The idea that stupid people never get into Oxford University took a knock when (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch began her crusade to open mouth and insert boot, showing the world how successful she could be in this role. It then took a further knock every time that the loathsome Toby Young pontificated on the subject of education.
Tobes, it has to be conceded, did not major in mathematics or any other quantitative discipline when he went up to Brasenose College after his late father had personally intervened in the matter of his admission. So his latest glorious failure cannot have surprised anyone - not even Young’s pals in the right-wing press.
As so often, Tobes sounded off before bothering himself to do any research. “Wondering why applications to universities are down? Because universities have stopped being about the transmission and expansion of knowledge and become left-wing madrassas. Who wants to pay £50,000 to be told they’re racist, sexist, transphobic, etc?” he whined plaintively, citing an article in the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph.
This was about “unconscious bias”, and not left versus right. Also, the article did not couple a drop in applications to Universities to the issues it was discussing. But Tobes knew he was right, dismissing one response suggesting “unconscious bias” was a real thing with “The crash course the professors will be getting won’t be in ‘liberal values’. If only. You’ve been out of the academic for too long my friend”. But then came the bad news.
Levi Roach from the University of Exeter was not convinced of Tobes’ righteousness. “Alternatively - just hear me out - the demographic downturn amongst 18-yr olds may *just* have some part to play” he suggested. There are fewer 18-year-olds this year.
Roach also had an article from the more upmarket press in mind. “For anyone who wants a vaguely mature take, see this (note the subtitle: 'Decline mainly due to fewer 18-year-olds in UK population…’)”. But that was in the Guardian, and Tobes won’t have read that.
Then Roach went further, bringing in another of Tobes’ pet subjects. “The key detail being this: proprotionally speaking more people than ever have applied to university, there are just fewer of them. (Good thing our warm and welcoming immigration strategy compensates for this…)”. There are 2.3% fewer 18-year-olds, but the proportion of them applying to University was actually up 0.3%.
This means that, as so often, Toby Young was talking out of the back of his neck. He had made a crude and false assumption without bothering to check his facts, or, indeed, do his sums. An exasperated Peter Jukes summed it up: “A demographic factor: a drop in the number of 18 year olds. It's simple. And Toby Young is an innumerate ignoramus who should never be let any where near institutes of learning”.
Toby Young is known as Captain Bellend. That’s because he’s a bellend.
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