Our politicians are mediocre. In this post I suggest why that is, and what we could do about it.
We all know of the dominance of those educated in private schools. This is especially true of politicians in the upper levels of our government. This, for me, is indicative of Britain’s stagnant levels of social mobility. Labour activists would like to abolish private schools, and that would help. But a better way to disrupt the elite self-perpetuation of politicians. And this would be to simply target Oxford and Cambridge.
Our ignorant politicians
Let’s strip those strongholds of inherited prestige and wealth from teaching undergraduates. This would mean that they wouldn’t be incubators of the next ruling class, and our politicians. Especially as our so called elite tend to study soft subjects or economics under the flag of PPE. The result: they lack scientific knowledge. And this leads to the major intellectual shortcomings we see in so many politicians.
A clear career path
Armed with a sense of superiority, would be politicians attend Oxbridge (a finishing school before entering the City. Then through the old-boy’s network they enter the financial world. This suits them well[ its an environment where mediocrity accumulates wealth. Wealth which is disproportionate to their talents or contribution to society. Of course, the complete lack of accountability in the financial sector helps too.
Once they have accumulated their wealth, they enter politics with the aim of governing our country. The problem is that they don’t have the knowledge to operate in the modern world. The greatest skill they have is lying to mislead us so we vote for them.
And my solution is …
Canada, Australia and Sweden all have private schools. But they also have above-average social mobility. That’s partly because they don’t have highly prestigious universities that confer a life changing advantage on the lucky few. They have lots of good universities where students can get a decent education. Graduates then have to prove themselves in the job market.
We must do better than what we have now. You only have to look at the current Cabinet, stuffed full of people described above, to fear for the future. Binning undergraduates might benefit Oxford and Cambridge too. After all, they currently lose money on these students. These universities could then concentrate on research and teaching postgrads. They could also grow their summer schools for disadvantaged students. It would keep what’s best about Oxbridge. And have the advantage of reducing the impact these institutions have that so distorts our British political life.