Sorry for being a bit sharp in my last post kelly, reading it back it came across as rather harsh, heat of debate and all that. You've been generously measured in your response.
That said, there's till no doubt in my mind that at least in the A levels I have personal experience with - they are easier. I don't buy the argument that I'm just more accustomed to modern papers, it's not really something that applies to maths for one. Certain subjects have shifted in emphasis and there's an argument that can be made for them being 'different' as opposed to harder. Geography being one that comes to mind; a shift from physical to human in the syllabus over the years makes any comparison difficult. In maths though they teach and test the same old things, pure and applied in their natural progressions, just more slowly nowadays.
I found a page last night that sampled the first question out of every GCSE maths paper for the last 20 years or so, and that illustrated it quite well (they'd plainly got harder), I can't seem to find it again today, but I'll keep an eye out for it. I know you don't do maths, but I'm afraid I didn't do any arts, and I can only argue what I know. Arts subjects I would imagine are much more difficult to gauge anyway because much of the difficulty element is at the marker's discretion. As I said in my previous post though, I believe if science subjects have got easier then it's only logical to assume the arts have too.
Increased opportunities might be a factor in the greater numbers taking A-levels, but I find it hard to believe that it accounts for a huge proportion. Even with the grammar / comp split, it wasn't as if you couldn't do A levels at an ordinary secondary school, many did, there was just less expectation to and possibly dented self confidence for some. Arguably the fact that university was free for the students then meant increased incentive and opportunity for those bright enough to progress through HE.
Platocrates - This thread is pointless, but so is every debate on the internet and so are the majority of threads on TSR, it's debate for debate's sake and there's nothing wrong with that. Also, I've read every post in this thread and I don't remember anyone trying to make it harder to get into Oxbridge, where'd you get that from?