Mobility of Irish and Jewish immigrants

August 30, 1996

This month's prize for Sheer Academic Shamelessness goes to Ceri Peach ("A Question of Collar", THES, August 23). He calmly admits that there is no evidence for a central part of his highly publicised argument about social mobility, namely the contention that Jewish immigrants are upwardly mobile, while their Irish counterparts are not.

In his own words: "Paradoxically, there is little information about the Irish beyond the first generation, and the Jewish model is more conjectural still."

This admission reduces much of the professor's work to statistical waffle.

Yet somehow he persists in referring to Irish and Jewish occupational "trajectories". This is puzzling. Or is it possible that the professor is typically manipulating popular prejudices to get his controversial research into the headlines?

If this is so, and if such behaviour is at all typical, then it is no wonder that race relations in this country are in such a mess.

MARK COULTER Claremont Road, Forest Gate, London

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