Saturday, 5 May 2012

Elitism

by Charlie Albuery
 
Trenton Oldfield disrupts the 2012 Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race
(image from: img.metro.co.uk)

Full disclosure before I begin: like Boris Johnson, I talk a bit posh; also, I’m occasionally told I resemble Prince Harry and I’m not up-to-date with the street culture of today (50 pence and Snoop Puppy and such). I’m fully aware that I’ve had a privileged upbringing and will try my very best to not let that affect my opinions.

The topic of elitism has come to the fore recently because of a 35-year old protester, Trenton Oldfield, who dived into the Thames in an attempt to disrupt the 158th annual Oxford and Cambridge boat race on April 7th. He was released on bail with restrictions preventing him from entering the City of Westminster on May 9th (this coming Wednesday) for the state opening of Parliament.

Trenton Oldfield's argument is that there is something fundamentally wrong with a society in which our high fliers, particularly our politicians, come from the same backgrounds and universities (David Cameron and Boris Johnson both notably attended Eton).
It’s a hard topic to comment on as someone in private education because, personally, I see no problem with this (Eton is, undoubtedly one of the best educational establishments in the country, so why shouldn’t the people running our country be the best educated?) but, if I was in state education, I imagine I might have the perception that I was at a disadvantage with regard to opportunities compared to someone at a private school.
I guess what I’m really saying is: elitism is no issue if you’re one of the elite, so try looking at it from someone else’s perspective once in a while.

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