28 March 2013

Dame Janet Vaughan, the ‘old dragon’ of Somerville

There follows an extract from a review in the Daily Mail by Quentin Letts of the book The Real Iron Lady: Working With Mrs Thatcher by Gillian Shephard.
Janet Vaughan, principal of Mrs T’s Oxford college [Somerville], is several times unveiled as a frightful Lefty snoot – she thought young Margaret Roberts no more than ‘a perfectly adequate chemist’ – but can we not have some description of the old dragon? Did Mrs T ever mention her? Did Vaughan’s dismissiveness fuel the great journey from Grantham to Downing Street? (22 March 2013)
Margaret Thatcher was at Somerville about a decade before I was, so Dame Janet was in situ at the time of the onset of the Welfare State. This shows how well worked out the egalitarian ideology of the Welfare State already was, although at that time seldom made explicit. For example, I do not think that anyone at that time would have said explicitly that there was no such thing as innate ability, or no such thing as genetically determined individual differences.

The appointment of Janet Vaughan as Principal of Somerville sheds a strange light on the underlying intentions of the establishment.

They could hardly have regarded such an appointment as unimportant, or been unaware of what Janet Vaughan’s attitudes were likely to be. Somerville was one of a small number of developing women’s colleges which could be expected to attract the cleverest and most ambitious young women from all over the world, a number of whom would return to their native country to become influential in its government. Dame Janet was strongly communistic in outlook, and communism is opposed to precocious ability. Furthermore, there is every reason to think that Dame Janet herself had an IQ which was well below that of the majority of the undergraduates in her college. It is therefore not surprising that she blocked the way of many of them.

State education might have been expected to provide opportunity for exceptional ability, whatever its original circumstances, but in fact egalitarianism was to mean that there was no such thing as an exceptional individual.

When undergraduates at Somerville encountered difficulties, Dame Janet would deny them permission to take the exams for which they were working and also tell them that they should content themselves with less exalted careers.

I knew of one undergraduate who went regularly to a college of further education in the centre of Oxford to work for an external Honours degree in physics from London University, having been told by Dame Janet that at Oxford she would only be allowed to sit the examination for a Pass degree (a degree without Honours).

Margaret Thatcher was told by Dame Janet that she was nothing more than ‘a perfectly adequate chemist’. I was told by her that I was ‘a competent mathematician, and wasn’t that enough for me?’ I wonder how many others, with IQs far above that of Janet Vaughan herself, were told similar things.

And, denying support for a research scholarship to a Somerville graduate I knew who had a high IQ and was really keen to do research, Dame Janet said – perhaps with the implication that the graduate should not mind about it – that ‘research is dull’. The so-called research which she (Dame Janet) did herself certainly was.

22 March 2013

Suing your headmaster

It is a feature of modern society that it is impossible to express a need. If society has ruined your education and thrown you out without a usable qualification, this gives you no claim on anyone. The fact that you are suffering, for lack of the sort of high-flying academic career you should have had all along, gives you no claim. The only way to get anyone to take any notice is to assert that someone in the system did something wrong.

The local authority was wrong to persecute my father. But, of course, you cannot prove this. They are delighted to tell you that nothing can be proved. And then they say (as I was told by a Shadow Minister of Education) that you would have to sue for reparation from the actual individual who made a false statement or unjustifiable decision. This is not, I believe, legally correct; the person or persons involved were acting as servants of the local authority, and it is the local authority that should be sued, even if the individuals concerned are dead.

Bu you cannot claim that you were wrongfully treated in terms of your IQ, because IQ is supposed not to exist. And you cannot claim that you were forced to accept arrangements that were in no way in line with your own perception of your needs, because ‘education’ authorities do not have to provide what any child wants. ‘The child has no valid volition’, as someone with long experience of working in the ‘education’ system once said to me.

And then I know that if I tried to sue anyone I would only be risking money – money which I so badly need to work towards setting up my own institutional environment – and the judge would no doubt be in sympathy with the modern ideology.

A colleague of mine was in a similar position to mine, even if less extreme and less obvious. It should have been possible for her to sue her headmaster for his unjustifiable treatment of her. Her parents should have opposed him and demanded her reinstatement in the top stream, given her obvious ability. Or, better, taken her away from so bad a school and helped her to prepare for the scholarship exam at home.

In the event, it was an indictment of the ‘education’ system that she approached the end of it with no suitable opportunities open to her, and was forced to join forces with me in the establishment of an independent academic organisation. She could have no idea that the modern ideology would lead to her family discriminating against her financially, so that they gave her less support than families are in the habit of giving to those who follow socially recognised careers.

In fact what she was doing was no less respectable (even if less respected) than any normal academic career in a university. More respectable, in fact, because standards have declined severely, and a great deal of what goes on in recognised universities is rubbish.

I understand that her headmaster had no heirs. He should have left everything to her in reparation. If her parents had put her case to him forcibly enough, as they should have done, he might have actually done this. In fact, since her parents made no protest or complaint, he felt under no pressure to make amends.

My unfunded independent university, which could be publishing analyses of the complex issues involved in the area of education, has been effectively censored and suppressed for decades. Meanwhile, misleading and tendentious material on the topic has continued to flood out from socially recognised sources.

I hereby apply for financial support on a scale at least adequate for one active and fully financed research department. I make this appeal to all universities, corporations and individuals who consider themselves to be in a position to give support to socially recognised academic establishments.

03 March 2013

New pensions arrangements: ‘pro-family’, anti-intellectual

The population of existing pensioners is one which has an average IQ above that of the population as a whole, and therefore, as the modern ideology works, is one from which resources are to be transferred to populations with lower average IQs (a process known as ‘redistribution’).

Previously, suggestions were made by which all pensioners could pay some new tax on capital or income, but for the present these suggestions have lapsed, and the only new tax on existing pensioners is to be the ‘Granny Tax’ – a tax on their earnings, if they have any, which was not previously payable above a certain age.

Additional resources are being distributed to populations of pensionable age with lower average IQs, even if it is not clear where these resources are coming from. Extra resources are to be paid to pensioners in the future, but none are to be received by the existing population of pensioners.

The new proposals for taxing the elderly will adversely affect those, like myself, who need to employ people, for purposes of building up an independent academic institution or otherwise. In particular, employees over a certain age are currently free from paying national insurance contributions, which greatly reduces the bureaucracy involved in employing them, and it has been proposed that this exemption be removed.
Losers: Existing pensioners

The most aggrieved at the new rules will be ten million existing pensioners who currently get less than the proposed flat-rate pension. Only those retiring after the single-tier pension is introduced on April 6, 2017 will qualify for the new £155 a week payout. If you get less today, you will keep getting less.

This will create an apartheid. For example, a man who turns 65 on April 5, 2017, and who has worked all his life is likely to get about £118 state pension payout. But had the same person been born the following day, their state pension would be £37 a week more. Over 25 years of retirement he will have missed out on £48,100.

To compound matters, anyone who hits state pension age (currently roughly 61 and five months for women and 65 for men) between April 6 this year and April 5, 2017, will have a double blow. Not only will they fail to get the higher pension, but they will be victims of the so-called Granny Tax. This will strip them of the higher tax-free allowances that over 65s currently get.

Winners: Women and carers

Those who will gain the most in the state pension overhaul will be people who have long periods out of employment, such as stay-at-home mothers. This is because your entitlement to a state pension is [currently] accrued by paying National Insurance contributions [...]

Stay-at-home mother Kate Wilkinson, 36, is in line to benefit from the state pension shake-up. Under current rules, parents who take breaks from work frequently miss out on the full payout when they retire [...]

Mrs Wilkinson says: ‘These changes are fantastic because at the moment it feels unfair – as if you’re being punished for wanting to bring up your children. It is great to get that extra support and get a bit back for being a stay-at-home mum.’

(Extracts taken from Daily Mail, 16 January 2013)
Existing pensioners have qualified for their pensions by paying a full number of contributions, whether out of a percentage of their earnings or, if they were not earning, by making voluntary contributions. Thus this population has demonstrated above-average functionality over a long period.

Non-means-tested pensions are to be paid only to a population which is much less highly selected, including those who have been unemployed for long periods and have not taken the trouble to pay voluntary contributions.

So redistribution is again to take place, by distributing more resources to a population with a lower average IQ, without any additional resources being allocated to the population of pensioners with a higher average IQ.

The proposed legislation is said to be ‘incredibly pro-family’. What it is also, though this is not mentioned, is antagonistic to outcast intellectuals, still struggling at pensionable age to recover from their ruined ‘education’. But not ‘incredibly’ so, only anti them in the accustomed way.

The relevant departments of my unfunded independent university are effectively censored and suppressed. They have been prevented for decades from publishing analyses of the complex issues involved, while misleading and tendentious representations of them have continued to flood out from socially recognised sources.

I hereby apply for financial support on a scale at least adequate for one active and fully financed research department, to all universities, and to corporations or individuals who consider themselves to be in a position to give support to socially recognised academic establishments.