Rhiannon doesn’t really do logic, does she?

This is not to say that privately educated Oxbridge graduates are bad people or don’t have anything good to bring to the table – just that perhaps we need to stop focusing so much on what’s fair and instead look at what’s most interesting and imaginative.

But the entire argument against the privately educated running everything is that it’s unfair, isn’t it?

57 comments on “Rhiannon doesn’t really do logic, does she?

  1. Top jobs go to disproportionately to people who went to good schools. I don’t see how you jump from that fact to don’t live in a meritocracy. Meritocracy doesn’t mean that you must have bog standard education and make your mark in one generation. That would be classless sure but not meritocratic.

  2. It seems to me that if you are going to be a cheerleader for a Free Market low tax economy the fact that society is so not-free and self evidently unfair ought to be a problem.
    The idea that our country is a meritocracy ( always comical) is now tragic and the long term tendency is worse .
    This is obviously inefficient but also undermines the moral case for self responsibility …” Why you could be an author as well if you want to barely literate dweller of no hope estate …”
    As a supporter of market solutions and individual freedom I oppose the right of parents to buy their children even more social advantage than they have already .
    We social engineering as much as we need roads defense and legal frameworks for trade

    We need to bann Public schools

  3. It’s not about whether someone’s ‘better’ than you or visa versa, more a celebration of differences. Or should be. While you can attempt to rejig an education establishment or workforce to mirror the community it serves, you can’t mandate people to spend their off-duty hours with members of social groups that are alien to theirs. Nor can you really stop people choosing a particular industry or profession because ‘their sort’ tend to hang out there. It’s probably why so many transgender types work at the BBC and lesbians join the police force (or so I’m told).

  4. No. I wouldn’t be restricting it to privately educated Oxbridge graduates either. The entirety are deeply suspect.

  5. It’s from the Guardian? Well, they pretty much have to triangulate on the private school privilege thing, they all went but cannot ascribe their individual ‘success’ to that cause.

  6. She certainly doesn’t do logic:
    The social confidence afforded to the privately educated is always cited but never challenged… Is it really acceptable to recruit so many men from single-sex boarding schools who struggle to look women in the eye?

    So private schools give them this amazing social confidence, yet they’re unable to look women in the eye?

  7. Rather than ban them how about private schools for all (who want them). School vouchers of 100% of the state per pupil funding – schools can’t charge top-up. Or 90% of state funding and school can charge top-ups.

    Looking at medicine the idea that state provision is egalitarian is silly. In the UK you have a high end private market and everyone else gets what the state gives. Go to a country with state funding but people are free to buy care from whoever they wish and rich and poor go to the same doctors.

    Now banning reading to your child at bedtime, that I could get behind. Why should parents who work short hours get to boost their childrens life chances?

  8. Bernie G
    and lesbians join the police force (or so I’m told).

    Ambulance service in my experience. And having been scraped off the tarmac by a couple of them my admiration for them knows no bounds. A fine body of women who don’t dye their hair a funny colour and whinge but just get on with the job.

  9. @Newmania “As a supporter of … individual freedom I oppose the right of parents…”

    Yeah.

    That makes sense.

  10. @Newmania “life is self evidently unfair”

    The sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be able to move on.

  11. @ AndrewC
    I\m becoming increasingly convinced Newmania’s contribution are translated by Google from another language*. They have that flavour about them. Almost but not quite making sense.

    *Klingon?

  12. Even those who went to state school will disproportionately often have gone to the highest performing state schools, more likely their parents lived in the “right” and most expensive post codes, more likely to have had family support – enforcing discipline with homework and revision as a teen, listening to them read and teaching them times tables as a youngster, actively participating in their learning or hiring a private tutor for subjects they didn’t feel comfortable with. More likely parents themselves were educated, professional and valued education.

    This is arguably unfair, but switching from private school kids to this kind of state school kid isn’t a great leap forward for social progress.

    This is before we even consider the issue of scholarships to private school, which such parents might be keen to make use of if there are local scholarship places available. In that case the water is very muddy between the “state school kid” and the “private school kid”, whose family backgrounds turn out almost identical.

    The challenge, and this to me seems insurmountable at least in terms of “can we get them into Oxbridge”, is all those kids at crap schools whose parents have low educational attainment themselves and do nothing to support or encourage their child’s schooling, aspirations or self-discipline. There are more of these kids than there are privately educated ones, so in principle to be “fair” more of them should be admitted, but most of them won’t even take A-levels so have no obvious route to the elite universities.

    (A corollary of this is that I don’t like it when people get judged for whether they went to uni, did A levels, what school grades they got. Often has more to do with their background or what they had their interest in than their ability or intelligence. But you see a kind of bigotry about this, people who would only consider dating a fellow graduate, or looking at the education stats about Brexit voters and arguing they must therefore be stupid. Often from the kind of folk who identify as liberal, left-wing and socially progressive!

    If we ever did sort out a world where grades were “fair” and paid no heed to social position, for example replacing A levels and GCSEs by some kind of IQ testing – not sure how even that would work given inheritability of intelligence, but maybe baby shuffling at the maternity ward or all kids reared communally in a kibbutz would form a vital pillar of egalitarian social policy – then we would end up with an appallingly “meritocratic” hierarchy whereby those in the upper echelons know they really did enter the top university and career streams due to their inherent superiority over the lesser mortals. And those at the bottom know they have been placed where they deserve. And since that would be totally “fair” and indeed in some senses “optimal” in its deployment of talent, yet the whole thing is abhorrent to most of us, I can only conclude that “fairness” is not the sole social desideratum.)

  13. “everyone else gets what the state gives”: but some are more equal than others – it helps if you or your family work for the NHS.

    It might even help if under “next of kin” you enter Dr A N Other.

    Mind you, being Dr A N Other doesn’t guarantee you the right fucking dose of anaesthetic.

  14. If anyone doesn’t think that public school education and connections enables non talented people to get good jobs they don’t deserve, they should watch channel 4 news. Or read Polly Toynbee.

  15. My grandmother was brought up by her widowed mother and widowed grandmother, got a scholarship to gramar school and a scholarship to university, graduating with honours. Booooo!!! Priviledge!!!!

  16. I think it was the late, great Peter Bauer whose seminal chapter (latterly a CPS pamphlet) ‘Class on the Brain’ summed up the idiocy of the likes of Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett quite well.

    I recall having graduated from Cambridge that arguably the most ‘woke’ person back in the 90s (Admittedly before the term came into common currency) had her 21st Birthday party at the family home. It turned out her father, despite his rather bohemian appearance was of noble lineage. So much so that when I asked him if he was related to ‘The’ Lord North, his response was ‘The man who lost us the Americas – of course’ – yet his daughter’s politics would have made a member of the North Korean politburo balk at their ideological rigidity.

    So Cosslett’s proposal for a ‘Class audit’ would be equally as moronic as the current mania for gender audits, and those ‘clever’ people who already make such hay by gaming the system (The likes of the Blairs, Diane Abbott and so on) would simply continue to do so.

    She also continues to resemble the archetypal ‘Alien’ you see in Roswell derived Science fiction.

  17. Rhiannon doesn’t really do honesty. Boris’ rise “despite little evidence of talent” Boris won a King’s Scholarship to Eton and a Scholarship to Balliol to read Greats (considered the top of the intellectual pecking order – unless you were a Mathematician, in which case it was a scholarship to Trinity, Cambridge). President of the Oxford Union, made (possibly even earned) vast sums as a journalist.
    “It’s a plucky state school child that would stride willingly and confidently into an environment” where a majority of students are from state schools and a majority of those from Public Schools got scholarships to pay (wholly or in part) for their school fees.
    Rhiannon wants to bring back and bring over here the Stalinist system where anyone with suspect ancestry (voting Conservative, for instance) are excluded from university education.

  18. “In the UK you have a high end private market and everyone else gets what the state gives.”

    I wish someone would point me at this so called high end private medical market, because whenever members of my family have used private medicine its been just as bad as using the NHS, in terms of the level of service given. Yes you can get seen faster, but the actual customer service is shit. The medical profession, whether private or State funded, seems to think itself above concepts such as customer service and listening to the patient. The private medical profession is infested with the same arrogant attitude that the NHS has – you’ll have what we give you, take it or leave it. Which is unsurprising, as all the private doctors work in the NHS, so its baleful influence infects their private work as well. You end up paying a fortune to be treated no better than the NHS treats you, just faster.

    I have yet to meet a doctor who is not an arrogant cock, apart from my childhood GP, who was an old school medic, having been trained back in the early days of the NHS, when it was culturally still the same as it had been prior to nationalisation, and medicine was seen as a social calling rather than a way to make a lot of money.

  19. @ Newmania
    Banning Public Schools would eliminate the prospect for any advances in education – all the successful innovations have come from Public Schools (the appalling Comprehensive system, on the other hand, was copied from the USA *after* it had been shown to unfairly penalise children from poor neighbourhoods and block social mobility).
    I think that you will find, if you can bring yourself to look, that the vast majority of Public Schools were set up as Charities to provide an education for Poor Children. So your final sentence is a contradiction of the one two above it.

  20. ….. the vast majority of Public Schools were set up as Charities to provide an education for Poor Children.

    ..and retain that charitable status despite being ruthless commercial organisations selling social advantage, the opposite of a charity by any ordinary understanding. The problem kids now are dumped on the state system where they duly suck in all the resourcest , leaving ordinary children to struggle on with minimum support and achieve mediocrity
    I see the Libertarian case for buying your children a monopoly of opportunity,and the case that those people buying also fund state schools through taxation
    Overall, however the corrosive social consequences of ever widening inequality are stronger.

  21. Boris Johnson’s continued rise, despite little evidence of talent or integrity

    When has our political system ever rewarded integrity? Enoch Powell had integrity in spades, didn’t help his career much. Boris had enough integrity to at least resign over Mrs May’s plan to sign the most punitive treaty in British history, which in better times would’ve been reason enough to decorate the Palace of Westminster with some heads.

    As for talent, BoJo has the gift of getting people to like him, which puts him in the top percentile of politicians. Who should be PM instead? Failed marmalade salesman Jeremy Hunt? Incompetent charisma vacuum Theresa May? Steptoe?

    We’re not blessed with any Gladstones or Disraelis, and plenty of frock-coated Victorians thought they were cads and bounders. Even Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was widely hated by large swathes of the electorate, even during WW2 – there’s good reasons why he lost by a landslide in 1945.

    Boris is the man of the hour. He might not be the hero we deserve, but he might just turn out to be the hero we need right now.

  22. Time to form a Committee of Public Safety.

    “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!”

    Ecks, prepare the guillotine!

    Or you could have a more Stalinesque Great Purge!

    Kill your leaders! You’ll be fine! It doesn’t matter what school they went to, Cosslett; YOU DON’T NEED A REASON!

  23. The problem kids now are dumped on the state system where they duly suck in all the resourcest , leaving ordinary children to struggle on with minimum support and achieve mediocrity

    The UK State school system is set up to ignore failure, frown on excellence and expect mediocrity.

    Life is inherently unfair. Tough shit, grow up and learn to deal with it.

  24. “the problem kids are dumped on the state system”

    given 98% of children go to state schools it seems a bit harsh to label all of them as problem kids

    Also – are the schools allowed to kick out the ones disrupting others education? If not isn’t that an ideological choice to damage the education of the 29 non-disruptive kids in that class?

  25. Could it not be argued that a dominance of private school and Oxbridge workers is likely to block innovation, creativity and vision in many industries? That it perpetuates a sort of parochial, small-c, conservativeness – a dullness. It’s so boring. People will hire in their own image, and then they all have dinner parties with each other, have the same in-jokes. It’s cliquey and exclusive, overwhelmingly white, rife with nepotism, profoundly uncool and unexciting.

    Uncool? Little Missy is worried about “uncool”? Seriously?

    This is the sort of drivel I’d expect from a college freshman.

    Yes, I know it’s The Guardian, and therefore it’s going to be stupid. But does it have to be this stupid?

  26. @Newmania “I see the Libertarian case for buying your children a monopoly of opportunity,”

    If your argument were correct, no-one would ever be successful without this parental purchase and everyone who had it would be.

    That isn’t the case.

    To paraphrase Pericles.

    Maybe Boris wouldn’t have got where he has had he not gone to Eton. But would you have got where Boris has if you had?

  27. I think term limits on cushy jobs like MP or on sitting as a Lord would do wonders for both the merit of candidates and quality.

    No more difficult ones bed blocking safe seats.

    Britain’s claim to meritocracy floundered on how conveniently people of a certain class all know each other. Like a Cartel.

    The house of Commons is a perfect example of Adam Smith’s theory of conspiracy by people in the same industry when they meet.

  28. given 98% of children go to state schools it seems a bit harsh to label all of them as problem kids

    In fact 10% now attend private schools. Its a much higher figure than you might think and encompasses quite ordinary families, often with the help of grandparents.
    These are good people and I would do the same if we could manage it .
    The problem is that with a vital and influential part of society opting out State education ( funds for which are being viciously cut while we finance Brexit /fiasco )- the State sector loses so much energy especially the demand for excellence.

    Surely you see that id economic Liberalism is just a licence for the already privileged to stay that way it is unsustainable politically and …simply unfair ? Social mobility has stalled and if you don`t do something about it then Corbyn`s vision of class war will become a reality

  29. @ Newmania
    Can we talk about the universe in which I and most others live, not about your personal and unique universe?
    In my universe I am continually subject to begging letters from my old school to fund bursaries for poor children (and from my college, but the latter does vary its appeals between bursaries and support for a variety of projects). It is indeed still a Charity and acts as such.
    I have yet to hear of it weeding out problem children and dumping them on the state system. The only “problem child” that I can remember didn’t go there: he was sent to HMS Conway instead of Public School.

  30. Jim:
    It’s called the BT effect (from the opening of telecom to competition): a competitor to a state monoply doesn’t have to be actually good, it is enough to be differently bad.

  31. “But would you have got where Boris has if you had?”

    Andrew, this is my argument in support of Lance Armstrong. Had I taken all the Performance Enhancing Drugs ever made, I still wouldn’t have been able to compete in the Tour de France.

  32. Jim,

    “I wish someone would point me at this so called high end private medical market, because whenever members of my family have used private medicine its been just as bad as using the NHS, in terms of the level of service given. Yes you can get seen faster, but the actual customer service is shit. The medical profession, whether private or State funded, seems to think itself above concepts such as customer service and listening to the patient.”

    Because it isn’t an open market. Doesn’t matter if you’re state or private. If you can have high barriers to entry, you don’t need to worry about competition too much.

  33. Yes, I know it’s The Guardian, and therefore it’s going to be stupid. But does it have to be this stupid?

    The media is full of vapid, pointless articles by thirty-something year old women. Utterly tedious.

    In other news, mainstream media is dying on its arse.

  34. @ isp001
    In theory, Yes schools are allowed to kick out disruptive kids but they tend only to exclude the ones that the teachers don’t like, not the ones who quietly persecute other kids whenever thje teacher’s back is turned. So the innocent kid’s education can be disrupted while the teacher turns a blind eye.

  35. “Surely you see that id economic Liberalism is just a licence for the already privileged to stay that way it is unsustainable politically and …simply unfair ? Social mobility has stalled and if you don`t do something about it then Corbyn`s vision of class war will become a reality”

    Public schools were dying on their arses in the 50s and 60s, as bright kids got into grammars, got decent educations and moved on the universities, and got good jobs as a result. Who was going to spend hard cash if they could get a decent education for their kids for free? Only the terminally class conscious upper classes and the middle classes with dim offspring were sticking with private education.

    Every single educational reform since then (all proposed by the Left) has done nothing except destroy that route for clever children from ‘difficult’ backgrounds to make good. Firstly destroying the grammars, secondly the ‘everyone shall have prizes’ mentality of exams, (which means when everyone has elebenty billion A* exams, guess who gets picked, the candidate who is the most polished socially, or who has the best connections) and the final nail in the coffin, every must go to university, thus recreating the 11+ divide in a far more final way at the age of 18, dividing the whole country down the middle, degree or no degree. The latter can’t ever get anywhere because all the ‘good’ jobs require a degree, but even the former aren’t guaranteed a good job because a) there’s so many of them , and b) the shit standards at former polys and CFEs mean a degree means little from at least half the universities out there.

    So half the country has an iron ceiling they can’t rise above, career-wise, and half of the other half are pissed off because they were sold a pup – their degree gets them no better a job than they’d have got without one. And even the ones with good jobs are constantly looking over their shoulders because employers know there’s a flood of new degree holders every year, all desperate to get on the career ladder.

    The solution is to enforce rigorous educational standards from bottom to top, and cut the tertiary education system by at least half. Only the best of the best to go to uni and in order to make sure that elite includes the clever but poor and socially marginal kids, you have grammar schools in every town, selecting the cleverest, who have to attend. If you want to do a bit of social engineering you could fiddle with how you select the cleverest kids – for example split an area into its wards and say the top 10% of the kids in each ward get into the grammar. That way 10% of the council estate get in and 10% of the middle class areas do too , thus preventing the middle classes crowding everyone out. Ok you can game it, but which middle class person is going to move to a council estate to get their kid a bigger chance of passing the 11+? A few maybe, and good luck to them if they’re that dedicated.

  36. Er, Jim – I was around in the 50s and 60s and the Public Schools weren’t dying and while the *minimum* entry standard for the lesser Public Schools (but not all of them) was a bit below that for Grammar Schools, the majority of boys were bright.
    The reason I got a scholarship to Public School in 1959 is because our local Socialist-controlled Council would not permit the local grammar schools to teach for Oxbridge entrance. As my parents wanted me to go to Oxford they stumped up the difference between my scholarship and full fees.
    It’s news to me that my parents had dim offspring.

  37. Jim, how do you address Rhiannon’s point regarding the absence of social capital: “People will hire in their own image, and then they all have dinner parties with each other, have the same in-jokes. It’s cliquey and exclusive.”

    There was a young lad who worked at the next desk to me. One morning he received a call from a friend he’d been at (public) school with. The conversation went something like: “My Father’s retiring as company chairman in a couple of months. I told him you knew a bit about the business and would be an excellent fit – are you free for lunch later this week?” He was, and proved a successful replacement. I’m sure this sort of thing happens more than we realise.

  38. “I’m sure this sort of thing happens more than we realise.”

    Since that sort of thing happens at every other level of society I’d be astonished if it didn’t happen among would-be company chairmen. If it didn’t happen among people you’d been at school with it would happen among people you’d been to university with, played rugby with, sung in a choir with, been a Scout with, been to bloody church with. Man is a social animal.

  39. “how do you address Rhiannon’s point regarding the absence of social capital: “People will hire in their own image, and then they all have dinner parties with each other, have the same in-jokes. It’s cliquey and exclusive.””

    Simple, its the absence of a rigorous educational exam system that actually tells employers who the best candidates are that creates the need for social capital. No one can determine which candidates are the best, because they all have prizes. So lets forget using exam results at all, other than as a very broad brush selection process, and when it comes down to it choose the candidate who scrubs up the best, and/or has some familial connection to someone in the process.

    Businesses are not totally stupid, they won’t employ the terminally dim just because they have the right tie, given a choice between the smart and the dim they’ll choose smart every time, that makes more money. But as they can’t tell which is which any more, or rather there’s too many candidates claiming to be smart, and with exam results to ‘prove’ it, they go by social capital instead.

    What we have created is a system that encourages nepotism and old school tie behaviour, because the alternative (grading people by rigorous and independent examination) has been totally destroyed by the Left. The Left have created the current system, so they’re the ones who bear the blame for how its turned out.

    Just as when the State prints money it drives people to ignore those with lots of it in favour of those with something else (gold/hard currency for example), when the State prints too many qualifications it drives employers to seek other criteria for choosing employees. That is what we have, hyperinflation of qualifications.

  40. Incidentally, if there’s one group of people that employ people entirely in their own image, and are cliquey and exclusive its the liberal left intelligentsia…………..how many people born in council houses work at the Guardian and the BBC?

  41. @isp001 June 26, 2019 at 10:43 am

    That’s more or less how it works in the lefty utopia of Sweden. Furthermore, unlike UK Academies they are – shock, horror /sarc – allowed to make a profit.

  42. @Steve June 26, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    +1 Especially “BoJo has the gift of getting people to like him”

    .
    @Itellyounothing June 26, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    +1 I too would like term limits on MPs

    .
    @Robbo June 26, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    +1 – BT effect, good term.

  43. Labour is as white and wealthy as the terrible Tories

    That 97 per cent figure, much quoted by the BBC, prompted me to find the source of it – and PM’s citing of Queen Mary, University of London helped me.

    And what an eye-opener ‘Grassroots’, their analysis of British political party membership, is!

    Yes, it does find that Conservative Party members are 97 per cent white, but it also finds that the SNP is similarly 97 per cent white, that the Labour Party is 96 per cent white and the Lib Dems are 96 per cent white.

    The Lib Dems turn out to be even more middle-class than the Conservatives, with Labour over three-quarters middle-class too.

    Which all raises the question of why are we getting BBC news bulletins (like Saturday’s BBC One News at Six), BBC reporters such as Matthew Price and PM hosts such as Caroline Wyatt and so on making so much of the ‘whiteness’ and ‘wealthiness’ of the Tory Party membership when all the other big parties’ memberships are just as white and roughly as wealthy?

    And, not to be self-promoting (something it’s usually hard to accuse us of!) why is this tiny, unfunded two-person blog able to find this out – and point it out – while the massively-funded BBC simply just parrots it about the Tories without mentioning the figures for the other parties?

    I’m so glad I listened to PM tonight. I feel as if I’ve busted an endlessly-parroted Big Lie.

    Good article – Blair was educated at Fettes, Edinburgh

    .
    Hunt And Johnson At First Hustings In Birmingham 22/06/2019

    or for remoaners youtube.com/watch?v=_Eu8E21_efk – Guardian Vid

    No comment.

  44. As rich people are, in general, more intelligent than poor people it’s not surprising that their children are more successful as intelligence is heritable. The solution for Mr Newmania can be found in Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron where everybody is forced to be equal by the Handicapper General. The pretty are masked and the intelligent are hampered by electronic interference.

  45. @ Bernie G and dearieme
    The principal value and use of the “Old Boy” network is to know whom you should *not* trust. You don’t want to hire as Company Chairman someone who cheats at cards. Pre-“Big Bang” virtually all the scandals in “The City” were caused by people who had not gone to a Public School.

  46. Jim

    “every(body) must go to university, thus recreating the 11+ divide in a far more final way at the age of 18…”

    Spot on. Being so bloody obvious, nobody can see it and yet it is absolutely toxic in its effects.

  47. John77… Recruiting staff is a nightmare, a lottery. It may be unfair and smack of nepotism, but I’ve found that – on the principal that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – if you know their parents, and they are decent people, it usually works out well enough.

  48. +1 BernieG

    Exactly. Almost every discussion of hiring is based on the premise that you want the best person. For 99% of jobs in the world so long as you find someone decent at the job then you care far more about how they will into a group, and the risk that you might be wrong. It makes perfect sense to hire the slightly less qualified person but where you have good knowledge of their character through a shared social network.

  49. “I was around in the 50s and 60s and the Public Schools weren’t dying”: and yet the newspapers then were full of stories about how the minor schools were doomed, what with all these grammar school tykes forming a majority of the Oxbridge intake.

    I dare say it depends on exactly what you mean by Public Schools. In Scotland the whole mob of them were referred to as Private Schools without, as far as I can remember, anyone bothering to distinguish sub-species.

  50. @ dearieme
    There were queues (albeit modest ones in most cases) to get into nearly all Public Schools with boys who didn’t get in at the start of the school year frequently trying again at Christmas when those who were taking Oxbridge entrance left creating a few spaces.
    More recently, some schools have closed (St Bees I noticed and remember because a close friend went there but there were others). My old school progressively cut the number of boarding places due, I strongly suspect, to reduced demand and increased the number of day boys and it then followed the trend of admitting girls to the sixth form and finally went Co-Ed, taking over a nearby Girls’ school which had shrunk even worse. The number of boys boarding is not stated but is clearly less than half the number in my day.
    Costs and hence prices (aka fees) have risen far more than middle-class incomes so Public Schools are *now* much more endangered than 50-60 years ago.

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