Class warBMJ 2000; 320 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7249.1612 (Published 10 June 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1612
- Jason O'Neale Roach
“An absolute scandal” was the phrase Gordon Brown used to embroil the government in a class war with Oxford University (Times 26 May). With the emphatic backing of the Sun (26 May), which enjoyed “his blistering assault on stuck up Oxbridge 110%,” Mr Brown had ignited a much larger media debate on education, elitism, and class.
Laura Spence, a sixth former at Monkseaton Community High School in North Tyneside, was “unhesitatingly spat out” by the Oxbridge admissions system, according to Peter Wilby, editor of the New Statesman, in his letter to the Guardian (28 May). The 17 year old's application to study medicine was rejected after an interview at Magdalen College, Oxford. She went on to secure a place at Harvard University in the United States.
The debate intensified when the BBC gained exclusive access to the comments of Dr Ajit Lalvani, a member of the interview panel. His notes said that Laura lacked confidence “as with …