Culture shift to break grip of the elite

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From: Dr Mohammed Ali OBE, CEO of QED Foundation, Vicar Lane, Bradford.

the new research for the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission shows how much the establishment is dominated by people of a certain class.

It’s nothing we didn’t already know. The statistics show that in a year on the BBC programme Question Time just over 40 per cent of the panellists were Oxbridge graduates and just under 40 per cent from private schools. Some 71 per cent of judges went to an independent school, as did 52 per cent of Conservative MPs. You get the picture.

To counter the correlation of private schooling and high powered jobs, the commission suggests employers should ask for an overview of a candidate’s academic achievements that is “university blind” and that the social background of staff should be published.

Although this new bureaucracy might help, we need a more fundamental shift in culture.

This is a class issue. As the wealthy rule our country, its media, the Arts, the judiciary system etc they inherently project their own ideology, consciously or not. No amount of bureaucracy can change that.

Ethnic minorities and the white working classes may share the same financial barriers to private education, but Muslims also face racial barriers.

There are of course some ethnic minorities who do extremely well – especially those who have money to access private educations or send their children to elite universities in the UK or America. However Muslims in the UK suffer more than double the UK’s average poverty level.

There are few role models in mainstream culture. Not only is the elite putting up financial barriers, it makes it harder for young ethnic minorities to aspire to the top professions, whether it be politics or acting (just look at traditional BBC stalwarts like Doctor Who, you will only see white – and green – faces).

Social elitism projects a skewed view of Britain’s diversity.

Growing up in public

From: Rachel Maister, Priest Lane, Ripon.

Your columnist Jayne Dowle (The Yorkshire Post, September 1) informs us that her daughter “shows excellent academic progress” while her son is “not a natural academic”.

The implication is that one is intelligent and the other is not.

For neurological reasons, girls find reading and spelling easier than boys and therefore tend to do better at primary levels, while for the same neurological reasons, boys find scientific and engineering skills offered at secondary level easier than girls and can thus redress the balance.

Jayne Dowle may well find her son to be just as academic as her daughter but show it at a later date. So please Jayne, no more public comments about your own children. I do so hope they do not read your articles.

Spot the difference

From: John Riseley, Harcourt Drive, Harrogate.

Though their accents are distinctly different, I am having some difficulty distinguishing between Vladimir Putin and William Hague.

Consider a popular uprising in the eastern part of a sovereign state, with central government forces moving determinedly to crush it. Outside powers view this as a potential humanitarian disaster and intervene to block that advance.

Whether this is done through the application of air power or boots on the ground will have implications for the casualties suffered by the intervening force and so for their domestic public opinion. But the effect upon those they target will be much the same.

Why then would Mr Putin’s alleged actions in the Ukraine place him in the international dock while those of Mr Hague in Libya are still presented as a neutral peacekeeping exercise?

We must be wary of following the foreign policy lead from Washington. This tends to be directed at pleasing its own voters, who tend to be ill-informed on international issues. We should also be resistant to Brussels’ imperialism, whether manifested in Donetsk or Doncaster.

Hypocrisy over cuts

From: Colin Noble, Norfolk Terrace, Leeds.

I recently received an email from Rachel Reeves, the Labour MP for Leeds West constituency, urging me to sign a petition “to stop the Tory-led cuts at Bramley and Armley libraries.”

I am puzzled as to why she was contacting me when I live in North East Leeds and also worried that the library cuts might mean she’ll be denied the chance to borrow a dictionary to research the meaning of “hypocrisy”. Just in case she’s not aware:

1. The library cuts are being implemented by Labour-controlled Leeds City Council

2. Leeds City Council is choosing to make the cuts because of the drastic reduction to its budget by the Tory/Liberal Democrat government

3. The Labour Party nationally also supports a cuts programme, so if Labour were in government Leeds City Council would still be faced with making tough decisions.

In the mendacious kingdom of political opportunism and hypocrisy Ms Reeves would be Queen.

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