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October 05, 2004
The Domestic Goddess versus tertiary education

My old Libertarian Alliance partner Chris Tame was fond of the word "hum", to describe a gradually spreading murmur in favour of some hitherto neglected notion.

Well, I think I detect the beginnings of a hum:

But the way the education system is going, it would be more honest simply to raise the school leaving age to 22. University is just something you do when you've finished your A-levels, no matter how badly you might have done or how bored you've been doing them.

To suggest to those who are not cut out for even rudimentary academic life that university might not be the best place for them, is to consign them to non-person status.

It's not as if a degree even helps getting a job: all it means is that you've spent longer waiting to find yourself unemployed. If anything, I feel it might impede your prospects. You're just one among a pile of applicants, similarly qualified, none of whom has anything extra or interesting to offer.

I think it's the middle classes that have to start the move away from tertiary education. Concerned parents now insist, ever more anxiously, on finding a university place when they would be doing a lot more for their children by refusing to fund the whole enterprise.

" the move away from tertiary education " Well, well, well, fancy that.

NigellaLawson.jpg Remember that when people writing in the Daily Telegraph say "middle classes", they mean fairly well off people in the top 5 percent of wealth and income. Middle as in "not the Queen", so to speak.

The really interesting thing about this article is who it is by. Nigella Lawson. That's right, the Domestic Goddess herself, and not just a bit of posh totty on the telly either. This woman is the daughter of a former Chancellor of the Exchequer and now married to a Saatchi Brother. Talk about well connected.

When people like this start talking about "the move away from tertiary education", then you know that something is going on.

I noticed this when it was first published over the weekend, but it took me until now to pass this on. Sorry, but not really sorry, because this is not a notion that is going to go away.

Wonderful what a price increase does to demand, isn't it? For remember, the idea of this price increase is that it falls precisely on those middle (upper) classes. So, the middle-uppers will, in increasing numbers, turn their backs on the universities. Their kids will get started on Real Life earlier than the riff raff.

How long will it be before "university" starts to have the same social ring to it as "comprehensive"?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 10:29 PM
Category: Higher education
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Comments

Hmmm, how to say this - I was reading your article when suddenly this beautiful woman appeared in your article. I suddenly forgot what your article was about; however, I felt compelled to write this comment.

Wow.

Comment by: mike from oregon on October 5, 2004 10:49 PM

The scary thing about Nigella is that although she is gorgeous she looks frighteningly like her Dad.

Now that means if I fancy her, then.........Nooooooooooooo!

Comment by: Mike Peach on October 5, 2004 11:48 PM

Mmmm ... Why does "posh totty" sound like some dish she might whip up in that kitchen of hers and lick lasciviously from her fingertips?

Comment by: Tim Haas on October 6, 2004 11:27 AM

Errr...for the Americans reading this who are not completely familiar with colloquialisms across the pond...what is the social ring of "comprehensive"? Not good, I take it?

Comment by: Diane Patterson on October 7, 2004 05:27 PM

Diane - I thought you were going to ask about 'totty'!I

Comment by: Ian on October 7, 2004 06:34 PM
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