We’ve heard a lot over the past 48 hours or so about the A* downgraded to a B, and the one brilliant student who may have been the only one from her comp to go to Oxbridge missing out as a result.
But for me, the real tragedy here is those “average” students who were predicted “average” grades that would have been enough to get them a place at an “average” University who will now miss out.
That place at Uni may well have been the only chance for those students to improve the circumstances they grew up in, the only chance they might have had to move out of that deprived town they hate and avoid that low-paid job they’d otherwise inevitably end up in.
I know that I wouldn’t be where I am now without having had that chance to go to Aber. It broadened my horizons and I’ll forever be grateful for that. I can’t even begin to imagine how I’d have felt if that opportunity was taken away from me by some computer algorithm with inequality and the protection of privilege built-in.
And this could all have been avoided. Not only were they warned, but they also had the experience of seeing it happen in Scotland first and had the chance to put it right before it happened in England.
We saw the Welsh government at least try and do just that. But whereas in Scotland we got a very simple, upfront, “We got this wrong, we apologise and we’ll put it right”, in England we get the education secretary, the Prime Minister and a parade of other ministers insisting that it’s a “robust” system that’s reached the correct conclusions despite all the evidence being offered up to show how it’s failed.
Johnson believes that admitting to a mistake is a weakness. He’s wrong, it’s a strength – but don’t expect him to ever admit that. That’s what a privileged upbringing does to you.
The government have basically said that the important schools got the right results and the rest of you can just jog on. Not happy with your result, please just “shut up and go away” as Williamson himself might say.
This should be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It should be this government’s Black Wednesday, its Poll Tax, its Iraq War. But I suspect it won’t be. We are now too tribal a society and too many people are too invested in “Boris” and the lies he has told them to ever admit they were wrong about him—even if that proves harmful to their own children’s future.
I’m appalled. I’m angry. I’m upset. I’m angry (yes, I said that twice).
But are you?
Because you should be.
Whether you voted Conservative in December or not you should, right now, but furious at how this government has performed in 2020 and at how little regard and compassion they have shown for the people of this country (be they “native” or not).
Herd Immunity. Covid in care homes. PPE contract scandals. And now this.
You should be bloody furious with them.
I know I am.
But if you voted for this shower of shit in December and you are still convinced that they have your interests at heart rather than their own interests or the interests of their rich donors, even after everything they’ve done in 2020 to prove you wrong, if you still think they plan to “level up” rather than keep you in your place where they think you belong, then you really, really need to have a long, difficult conversation with yourself.
This government, and this Prime Minister in particular, doesn’t care about you.
It (and he) never did and it (and he) never will.