Thursday, 9 June 2011

Oxford dons slam David Willetts' "recklesss & incompetent" University reforms.

Universities minister and former Oxford University student David Willetts
has been humiliated by a no-confidence vote at the institution.
It is quite clear to me that the Tory party have not changed since the divisive rule of Maggie Thatcher and continue to pursue policies that disadvantage the poor, the working class, the elderly and the disabled whilst simultaneously bringing in legislation to protect the interests of their traditional supporter bases of the rich landowning class and the bankers, hedge fund managers, private equity asset strippers and moneymen that have provided more than 50% of donations to the Tory party in recent years.

This is no big surprise, as anyone with more than half a wit should be aware of the unofficial Tory party motto of "take from the poor to give to the rich".

The thing that disgusts me most about the current regime is the fact that slimy PR man David Cameron knows that most of the British population are well aware of the long-term economic and social damage caused by Thatcher's "greed is good", "no such thing as society" neoliberal agenda so he is making sure to use "newspeak" and misdirection in an attempt to obscure the fact that his party are basically having a whale of a time kicking the poor and blaming it on Labour's mishandling of the economy when they know full well that the economic mess was caused by their banker mates in the city.

One of the clearest examples of this use of "newspeak" was all the soundbyting about "promoting social mobility" when many of their policies such as the tripling of university tuition fees can only be seen as part of a deliberate and determined "war against social mobility".

The fact that so many of Cameron's cabinet of millionaires went through the production line of private schools such as Eton (that cost more than the median wage in fees) and then through Oxford University (and the Bullingdon Club) into their positions of power and authority is a clear demonstration that this government is one born out of privilege, not social mobility. Oxford University have been bitterly criticised for continuing to favour applicants from private schools. Only 7% of British kids go to private schools while 46% of Oxford's 2009 admissions came from private schools meaning that a child benefiting from an expensive private education is more than fifteen times as likely to get a place at Britain's top ranked University that a child that has received the standard state education.

David Cameron and several other leading Tories
were members of the elitist Oxford University Bullingdon Club.
All of this gave me the impression that the "Toffs" that run Oxford University must be delighted with the inequality that allows their graduates to be so heavily over-represented in politics, the judiciary and in the media and pleased that the government have brought in huge financial disincentives to dissuade ordinary kids from aspiring to study at university.

However this week this assumption was proved spectacularly wrong by an extraordinary vote of no-confidence in David Willetts' education reforms from Oxford University lecturers which passed by 283 votes to 5, the first time a vote of no confidence in a minister has ever been passed by an English university.

Historian Robert Gileda who proposed the motion described David Willetts' university reforms as "reckless, incoherent and incompetent" and also slammed Willetts' proposal that rich students that fail to be selected should be allowed to buy their way into "off-quota" places as "a red carpet entry for the rich and even more competition for everyone else".

Humiliatingly for the Tory minister for universities and science, his former lecturer Peter Oppenheimer who had previously described his pupil as easily influenced and as "no politician" was one of the vast majority who voted against the reforms. Things could get a whole lot worse for Willetts when other universities begin to follow suit as Oxford are encouraging other universities to voice their opposition to these Tory reforms via their No Confidence website.

If an institution that is clearly recognised as one of the great British bastions of privilege and inequality is so united in their opposition to these reforms on the grounds that they are harmful to British higher education, the reputation of the British university system as a whole and to the students that will be left with mountains of debt, then the Tories "War on social mobility" must be way out of control.

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