British government minister Jo Johnson has kicked off a fresh debate about the Brexit vote by discussing how university graduates were more likely to be pro-European Union and that therefore, more people should go to university.
Johnson, who is the brother of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, was speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference when he declared:
“If there was overriding lesson from the Referendum result on June 23rd, it was that too many people in this country felt they hadn’t been participating on a level footing.
“Too many people were feeling they are not sharing equally in the benefits of growth, and too many people basically feeling left behind.
“There was a correlation between levels of university attendance and a propensity to vote Brexit. There was a correlation between levels of education generally and a likelihood for voting for Brexit.
“Which means there’s a huge opportunity for universities to play the part they want to play in widening participation and ensuring that more people, particularly from disadvantaged background, get a chance to go to university and share in the benefits that higher education can bring.”
While Mr. Johnson’s claims that more university graduates are more likely to be pro-EU are correct, his implication that this is the ideal scenario and therefore more people from poor backgrounds should be subjected to graduate-level EU propaganda will no doubt cause consternation amongst Brexiteers.
According to the Telegraph, Johnson, who is the minister for higher education, delivered the comments just days after a new report stated that only “AB” voters – the middle and upper classes – voted in majority to remain in the European Union.
The report also intimates are aiming to change lower class public opinion.
Responding to comments, former teacher and UKIP member of the London Assembly David Kurten said: “I am sure Mr Johnson would think that anyone who didn’t go to Eton like his friends and fellow Remainers are uneducated.
“However, there are millions of people in this country who didn’t benefit from a feather-bedded education as he did who are just as informed and wise as he is. How would he explain that his brother the Foreign Secretary an Old Etonian and an Oxford man decided that the wisest move policy is to be in control of your own destiny.
“It shouldn’t need a Minister to say that it is imperative that our tertiary education sector must be accessible to all, from all parts of the country and from all backgrounds. But it must also be pointed out that shoveling people through universities in order to hit numbers targets also condemns millions to greater and greater debt for what is in certain cases a diminishing asset.
“If our universities are to be respected by both students and the wider community both at home and abroad then the stack em high approach he is suggesting is not the way forward. We should recognise that there are many valuable modes of education, from universities, through degree apprenticeships, traditional apprenticeships, and others which have an equal if not greater value”.