Friday, 21 June 2013

Random facts that explain Britain's current state

There are 57 Liberal Democrat MPs. 14 Liberal Democrat MPs have Knighthoods. 7 Liberal Democrat MPs have XX chromosomes, i.e. are female.

Of last night's Question Time panel (Boris Johnson, Melanie Phillips, Ed Davey, Tessa Jowell, Russell Brand, David Dimbleby), 100% attended fee-paying schools, regardless of party. Only Jowell and Brand didn't attend Oxford University, and 33% of the panel were in the élite Bullingdon Club (Johnson and Dimbleby).

Income distribution has never been less equal. The richest tenth of the population has become richer every year. The poorest tenth are now poorer than they were ten years ago.

15% of Cabinet Ministers are women. 51% of the population are women.

Well over half the Cabinet attended fee-paying schools, compared to roughly 6% of the population. 19 of the 29 Cabinet Ministers attended either Oxford or Cambridge Universities.

33% of the Cabinet are millionaires, collectively worth roughly £70m. Given that there are roughly 10,000 millionaires in the UK (approx 0.015%), that's an amazing coincidence.

70% of people on the National Minimum Wage are women.

Women are disproportionately imprisoned for offences for which men are given fines or non-custodial sentences.

Being female makes you far more likely to be harrassed, sacked, on benefits and unemployed.

Being female and from an ethnic minority basically makes you a non-person. Work, social security, political representation, media work, economic power… you name it, you're not important. 3 FTSE 100 companies have female CEOs. Only 17% of board members are female.

5.7% of FTSE 100 directors are from ethnic minorities. None are CEOs. The same applies to the Civil Service: the senior levels are disproportionately white, male, privately-educated and Oxbridge.

70% of judges attended fee-paying schools.

17% of 'leaders' (business, government, law, education etc) attended comprehensive schools. 47% of them went to Oxford or Cambridge.

The Ministry of Defence is stuffed with arms company employees on secondment - awarding fat contracts to… themselves. Similarly, the Big Four accountacy firms have people in secondment across government, and offer free work to all the political parties, hence their unreformed, unregulated and unexamined promotion of tax evasion and fiscal irresponsibility throughout the recession and beyond. When ministers and civil servants leave office, they go to work for the arms companies, banks and other bodies they're meant to regulate. So there's no incentive to question them. Rather the opposite.

Hope you can see why I'm so depressed. My students are 99% state-educated, 30% from ethnic minorites, and in my subjects, overwhelmingly female. We do our best (though there are worrying stats at minority degree outcomes) but it boils my blood to look them in the face and know that however energetic and well-educated they are, they're vanishingly unlikely to run the country or a company. Their needs are irrelevant to those in power. They're more likely to be in prison, unemployed or indebted. They don't have social, cultural or financial capital. Collective bodies such as political parties and trades unions which used to offer advancement are either closed to them or banished to the social margins.

There's an Establishment. Rich people employ their own. They run government and the commanding heights of the economy. They send us to prison and they treat our diseases.

What price social mobility? This game's rigged.


Alex said...

They decide what we eat.

Historian on the Edge said...

Tell me about it. I don't consider myself as from an underprivileged background. My Dad was a teacher and by the time I was in my teens a headteacher so by then we were pretty well off. More important than any financial stuff, though, he cared enough to make me to my homework and work hard. I went to a comprehensive but one that had only recently been formed from a merger of the grammar schools so my year was still a bit atypical in terms of pupils - the teachers were largely great though as all the worst examples of shit grammar school teachers had left for the private sector or for other counties that still had the 11+ and been replaced by committed comprehensive teaching types. That was important. I got turned down by Oxford because I didn't work hard enough for the exam etc (never had a problem with that; I'd have turned me down too). The amazing thing was that they advised me to apply again in the next year after my A-Level results were in (also gave the impression that my rejkection was as much to do with me wanting a year out as anything). But then I chose to go to a 60s university because Oxbridge didn't actually do the degree I wanted to do by then (history & archaeology). And yet - even with all that - I have spent a quarter century having the quality/importance of everything I do calibrated against my not having the letters CANTAB or OXON after my name. I have lost out twice in job interviews to less well qualified candidates who a: did go to Oxford and b: had professors for fathers. The British medieval history establishment has even come out of retirement to ensure that I didn't get an influential post. So, yeah. God help anyone from an actual deprived background.