Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ex First Minister Henry McLeish wades into university discrimination row, why won’t the SNP Government root out unfairness against the working class?

Dear All

It seems the discrimination of poor ordinary working class students from Scotland's elite universities is attracting attention as former First Minister Henry McLeish wades into the row.

Let us be clear, it is the year 2012 and discrimination in Scotland against the poor is still practiced, known and unchecked.

There is a lot of talk by the Scottish Government about increasing social mobility and life chances for the poor but precious little action.

The reason is because the SNP Govt is reluctant to tackle the disease; they skirt round it rather than hold the individuals who deny access to working class students to be outed.

The problem isn’t just a few individuals practicing discrimination it is institutional.

And it has been institutional for decades.

Now, with Henry McLeish joining the debate, it goes up a gear, as he says the Scotland's elite universities must recognise the wake-up call.

It is time that Scotland stops talking a good game on social mobility and delivered it.

Henry McLeish, chairman of the City of Glasgow College has also said that Scotland is one of the most unequal societies in Western Europe.

I have been blogging on these very issues for years on this blog when talking about higher education.

St Andrews University recruited only 13 students from the most deprived backgrounds.

Aberdeen could only muster a measly 51 and Edinburgh 91.

It is what it is, an outright disgrace of favouring students from more affluent backgrounds, under the cover of subjective opinion on their merits

McLeish said:

"This is yet another wake-up call not only to the universities but to everyone in Scotland who cares about the increasing impact of the lack of social justice, economic inequality and social mobility."

McLeish said the universities deserved criticism because they could be doing more, the truth is that until the Royal Society of Edinburgh is broken, discrimination will never be tackled.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh’s members effectively run higher education in Scotland.

This is a multi layered problem, because they aren’t the only middle class clique operating in higher education.

McLeish added what we all ready know, Scotland and England are "the most unequal societies in western Europe and the more unequal the society is, the less well those from disadvantaged groups will do in a whole range of social and economic issues".

He also makes a good point when he says:

"We cannot build a nation's future in a situation where one-fifth of our citizens live on or below the poverty line. That means a massive number of people being disadvantaged and what it means for the nation is that we're wasting an enormous amount of talent through not giving people proper opportunities."

This is also a wake up call for Alex Salmond and the Scottish Government.

It’s time to stop ‘cosying’ up and wanting to be the ‘new establishment’ and fix the problems right under your nose.

And expression of how corrupt Scotland is the quango circuit where the same people get multiple tax payer funded jobs running into thousands of pounds for a few days work.

One person for me who to typifies how corrupt Scotland operates is, the despicable Sir Muir Russell who sits on the Judicial Appointments Board of Scotland passing people as Judges and Sheriffs.

read this:


He was involved in covering up institutional bullying, discrimination, harassment, malpractice and criminal fraud by refusing to act when presented with the evidence.

I previously wrote several posts when people have no stake in society there is no future, I am still right as this episode highlights.

Since nothing has been done to fix discrimination, the likelihood of anything changing seems to be remote as ever.

St Andrews University recruited only 13 students from the most deprived backgrounds, tells a story.

This isn’t just a story about universities; it is also a story about the SNP Government and their failure in the education portfolio which I rated recently as the worst department in the Scottish Government.

George Laird was right again, and ahead of the curve.

There is no political will in the SNP Government to tackle this issue beyond lip service.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

1 comment:

Longshanker said...


You said:

" ...it is also a story about the SNP Government and their failure in the education portfolio which I rated recently as the worst department in the Scottish Government."

Is this to do with Mike Russell or the portfolio as a whole?

Approx 12 years ago I used to deal with a broad spectrum of Scots politicians on a daily basis - some are on the SNP front bench at the moment.

Of all of them, the only one I can say I actively disliked was Mike Russell.

Partly by instinct, partly by his attitude and partly by his actions.

Would you put your complaint about the education portfolio down to Russell or Fiona Hyslop or is there more to it than that?