The curse of the universities

Bodies of higher education should be one of the greatest assets a country can possess but, over the past few decades, we in Britain have seen them mutate into organisations which, while absorbing vast amounts of public money, have become hotbeds of political correctness, and the source of that elitism which treats the wishes of the people with contempt, seeking to suppress all views which do not accord with the deeply held prejudices of the educational establishment.

Previously one of the primary functions of a university education was to enable youngsters to encounter a wide spectrum of views, broadening their mind, so that they would be capable of debating issues, while respecting the fact that points of view other than their own are worthy of consideration.

Now we find the universities, often yielding to pressure from students, allowing such nonsenses as safe spaces, trigger warnings and no platforming to limit debate, deny the opportunity for those who do not subscribe the narrow set of left liberal, and often Marxist, opinions held by the high priests of political correctness to present their views, and even to permit changes to the names of colleges, and agree to the removal of statues, linked to those historical personalities of university life who had connections to matters of which they disapprove.

That a feminist icon such as Germaine Greer could be prevented from addressing a meeting, or the ludicrous idea that any book, however one might disagree with its position, should be withheld, in case the poor little snowflakes would be upset by it, are a disgrace to bodies whose lecturers would, in the past, acted as devil's advocates, in order to stimulate thought and discussion. Such censorship is the first step on the slippery slope to the book burning of the Nazi thugs. The City University student union has even banned the Daily Mail, Sun and Daily Express, papers read by millions, from shops on its grounds. They do the youngsters no favours as, in the real world, they will find that, while people will disagree and argue, for the most part they attack the other's views, not their right to hold them, and would be both astonished and angered by such a contention. In this they would agree with Voltaire who wrote think for yourselves, and allow others the privilege to do so, too.

The utter hypocrisy of all this supposed concern for correct behaviour is shown by the anti Semitism so often encountered, when leading student figures attack Israel, call a particular university a Zionist outpost, and indeed allow blatant anti Semitic positions to be adopted by their spokespersons without protest. These people were just the sort who Orwell knew only too well, and who are doing their best to establish a Thought Police in this country. One only has to look at how they wish to override the wishes of parents concerning their children's welfare, encouraging them to feel doubts about their sexual identity at a time when they should be innocent of such matters, and trying to enforce the views of the more extreme campaigners by use of the law.

The undergraduates are not only being betrayed by this undermining of free speech, but also by the entire confidence trick being practised upon them, as they have been led to believe that the enormous debts they are incurring in order to obtain their degree will be repaid by the value the latter will have in providing a decent career. While this may be true for those such as scientists, doctors, engineers and lawyers, it is absolutely false in the case of so many of the pretentious and trivial qualifications which universities now offer. The elitist arrogance of the educational establishment has led to the replacement of the apprenticeships, work experience and training, day release, and evening classes, which were of use to the nation, with useless arts degrees in meaningless subjects. As a consequence employers now ask for degrees as an entry requirement for positions which in the past were filled by school leavers, to no one's benefit other than the universities.

The fact that the universities are lowering entrance standards, or using pseudo economic excuses to permit entry to those who do not match up to the educational requirements, is a disgrace, as it subjects the youngsters involved to a struggle beyond their capabilities. We could usefully close a great many of the current universities, return the old polytechnics back to their old status, radically prune the arts subjects on offer and replace the ideologues with lecturers who value education above their political beliefs.

All this deceit and waste is put in the shade by the real scandal, which is doing so much damage to our country. The supposed temples of higher education, particularly Oxbridge, have become centres of elitist arrogance.

We know that Cambridge was a hotbed of traitors in the 1930s, and we can see how these bodies are now pushing for the country to be permanently subservient to Brussels. While there are many products of Oxbridge who are not supporters of the Remain campaign, including such luminaries as Professor Sked, the founder of UKIP, Boris Johnson, one of the leaders of the Leave campaign, and John Redwood, an articulate supporter of freedom, it is nevertheless true that a roll call of the prominent Remainers shows just how many were at Oxford and Cambridge, and how many of them have become part of a pro EU groupthink, not forgetting that those two universities each receive over sixty million pounds annually from the EU.

It is instructive to look at a list of some Remainers who went to Oxbridge: David Cameron, David Tyler (boss of Sainsbury's), Katherine Viner (Editor of the Guardian), Nick Clegg, Richard Baker (Chairman of the British Retail Consortium), Torsten Bell (Director of think tank the Resolution Foundation), Ed Milliband, Tony Blair, Simon Kuper (Financial Times columnist), Michael Heseltine, Kenneth Clarke, Andrew Sentance (Economic advisor to accountants PWC), Peter Mandelson, Philip Hammond. As well as Kenneth Clarke three more of the Tory MPs who voted against setting a date for Brexit went to Oxbridge, namely Dominic Grieve, Nicky Morgan and Oliver Heald. The list goes on and on but the point is clear.

While those such as scientists, mathematicians, physicists and doctors are intelligent, those who study the arts like to think of themselves as intellectuals and, as lement Attlee, one of our greatest and most principled Prime Ministers, said “Never listen to intellectuals, they are always wrong. So many of our so called leaders studied PPE which, as those who work for a living may not know, stands for Philosophy, Politics and Economics, the first of which, while interesting, is not much more than conflicting matters of opinion, the second the profession of so many useless MPs, and the third a field where one is fortunate to find two who agree on any matter of economic importance.

We should be in no doubt that these people regard those of us who are not members of their over privileged, magic circle with contempt. Indeed I know one, who didn't realise that she was speaking to supporters of the Leave campaign, describe leavers as unwashed and uneducated. They cannot tolerate the fact that their twisted view of the world is not shared by those they consider their inferiors and are doing all they can to override the will of the people so that they may continue to wallow, along with like minded types on the Continent, in their own self righteous little world. It is past time that the ordinary people, who did not attend university, but who are the backbone of the country, demanded that these bodies be reined in and forced to return to their original function, not act as recruiting grounds for arrogant bigots.

If the democratic choice of the people is ignored then the only solution lies in a mass movement, prepared to take direct action against these petty little dictators. They should be removed from their positions and told to work for a living, if they can, while those who do respect the popular will take their places. There should also be a root and branch clearing out of the Oxbridge stables, where so many of those who hold democracy in contempt are brainwashed.