Iconic rock band Pink Floyd’s clarion call that the uses of education are somewhat overrated has always seemed like a cheap trick played on the unsuspected. Aging hippies, disgruntled students and drugged-up losers may find some emotional release in shouting “WE DON’T NEED NO EDUCATION!”, but this facile call of rebellion was nothing but a cheap gimmick.
It was all well and good for a middle-class band to opine on the dangers of learning and knowledge, but their path to success meant they did not have to suffer the consequences. It seems fair to speculate that their own progeny was not spared the rigours of a conformist education or the privilege afforded to it.
Their message has found an unwelcome home, however unwittingly, not with the rebellious bourgeoisie but with their indigenous working-class counterparts.
In the wake of this year’s GCSE and A-Level results being released, two important reports documenting this descent are from The Sutton Trust and Education Policy Institute. Their stark findings show that indigenous working-class children achieve among the lowest grades of any ethnic group, whilst attainment amongst ethnic minorities has increased. In contrast to trends seen on the continent, year after year, the areas of England with the worst GCSE results are also among those least affected by mass immigration.
Successive governments have pumped money into the educational system, focussing on the major urban centres of the country and neglecting those areas with a largely indigenous population. This discrepancy, whether intended or not, has meant that areas where there are a large proportion of minorities has seen vast investment in comparison to the rest of the country.
The deindustrialisation of Britain that sustained working-class communities in these parts of the country has damaged it to a huge extent – particularly in the North and in a number of coastal areas. These problems have been compounded by mass immigration, crime, and the widespread use of drugs.
In truth, there was always a psychological barrier to “moving on” from one’s family and community. Gaining an education and a professional job was sometimes seen as “selling out”, or not worth the effort. These unhelpful attitudes perhaps partially explain why these same problems do not affect the indigenous working class of continental Europe.
And those problems of alienation and mistrust are now only exasperated by a media that characterises them as dumb chavs who can barely string a sentence together. The days of working-class authors and playwrights being able to articulate the working-class experience has disappeared, and with it an important aspect of post-war British culture. The arts and media are now dominated by the middle class and the recipients of any quota system it wishes to implement.
Why would someone wish to join a class or society that mocked and reviled them? The Brexit vote showed how much the establishment and its minions hated it when the indigenous working class decided to engage in the democratic process and helped to produce an outcome they disagreed with.
The problems that beset education and employment in a crumbling society are multiple. Artificial Intelligence will result in a large sector of jobs being made unnecessary and obsolete. Huge amounts of student debt are acquired without any guarantee of a job. However, any group of people should want to see their dreams realised, their strengths harnessed, and the will to forge a path that will aid future generations. With all too few advocates or supporters that could help to instigate change, and with a media that is hostile to it as a group, the path back to respect, learning and pride is sure to be a hard one indeed for the indigenous working class.
Measures that must be implemented to reverse this current morass include a student debt jubilee for indigenous working-class students, extra lessons from primary school onwards in the worst-affected areas, increased funding and scholarships for able pupils and financial incentives for highly-skilled teachers to move to failing schools in these communities. There should also be at least an acknowledgement from the government that they, and their forebears, have failed the very people they were meant to protect.
In an increasingly multi-ethnic society, identity and ethnicity are bound to become ever more important factors in the way society is governed. Those without meaningful group bias and cohesion will suffer, and ultimately lose. One striking statistic illustrating how working-class underachievement risks the native peoples of this country losing control of their institutions is that in 2017-18, 36.5% of law students are from minority ethnic groups, which is a considerable overrepresentation. If the indigenous population is to have any say in their own future and reverse such trends, they must first begin to acknowledge the dire consequences they face if they fail to do so.
The indigenous working class has been cast as the sacrificial lamb by the Left; left to rot in recompense for the perceived sins of their land. For them to have any future worth living, this must change sooner rather than later.