The following was written by my gorgeous friend, Nina Blues. I wanted to share with you what she wanted to share with me, because I think Nina murders the following lady better than I ever could. You’re about to be outraged, or at least, I bloody well hope you are. I would like to believe that the article quoted in Nina’s rant was published because the Sunday Times hoped they would make more sales, but somehow, that’s a little too convient for me.
I [Nina Blues] have just read the most ignorant, bigoted, classist pile of horseshit I’ve ever had the displeasure to clap eyes on– and in The Sunday Times, too, a newspaper my family have regularly read for years!
The villain is Minette Marrin, a well-to-do, toffee-nosed journalist type who is constantly spewing her right-wing rubbish all over the place. Usually I ignore her articles but this one actually made me want to laugh at its sheer inanity. After the initial sickening rage, I wondered how this atrocity ever slipped past her editors.
The title? “Pretending all poor students are up to university– that’s unfair.”
Let the rage-fest begin.
“It is unrealistic to imagine that any good university, still less one of the world’s elite, can somehow wave a remedial wand at hopelessly undereducated teenagers who are not remotely ready for university education and instill in them the missing 13 years of learning and discipline.”
The article is absolutely grounded on this assumption that students from working class backgrounds are instantly “hopelessly undereducated” and that state schools are incapable of preparing students for university. OK, then. Her privately educated children doubtless had every single advantage possible thrown at them from every direction, and no, I didn’t have that. But that doesn’t instantly make me “not remotely ready” for university, as if the higher education learnings will totally melt my poor, working-class brain. You’re right, Miss Marrin! I should just go and work in the local Burger King.
“The only certain result of letting weak candidates into a university will be to bring about the decline of that university and of this country’s place in international league tables.”
Because that matters so much more than the education of our generation. Oh, please! Won’t anyone think of the league tables? And again, here we are with the assumption that state-educated students are “weak candidates”. Bloody hell, this lady is such a bigot it makes me hurt.
“[Nick Clegg] pointed out that while 18% of children are disadvantaged enough to be entitled to free school meals, they make up only 1% of Oxbridge students. […] He demanded that universities “throw open their doors” and make more “differential offers”: this is jargon for admitting underprivileged candidates with lower A-level grades than their more affluent competitors, on the basis of “contextual evidence” about their backgrounds and schools. Perhaps he is unaware that this happens a great deal already; many, if not most, university teachers are anxious to help clever children from lower-class comps.”
And here we get to the meat of it. Oh no, a politician is suggesting that students that are vastly disadvantaged in comparison to your Eton-attending spawn should be allowed into universities with slightly lowered A-level grades! And as a student from one of the shittiest schools in England currently applying to universities, may I say that yes, the A-levels grades required of us are lowered slightly. From, say, AAA to AAB. And this is in a school in which my Biology teacher has shown up to about 75% of lessons and we can only have one shot at our practical coursework because we don’t have the resources for another go. And what is with the whiny tone of that paragraph? “University teachers are anxious to help the filthy poor!” Probably to help us from the derision we face at the hands of people like you.
And don’t you love the disdainful quotation marks? “He says we need to…” –big bunny ears– “throw open their doors.” Yeah, whoever’s heard of such a terrible idea as encouraging universities to allow more working class students in? The shame of it! She does it again a little later on:
“[The government] announced that leading universities will be forced, if they charge the maximum of £9,000 a year, to accept fixed quotas of students from state schools and ethnic minorities and those with disabilities, so that these groups are more fairly “represented”.”
So that they’re– big bunny ears– fairly represented. What a ridiculous idea! And note: it’s only the universities that are charging the new Conservative-governed maximum tuition fees of £9,000 a year that are even being asked for these higher fixed quotas. Top universities being asked to “fairly represent” students from state schools, ethnic minorities and those with disabilities? The horror. Wait, I’m from a state school and I’m an ethnic minority! Clearly they’ll just let me swan in with three E-grades!
Except wait, real life doesn’t work that way, Miss Marrin.
“It is astonishing to see a Conservative-led government behaving like old-fashioned, unreconstructed socialists.”
I’ve been trying to remain relatively high-brow until now, but what the fuck? What the actual fuck is this? Yes, of course the Conservatives are acting like socialists, why didn’t I see it before? Must have missed it while they raised university fees to £9,000, cut the Education Maintainance Allowance (a small grant for students from a poorer background attending sixth form colleges, which I received, being from a family earning under £25,000 a year) and cut the public sector here, there and everywhere while allowing the banks to reward themselves with millions of pounds’ worth of bonuses! Oh, those sneaky Conservatives, they sure are good at hiding their socialist ways.
“It is wishful thinking to imagine that any but a few poorly educated teenagers from deprived backgrounds can catch up in just three years.”
Well, excuse you! I’m from what would be called a “deprived background” and according to you, myself and countless others can never even dream of achieving the sparkling level of perfection you upper-middle class snobs can? “Catch up”? You realise that we don’t spend our days eating our schoolbooks to stave off the hunger before getting to work chimney-sweeping, do you? I go to college and I learn things. Yes, even in a state school, I actually learn things! I don’t need to “catch up”! I am poorly educated in relation to the private school kids, but that doesn’t mean it’s “wishful thinking” that I’ll ever be as good as them. Jesus Christ.
The next quote continues directly from the last one:
“To imagine so is to ignore the evidence; all discussions on high intelligence agree that constant, repetitive hard study from a young age is essential and universal among the intellectually able. Contrariwise, those who have not developed such habits, even the simple habit of conversing with their parents, are at a lifelong disadvantage.”
Aw, isn’t she cute? Making more hideously wrong and bigoted assumptions! Because of course state-educated students never, ever study hard or talk with their parents in an intellectual manner. No, that’s only for the rich kids. Studying? Psh, what’s that? I spend my days shooting pensioners with BB guns, like all of us state-educated scumbags. I’m just… I’m at a total loss. What has this got to do with her point at all? Would she really be that surprised to discover that I discuss politics, philosophy and many other things with my parents? And that I work hard to attain good grades… yet, I go to a state school?
“It would be the most counterproductive kind of social engineering to imagine that such children ought to be included in fairer access quotas at good universities at 18; it would be a disaster for this country’s universities. Is that what Clegg has in mind?”
Yeah, Clegg, is that what you have in mind? Giving “such children” a chance at education? You absolute bastard! Did you hear that? Letting us uneducated plebeians into higher education at slightly lower grades to make up for our disadvantages would be a disaster for this country’s universities because we are so badly-educated and would definitely fail, whereas private school students never fail exams, ever, and are all born acutely intelligent and hardworking and good God, we are oppressing them. She finishes this paragraph like this:
“These children’s problems start with their parents and their family background.”
All I can respond to that with is a supermassive, “Fuck you.” No, seriously, Miss Marrin. Fuck. You.
Her utter batshittery only gets worse from here.
“They may also in some cases start with their basic intelligence. This is a contentious subject, but it is an unquestioned assumption these days that intelligence is equally distributed across all socioeconomic classes. That may be true, but it is only an assumption. It is well documented that bright and successful young men and women tend to select each other, in a process bleakly called assortative mating, and tend to have bright children. The less bright tend to have children with others who are less bright and tend to produce corresponding children.”
The sheer might of her ignorance is slaying me here, absolutely slaying me. Yes, prehaps “brighter people” do tend to pair up with other “brighter people”, though that’s not always the case, I agree that it is more likely that not. But the huge steaming shit of wrong in your nice clean toilet bowl of fascism? Intelligent people aren’t always private school types or “successful”, as you call it.
My parents are both highly intelligent. My mother is a dental hygeinist for the NHS, which pays a pittance but she works for the people who can’t afford medical healthcare or who have issues pertaining to dentistry. She works in prisons. She works with people with disabilities who cannot use ordinary dental seats or are uncomfortable with usual dental practises and procedures. She works with children who are highly phobic of dentists. Her job is a thousand times harder than those who work in private practise yet she earns a fraction of their wage. She is a hero.
My father went to one of the worst primary schools in Bristol. He was the only child in his yeargroup to pass the SATs tests and make it to grammar school at the age of eleven. He went on to get a Bachelor in Education. He fought his way out of the situation he was born in. Our family are still not wealthy, no, but compared to the conditions he lived in as a child, I’m spoilt rotten. He’s one of the smartest people I know.
So even if your fucked-up theory that clever people always have clever babies and stupid people always have stupid babies is correct, I have perfect proof that wait, actually, it’s still horrifyingly wrong. There are intelligent people from intelligent “backgrounds” who aren’t money-grabbing gobshites and cannot afford to send their children to private school. In fact, despite the fact that my parents are very intelligent, I go to one of the worst sixth forms in the area.
Maybe your answer would be, “Well then your mother should have gone into private practise to ensure you a place in private school! Your father shouldn’t have quit teaching in order to be a stay-at-home dad to his kids!”
We’re not all like you, Miss Marrin.
There is no sense in this article, no reason; and your points constantly contradict one another. It is a minefield of moronic assumptions and bigotry, as well as a healthy dose of what looks like willful ignorance. Or maybe you are simply that ignorant. Picking apart this article is like shooting fish in a barrel because the argument is badly-constructed and absolutely senseless. Such a pile of absolute bollocks should never have been published and allowed where the public can view it.
Please stop writing forever. Thank you.
2 thoughts on “All intelligent people have intelligent babies who can achieve great wealth, don’t you know?”
As a college prof, I can reassure this Ms. Marrin that a background of privilege, or private school, does not guarantee a student’s success. A prime American example of “the thick elite” is, of course, George W Bush. A Yale education, and he still didn’t manage to understand the complexities of democratization and the sociopolitical scene of the Middle East.
That’s a very good parallel, Ninja. Thanks for reading. I’ve told Nina about your comment. ^_^