Tag Archives: Class

Educational Apartheid

The top comprehensives may be able to give a child an excellent chance of an elite university place; the private schools can virtually guarantee it. All else said on the subject is waffle.

The 7 per cent of children who attend private schools take nearly half the places at Oxford and Cambridge and nearly a third of the places at other elite universities such as Durham, Manchester and Bristol.

It is crude educational apartheid and a major obstacle to the equality of opportunity that New Labour says it wants.


Peter Wilby, The Observer, 7 July 02

Diversity at the BBC means acting and thinking like them

Two of my colleagues at the BBC have regional accents and are very experienced, yet they are constantly asked: ‘Which university did you go to?’ There is this unspoken reality that, although I look different from you, I must act, think and speak the same as you, which is then promoted as diversity.

Unnamed BBC Journalist, The Guardian, 13 May 2002

Top jobs have become more male and Oxbridge dominated under New Labour

Tony Blair’s pledge to destroy the establishment that controls large swathes of British life has been shattered by research showing that the country’s ‘cultural gatekeepers’ are still older, white men, most often educated at either Oxford or Cambridge.

“If anything, appointments under New Labour have become more male and Oxbridge-dominated” said Damian Tambini, author of the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) report, All Change at the Top?

Kamal Ahmed, The Observer, 14 Apr 2002

How TV programmes get made

“Every few months the senior executives at BBC and Channel 4 and ITV leave to take up similar jobs at a rival channel, where they immediately sack the existing staff and bring in their mates from their last jobs. They then cancel programmes and commission focus groups of unemployable daytime TV- watchers with personality disorders to try and find out what viewers want.

Meanwhile, writers are summoned from all over the country to dream up ideas for vibrant new, original programmes – ‘We don’t know what we want but we’ll know it when we see it’ – which are then ditched in favour of pet, cookery, gardening and home improvement shows, or more shite with Nick Berry in.

This time I’m considering pitching an idea about two sick dogs who swap homes. While they’re away they get looked after by sexy vets, and their gardens and kennels have makeovers. Then they die and get barbecued by Ainsley Harriott. I’ll need about a month in England for meetings with various chancers, charlatans and posh boys calling themselves producers, then I can go back to Ireland for as long as I like.”

Pete McCarthy, McCarthy’s Bar, 2000

I’m young, you’re old, I hate you! Now buy me those trousers!

From the word go, at the height of the cold war, youth culture was only ever the cleverest way of dividing and ruling and alienating working-class kids from their birthright and selling them a form of rebellion which came complete with all mod cons and built-in obsolescence.

Just think: all that pain, all that struggle, all that class war, suddenly sacrificed – one, two, three o’clock, four o’clock rock! – for a creed which added up to no more than ‘I’m young, you’re old, I hate you! Now buy me those trousers!’

Julie Birchill, Pop Goes the Icon, Mail on Sunday, 6 June 1999

Why should the dregs of our society act in a caring and decent manner when our self-seeking leaders don’t care about fairness and freedom?

GBH was a seven-part TV drama by Alan Bleasdale, set in a Northern town in the Thatcher years, broadcasted on Channel 4 in 1991.

In this scene Jim Nelson, the working class headmaster of a special school played by Michael Palin, sleepwalks out of his holiday caravan during a thunderstorm and crashes into a tree. Waking up on the ground  in his pyjamas, soaked to the skin, he finds Grosvenor, the impoverished aristocratic owner of the caravan park played by Daniel Massey, appearing from the bushes wearing an oilskin jacket, miner’s helmet and lamp, sheltering under an umbrella  with a half empty bottle of whisky under his arm.

Continue reading Why should the dregs of our society act in a caring and decent manner when our self-seeking leaders don’t care about fairness and freedom?