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If the Guardian dislikes privately educated Oxbridge types, why does it hire so many?

15 June 2015

10:55 PM

15 June 2015

10:55 PM

The Guardian ran an article today about research by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. The commission claims around 70 per cent of jobs at law, accountancy and financial firms go to applicants from private or selective schools. And the Guardian goes into full class war mode.

Its article — which has the rather provocative headline ‘poshness tests’ block working-class applicants at top companies’ — reports on the findings of the study, which is in contrast plainly titled ‘Non-educational barriers to the elite professions evaluation’:

‘The research by the social mobility and child poverty commission found that old-fashioned snobbery about accents and mannerisms was being used by top companies to filter out working-class candidates and favour the privileged.’

Note how the Guardian is dead against these ‘top companies.’ To hire someone from a feepaying school, it seems, is to: ‘filter out working-class candidates and favour the privileged.’

But here’s another idea: might it just mean hiring the very best people for the job? Regardless of their background? Need it always be the case that the privately educated are only ever hired because they sneakily pass some ‘poshness test?’

If so, that test must be a part of every application to the Guardian. A good number of its excellent writers come from ‘private or selective schools’, with heavyweights Jonathan Freedland, Hadley Freeman and the sublime Marina Hyde amongst them. As someone rather wonderfully pointed out in the comments section:


Now, Mr S has nothing against the privately educated — and rather dislikes the inverted snobbery on display in the Guardian’s story. If the newspaper genuinely sees hiring people from independent schools as a grand conspiracy, its investigative reporters don’t have far to go for their next expose.

UPDATE 1: Owen Jones has denounced the establishment stitch-up in the media:

‘Want to become a journalist? You may well find yourself expected to work for free for months, or longer, with no promise of a job at the end of it. If you have parents with the financial means, you have a shot, but otherwise the idea of labouring for nothing in London – one of the world’s most expensive cities – is a non-starter…It’s enough to make you go full-on Jacobin.’

And where did his diatribe appear? The Guardian.

UPDATE 2: Nick Cohen, also from this parish, points out that his name appears on the above list. His response:

‘I did not go to a private school I went to an 11 plus grammar school in Altrincham – no fees, no interview. If I were Steerpike I would worry about my response.’

Goes to show: never believe all you read in the comments section.

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