Politicians do love to share their views on Oxbridge admissions. This time around David Cameron has taken a pop at Oxford over the number of black students, using some pretty forthright language.
“I saw figures the other day that showed that only one black person went to Oxford last year. I think that is disgraceful, we have got to do better than that.”
It’s a startling statistic — and almost true. Cameron would be advised to check his facts before picking this fight.
Here’s a rebuttal from Oxford, which they put out a few weeks ago:
On a related point, much has been made of the ‘one black Caribbean student’ admitted to Oxford in 2009. Not one black student, but one black Caribbean student – in one year, looking at only UK candidates, and only undergraduates.
As Oxford has pointed out before, this is very selective use of data. In that year, there were actually 27 black UK students admitted to Oxford. Beyond black students alone, 22% of Oxford’s overall student body is non-white (BME).
As this BBC story shows, Oxford have put some effort into attracting black students over the years. Their campaign has not been a resounding success. But the issues are certainly more complicated than Cameron suggests.
UPDATE: Oxford have put out an official response to Cameron’s comments. Apparently they’ve been in touch with Downing Street to correct his figures. Full statement below:
Rebekah Wade (now Brooks) was asked in 2003 the following question by Chris Bryant, a Labour MP on the DCMS committee. Here also is her reply:
467. And on the element of whether you ever pay the police for information?
(Ms Wade) We have paid the police for information in the past.
468. And will you do it in the future?
(Ms Wade) It depends—
There were suggestions at the weekend that today’s banking report would not go far enough to please Vince Cable and his fellow Lib Dems. That is because Cable had previously called for a total separation of retail and casino banking – not merely internal ringfencing, as the report suggests.
But that is not true, according to Matthew Oakeshott, the Liberal Democrat peer and hammer of the banks. Lord Oakeshott has just given his seal of approval to the work done by the Vickers Commission on banking, declaring it an “excellent piece of work“.
Lloyds Banking Group could be forced to sell hundreds of extra branches under initial recommendations put forward by the UK’s Independent Commission on Banking as part of its efforts to make banks safer and inject more competition into the retail market.