“For many gifted state-school oiks, being a gentleman’s gentleman for three years is the only job they will ever get a crack at,” smiled universities minister David Willetts. “And if your agreeable trust fund is happy to pay them £9,000 a year, you can enjoy watching them fight tooth and nail as they queue up to be interviewed.”
|Burn the ironic t-shirt, slap on the Brylcreem and they scrub up OK|
“Less than £9,000, though, and one runs the risk of getting some ghastly northern bursary claimant who grunts like one’s head gardener,” he warned, “And that would be quite, quite beyond the pale, old boy. Goes without saying.”
In the modern world of academe, of course, female domestic staff are also widely available for hire at Britain’s top educational establishments.
“Not only can your horse-faced daughter have the lady-in-waiting she’s always longed for,” beamed Mr Willetts over a Pimms, “But your lusty heir can sow his wild oats with the servants to his heart’s content, then simply pay to have his scullery-maids’ unborn bastards dealt with in the time-honoured fashion – namely, by paying one of the world’s top medical researchers to warm up the old coat-hangar.”
Later, prime minister David Cameron moved swiftly to fend off criticism that any chancer with a bulging wallet could exploit the two-tier system he was creating.
“My goodness, no. This scheme isn’t for the oafish sons and daughters of money-grubbing tradespeople from the provinces being able to buy their way into university,” he laughed. “They can carry on going to Exeter. Students on these extra places will not be funded by wealthy individuals. No, their funding will come either from businesses, such as the banks of which their daddies are directors, or from charitable foundations, i.e. their trust funds.”
Nick Clegg, meanwhile, has announced that he has grave misgivings.