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Forget all the nonsense above...

MAIN FINDING OF THIS POLL: The cleverest people in Britain are still the least likely to vote Tory.

"The cleverest people in Britain are still the least likely to vote Tory."

Who says academics are the "cleverest" people? One might put it another way, "the most useless people in Britain are still the least likely to vote Tory".

Put like that, it doesn't seem so damning.

Which only goes to show that being clever is not the same as being wise....Think Robert Jackson, Fellow of All Souls and fervent admirer of Tony Blair.


I did a Social Policy degree at University and can only recall hostility to the conservative party, amongst my lecturers.

On one occasion we were asked to sit in a seminar and read the "Socialist Worker" newspaper for an hour. I politely suggested we read the Spectator the week after to little enthusiasm.

Perhaps all the sound lecturers are to be found in Economics Departments?

People described as the 'cleverest' also have a tendancy to be foolish and indulge in woolly and unrealistic thinking. Then they become socialists.

elitist @ 1442:

"MAIN FINDING OF THIS POLL: The cleverest people in Britain are still the least likely to vote Tory."

My partner has a double 1st from Exeter and Cambridge. He is a classist, he can speak and write Hebrew and once did a translation of the New Testament from Koine Greek into Latin

However, he cannot balance the household accounts, cannot fry and egg without burning it and cannot do the most simple shopping without forgetting what he is meant to buy.

And yes - he is a Labour voter too.

Academics are certainly not the most intelligent people, but they can be incredibly influential. Not only can they get a lot of press via the unions, but they are in a position to shape the opinions of the next generation through their teachings. Henry's story about reading the "Socialist Worker" is a prime example of how power can be abused.

This is clearly a move in the right direction but we must not delude ourselves: there is a strong number of politically motivated lecturers and teachers who see their role as one of indoctrination rather than presenting arguments to students and allowing students to make up their own minds. I am collecting examples of such abuses and if anyone has any more, please do send them to me at [email protected]

It is precisely because of the attitude of too many in the teaching profession and the bias that is so prevalent that the Young Britons' Foundation was created. By helping students organise debates and speaker meetings where conservative speakers get the chance to air their views, students actually get to hear both sides of the argument - rather than having anti-conservative, politically correct drivel forced down their throats.

Chris is right. Academics have a huge influence on young minds. We should never downplay the influence they have in setting the terms of great debates. They and the cultural classes are powers in the land.

Those who can do, those who can't...

Does anyone else recall Hayek’s “Intellectuals and Socialism”. He said that academics were left leaning as bright people who did not like the profit motive naturally gravitated to academia, whereas those who were comfortable with (or at least ambivalent to) profits were more evenly spread throughout the working world.

In addition, Labour benefited from years of opposition where they could empathise with academics, and point to their lack of power as the sole reason they did not rectify the obvious wrong. Since Labour has discovered Government was quite a bit harder that they anticipated, they have gradually lost their natural sympathy amongst academics. These academics who still hanker after systems so perfect people need not be good are gravitating to the Liberals (they should find things comfortable there) or have now decided that all politicians are hopeless. But I digress and must in any case get back to work.

Donal, Best example of student manipulation I can remember off the top of my head was a school assembly I had to sit through last year just before the general election. I remember the headmaster talking of the evils of the far right (I'm not fond of them, but they are still a valid political force). The week before we were given a vist by the incumbent Labour MP, but the Conservative candidate and eventual winner never visited the school prior to the election.

There are a few academics involved in the new New Culture Forum (see review of last night's launch in the events section

"Forget all the nonsense above...

MAIN FINDING OF THIS POLL: The cleverest people in Britain are still the least likely to vote Tory." - Elitist

Really? I always thought teaching was a fall back profession, ie. people who couldn't do what you really wanted became teachers.

The cleverest people in Britain are still the least likely to vote Tory.
What about Research Scientists, has anyone done any surveys on how they vote? Although the 2 overlap there are many Research Scientists who don't do lecturing, lecturing doesn't suit everybody?

Also many academics aren't particularily notable, many are just competent at regugitating the work of others and haven't had an inspirational thought in their lives.

And also - does this actually mean anything, which academics for example and why? Clever people can be wrong as well, for the best of reasons - they aren't impervious to supporting people for personal reasons, many have no specialised knowledge in politics or economics - in many cases academics or Research Scientists are no more expert outside of their own personal areas of expertise than anyone else.

Are these the same Academics who collectively managed to wreck the entire state education system by filling their education students heads full of one size fits all drivel? We are only just waking up to it now. Forty years on!

Chris: the way to combat such leftism is by political activism of your own. In my sixth form, my history teacher (Major and Blair's biographer, Anthony Seldon) organised a Europe Day. It consisted of lots of pro-EU propaganda and speakers extolling the virtues of abandoning sovereignty. There was not a single Eurosceptic speaker (and this was in 1991/92 during the whole Maastricht business). We took matters into our own hands. We obtained lots of literature from the Campaign for an Independent Britain, handed it out to our fellow students, planted Eurosceptic questions and effectively ambushed the federalists who had turned up clearly expecting to spend yet another day (funded by the taxpayer) spreading Europropaganda to students too shy to challenge their views. I am pleased to say this subversiveness went down well with our colleagues and led to many of them becoming activists.

Ah happy memories! I was with Donal that day, I was one of the ring-leaders though he must take credit for the real work. Where we succeeded was in causing the obviously pained reaction from the massed ranks of Europhile speakers who were expecting an easy ride. I can't pretend we won every argument, we were only 16/17/18 years old, but we put up a fight and showed there was another argument. As Donal says I can think of 4 or 5 people who became activists because of that one event.

YetAnotherAnon @ 17.07 & 17.11, I think you are quite right, and if they are in a science discipline they may well know nothing about culture. I remember several years ago Carol Vordermann got a lot of 'stick' in the press because she apparently knew very little about Shakespeare.

Annabel it wasn't only those Academics in the state system, I think it was in the 60's that apparently the examination boards also got errr infiltrated. I suppose we are suffering the results of that nowadays.

"MAIN FINDING OF THIS POLL: The cleverest people in Britain are still the least likely to vote Tory."

Academia attracts theorists. Theorists are often attracted to ideology. The Conservative party has always been non-ideological and far more pragmatic. Look back at all the sociologists back in the seventies who saw Britains industrial decline as proof of Marx's long held prophecy of the inevitable fall of capitalism. Academia is now full of Liberal leftists instead of the Marxists because the Marxists are now hopelessly discredited. Having met some of the nutters in academia during my university studies in recent years, i'd be frightened if they all voted Tory. This party has hundreds of years of glorious history. Other parties come and go, just like ideologies and the crackpot theories of so many academics. I got so bored at Uni sitting through hours of tedious leftist propaganda and if it wasn't lefty propaganda it was federalist propaganda. Of course, if academia was dominated by Conservatives the libs would use this as evidence of some sort of bigotry perpetrated by Conservatives to keep the left from having their say.

I fear that academia and exams are not as much fun as they should be either. Gone are the days when Churchill received a decent mark at Harrow for merely writing his name in his Latin exam (he wrote nothing else supposedly on the exam paper)...

One of my friends who went on to get a Starred First at Cambridge and who got straight As at A-level (in 1992) managed to get a U in his S-level politics exam. The question he answered was "What are the arguments for and against a United States of Europe?". He set out at great length and, I am sure, with much persuasion the various arguments against a United States of Europe. He then finished with a flourish: "There are no sensible arguments in favour of a United States of Europe". An examiner with a sense of humour or with a sense of irony would have appreciated the sheer bravado that this guy exhibited in writing this on a real examination paper. Alas, propriety ruled and he received a U grade. It did him no harm in the long run I suppose..!

Why else have Labour tried to pack the universities with 50% of each generation? Because they feel that the indoctrination that will be given out will help to keep them in power.

My sister has spent all her life in a university environment collecting degrees and teaching. She is convinced that all those who work in business are motivated by selfishness, and all those who teach or work for the government are morally and intellectually superior.

As she has no direct experience of her own of the 'real world', she has taken on board the views and prejudices of her peers.

It must be wonderful to live in an environment practically devoid of risk, and also be convinced of one's own moral superiority. Those whose nerves are stretched and who are prematurely aged living amidst the vicitudes(?) of market forces (like me) might as well accept that we are the mugs.

Let's all go and work in universities, be convinced of our intellectual and moral superiority, worship Gordon Brown and vote Labour. It's the least we could do to show our gratitude for such an easy life.

Is Sociology really a valid or useful thing for students to be doing at University? Or Media Studies - surely most of the course content is opinion and not verifiable hypothesis. Equally of what use are sports, Media Studies, Surfboarding or degrees on Celebrities - surely all such things should be banned and no assistance provided for such subjects.

I fear that academia and exams are not as much fun as they should be either.
The people aren't there to enjoy themselves, they are there to study - if they enjoy themselves that is merely a plus.

Sorry "Yet Another Anon": I was being flippant and light-hearted :)

Well, my university experience a few years ago was almost entirely free of politics (except for one "Building and the Environment" lecturer who was a Green), but then I was doing Architectural Technology, not some namby pamby social science!

What is also very worrying about the known bias of Academia towards woolly minded leftism is the disproportionately large number of those who work in teaching who, still without any experience of real life, go on to become our elected representatives at both local and national level.This is especially so in the Labour party but it would seem that one of the unforseen effects of the A List may well be that we start to contribute to that unwarranted anomaly.

Are those Academics the reason why we dont maunfacture anything much any more? No apprentices, just a bunch of Wallies reading Media Studies and Golf course management so Blair can get his 50% .

Spot on Annabel.

Small point about Media Studies students, on average they earn more on leaving university than most. Also there is nothing wrong with people studying golf course management or some other occupation related degree if it leads them into a job they actually want to do.
Whether these courses ought to be called degrees is a fair point for discussion, whether they are useful is not, as they clearly are.

PS Computer games design students have the highest employment rates of any graduates.

From Ludwig von Mises's "The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality":

"To understand the intellectual’s abhorrence of capitalism one must realize that in his mind this system is incarnated in a defi­nite number of compeers whose success he resents and whom he makes responsible for the frustration of his own far-flung ambi­tions. His passionate dislike of capitalism is a mere blind for his hatred of some successful “colleagues.”"

It is also notable that academics, like most intellectuals, tend to be very idealistic and believe that due to their intelligence they can plan a perfect society. Communism was once popular amongst academics.

As for the cleverest people being left-wing, it is notable that the Oxford University Conservative Association is much larger than its opponents and is even the largest Tory student body in the country.

"Also there is nothing wrong with people studying golf course management or some other occupation related degree if it leads them into a job they actually want to do."

There is if taxpayers have to fund it. Most taxpayers are probably happy to fund university courses if they believe that they contribute towards the obtaining of a worthwhile job. Taxes should not be used to fund someone just because "I want to have the experience of university".

The radical question is: what specific education policies would help reverse the left/liberal culture in academia, within the framework of providing the best education for all?

what specific education policies would help reverse the left/liberal culture in academia
In Japan and the USA most Universities are fully private, surely if funding for Universities was to come entirely from Tuition Fees and Commercially raised funding then they would develop a free market ethos, in addition political vetting could be used to weed out Pro-Irish Nationalist/Anarchist/Liberal elements as being unsuitable for teaching young minds - the same could be applied in Primary and Secondary Schools, in the USA of course there are Faith Based Universities that are very much anti-Liberal.

That sounds dangerously totalitarian to me. Under the private system you suggest it wouldn't be necessary anyway. If people didn't want to be taught by those with a certain view they could boycott the school/university or withdraw their children from lessons.

Media Studies is one thing but frankly English should be banned from Universities, and Law, and Accounting - they could return to being articled jobs for school-leavers like other trades.

Nursing and Physio could be removed from Universities too and then we could reduce the numbers of Universities from 150 to 30 and sell off the surplus buildings and land

'The cleverest people in Britain are still the least likely to vote Tory':
thank god for it, otherwise the idiots AND academics would be voting for them!

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