which is not real.

    As an example of the way in which the British administrative state is unfit for purpose, I would say that Ofqual is the perfect example. It has known since March that pupils would not be allowed to sit A Levels, and that therefore there would be no actual grades. It has contrived to award imaginary grades in the most inept and unfair way imaginable. The thinking of the bureaucracy seems to be along the lines of: “there are always grades, therefore this year, even though there were no exams, there must be a way to award grades.” No-one seems to have had the vision or courage to say that if there are no exams, then there are no grades, and another way must be devised to record the educational attainment of the unfortunate class of 2020.

  • Paul Marks


    I agree with the thrust of what you say here.

    Our system of government does not work – and the party that I had hoped might roll back the insane bureaucratic system has utterly failed to do so.

    Strange are the ways of the universe – was I saved from dishonour by being betrayed last year>

    At the time I was filled with a quiet despair by being betrayed by the party i had faithfully served for 40 years – I am too old to start another life, so only death awaits me now.

    HOWEVER, given the wickedness of the policies followed since March I would have had to resign anyway – it would have the only honorable thing to do.

    But would I have had the strength of character to resign? After all to do so would have been to pass a sentence of death (slow death) upon myself – would I have had the moral courage to do that? Or would I have proved to be dishonourable – gone along with the wickedness in order to protect my own interests?

    I was saved from this dishonour precisely by being betrayed last year – morally what was done to me was a great favour, it saved my soul from much evil.

    Although it was not the intention of the people who betrayed me, to do me moral good. This was indeed the beneficial result of their treacherous conduct.