Sunday, 28 October 2007


I have tried to work out quite what it is about us that so riles a Strasserist website (to which I would not dream of linking) primarily devoted to the adoration of Oliver Kamm. Beyond, that is, the obvious facts that they are unused to being disagreed with and that they do not like a challenge to their coup (which really will be complete, some 15 years after it started, when Nick Clegg becomes Leader of the Lib Dems). And I think that I have found the answer.

For the record, Durham was my first choice of university. I did not apply to Oxford or Cambridge, and if they are full of thick hoorays like Blair, Cameron, Kamm and those on that site, who think that having been there makes them intellectuals rather than merely the children of parents who could afford to send them to the feeder schools, then I am very glad that I did not apply to either of them. Mercifully, I suspect that such people are untypical of Oxbridge graduates.

Anyway, to be attacked from such a quarter does make it easy to identify the offending passages:

Restoration of grammar schools, but on the German Gymnasium model, thus avoiding the 11-plus while working to overcome this country's crippling cultural division between arts and sciences, and between academic and technical education. Restoration of O-levels in place of Thatcher’s GCSEs.


Union and other money to fund development and delivery of a qualification for "non-graduates" with life and work experience who aspire to become MPs.

They really don't like either of those among the Kammissar's Red-Browns.


  1. People as you describe are indeed untypical of Oxbridge graduates. My son, and a lot of his friends, are Oxbridge graduates and they never been to feeder schools (just decent grammar school) and never had any training for the (grueling)interview. And they do think of themselves as mere mortals, like you and me. Old prejudices do seem to have a life of their own!

  2. David, I wish I knew what you were talking about. I just don't. A Strasserite website devoted to the adoration of Oliver Kamm? What's it called? How have you riled it, and how do you know? Why is it significant to them that you didn't apply to Oxford or Cambridge? Is Durham not also full of thick hoorays?

    Sometimes it's not obvious who you're talking to with this blog. Please explain...

  3. David,

    You don't know me, but you've probably heard of me. I hope you'll understand if I choose to remain anonymous. I'm a journalist on a national broadcasting organisation (yes, that one).

    I became aware of you and your party through an (unfriendly) post on Harry's Place - I must say I hadn't heard of you before. I wonder how much experience you have of dealing with the media.

    You should know, for example, that simply sending press releases to journalists won't work - you've no idea how many we get, and how many of them are badly written or obviously cranky. Most of them go into the bin, unread. You need to phone up, too, and talk the journalist through it, and make them understand why it's a story, and offer them something which will make it worth their while - an interview, ideas for a filmed segment, a news angle, that sort of thing. Remeber that we journalists are lazy - we need you to do the work for us. You sometimes give the impression that you communicate simply by writing a press release and sending it off to loads of journalists or newsdesks. That just won't work.

    You also need to start cultivating journalists. If you want to get coverage, you need to build up a relationship. Take Nick Robinson or Adam Boulton out for lunch, that sort of thing. Stop messing around in the shallow end - this is big stuff.

    I'd be very happy to provide advice, on an anonymous basis - the best thing is probably to reply to this comment.

  4. Anonymous 8:52 PM, grammar schools - ah, there's the rub.

    Clive, I wouldn't dream of linking to that thoroughly unpleasant site. It matters enormously to them, not only that they went to Oxbridge (well, why not?), but also that I didn't (well, why?).

    I actually think that, as with Blair or Cameron, nowhere else would have let them in. It's not that everyone at Oxbridge went to schools with longstanding ties to either or both; but when you see or read a lot of Oxbridge graduates who DID go to such schools, then you do have to think how lucky they were that those ties were in place, because such people would not otherwise have gone to university at all.

    Anonymous 11:33 AM, do get in touch -

  5. I notice that the Guardian has never removed your comment of Kamm's last Comment is Free article, saying that Kamm was going to prison, that the NUJ at the Guardian should strike if it employed him again, and that all public sector workers should strike if their employers' advertised in the Guardian once it had employed him again. Very odd that they should have left that in place.

  6. David, I can't email you without giving away my identity - and I'd rather remain anonymous, even to you, I'm afraid. Any suggestions?