Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Oxford Tutorial for D.Cameron (BNC)

Dear David,
Your essay on Oxford University's admissions policy with respect to black students rather looks as if you wrote it in haste on your way to your party in Harrogate. This is not good practice for essays or for the responsibilities you have taken on in the last year.

You really should know by now to check your facts and not to rely on downloading information from the Internet.

You really should not cribb ideas from G. Brown ( Edinburgh, not even an Oxford man); he tried this argument ten years ago, and, well, look what happened to him.

Although you may cause some University breast beating by the politically correct who have taken the governmental shilling, the University has been able to point out the errors in your argument. Please remember that for future reference.

Do not be a bully (even if you are in the Bullingdon) to the university which gave you a place. you are agrown up now, so stand up against the entrenched educational establishment that is obsessed with social engineering in a way that smacks more of Big Brother than the Big Society.

One way to open up the educational chances for minorities is obvious to some of us older chaps - things called Grammar Schools. Yet I seem to recall you and your friends in your very poor essays on educational policy set your faces against such institutions. Just because you went to that large comprehensive school outside Slough does not mean that all comprehensives are as good academically (they are not) or as socially advantageous (they are not).

As his tutor once said to a friend of mine about his NT Greek essay " I would give this a Delta but you probably would n't know what it meant..."

I remain, etc...

P.S. Perhaps the problem is very Oxford - you belong to a college on the north of the High and I to one on the south...


Last Knight said...

John, didn't your college once think that it had admitted a black student ... only for it to turn out to be a right-wing white ginger biochemist who had designated himself as black on the ethnic monitoring form?

Once I Was A Clever Boy said...

So I am led to believe, but then as we both know, this is Oxford...

Gareth Russell said...