MASTER OF FITZWILLIAM ATTACKS ‘CLASS WAR VIEW’ OF CAMBRIDGE

‘Oxbridge struggle to shed ‘toff’ image: Left wing politicians blamed’

Professor Robert Lethbridge Master of Fitzwilliam College Cambridge has attacked the ‘CLASS WAR VIEW’ of ‘TOFFS’ at CAMBRIDGE. He said that those holding such views did so because ‘ they wanted to remove the possibility of failure in life’. For fuck sake – what an arogant wanker.

Here’s Professor Lethbridge’s career  as listed in Debretts Peerage – he’s never been outside the ivory towers or done a stroke:

Fitzwilliam Coll Cambridge: fell 197394 (Leathersellersfell 197378), life fell 1994-, tutor 197592 (sr tutor 198292), master 2005-; lectr in French Univ of Cambridge 198594 (asst lectr 198085), prof of French language and lit Univ of London 19952005 (emeritus prof 2005-); Royal Holloway Univ of London: head Dept of French 199597, dean Grad Sch 199798, viceprinc (academic) 19972002, visiting prof 200305; dir Univ of London Inst in Paris (formerly Br Inst in Paris) 200305; provost Gates Cambridge Tst 2010-; visiting prof: Univ of California at Santa Barbara 1986, Univ of Melbourne 2003; hon prof Queen Mary Univ of London 200305; memb Society of Dixneuvièmistes (hon pres 200106), Chevalier dans lOrdre des Palmes Académiques (France

Comrades – they are seriously rattled – the MASTER OF FITZWILLIAM IS A PAPER TIGER-   ALL OUT CAMBRIDGE JUNE 16TH

AN END TO THE OXBRIDGE OLIGARCHY

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39 Comments

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39 responses to “MASTER OF FITZWILLIAM ATTACKS ‘CLASS WAR VIEW’ OF CAMBRIDGE

  1. Greg

    It really is insidious. Just watched Andrew Marr, interviewing Cameron, Bishop of London, Toynbee, all Oxbridge millionaires crapping on about the four days of Royal arselicking. Checked out the producers TV personnel as well….yup Oxbridge. All these conspirators banging on about Masons, Knights Templar, running everything etc its not them, its right there blatantly in our faces, backslapping arrogance, because they all went to the same educational establishment.

  2. Billy

    Actually, he was complaining that the incorrect preconceptions people , especially teachers, have about Cambridge dissuade state pupils from applying. Fitz is the college with the best state representation at Cambridge. Toff is a term which just reinforces social divisions.

    • Northern A

      Sorry I didn’t realise that people were so offended by the word toff. Didn’t realise how oppressed the rich elites felt. Fuck off

      • martin

        hahahaha fuckin ace and id like to second that “FUCK OFF” wanker!!!

      • anotheranon

        Actually it’s annoyance at being described as something you’re not. I’m not a toff, therefore it’s a bit annoying when someone labels me as such. It’s like when someone says you must’ve come from Eton because you go to Cambridge. I didn’t. It’s a bit annoying to be told I did.
        What Billy was pointing out was that Bone has misinterpreted the comments made (he has also misquoted and fabricated aka. lying). Professor Lethbridge was describing how much of a shame it is that there are bright kids out there who don’t get encouraged to go to Oxbridge (let alone other uni’s) because the teachers either rarely (29%) or never (19%) advise them to apply.
        This site has made me feel depressed about the shear stupidity of the commenters. Surely no one could lack the intelligence to see past tired stereotype and 19th century fiction. Apparently a lot of you can’t.

    • Billy

      Oh no, you called me names! I’m so terrified and insulted that I forgot to see your point – or maybe that’s because your response was just brainless.

      Toff is a word which signifies class in the same manner that “oiK” does. Simplifying people lets you demonise them – just as you rail against toffs, the conservatives talked about “Broken Britain”, a ridiculous catch-all concept that could be spouted without looking at reality.

      Here are a few examples which relate to teachers putting students off applying to Oxbridge, and so maintaining the mystical ideas people have:

      http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/education-news/2012/03/22/teachers-may-be-putting-off-pupils-aspiring-to-oxbridge-91466-30596139/

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/apr/27/state-school-students-oxbridge

      http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/education/oxbridge-myth-busters-target-bright-hackney-pupils-7444868.html

      Obv there’s a greater proportion of privately educated students at Oxbridge than in the population. But Prof. Robert Lethbridge is NOT trying to say that you’ve failed if you don’t get in, he’s pointing out that people assume it’s not for them and so prevent the possibility of a bright student going to a top uni.

      • smile!

        “Prof. Robert Lethbridge is NOT trying to say that you’ve failed if you don’t get in”
        Well Lethbridge seems so fucking stupid he can hardly string two words together without being ridiculously and contemptuously florid, nor without expressing his cruel contempt towards lefty teachers and journalists, in the style of the old National Front, the Daily Mail and Torygraph etc. He sounds like a very nasty piece of work and a complete dimwit. So please don’t tell me he got the job of ‘Master’ for any other reason than who the posh, Paris-embassy-friendly toff knew. Let’s not pretend he’s got many brain cells up there. This is why he needs people like Billy to ‘explain’ what he really meant.

        He obviously WAS saying that the reason not many oiks apply to Cambridge is all the lefty teachers’ and journalists’ fault, and that the oiks are too scared of FAILING TO GET IN if they do apply. (And in this ‘view’, if you can call it a ‘view’, the knuckle-draggers’ state-sector teachers don’t want them to risk ‘failing’ at any thing – you know, the standard big business ‘let’s you and your fellow oiks take more risks, because political correctness doesn’t cut corporate insurance bills, and is tantamount to socialism’ line.) More generally, if we pick apart this bowl of idiot spew, he’s saying the poor oiks don’t apply to Cambridge more because they’re too scared of ‘failing’ in life if they don’t get in. Like all Tory scum, he doesn’t like to admit in public that the reason the vast majority of rich scum are rich scum is because they inherit wealth, not because the fuckers are more intelligent or more talented at anything whatsoever that’s of human value; nor to admit the patently obvious fact that no healthy baby is born with less potential than any other.

      • Hi...

        No, it’s not about being scared of failing to get in, because that’s ridiculous – 2/3 students at least are rejected. Failing to get in is part of the admissions process. I only got 2 offers when I applied to uni.

        It’s about how there’s increasingly an unwillingness to say that some students might be more academically capable and so more capable of going to Cambridge than their peers.

        Having a go at trying to get into a uni is not the same as buying a house or working longer hours – it’s an attempt, not a commitment. The only downsides are using one of 5 ucas slots, and the mindless prejudice of people who only see it as a case of someone thinking that they’re “better” than everyone else. It’s that last attitude that Lethbridge is getting at.

        It’s a bit absurd for an internet commenter to call a lifelong academic a “fucking stupid” “complete dimwit” who doesn’t have “many brain cells up there”. Why aren’t you a Cambridge fellow? Oh sure, it’s the system. Try, you’re a stupid moron who substitutes anger for intelligence.

      • Hi...

        And on your point about “lefty teachers” – if I had a child and I found out the teacher was trying to pass on their political views and stop my child doing what they wanted, I would fucking explode.
        Also, journalists usually don’t have a clue, I expect you’d agree.

  3. olearyalex89@googlemail.com

    Fair play to you sir, this is better than satire!

  4. Anon

    What did he do before 1973?

  5. ha ha!

    This is the funniest bit:

    Lethbridge said universities such as Oxford and Cambridge had been forced to go to such great lengths to counter the elitism image.

    What’s happened is that Cambridge University’s public relations people have told the ‘Master’ of the supposedly most ‘state-schooly’ Cambridge College to give a few soundbites to the Daily Mail… And look what the chinless moron has come up with! He whinges about all the propaganda about inclusiveness that lefties have “forced” Oxford and Cambridge to come up with, for the last few decades! And we’re not even grateful! And he rants on against the “lazy” and the “ill-informed” and left-wing politicians, and the TV and film media…he basically froths at the mouth like the Tory born-to-rule cunt that he is…against all the lefties who make his pathetic non-life so difficult for him by saying wicked things such as that Cambridge University is toffee-nosed…which all comes down to us being so ignorant, lazy, left-wing, good-for-nothings, yes?

    What a plonker! With enemies like him, we’ve almost already won! Bring on more like him! Come on Lethbridge, make an advert – let’s hear your accent, you cunt!

  6. funny!

    Another thing that’s funny is that this idiotic toff (who obviously can’t think straight, and obviously was never forced to do anything in his pathetic privileged life) made his propaganda remarks in an interview that was supposed to be for the Gates Trust, that he’s chairman of, and in particular, in connection with its supposedly wonderful history of giving scholarships to non-British students! In actual fact, these scholarships, and other similar ones, whether state or private, are well-known to be a means of recruiting future influential foreign figures, i.e. the offspring of current influential foreign figures, to a lifelong love of the US or UK, once they’ve experienced the hallowed arches and wonderful courtyards and ceremonial passing of the port in Oxford or Cambridge.

    Where Britain is concerned, their parents are, as often as not, already on the MI6 or CIA payroll. These scholarships almost only go to these types. Ditto Fullbright and Rockefeller and Rhodes and Cambridge International scholarships. They’ve got absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with encouraging applications from the oiks in Britain, and even less to do with encouraging application from oiks abroad.

    This guy is a complete and utter cretin, and I hope he becomes the leading figure for defending Cambridge University against the ‘class war’ critique.

    Prof Lethbridge said political parties had a ‘particular prevalence for choosing statistics which suggest social immobility and inherited privilege’ at Oxbridge but insisted that ‘every politician’s statement on this subject over the last 10 years has been shown to be factually incorrect’.

    He can’t even use the word “prevalence” properly (he means “preference”), for him every “prevalence” has to be a “particular” one (what, as opposed to a general one, Mr Learned Professor), and every incorrectness has to be “factual” (as if there is any other kind) – oh and every statement that a politician has made that’s concerned Oxbridge has been “shown” to be “factually incorrect”. Oh really? All 7,232 statements have been factually rebutted, have they? The truth is, from the privileged bubble where this fuckwit lives, politicians and journalists are all too leftwing. Them and teachers. Them and women. Them and those pinkos who run most of the Tory party nowadays.

    This is all coming along so nicely!!!!! Give this man a microphone in the run-up to 16 June – he’ll be brilliant!

  7. Bill

    “he’s never been outside the ivory towers or done a stroke”

    So being any kind of academic makes you completely worthless to society? I suppose you’d say the same of Alan Turing (who, for the uneducated, devised algorithms to decode the Enigma machine, and was a key player in preventing or alleviating the impact of numerous Nazi operations), Marie Curie (discovered the dangers of radioactivity and its use for cancer prevention), Edison and Tesla (whose pioneering research into electricity has created the age we are in today and paved the path for all modern technology, including the computer and internet which you have the privilege of the use of to write and broadcast your opinions.) There are always ridiculous numbers of ‘exceptions’ as you might call them, such that your sweeping generalisations tend to be based on a minority, and that really begins to discredit the points you’re trying to make.

    To avoid taking quotes out of context, here’s the full article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2153663/Oxbridge-struggle-shed-toff-image-Politicians-blamed-using-universities-lazy-target-social-privilege.html

    A much more convincing way of getting people to agree with your opinion is to make coherent counter-arguments to what your opponents have to say, not to attempt to discredit the person saying it.

    • y

      OK fuckwit. In the spirit of:-

      “A much more convincing way of getting people to agree with your opinion is to make coherent counter-arguments to what your opponents have to say”

      Tesla studied Electrical Engineering at the Austrian Polytechnic in Granz, dropped out in his third year, and got work as an assistant Engineer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikola_Tesla

      Edison was home taught, later self taught. Then got a job as a telegraph operator.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison

      Marie Curie studied at Warsaw’s clandestine Floating University. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Curie

      And yes, Alan Turing did study pure Mathematics at Cambridge where he suffered from that institutions standard bullying culture. He did his Phd in the US. Turing certainly “saw outside the ivory towers” and I expect did a “stroke of work” cracking the Enigma. Somewhat unlike Prof Lethbridge’s achievements in French Studies.

      So, your examples of Cambridge’s relevance to the world were hardly relevant, were they?

      • Bill

        I wasn’t saying a thing about Cambridge’s relevance. Nor was I saying Lethbridge’s studies were relevant to saving lives. My argument was against Bone’s sweeping generalisation that all academics are worthless and have provided nothing to society, hence my reference to “he’s never been outside the ivory towers or done a stroke.” Do you have any backing to your claim that Turing suffered from the ‘standard bullying culture’? Or in fact, that this purported ‘bullying culture’ is standard at all?

        Also, one thing not specifically related to this but I have seen in almost every one of these posts, is the seeming necessity to accompany any comment, (from baseless insulting or unnecessary defamation to relatively well reasoned arguments) with some kind of cuss insult. Be it ‘fuckwit’, ‘toff wanker’, or just the lovely generic ‘cunt.’ Its more intrigue than anything else, but I do wonder why you generally consider it necessary. I for one tend to take opinions less seriously if people have to resort to bare faced insults to support arguments, so I am interested by your motivation.

      • Anonymous

        I guess Newton is also irrelevant. And of course Gandhi never did anything for working class people.
        Are you actually trying to have a go at Lethridge or the point he was making?

      • Hi...

        Cambridge not relevant? Enjoy…

        http://www.blanchflower.org/alumni/camalumn.html

        Also,
        “Little is known about Karl Marx’s childhood. He was privately educated until 1830, when he entered Trier High School, whose headmaster Hugo Wyttenbach was a friend of his father. Wyttenbach had employed many liberal humanists as teachers; this angered the government so that the police raided the school in 1832, discovering what they labelled seditious literature espousing political liberalism being distributed amongst the students. In 1835, Karl, then aged seventeen, began attending the University of Bonn, where he wished to study philosophy and literature, but his father insisted on law as a more practical field of study. He was able to avoid military service when he turned eighteen because he suffered from a weak chest.”

        So Marx was privately educated, the school was run by a friend of his bourgeois father, he was educated in liberal humanism, went to universit and avoided serving his fellows in the military.

        Also,

        “Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin “was born to a noble family of only modest means”,the family owned only 500 serfs.”

        Also,

        “In 1857, at age 14, Kropotkin enrolled in the Corps of Pages at St. Petersburg. Only 150 boys — mostly children of nobility belonging to the court — were educated in this privileged corps, which combined the character of a military school endowed with special rights and of a court institution attached to the imperial household. Kropotkin’s memoirs detail the hazing and other abuse of pages for which the Corps had become notorious”

        Also,

        “Malatesta was introduced to Mazzinian Republicanism while studying medicine at the University of Naples”

        I’ll give you Makhno though 🙂

        So an elite education is necessarily a bad thing? I’d caution you against making an enemy of young minds, seeing as all these men had an elite education before championing social change. If you keep it up, us Cambridge students might never get round to the “social change” bit.

        Something to think about?

  8. olearyalex89@googlemail.com

    It is a well-known fact?! Talking of what you don’t know. Influential foreign figures my arse. Brilliant effort there, using wikipedia for everything.

    How little you know is frightening, coming out with sub-conspiracy theories. You’re spot on though that they don’t just go up to “oiks” and shower them with $60,000. Well done, I’ll give you that one.

    Dismantle the elite universities please. Will be interesting to see your reaction to when you’re rotting in a hospital bed because we abandoned our elitist research into Alzheimer’s, lung cancer and the like. You know nothing. Also made me laugh that Lethbridge has been slagged off for his area of expertise. What did Boner name the swan? Ravochol. Bit of an academic reference there… You’re probably onto a winner here as well though. Let’s shun all humanities and language studies, then you and your kids will be like the Orwellian proles you seem to think you already are.

    Fantasists. I thought the Guardian comments sections and Twitter were bad, but reckoned without this.

    Anyway, it’s been fun, but I’ve been told off for bothering with this blog, so see you “all” on the 16th. I would caution very carefully about throwing a single punch or throwing a single object at any student. Not a physical threat, but a legal one.

    Much love

    • funny!

      Hi Alex – who told you off for bothering with this blog? I’m aware of an Alex O’Leary who is a former editor of the ‘Griffin’ student magazine at Downing College, who happens to be on the college rowing team, and who once did an arse-licking interview with the senior tutor, describing him in his strap-line as a man with a persona which “endears him to all the students he has regular contact”? (That’s in the June 2009 issue, if anyone wants to check.) But don’t mind about being embarrassed about such disgusting yellow journalism. I’m just wondering who told you off.

      • Rosti

        I told him off, because arguing with the sort of people in the comments on here is retarded and a complete waste of time. There’s as much chance of convincing you people of the truth and helping you understand where your own ignorance lies as there is of turning the English Channel yellow by standing on the cliffs of Dover and pissing into it.

  9. Ashe

    People miss the point if they think the problem of Cambridge University is expressed in terms of a blinkered failure to recruit more working class students.

    The University deliberately cultivates a relationship with ‘elite’ private schools which is expressed in the wide network of formal representatives that they have on the governing bodies of those schools.
    But it is also expressed in the massive property portfolios owned by individual Colleges which extend their tentacles across the whole country and are not confined to Oxford and Cambridge.

    There is also a cosy relationship with big business, including the arms trade which funds extensive ‘research’ projects in the University. There is also a massive disparity in the pay and conditions of ordinary workers in the University and Colleges which have been eroded and casualized in recent years while top pay continues to rise for the univerisity elite. A gap which is even wider when all the perks of university life are taken into account (subsidised housing, subsidised booze, long holidays etc).. Its no good if a few students bleat that they are misunderstood but do nothing to challenge and change the university. Rebellion from within which links up with rebellion in the wide community is the only answer.

    • b

      As well as having a cosy relationship with the top private schools, to which Cambridge University clearly presents itself in an elitist way (because it’s in its interests to do so), it also deliberately cultivates an “elitist” image outside of the UK.

      This may explain the meaning of the word “retail”, the way Lethbridge uses it. He means they’ve got to work on their public relations aimed at the public in the UK. (By which he means school-teachers etc. He doesn’t credit the oiks with the ability to think, or to find out about what Cambridge might be like before they apply.)

      But the Cambridge University organisation also markets itself “wholesale” through other channels – e.g. consider how the brand is marketed in China or the US or the rest of Europe. A lot of money is spent on recruiting students from elite families in those areas, especially China. More than that, Oxford and Cambridge “tradition” and elitism are used to sell the British brand to members of elites around the world, and they don’t want any German or Chinese or Saudi multimillionaires thinking that if their son goes to Cambridge he’ll be rubbing shoulders with the offspring of British hod-carriers.

      Lethbridge ain’t talking about that. He’s only talking about what gets in the newspapers and in the gobs of politicians in the UK.

      Fees at Oxford and Cambridge may be £30K per year in a few years’ time. Expect loads of stories about how students whose mums are nurses and whose dads are roadsweepers managed to get into Cambridge and they never thought they had it in them, but they gave it a go, and they receive such generous financial assistance, etc.

      • Hi...

        “Stories” impies they’re irrelevant. The whole point of access is to reject the idea that working class educational achievement is an anomaly – it should be a norm.

        Also, it’s hardly a wonder that UK unis generally are looking to the international market. Uni of Wales has been rapped for letting random colleges in Malaysia award its degrees. Manchester Business School runs teaching in Singapore and Miami. Anglia Ruskin has overseas recruiting agents. In fact, most unis have some form of overseas operation – Cambridge is actually pretty behind in the way it tends to just offer scholarships.
        The reason for all this? Tory HE policy, which is trying to force unis to find private investment to replace the money lost in the cuts.

        And your point about people not finding stuff about Cambridge out for themselves: I thought that too – surely if you’re bright enough at school to try for Cambridge, you’re bright enough to go to an open day? But the point is that these are 16 year olds, and if you’re uncertain, have an image of Cambridge as stuck-up and elitist, and then to cap it all, your teacher tells you the same, it’ll put you off regardless.

        I wonder how much you know about Cambridge beyond your preconceptions of its place in “the system”

    • I see

      The uni cultivates a relationship with schools who want to send students there. Given the history of access at top unis, it’s hardly surprising that there are already links between Oxbridge and public schools. I’m not sure how your point about uni property fits with their schools network, but it is true – Trinity College lease the O2 Arena, but they do have about 600 years of endowment to draw on. I agree a living wage for staff at Cambridge should be implemented. But most of the people commenting about the uni aren’t picking up valid points like those; they’re attacking an image they have of Cambridge that is outdated and prejudiced

    • Sal

      If your problem with the University is because of the unfair wages the employees receive, the property the university owns, and connections the university has, then why are you all coming to Cambridge to protest a student race? Why aren’t you instead protesting to the people in charge of university policy?

  10. Bert

    My mum used to work in the kitchen at Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge. She told me that the “Master”, Robert Lethbridge, is known for having an uncontrollable temper, often shouting and throwing things, and for being unable to be in a room with college “servants” without being verbally shitty to at least one of them. He likes to pretend he’s an aristocrat, but actually he’s from somewhere much lower, and licked arse in Kent and London to get where he is. Everyone calls him either “Toupee” or “The Arsehole” whenever the Head Porter’s not listening. (His amazing – and false – hairdo can be viewed in the Daily Mail article). The usual gesture from both women and male workers is a finger in the throat as soon as he’s left a room. Most of the students dislike him too (although those in the Tory-army-officer-gentleman’s-third clique don’t) because of his vile manners. My mum says that once when someone in the royal family visited the college, she’d never seen a more fawning look on anyone’s face than the one that the Arsehole wore the whole time the royal was there!

  11. My great-grandfather was a butcher in Stockport. My grandparents are fervent socialists, and parents left-wingers. I attended a state primary school, a state comprehensive and state sixth form college. I am an undergraduate at Cambridge.

    Am I a toff? No, I’m not.
    Does it irritate me that you believe students like me don’t exist? Obviously.
    Does it really rile me that those claiming to want social and educational equality go out of their way to perpetuate a tired and mistaken stereotype of Oxbridge students that will only deter students from backgrounds like mine from applying? Enormously.

    Two or three times a week at my college, our access officers give tours and talks (and free lunches) to groups of students from state schools in Hackney. An “access bus” tours state schools in the region we’re paired with (theoretically be tween all the Oxbridge colleges the whole country is spanned). There is an immense effort underway to demysticise Oxbridge for the students of tomorrow. Don’t undermine it with all this mistaken drivel.

    [Incidentally, if any of the above was news to you, you should research more before opining.]

    • Ashe

      On the access tours do they tellthe students how much research work is done for the arms trade under the guise of research? Do they tell them how much property the colleges own?

      If you want to democratise the university then you don’t have ‘admissions procedures’ – you open the doors to everyone who wants to come. However you cannot democratise without changing the nature of the institution with its privileges and its support for the industrial and political class system. As a result Oxbridge is forced to go through ever more grotesque and artificial attempts to take on a few token working class students in order to pretend they are doing something.

      • anotheranon

        You cannot “open the doors to everyone who wants to come”. for one thing there’s not enough bedrooms. For another, the science degrees cost a lot in materials for practicals. The world cannot afford to have everyone who wants to setting fire to water (potassium is very fun). Oxbridge doesn’t want “a few token working class students” 57% is low, but somewhat more than a token. It wants the students that’ll gain most from what Oxbridge can provide. It wants intelligent students and it wants interested students who will work hard because they want to learn. It judges the students in two ways: exam results and interviews. It adjusts its (grade) expectations for students who are likely to have been let down by the pre-uni education system. It is very easy to claim the uni’s select posh kids instead of admitting the state sector is not as good at educating as the public schools.
        It is a shame that 19% of teachers asked in the Sutton report would never advise an academically gifted child to apply to Oxbridge and 29% would rarely do so.
        And know, Oxbridge won’t emphasise the weapons research. They’re trying to encourage students to study there, not find mad scientists. Perhaps you should get everyone to leave the UK because there’s a British army?
        As for the property the colleges own, the income is used to lower student rents, food bills and fund societies. Trinity offered to make all students accommodation rent free a few years back but it was voted against by the students because they felt it might remove money from scholarships and bursaries.
        The prevailing attitude on this site is one of vague anger against the system. If it was targeted at things that might improve the lives of less fortunate people then I’d have respect for you. However, Ian Bone has held a march of ten people which consisted of shouting at 13 to 15 year-olds and now is wanting to protest action taken by the Cam Conservators after complaints by towns people as well as college boat clubs by rallying against a race run by an organisation that is most certainly not the Cam Conservators. He wants Cambridge students to be posh twats so that he can resent them. He has consistently misquoted, miss-attributed, and fabricated in an attempt to back up ridiculous assertions.

      • Tom

        What do you actually know about the university? Have you been here? Been a student here? Or does everything you know about it come from reading blogs like this?
        ‘open the doors to everyone who wants to come’. Explain how this would work. There are around 15,000 undergrad applications a year, so with three undergrad years, this would be 45,000 undergrads coming to the uni. Add the 6000 a year graduate applications, you get 51,000 people at the university at any one time. The resident population of Cambridge is around 100,000.
        The point of the university isn’t about just letting anyone come in. They’re trying to find the people who will do best on the courses to get in to the best jobs, so career prospects attract more people, they get loads of donations and that’s the point of uni for nearly everyone that goes – getting a job. They want the people who will carry out the best research to advance science and to work with the hi-tech companies around Cambridge, which is one of the most important research and development sites in the world. And then there are people who become academics and whose only relevance (for a lot of them) is a teaching role.
        Not everyone would be able to cope with the demands of the courses – I’ve gone from being top of my (state comprehensive) school without much effort to being consistently in the bottom half of my year, no matter how hard I work. So either you let everyone come here, and most of them fail and feel like shit (the university counselling service is already oversubscribed) or you remove any of the rigour and just make it a place for anyone to come and piss about for a few years.
        And could any replies to this actually be proper arguments, with actual evidence and facts to support it. Not just the usual repetition of shit that people on here enjoying spraying out because finding out things for themself is too challenging.

      • Ashe

        Tom and Anotheranon, what do I know about the university? – I used to work in it – one of the skivvies for several years. Of course the university can open the doors to anyone who wants to learn, and use the facilities – if it had the will to do so. They can adopt more co-operative learning methods, where teachers and students learn from each other, throw open the doors to the libraries to anyone who wants and needs access.

        The place is only used for teaching for half the year anyway. Not quite sure what education has got to do with not enough bedrooms (or is that a joke?). Research for arms companies should give way to socially useful research, and the university should give up its role as gatekeeper to the commercial and political elite and the military-industrial complex. Lets give priority to the principal of free learning for everyone, instead of restricting access to knowledge.

    • this

      Nobody has said all Cambridge undergraduates are toffs. And we all know the University spends money on promoting “access” – that’s called public relations. Try thinking for yourself some time. Many of us know far more about this stuff than you do – about big business, about Cambridge University, about propaganda, about how to find stuff out, and so on – and we’re not the kind of people to rub it in your face either. Now stop telling us you know it all about Cambridge University because you’re an undergraduate there and we’re not – you’re making yourself look a fool. Try saying idiotic shit like “There is an immense effort underway to demysticise Oxbridge for the students of tomorrow” to yourself in front of a mirror.

      • letsgotonarnia

        “Many of us know far more about this stuff than you do…”

        Exactly. Which is why I’m at university, attempting to gain a degree.

        Incidentally, I live in one of the poorest areas in the country, on a housing scheme. I went to all-round mediocre school where aspiration was largely seen as something dangerous, because it implied you wanted to be something else. It implied that you didn’t think the community good enough. It implied that you thought yourself above the rest. By my decision to leave, I’ve ostracized myself to an considerable majority of my own community.

        That reasoning is exactly why Cambridge struggles to break the image: because the walls are in people’s heads, not around the university’s access scheme.

      • You’re wrong. Read the blog post and its comments again, and perhaps the interview in which the professor made the remarks attacked above.

        If it’s PR it’s very badly done: the general public knows little about it. And if you were to see the groups of forty to sixty schoolchildren from primarily inner city ethnic minority backgrounds strolling around college, excited and enthused to be seeing Cambridge from the inside, you might be less cynical about their efforts.

        Sorry, but your little rant is gibberish. I’m not making any claim to special knowledge. I’m simply reporting the facts – one of which was that people like me, with my background, exist at Cambridge. Otherwise I wouldn’t have mentioned it (along with my great-grandfather’s profession).

        There is nothing wrong with that sentence: it’s entirely true. Your critique of writing style might be more productive applied to the commentors above who appear so rabidly frenzied that any string of three words must contain an expletive.

      • Bill

        Ok, so… you have these opinions. This is fair enough. I think the part of this whole scenario that people consider a little confusing is what any of this has to do with protesting a rowing race? It started out as a tag-along to an animal rights protest, but now has become a debate over the accessibility of education to the working classes. So which is it?

        As has been mentioned in other comments, rowing has very little to do with the university and its policies. In fact, the academic side of university life tends to discourage rowing – if you think you’re going to get attention from those on high, you’re barking up the wrong tree. The point I’m trying to make is that if you have these opinions against the university, and seriously want to make an effort to change something, why not go and protest outside Senate House? Going out of your way to call a bunch of students ‘toff wankers’ is only going to serve the purpose of possibly making you feel a little good about yourselves for throwing a spanner in some unrelated works, not actually achieve anything in attempting to change the system. It lacks ambition for any real change, and is much more a publicity stunt than a protest against the establishment.

        People have said that what’s important for achieving actual change is to get a ‘revolution from within’, and recruit working class students who have worked their way into the system. Do you honestly believe that disrupting a rowing race, in which countless of these potential anarchists are a part, will convince them to get on side with you? Some of you have made reasonable points, such that your opinions are justified. But the way you’re apparently putting them into practice seems way out of left field, and far less likely to achieve anything that any alternatives. Its the political equivalent of a baby tossing his toys out of the pram. Sure, you might get attention from some pissed off students for a few hours, but the lords and chancellors will have no idea anything has been going on. Nothing will change and in 2 weeks everyone will have forgotten about it once again.

        Its actually interesting to see that the few of you making valid points are all just followers of the great Bone. You have well reasoned opinions and aspirations, but they’re wasted at events being organised by the wrong man. Do something tangible about the situation, don’t just sit on a river bank swearing at some teenagers.

  12. Anonymous

    Fuck the aristos. Smash all structures that support unearned privilege. Come in ruling class UK. Your time is up cunts.

  13. OK then

    To the person who said 57% of students at Cambridge are “working class”. Presumably this is the figure for students who went to state schools. I am sorry, but this does not make them working class, and in fact the vast majority of those students aren’t. There are no official figures or even estimates for what percentage of students at Cambridge are working class. So much for all the sociological research! My estimate would be less than 5%.

    A person is not working class if their parents are headteachers or medics or university lecturers. I’m not going to get into a definition of what counts as being working class, except to point out that the existence of a grey area between a category and another category to which it’s in opposition does not negate either the reality of the category or its usefulness to understanding. (Any Cambridge undergraduates reading this should make sure they understand that point! 🙂 .)

    But I will ask – what percentage of Cambridge students have a parent who is on a job paying less than say £12.50 an hour gross, or who is non-retired and lives on welfare benefits? The majority of the general population aged between 18 and 21 have at least one such parent. Yes there are working class people who receive more than this, and there are people outside the working class who receive less. But what’s the figure for Cambridge undergraduates? Let’s guess. Is anyone seriously prepared to say they think it is more than 5%?

  14. Yes, the Master of Fitzwilliam College is a well-known CUNT

    My mum used to work in the kitchen at Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge. She told me that the “Master”, Robert Lethbridge, is known for having an uncontrollable temper, often shouting and throwing things, and for being unable to be in a room with college “servants” without being verbally shitty to at least one of them. He likes to pretend he’s an aristocrat, but actually he’s from somewhere much lower, and licked arse in Kent and London to get where he is. Everyone calls him either “Toupee” or “The Arsehole” whenever the Head Porter’s not listening. (His amazing – and false – hairdo can be viewed in the Daily Mail article). The usual gesture from both women and male workers is a finger in the throat as soon as he’s left a room. (…) My mum says that once when someone in the royal family visited the college, she’d never seen a more fawning look on anyone’s face than the one that the Arsehole wore the whole time the royal was there!

    My dad worked in Fitzwilliam College as a gardener a few years back, and the picture he has of the Master, Robert Lethbridge, chimes exactly with your mum’s! In particular, I remember him telling me that practically ALL the workers at the college do the finger-in-the-throat gesture after they’ve been in contact with him. Also known as ‘The Arsehole’ or ‘Toupee’ – yep, this too! My dad said everyone expected to get a tongue-lashing from Lethbridge. He must have thought the College was much less populated than it actually was, because if anybody knew he was coming, they’d get out of the way! Also the throwing things…and his wife hates his guts, the poor woman…

    How great it is to have a cunt like him telling us all how we’re pieces of shit because we don’t understand everything he and the University do to help working class students to “not be afraid of being losers” and apply to get into Cambridge University. FUCKING HELL!

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