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Oxford University blamed the Labour Government.

June 23, 2015

There’s no accommodation – “because of the Labour Government,” So said the accommodations advisor at the Oxford University Accommodations Office, at the end of my first year. The subtext I heard was “why don’t you xxxx off you northern proletarian xxxx.” My home town Warrington was a safe Labour constituency, and I had indeed voted Labour on that occasion.

Apparently the government was changing some rule about renting. I thought regardless of her political opinions she and the university could have shown a more sympathetic attitude. I had to delay my search because of two stays in Oxford hospitals (The Radcliffe Infirmary, and the Churchill) after an accident fracturing my cheekbone.

I don’t believe either Tony Blair or Ed Miliband had to find private accommodation. For Blair, at the very wealthy St. John’s college, it was college room, college room, college room. Miliband’s experience at Corpus Christi college would have been similar.

Private school chap

Private school chap

It annoyed me to see the ITV article about Ed Miliband leading a rent strike when he was a student. The Government subsidises the colleges, and the colleges subsidise college accommodation. My parents, neither of whom was educated beyond the age of 14, were taxed to pay for benefits given to the wealthy and well-connected, but denied to me. For the wealthy (Blair) and well-connected (Miliband) the costs of accommodation were socialised. There was only harsh economic reality for me.

Professor's son

Professor’s son

Of course there’s delightful private accommodation to be found in Oxford, at a price. I expect that’s what David Cameron (Brasenose College, Oxford) was thinking when he said nobody with a third class degree should be allowed to teach. A decent chap’s wealthy parents should ensure one has the kind of living environment to avoid underachievement in one’s final exams.

I believe I’d have had a better outcome if I’d taken my A-level grade As to Manchester University (who offered me a place at the same time as Hertford).

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