A Telegraph columnist has caused uproar today after publishing a provocative tongue-in-cheek play on Jonathan Swift’s satirical work “A Modest Proposal”.
Commenting on moves from Britain’s most prestigious universities to address the inequality gap Naomi Southwell poked fun that poor students are “robbing middle class pupils of their rightful places”.
Oxford has pledged to cut the ratio of pupils from the wealthiest areas of the country to those from the deprived from around 15 to one to eight to one in the next five years, she reports.
Cambridge, similarly, has committed to cutting the ratio from around 14 to one to around 6.7 to one.
National scandal in the making
But the moves were dubbed a “national scandal in the making” by Southwell who wrote that they will rob the “much maligned middle-class pupils of their rightful futures”.
She quipped that private school pupils face a more competitive field she said state school pupils shouldn’t be rewarded simply because they manage to navigate the notoriously tricky application process on their own.
“All that shows is that they are scrappy. Scrappy doesn’t translate Catullus.”
A “modest proposal”
She then went on to make a “modest proposal” that state school pupils get admitted to a separate college, to avoid stealing places from private school pupils.
“At Oxford, St Catherine’s will do,” she added.
“That’s the one with the ugly modernist architecture. After all, it worked for women.”
Swift wrote a A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People in 1729 as a satirical essay written and published anonymously.
The tract is an ironically conceived attempt to “find out a fair, cheap, and easy Method” for converting the starving children of Ireland into “sound and useful members of the Commonwealth.”
Read the piece in full here, and for reaction, see below:
Recently I’ve not been sold on wc kids coming to Oxbridge as a mark of achievement, as it’s a toxic environment.— Joe Smallman (@JoeLSmallman) February 11, 2020
But this makes me more determined to get wc kids in. Fuck, and I cannot stress this enough, MEDIOCRE posh kids getting here on daddy’s money. You ain’t earned shit. pic.twitter.com/PkXZaB6Z1o
Just a quick reminder that Oxbridge gives more places to pupils from 8 highly exclusive private schools than they do to those from 3000 state schools put together pic.twitter.com/aLDq3Ls6lg— tomboyce (@ecyobmot) February 11, 2020