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So, it’s goodbye to Alok Sharma. Who cares? We’ve had loads of ministers in my time. To be honest I avoid having anything to do with them as they are so pointless. But this guy was a cut above. He came in at a terrible time and conducted himself the right way. A lot of the tenants he met spoke well of him. They knew perfectly well the limits of his role, but he seemed decent. And you can’t ask for any more than that.
But the officials didn’t know whether they were coming or going with him. He didn’t rock up on day one claiming to know all the answers. That’s what they expect. Instead this guy opened his lugs to listen and said sensible things. In England this is a crime of the highest order. I’m afraid Alok wasn’t the right sort as he did not go to Oxbridge. Anywhere else in the world his physics and electronics degree from Salford would be a good thing. Not here. The dafter the a priori idea the more they like it. That’s the Oxbridge way.
May looks after her own so we’ve now got 48 Oxbridge ministers. Whoopee that’s two more than we started with. And yes, Dominic Raab (pictured) is one of them.
Why does this matter? The Times has been looking at the data. No one fails their finals at Oxford or Cambridge. It’s impossible to flunk it. They just wave the ruling class through in return for a fat fee. In their defence some of this lot say it is ever so hard to get into these places. We’ll take that at face value. So, all you have to do is pass a few tests and interviews when you are 18. After that its plain sailing or rowing or whatever it is they do to fill their days.
Now this is where the rot sets in. They lose the ability to think. And no one tests to see if they are up to it as time goes by. They trust what’s written on the scroll. It’s a bit like the VW emissions scandal. The degrees are bogus.
Putting these people in charge of anything is a blunder. Do you think housing policy would be in such a mess if we used smart people? What sort of crackpot thought a finance led HCA was a good idea? I’ve actually seen some of their folk walk past wooden balconies to look at the books. That is putting the cart before the horse. And as for the Help to Buy jamboree – it's got to be the most ham-fisted use of subsidy of all time! The cash goes straight from the tax payer to multi-millionaires. I’d rather just give the money to the rock group KLF who famously and literally burned the last of their cash. A government stuffed to the gills with Oxbridge degrees does all these silly things. Yet what do we see on the ground? All sorts of ruses to get tenants and councillors off boards. I’m all in favour of picking boards on merit. But I wouldn’t set much store by an Oxbridge degree. It is merely a receipt for the fees.
By Alistair McIntosh, HQN Chief Executive