Report reveals entrenched elites running Britain

| 28/08/2014

(CNS): A new study in the UK has found that elitism is so embedded in British society that it has created a closed shop for the country’s top jobs which are held by privately educated and Oxbridge graduates. The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission examined the social background of those "running Britain" and described the situation as 'social engineering', as it was keeping out talented people from diverse backgrounds. Only 7% of the UK population attended private school. But 71% of senior judges, 62% of senior officers in the armed forces, 55% of top civil servants, 53% of senior diplomats, 50% of members of the House of Lords and 45% of public body chairs did so.

The details of the report are published in Thursday’s edition of The Guardian and Alan Milburn, the Labour former cabinet minister who chairs the commission, said that, as well as being unfair, this situation was unacceptable because "locking out a diversity of talents and experiences makes Britain's leading institutions less informed, less representative and, ultimately, less credible than they should be".

Looking at the background of more than 4,000 people filling jobs at the top of government, the civil service, the judiciary, the media, business and the creative industries, the commission investigated where they went to school, on the grounds that going to a private school is reasonably indicative of a wealthy background.

The study found that Oxbridge graduates have a stranglehold on top jobs. They comprise less than 1% of the public as a whole, but 75% of senior judges, 59% of cabinet ministers, 57% of permanent secretaries, 50% of diplomats, 47% of newspaper columnists, 44% of public body chairs, 38% of members of the House of Lords, 33% of BBC executives, 33% of shadow cabinet ministers, 24% of MPs and 12% of those on the Sunday Times Rich List.

The report says the judiciary is the most privileged professional group. About 14% of judges attended one of just five independent schools (Eton, Westminster, Radley, Charterhouse and St Paul's Boys).

"Where institutions rely on too narrow a range of people from too narrow a range of backgroundswith too narrow a range of experiences, they risk behaving in ways and focusing on issues that are of salience only to a minority but not the majority in society," Milburn stated.

Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, said the report showed the coalition was failing on social mobility. "Under the Tories, the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and the rest is increasing, millions of hardworking people are seeing their living standards go backwards and child poverty is set to increase," he said.

See details of report here

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  1. Sucka Free says:

    So Cayman is thee dumping ground for the would be wanna be's of the UK and for those who's parasitic nature has run its course in the UK. Ain't that right Pitbull?

  2. Anonymous says:

    It's quite obvious that none of these posters went to public school or Oxbridge, although like so many other Brit expats busily reinventing themselves here, they like to pretend they did. Their contributions are unconvincing, but since I'm feeling generous I'll give them all an E for effort.

    • Anonymous says:

      Except they don't give such grades at the establishments in question.  The term you might be looking for is a delta or a gamma.

  3. Anonymous says:

    In other news, report reveals the Pope to be Catholic

  4. Duckworth Lewis says:

    As an Oxonian I do find the generalisations on this thread annoying.  Specifically lumping Oxford in with the Tabs under the term "Oxbridge".  An Oxonian knows they are special and born to lead the moment they don subfusc.  Cambridge folk, on the other hand, are the nerds.  The evidence is everywhere.  Look at the last 10 Prime Ministers who attended university.  9 Oxonians and Gordon Brown, who went to Edinburgh. 

    • Anonymous says:

      An impressive post, and woefully accurate as regards poor old Gordon. My chief concern, however, is your desciption of yourself as an "Oxonian", which sounds decidedly akin to something one would powder between the fingers as part of a broth. Kindly assure me this is not the case. Thank you.

      • Anonymous says:

        Or maybe its a new term for the colour Oxblood  that is to say shoe polish.

    • Anonymous says:

      ….also consider an uneducated Gardner who went everywhere….first class….da wa ya get.

  5. Anonymous says:

    To make a serious point, one of the best routes for talented young people from poor backgrounds to make it into the upper reaches of business and the professions were the Grammar Shools (from where they could make it into University). The irony is that it was the Labour Party, the self-acclaimed representatives of that part of society, that setout to abolish them as elitist

  6. Anonymous says:

    Private schools don't impress me.  Experience has taught me that graduates of these supposedly supperior institutions are more likely to be so self centered and out of touch, that any learning they may have accomplished becomes lost in their ego kingdom of entitlement. They don't realize that outside of the UK, they have to earn respect within communities by demonstrating their value as a decent contributing human being. Family names and dollar dollar bills y'all don't make for stimulating conversation.  "Let's discuss shopping & complain about lower level staff on our luxury vacation, 'cause nothing else matters! "

    • Anonymous says:

      "dollar dollar bills" – obviously talking about americans, not Brits. The British "graduate " from University, not school (which is what you go to before you go to University). 

    • Anonymous says:

      Old chap, to which school did you go?

      • Anonymous says:

        A Secondary Modern. Is there a problem?

        • Anonymous says:

          What is that?

          • Anonymous says:

            An institution to which in the U.K. one was basically sentenced at age eleven until they were abolished (along with workhouses and child chimney sweeps).   

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well, well I guessthis proves the point. If ONLY the best get into these top schools and ONLY the best are put into the top jobs, then that would explain why all the financial meltdowns and scams that take place.

    Only the best can go to these places so they can learn better ways to crook people without getting caught. 

    And these are the people, we the poor working people, must inspire to be and submitt ourselves too.

    No wonder we have issues with the UK and tax evasion, no wonder we have issues like Tempura and the ex financial guy for MI 5 back in the 90's.

    If these people are the BEST then boy the we all be in for a lot of trouble. 

    Good thing people are starting to wake up and realize that all these people did at these places is get high, drunk, have orgies and not much else cause mommies and daddies made huge donations to buy their passes.

    People are starting to see through the vail of crap and are rebelling. Sorry but soon everyone will be equal and some just won't make it. 

    Remember IVAN, a lot of these upper class persons cut out. Should've kept them out. We would be a lot better off.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can you explain the relationship between elitism in the UK as stated in the article and the quality  of expatriate employees in Cayman Islands?


    • Anonymous says:

      You really have no idea what you are talking about

    • anonymous says:

      People have started to awake and the Illiterati have stirred.

    • Anonymous says:

      "all these people did at these places is get high, drunk, have orgies and not much else" 

      Boy, did I go to the wrong school! All I remember is academic work and more academic work, cold showers, rotten food, arbitrary rules about just about everything, frost on your blankets at night, morning service, cadet force, more academic work, school on Saturday morning, the unheated swimming pool, Chapel on Sunday, exams, exams, exams. Four hours prep work every evening. Being harrassed and attacked in the street by local thugs, because of the uniform that I was wearing. And when you weren't eating, sleeping or working, sports, sports and more sports. Maybe that's why we provide more officers into the British Army than any other school except Eton and Harrow – after school, Army life is a doddle.

      • Hancock says:

        I remember much of this. It was called character building.  I have to say I do not recall any booze except an odd pint when out on CCF ops. It really was not that bad unless you could not enjoy any sports, then it must have been boring for you. I only got six Os as well as six of the best on numerous occasions, and was told I would not make university. Pity really because I think I could have made it. Anyway with all the tough schooling I have nothing to regret. I remember the local thugs going for us because we wore boaters but they usually came off second best. Some of us used to box a bit which in first year was mandatory. They need introduce that in Cayman schools.

      • Anonymous says:

        Blimey, I thought I had it rough at my secondary modern in the U.K.  The frost on your blankets at night, that's pretty rough. I've always avoided sports, for health reasons. At HS, on  "Sports day", they herded us out to this railway siding the size of ten soccer pitches. I opted for '"cross-country"  (to avoid anything remotely exertive) which theoretically entailed running around the perimeter. I recall (in the summer) strolling around the area smoking , and at times relaxing and sun-bathing as the trains passed. It was most pleasant. During the winter we did the usual stroll (and smoking) with "breaks" in the changing rooms if things got particularly chilly. On foggy days I recall hearing strident whistle blows and increasingly strident cries of encouragement from our PE teacher directed to the poor sods who were attempting to play soccer with, at best, three foot visibility. Most amusing. Pretty well all of my friends have endured various "sports injuries", mainly (distressingly, for our CNS male readership) centred in the groin region.  A lesson well learned.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Explains why we have a lot of persons here who could not cut it in the mother country. 


    • anon says:

      and they are still better than you!

    • Anonymous says:

      Explain why you have a lot of locals, be they caymanian or status holders who could not cut it anywhere else.

      • Anonymous says:

        A local is a person who is born here with one or both parents being born here and also with one Caymanian grandparent.  A caymanian is anyone who was granted status by the mass status grant of 2003 and a status holder is anyone not born here or in a few instances born here without any generational ties to Cayman but lived here for a long time, loves Cayman for most if not all the right reasons and applied for the grant of Caymanian Status. Most Caymanian Status holder will become local but "caymanian" will never become local.

  9. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    Them that's got shall have them that's not shall lose

    So the Bible says and it still is news

    Mama may have, Papa may have

    But God bless the child that's got his own, that's got his own


    Yes the strong get smart

    While the weak ones fade

    Empty pockets don't ever make the grade


    And how do you correct it? As the article states…it is entrenched. Don't expect the power elite to

    say "You know chaps, this isn't fair". After all, it's worked pretty nicely for them so far. As wealth continues to gather at the top.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Dont think this could happen in Cayman. No Sireee, no politcal or business elite here could possibly be steering business or funds in their own direction, no way…the big difference is, those boys might get the jobs, but they don't have the theiving that goes on here..

  11. Mr Gradgrind says:

    If you think that Mr Bumble is Dickens' representation of the "elite ruling class", then you probably deserved that thrashing. Bumble (as always with Dickens the name is important) is a bully but he is neither "elite" or a member of the "ruling class" as this UK report defines it.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are completely correct, good sir/madam. Mr.Bumble was clearly neither  "elite" nor a member of "the ruling class".  But in his manner and attitude he did surely symbolise and represent the oppressiveness of the time, which is probably why Dickens portrayed him as a bully, full of indignation and rage at anyone daring to expect to receive more. I think you misunderstood my post. Now, do I still deserve another thrashing, or have I redeemed myself? (!!)

      • Mr Gradgrind says:

        10:35, I think you have fully redeemed yourself…………………but if you would still like another thrashing, well, we're good at that and it can be arranged after Evensong behind the chapel.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thank you for the redemption, Mr.Grangrind. I apologise for my lack of clarity earlier re. the intended symbolism of Mr. Bumble. As regards the additional thrashing, well truth be told I am rather inclided to decline, as I reckon I have suffered quite sufficiently for all my transgressions!

      • Anonymous says:

        PS Not I at all enjoy being thrashed, of course. (And, no, I did NOT attend a public school in the U.K., I swear it!)

        PPS For our valued CNS American readership, you may know so already, so please forgive me, but just in case,a "public school" is actually a private school in the U.K. Historical thing to do with the church offering schools to the public, I believe.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thrash him, thrash him!

      • Anonymous says:

        As I understand it, the point about Bumble was that he was from the same class as those that he was oppressing. It was a comment on how you can hand a small amount of authority to a an ordinary person and they become tyrants. 

        Not that that would ever happen here………

    • Anonymous says:

      He was a "wanna be"

    • Mr.Deep(er) says:

      Okay, "thumbs up" scholars, quieten down, now, and study the post below. You "laughs" guys, well done. Meet me in the pub.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Written by a Cayman Islands newspaper, where we have no issues with entrenched elites at all, of course.  Only difference would appear to be that the allegation is the British elite are graduates of some of the finest schools and universities in the world (with the allegation that access to those schools is based on wealth, even if you have to be quite bright to graduate), whereas in Cayman its more about bloodlines and politics, with education and intelligence completely irrelevant.   

    • Anonymous says:

      Brilliant analysis, 7:19. Bravo!

    • Anonyanmous says:

      Well President George W. Bush was a graduate of an elite university and boy was he a bright one! The difference between him and some of those so call elites that find their way to Cayman because they could not fit in in the UK.  Many of them are now smug in law firms and fighting to keep out Caymanians with political connections and bloodlines. Caymanians can't control them in taking over the economy and jobs but they sure can keep them out of the political scene.  Time for politician to pass a law which states that to run for political office you must have one parent and grandparent born in Cayman.  This should keep Caymanians in political control for a little longer. 

      • Fred the Piemaker says:

        George was a graduate of Yale, where you can buy your degree, not Oxbridge.  And I think you will find that the restrictions on ability to run for office are already in place – part of the reason that we have such wonderful examples of the intelligencia in the LA.   

      • Slowpoke says:

        I think that you are not even coming  close enough.  They should have to prove they are related directly to C. Columbus.

    • Anonymous says:

      My, my, touchy are we?! Dont like it whe deh table turn eh!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Such a pyramid structure is no different from any other Western society.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It is the aim of every school in Britain to get as many of its students as it can into either Cambridge or Oxford University and when they do, they trumpet it from the rooftops.

    Why?  It is because only the very best students are admitted into both places.  Consequently, every year the graduates from those two establishments are the very best among those who graduate nationally.

    It is therefore no surprise at all that in every field that they enter, Oxbridge graduates occupy the highest positions in the country.  

    • Anonymous says:

      You clearly have no idea or at best limited knowledge of how priviledge works.

      • Anonymous says:

        But I know how to spell "privilege", 14:03

      • Anonymous says:

        What is "priviledge"?  Is it a shelf one installs above a lavatory? 

        • Watson says:

          Is it the traverse beam in a traditional Caymanian home that was sometimes used for storage?

      • Anonymous says:

        You are wrong.  I know exactly how privilege works and I have always been extremely grateful to be a beneficiary. 

  15. Anonymous says:

    Oxford and Cambridge educate the best of the best.  If people did not make it to that standard they cannot complain about the best rising to the top in the ordinary course.

  16. Anonymous says:

    How is this news? This is well known about the UK. Oxbridge elitism is reflected in many of the hiring and promotion policies of local institutions, especially law firms, that are reliant on UK-trained professionals. Doesn't make it right but the article, in is stating the obvious, lends credence to arguments that expatriate elitism locks out locals from many career paths.

    • Anonymous says:

      Simpler explanation is that the people they employ not only are better educated but get way more experience than locals ever could on this tiny island.  We would love to employ more locals, but unfortunately there is not the talent or expertise.

  17. Anonymous says:

    This rings a bell. I was thrashed repeatedly and told I'd never amount to anything during my schooldays in the U.K. (It wasn't a private school by the way.) The scene from Oliver Twist in which Oliver has the audacity to ask for moregruel in the workhouse springs to mind. Mr. Bumble the elite ruling class, Oliver the unfortunate masses. Things haven't changed that much under the veneer of Sunday opening at B&Q and all-day boozing to keep everyone busy, or plastered.

  18. Anonymous says:

    This is news how? This has been the case since the beginning. Hence the Monarchy!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Big surprise. It was the reason I left the UK 40 years ago, and nothing has changed. Nor will it change!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Very interesting article. I wonder if there will be many comments on this?! 

  21. Anonymous says:

    But Oxbridge represents the best.   So what is wrong?