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Britain is still ruled by a privately educated elite. Let’s end this culture of deference

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A new report by the Sutton Trust and the Social Mobility Commission has found that a tiny cohort of privately educated people, many of whom went to Oxbridge, continue to hold the top jobs in the country. The people holding those top jobs, in politics, the media, the judiciary and business, are five times more likely to have been to private school than the general population.

It is not surprising, though it is depressing. I have often lamented the deference that so many of us still seem to feel towards those who embody this well-established pipeline from prep to parliament, who walk the walk and talk the talk of the old aristocratic elite – Boris Johnson’s continued rise being the most pertinent recent example. There seems to be more than a little bit of Downton-ish forelock-tugging, “they were good to us up at the big house”, feeling of residual inferiority about it. Why the continued respect where there should be scorn and suspicion for those who buy themselves advantages in life and then coast through, seemingly answerable to no one?

Well, I don’t respect it. I’m polite about it, as you can’t blame an individual child for the circumstances of his or her birth whether rich or poor, but I won’t pretend I think any of those privately educated people who dominate Britain are better than you or me (because the chances are you went to state school, too. Most of us did, after all). I’m always going to be more impressed by a kid from a council estate and a struggling comprehensive who gets four As at A-level than I am by someone with the same grades who has been spoon-fed Latin their whole........

© The Guardian