Universities: a desert for the white working class
A ‘classless society’ was the meritocratic mission of Tony Blair and neoliberal New Labour, and the baton was taken on by Tory moderniser David Cameron. Yet the white working class remains a distinct entity, despite disappearing off the radar of political parties and public institutions. While equality and diversity are emphasised at every turn, social class is conveniently overlooked.
In my university, I rarely meet anyone of this large but neglected segment of the British populace. A report by the Office for Students showed that within the lower socio-economic brackets, black and Asian people are more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to attend university. In the admission figures for 2017, 4315 per 10000 poorer school-leavers of Asian background went to university, 4310 black pupils, and merely 2121 white working class.
The denizens of the wrong side of the tracks in campus cities such as Cambridge and York are kept out of sight, out of mind. Beyond the citadels of the intelligentsia lie sprawling council estates inhabited by uncultured plebs who live on junk food and probably voted for Brexit.
Apparently it is socially acceptable to blame the white working class for lacking the work ethic or intellect of ambitious and disciplined families of African and Asian heritage. Yet it would be abhorrent to attribute underachievement in any other ethnic group to laziness or stupidity. This is like the past excuse that girls had no interest in academic pursuits.
A level playing field is a fallacy. Middle-class pupils work hard to get into a chosen university, but they get plenty of coaching at home. Dual-earning professional couples know which strings to pull. As in Michael Young’s dystopian vision of meritocracy, a self-serving, privileged social stratum replicates itself. Whereas in the past a university degree was attained by a minority, today there is a line drawn across the middle of society, with a cultural segregation of haves and have-nots.
To be fair to universities, this problem begins earlier. Schools may not be overtly prejudiced against white working-class pupils, but the schism in British society, conceptualised by David Goodhart as traditional ‘Somewheres’ and liberal ‘Anywheres’, is bound to cause bias. Teachers are graduates who have been through the ideological mill of university, which inculcates notions of white privilege and righting historical wrongs. Socially conservative or patriotic views from home are quashed by progressive values: ‘Johnny, we don’t say things like that’.
Belatedly, universities have decided that class counts. However, the white working class are not given specific attention. Teenagers of Somali and Bangladeshi origin in the East End deserve support, but do poorer white youngsters of the sprawling council estates on the outskirts of London. The social justice concept of intersectionality is not applied to the white working class, who have little virtue-signalling worth to the middle-class establishment.
It is not only access that must change. The university is not a welcoming environment for a young man of conventional working-class perspective. He will be hectored about the ‘patriarchy’ by middle-class white women, oblivious to his social adversity. Campaigns against sexual harassment on campus always depict white males. And the university-endorsed campaign to ‘decolonise the curriculum’ is an affront to his national identity. Despite the obsession with racism, traditionally-minded white men are insulted as ‘gammon’ (mostly by middle-class whites). .
In many ways, missing university is advantageous. Young people who go straight into employment are able to earn a living without the burden of student debt. But all young people should have opportunities in higher education. Sadly, the polytechnics that imparted knowledge and skills to working-class school-leavers were converted into unremarkable universities. Instead of training plumbers and mechanics, these concrete edifices now produce graduates in media studies.
Russell Group universities continue to expand, with an increasing influx of foreign students. You will hear more Mandarin than Cockney, Scouse or Geordie in the canteen. Do the Ivory Towers have any sense of responsibility to educate the white working class, or is this the lowest of their priorities? In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, our academic institutions should abandon globalist hubris and focus on their more humble role as British universities.
My Experience of Political Persecution From Teachers
Jack Thomson is an actor, scholar and free speech advocate from the North East of England. Since July 2019, he has been Young Independence Co-ordinator for North of Tyne.
I came across UKIP in late 2018. I was very fond of their policies. Also, Gerard Batten had the right confidence, charisma and energy I believe a Prime Minister should have. Nevertheless, I was still on the fence. My interest grew a lot when Tommy Robinson became involved with the party. I had watched many of Tommy’s videos and he too was a man of principle and his incredible devotion to this day cannot be matched by anyone else. When Tommy and Gerard were presenting the exposé on the BBC, Panodrama, I watched it live online and was totally amazed by the undercover journalism done by Tommy. The next day, I signed up.
Due to this political relocation, I broadcasted this to my peers at Sixth Form. This was obviously met with mixed responses. But surprisingly, it was from the teachers that I got the most negativity from. I felt there was a change in attitude from them towards me. This was confirmed when teachers would make sly comments every now and then about students with supposed ‘far right beliefs’. It was becoming more and more uncomfortable to even speak out at class due to the fear of being shaded by the teacher.
I joined the debating society, which was the only free speech hub in the college environment. This angered me as this was the only place I could go to really argue my point without fear of any repercussions. I brought this point up with the deputy head, and tried to suggest that the college as a whole should be free speech friendly. My suggestions were shut down immediately and his response was that such a suggestion may be frowned upon. This was a disappointment yet I adhered to the rules respectively, and only discussed politics in the free speech zone.
This did not stop the teachers from persecuting me. I was brought into the deputy heads office several times due to complaints from other students about my views. One time, I had been called in due to me mentioning Tommy Robinson’s name in a debate I was having about immigration. I discussed that Tommy should be given a chance in the political world as his points have a lot of value and the media blacklist him for telling the truth. I was required to sit through a video outlining how to avoid radicalisation. I queried why I was having to do this and his response was because of my allegiance to Tommy Robinson. I outlined that I never stated I supported him, but I was ignored. I felt like I was being unfairly treated because I argued differently to what the teachers believed in.
I left that Sixth Form as I couldn’t handle the prejudice any more. It was quite an upsetting time for me but only made me realise that people will do anything to silence the truth. I didn’t change my views to be treated better by the teachers. I stuck by what I believed in, I took the persecution on the chin and stood strong for my freedom of speech.
I know I am not alone and many teachers will do what they can to inflict indoctrination of their beliefs onto students, and people who don’t agree will be deemed ‘outcasts’. But don’t let them win, do not let them change who you are. We are the voice of truth and as the next generation, we must continue the fight for free speech and we will get challenges placed in front of us every day. We will overcome these challenges and stand together for our freedom.