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April 21, 2012

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ejh

Was it Ashley who said "there are as many shits in the working-class as in any other class"?

CMcM

Checking Wiki I find he had a pre-parliamentary career of a now inconceivable curvature:

Ashley was born in Widnes and educated at local elementary school. He left school at 14 to work in the chemical process industry. He became a crane driver and was a shop steward in the Chemical Workers' Union, a union of which he was the youngest executive member aged 22. He served in the Army in the Second World War, and then won a scholarship to study at Ruskin College, where he received a Diploma in Economics and Political Science in 1948. He continued his studies at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he was President of the Cambridge Union Society in 1951. He worked as a research worker for the National Union of General and Municipal Workers and then worked as a radio producer for the North American Service and BBC Home Service. In 1956 he joined the BBC television service and worked as a producer on Panorama and Monitor.

Strategist

>>> a pre-parliamentary career of a now inconceivable curvature

I'm not disagreeing with you, Charlie. But in that cv Ruskin looks to be the key that opened the doors, and it is still going, as far as I know.

So is Ruskin still changing lives & careers in this kind of way, and if not, why not?

Keir

I think it is actually the Chemical Worker's Union that was pretty fundamental there. Unsure, but I suspect that the role of the unions in offering working class men and women leadership roles is pretty underrated.

chris y

Well his achievements as a union activist* will have provided much of the evidence that led Ruskin to offer him a place, and his Ruskin diploma will have been well regarded by Cambridge in considering his application, and his Cambridge degree will have got him shortlisted for all those jobs in the 50s. Basically, he was a very bright lad and everybody noticed.

*But before any of that a butterfly flapped its wings in the amazon forest...

Charlie

But can you still go from Ruskin College to Cambridge, post-grad?

Chris Williams

Charlie - no, I think that Ruskin shut down their Batchelor's courses a few years ago and now only issue diplomas. ... although for someone in my line of work, I suspect that I need to be clearer on this.

Charlie W

There's always Birkbeck (sincerely not meant in the 'there's always Exeter' sense, either).

Chris Brooke

But can you still go from Ruskin College to Cambridge, post-grad?

I don't think Ashley's Cambridge degree was a postgraduate degree: I think he read undergraduate economics there, 1948-51.

dsquared

I liked the fact that when he got his Lordship he didn't become Lord Jacques of Madeup Poncyname in the County of Bollocks, something Labour MPs seem a bit prone to

... although I confess to a soft spot for former Brown special advisor Stewart Wood, who apparently managed to find a small town called Anfield in Kent to become Baron of, and now uses the LFC "This Is Anfield" banner as his Twitter avatar.

CMcM

Ruskin shut down their Batchelor's courses a few years ago and now only issue diplomas

Ruskin's website suggests it still offers undergraduate degrees, and even a couple of MAs.

ajay

Ruskin shut down their Batchelor's courses a few years ago

...leaving a whole generation of art students in the soup.

skidmarx

Suzi Quatro left school and 14, and she could still Can the Can.

redpesto

I vaguely thought he was King of Stoke and that he was ceremonially reaffirmed in this position every four or five years.

So what does that make Robert 'Who He?' Flello? As it's Shakespeare's birthday I'm tempted to say Henry VI.

ejh

Who is it now? Tristram?

redpesto

It's Flello. Tristram's Stoke Central (Mark Fisher's old seat)

chris y

Ruskin offer degrees now because they're accredited by the OU; before the OU they didn't offer degrees at all; their 2 year certs were a university access qualification (among other virtues) for people who had left school at 14 or 15 and gone to work, like Ashley.

bert

... like Ashley

Or John Prescott.

btw, it's different from Ruskin art school, ajay.

ajay

Whoops. In my defence I was really just aiming to make a juvenile pun.

bert

The soup's tinned Campbells round the art school.

Strategist

>>>> although I confess to a soft spot for former Brown special advisor Stewart Wood, who apparently managed to find a small town called Anfield in Kent to become Baron of, and now uses the LFC "This Is Anfield" banner as his Twitter avatar.

Hmmm. I've got to say that if a SPAD in his early forties wants to continue his political career following the defenestration of his boss, then he should really have to do something like stand for an election.

If he actually is a Scouser, he could have tried for one of the Liverpool seats, and so we could have avoided them being held by the current shower of Blairite blow-ins.

Actually it makes me quite furious. A machine politician like Brown should at least be made to go to the effort of rigging constituency selections before packing parliament with his fucking yes-men and cronies.

I'm suddenly in the weird position of having Clegg go up in my estimation.

Now, don't get me started on the New Labour apparatchik culture of faking an interest in football...

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