Let's stop this shameful elitism 2

October 15, 2004

The frightening thing about Gary Day's appeal for social exclusivity in the universities is that he probably means it. There is a good deal of prejudice here, but little logic. To take Day's field alone, Blake, Dickens, Hardy and D. H. Lawrence were all, in the broadest sense, from the working class. Shakespeare, one of Day's heroes, was, to use the language of Tudor social snobs, from the "vulgar sort". None went to university and only guts, determination and luck saw them through.

Who knows how many more geniuses might have surfaced given a leg-up from a university? Hardy knew there were more. Day would have us return to the sad, frustrated world of Jude the Obscure .

If the supposedly monolithic culture of entrants from today's working class is so debased, then presumably university is the place where mud can be transformed into gold. Along with tuition and top-up fees, it is shameful that such elitist ideas are being resurrected.

Quentin Deakin
Further and higher education spokesperson, the Green Party

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