Stephen Toope destroys Cambridge
You can say Cambridge University is not a meritocracy. If that were the case, Stephen Toope would never have become vice-chancellor. Filled with the post in 2017, the Canadian lawyer and human rights expert has spent his controversial tenure eroding 800 years of academic freedom and educational excellence in what looks, at least in the eyes of this former student, to an attempt to transform the British crown jewels. education in a plastic tiara from Claire’s Accessories.
Canada is the most woke country in the world. Much to the horror of many dons, Toope has imported his left-right thinking into what was once the natural homeland of the Maverick. In 2020, the university proposed new rules that would require scholars to be “respectful of the diversity of identities of others”. A valiant group of lecturers fought back, insisting Cambridge could not demand that they be respectful of all beliefs. “We have the right, in some cases practically the duty, to satirize and make fun of them,” they said.
Luckily, Toope leaves college in September, but not before a final attempt to punish the children of his own graduates who have risen by their brains and hard work. Not content to warn independent schools (many with disadvantaged children on scholarships) that their admission would decline over time, he said Cambridge may even introduce figures on high school recruitment and school meal eligibility free because, as one report summarizing its view put it, “focusing on admission to public schools alone was not an effective indicator of wealth or social class”.
So Rosie and Matt, bright kids from the suburban semis, work hard to get into grammar. Their parents sacrifice holidays and treats in order to afford tutoring for 11+ that Rosie and Matt’s Ofsted ‘inadequate’ primary school couldn’t provide. Thriving in this unapologetic college high school environment, Rosie and Matt achieve perfect GCSEs and stellar A-levels. Brimming with hope, they aim for the glittering price of a place at Cambridge. Like me at their age, they have no idea which college is which, so they choose the nicest on the river. Nooo! Don’t choose that one guys, it’s really hard to get into.
Rosie and Matt are exactly what Cambridge is looking for. Or was. They don’t suspect their applications will fail because some bleeding-heart Canadians think they’re too privileged because they weren’t born to a pit bull-owning single mother on welfare and can afford their own school lunch. .
When I moved up to Cambridge in 1978, I was one of a handful of comprehensive school students at my college, and the only one who read English. Things had to change. Before most grammars were abolished, Oxbridge was full of children from my background. Far from creating the promised level playing field, the entire system deprived the most intellectually capable children of the rigorous learning they would need to compete with their more affluent peers. By the time I got there, diversity had declined sharply and representation in public schools was at a level not seen since the war. What a magnificent goal against his camp for socialism!
A campaign to have Cambridge more accurately reflect society worked. Public school students made up 72% of its enrollment last September. In private, some professors will tell you that things have gone too far. Exceptional applicants are rejected because their parents could afford to send them to a great school. Weaker candidates who fit the new criteria are coming in and needing help. One college I know is quietly circumventing Toope’s edict by recruiting its undergraduate students from the best schools in Germany and Scandinavia; no social deprivation checkbox required!
If this class warfare of elite pedagogues against selective and private schools continues, Cambridge will begin to tumble in international rankings. How would it make sense to reject a gifted boy like, say, Greg Winter because he didn’t attend a sink competition? Greg studied natural sciences at Trinity College, being part of that extraordinary generation of the 1950s that became a great engine of achievement and upward mobility for our nation. In 2018, Sir Gregory Winter received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the therapeutic use of monoclonal antibodies.
You know, I can’t help but wonder if Cambridge would admit a young Greg today? Or would he do as Toope suggests and reject a ‘privileged’ product of the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, in favor of someone less intelligent and more diverse? For my alma mater, the best university in the world, this is so incredibly stupid.
No more porn shame
After the humiliation of Neil “I was looking for tractors” Parish, many people, including me, revealed their own unintentional stumbling in explicit material. No less than historian and TV presenter Mary Beard says she was ‘shocked’ to be directed to a porn site while scouring the internet for Titian’s portraits of Caesar, but she ‘left. pronto”. Oh come on, Mary, as a famous classic, you must have seen some pretty priapic activity. The Romans basically ran Porn Hub 400AD.
Of all the embarrassing stories I’ve received, my favorite comes from a reader named George: “Allison, you have my sympathy for accessing unexpected porn results. Before our first canal boat holiday, I googled Canal Cruising in Wales. Or at least I thought I had.
“Note to self, check that the first letter of Canal is there. Otherwise, expect a very different holiday!”