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Jeremy Corbyn's intellectual credentials... or lack of. Watch

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    With all respect to whatever exceptions can be dredged up from history, usually a cigar is just a cigar and in most cases a man's background is indicative of his aptitude.

    Corbyn is not from a poor family; his father was an engineer and his mother a teacher. They brought him up in this house, "Yew Tree Manor":



    He went to a grammar school where he got two Es at A level, after which he went straight to work. His time at a polytechnic studying trades unionism was later in life and a result of his employment by a trades union. He probably did not fail - more likely he dropped out for lack of time or the appearance of better opportunities - but despite being politically ambitious he did not head straight for Oxbridge, London, or even the leftist hot-houses of the day like SOAS and Keele which were comparatively easy to get in to. The most likely reason is that he could not. He is a man with an upper middle class background but no particular intellectual accomplishments.

    Corbyn does not have original ideas; he is replaying tracks from the 80s that were originated in his parents' generation. Unlike Benn, he never wrote a book. He has not written for the newspapers.

    In a lot of ways Corbyn is like Cameron: a steady-eddie stalwartly championing an orthodoxy. The difference is that while Cameron is championing the current orthodoxy of leading moderate thinkers, a position for which there is stiff competition, Corbyn was victor almost by default, as all the clever and ambitious men who used to share his sort of ideas jumped ship long ago.
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    (Original post by Thaladan)
    We shall have to agree to disagree on both points there.




    And that's relevant because . . . ?
    How is it not? You're trying to point how academic history and intellectual brilliance is a sign of who is going to be a better politician whereas I am trying to show what political views the person holds is a much better sign. I don't have a first from oxford yet I would probably make a better politician than most MPs just soley on where I am on the political compass.
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    (Original post by Ethereal World)
    Why do they want Scottish independence in the first place ? It's to have political autonomy because the last 30 years of government (at least) have been impinging on their ability to run their country in the way they think is best.

    If they had more power in Westminster, then the rhetoric for independence would all but vanish.

    And plus, it seems to be us that wants Scotland so desperately to stay within the U.K.
    Most people tend to want independence for the sake of it. I assure you that there aren't many SNP yes voters whose primary reason for the yes vote is the policies of the British government of the time.

    It's not just the English who wants a union with Scotland. The Scottish people themselves had a referendum on it and voted to stay in. I suppose your contention would be that even more would vote to stay in if it was under a Labour government and this might be true. We don't know. But a government is 5 years. Independence is infinitely more and a section of the Scottish people have wanted independence since the birth of the union. They'd still want it even if the UK was the best and most successful country of all time. That's the point. Independence for indepence sake. People from lots of cultures or civilisation since the year dot have fought for this.
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    (Original post by KimKallstrom)
    We've already had a thread on this. Look, nobody cares about your GCSEs when you have A levels, nobody cares about your A levels when you have your degree and nobody cares about your degree (or lack of) when you have a career track record. There's a reason for this. You've proved your capabilities in a more relevant sphere.

    If you think anybody genuinely looks at a 60 something year old and dismisses his 40 year career as evidence of his intelligence because he has no degree (which nobody over like 25 cares about anyway) then you're utterly deluded.

    I will say however that anybody who denies that Cameron is (also) intelligent is blinded by their hatred of anything not Corbyn.

    Both are clever. You don't become the PM and the leader of the opposition respectively if you're thick. Get over it.
    I entirely agree that Corbyn stands out as particularly clever in a room of 20 randomly selected people. No doubt. Given that he left school in the mid 60s, the mere fact that he went to a grammar school and stayed for A level is consistent with that; less than 5% of people attended university at that time.

    Would he be even averagely clever in a room of 20 former British prime ministers? I very much doubt it. He was not elected leader because he was the best candidate; he was elected because the party miscalculated with a new electoral system. The membership wanted a man of the far left, the parliamentary party didn't know that. If it had, either it would have excluded Corbyn from the ballot, or more ambitious and talented men would have presented themselves as candidates of the far left. It's a mistake, it can happen to anyone. His whole record, including his backbench carer, is consistent with that.
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    (Original post by KimKallstrom)
    We've already had a thread on this. Look, nobody cares about your GCSEs when you have A levels, nobody cares about your A levels when you have your degree and nobody cares about your degree (or lack of) when you have a career track record. There's a reason for this. You've proved your capabilities in a more relevant sphere.

    If you think anybody genuinely looks at a 60 something year old and dismisses his 40 year career as evidence of his intelligence because he has no degree (which nobody over like 25 cares about anyway) then you're utterly deluded. . .

    Both are clever. You don't become the PM and the leader of the opposition respectively if you're thick. Get over it.
    I'm not sure Corbyn has had a stellar career. He was an MP for thirty years who hardly anyone had heard of until last summer, when he became the Labour leader in extraordinary circumstances.

    Yes, becoming Labour leader is an incredible achievement, and I applaud him for that. However, I don't think that exceptional achievement, nor anything else in his otherwise unremarkable career, indicates that he is particularly intelligent.
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    (Original post by KimKallstrom)
    Most people tend to want independence for the sake of it. I assure you that there aren't many SNP yes voters whose primary reason for the yes vote is the policies of the British government of the time.

    It's not just the English who wants a union with Scotland. The Scottish people themselves had a referendum on it and voted to stay in. I suppose your contention would be that even more would vote to stay in if it was under a Labour government and this might be true. We don't know. But a government is 5 years. Independence is infinitely more and a section of the Scottish people have wanted independence since the birth of the union. They'd still want it even if the UK was the best and most successful country of all time. That's the point. Independence for indepence sake. People from lots of cultures or civilisation since the year dot have fought for this.
    The key thing that swayed the vote to staying in was all the English people living in Scotland who voted to remain.

    I think that the independence agenda in Scotland is a lot different than other countries who wanted independence in the past as a result of colonialism or other reasons. I think it is a lot to do with the way British politics has been in the last few decades and their lack of control over the things that matter to the people. I think it is politically motivated and not just for the sake of it.

    If they wanted to be a true independent country for the sake of it why do they want to stay in Europe so much?
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    (Original post by TSRforum)
    How is it not? You're trying to point how academic history and intellectual brilliance is a sign of who is going to be a better politician whereas I am trying to show what political views the person holds is a much better sign. I don't have a first from oxford yet I would probably make a better politician than most MPs just soley on where I am on the political compass.
    This is pathetic.

    If you had bothered to read what I wrote properly, you would know that I have been very insistent throughout this thread that I am NOT insinuating that David Cameron is a better politician than Jeremy Corbyn. I agree that their political views are more important.

    All I have claimed is that their respective academic records indicate that Cameron is the more intellectually capable of the two, and I was posing the question of whether or not this is an influential factor, and to what extent, in their political appeal. I have been very clear that, whilst I think it is a factor, I do not think that is in any way a decisive factor.

    Next time, try actually READING what I wrote, before making a fool of yourself.
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    (Original post by Thaladan)
    This is pathetic.

    If you had bothered to read what I wrote properly, you would know that I have been very insistent throughout this thread that I am NOT insinuating that David Cameron is a better politician than Jeremy Corbyn. I agree that their political views are more important.

    All I have claimed is that their respective academic records indicate that Cameron is the more intellectually capable of the two, and I was posing the question of whether or not this is an influential factor, and to what extent, in their political appeal. I have been very clear that, whilst I think it is a factor, I do not think that is in any way a decisive factor.

    Next time, try actually READING what I wrote, before making a fool of yourself.
    If that wasn't your point it looks like you lost. If this whole thread is about political appeal then more people would be behind Corbyn based on his left wing stance and there is nothing you can do to change that.


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    (Original post by TSRforum)
    If that wasn't your point it looks like you lost. If this whole thread is about political appeal then more people would be behind Corbyn based on his left wing stance and there is nothing you can do to change that.
    How the **** is that even remotely relevant to what I said?

    As I just said, I am not trying to prove anything about Corbyn's political appeal; I couldn't care less whether the people commenting in this thread support Corbyn or not. I am merely presenting a discussion on what extent his intellectual faculties, as indicated by his academic record, should be considered a factor in his political appeal (especially compared to Cameron).

    Seriously, try reading what I wrote for a change.
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    (Original post by Ethereal World)
    Yes Cameron is more 'intellectual' and traditionally academic but what I take issue with is that that somehow makes him a 'better' politician/prime minister than Corbyn might be.

    I know that you didn't set out to insinuate that but that's the direction this discussion has taken and so I wanted to demonstrate that this so-called politician prep school of Public school to Oxford PPE is not exactly as great as it might sound in terms of running this country appropriately.
    Couldn't agree more. The result of the 'pps' is you end up with people supposed to be representing opposing sides of the spectrum being almost identical, apart from the persona they project. Ultimately you only had to watch PMQs when Milliband was leader to see him sharing knowing smiles and winks with Osborne.
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    (Original post by JBLondon)
    Couldn't agree more. The result of the 'pps' is you end up with people supposed to be representing opposing sides of the spectrum being almost identical, apart from the persona they project. Ultimately you only had to watch PMQs when Milliband was leader to see him sharing knowing smiles and winks with Osborne.
    Did you see the article I linked OP earlier in the thread? Written by an Oxford Ppe graduate talking about how this discipline has churned out a generation of puppeteer politicians who are good at BS? I will link it to you here just incase:

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/2014/09/the-politics-of-ppe/
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    (Original post by elen90)
    Cameron did go to Eton. That's almost a (not so free) ticket to Oxbridge.
    I went to a Comp, myself, so hold no particular brief for Eton or any other Public School.

    But your comment is so untrue, and reeks of inverted snobbery.

    For one thing you have to be very bright to pass the entrance procedure into Eton in the first place.

    For another there is positive discrimination in favour of Comp pupils at Oxbridge...
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    (Original post by Ethereal World)
    This might be a stupid question but could the gun situation in America be extended to this kind of thing? As in, allowing and endorsing the use and ownership of weaponry is a direct cause of misuse of that weaponry?

    It's kind of like the excuse Americans use that they need guns for self defence (a la what we say about trident) but actually if someone is going to kill you then whether or not you have a gun in the safe isn't really going to make any difference but the system that allows you to have the gun in the safe is what led to you being killed.

    That all sounds really sh*t but I don't know a lot about this and just throwing an idea out.
    That's part of the reason (if you've got such mass-scale distribution of guns it is going to be difficult to withdraw all of them from circulation) but I think the most important factor is US society and culture. Gun control has been successfully implemented in countries that had gun proliferation (such as the UK) so whilst gun proliferation makes gun control more difficult, it doesn't make it impossible. I can't claim to understand the American psyche well but there seems to be an extremely strong culture of "Every man for himself" - you've got to take responsibility for your own problems and relinquishing any kind of freedom is fundamentally a bad thing. Obviously, if you put some thought into this and take it to its logical conclusion there are a lot of hypocrisies and issues with this but nevertheless, this is what most people believe and the belief in the right to possess guns is so deeply entrenched in the American psyche that I really doubt it's going to change any time soon.

    The other issue is social problems - there's a lot of inequality in America (not just economic but also social, e.g. if you look at the proportion of the population in prison, the demographics in prison, gang involvement etc) which definitely does not help matters. There are countries in the world such as Switzerland where there are a lot of guns, but they are wealthy, socially homogeneous and stable so they do not have such major issues with gun crime.

    Going back to your point though, whether it's the real cause of the issue or not, it's definitely true that it's part of the logic people use to justify having guns (when they realise that simply screaming "Second Amendment!" isn't enough). And for the similar reasons as with nuclear deterrents, it's not a very good argument.
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    (Original post by Ethereal World)
    Did you see the article I linked OP earlier in the thread? Written by an Oxford Ppe graduate talking about how this discipline has churned out a generation of puppeteer politicians who are good at BS? I will link it to you here just incase:

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/2014/09/the-politics-of-ppe/
    Very interesting read, thanks! I think the following quote from it sums up the problem.

    "I always invited PPE-ists to my parties.They could talk about anything.

    Whether they knew anything did not bother them in the slightest."
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    (Original post by Ethereal World)
    I think we generally agree overall. Yes Cameron is more 'intellectual' and traditionally academic but what I take issue with is that that somehow makes him a 'better' politician/prime minister than Corbyn might be.
    Running a country is an abstract intellectual task so it stands to reason that a more intelligent candidate, all else being equal, will do a better job. The intelligence of candidates for that job is therefore a relevant and important selection criterion. Do you disagree? If so, why?
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    (Original post by Thaladan)
    How the **** is that even remotely relevant to what I said?

    As I just said, I am not trying to prove anything about Corbyn's political appeal; I couldn't care less whether the people commenting in this thread support Corbyn or not. I am merely presenting a discussion on what extent his intellectual faculties, as indicated by his academic record, should be considered a factor in his political appeal (especially compared to Cameron).

    Seriously, try reading what I wrote for a change.
    Except academic record doesn't indicate intellectual faculties in politics. I'd probably be in disagreement with 90%+ of the people from Oxford as opposed to well 100% from London Metro. The only important factor when considering political appeal is where they stand on the political compass and unless you're willing to even consider voting for a socialist from Cambridge (unless you are one) as opposed to a high school drop-out who is right-wing then I can't take your discussion seriously.


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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Running a country is an abstract intellectual task so it stands to reason that a more intelligent candidate, all else being equal, will do a better job. The intelligence of candidates for that job is therefore a relevant and important selection criterion. Do you disagree? If so, why?
    But does it require a more academically educated candidate?

    Also Corbyn as I've said is from a different generation to Cameron. The latter's fortune and circumstances enabled his raw intelligence to be verified by contrived metrics but I don't believe that means he is more intelligent than Corbyn or other.
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    (Original post by JBLondon)
    Very interesting read, thanks! I think the following quote from it sums up the problem.

    "I always invited PPE-ists to my parties.They could talk about anything.

    Whether they knew anything did not bother them in the slightest."
    Exactly. And the whole running society and pulling the strings from above rather than understanding the dynamics within.
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    (Original post by Ethereal World)
    Exactly. And the whole running society and pulling the strings from above rather than understanding the dynamics within.
    Every time I see Cameron sneer at Corbyn when he uses an actual name during PMQ's, it makes me angry. God forbid the people who are supposed to represent us are reminded of the people that actually know what they are talking about, as opposed to the people who just pretend they do, and cover it up with vague quotes and 'facts' shouted across at each other.
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    (Original post by Ethereal World)
    But does it require a more academically educated candidate?

    Also Corbyn as I've said is from a different generation to Cameron. The latter's fortune and circumstances enabled his raw intelligence to be verified by contrived metrics but I don't believe that means he is more intelligent than Corbyn or other.
    Not necesarily, but academic accomplishment is indicative of intelligence.

    You are arguing that Corbyn's lack of academic accomplishment isn't indicative of his intelligence because he had other reasons for not pursuing academic accomplishment. What are those reasons?

    Corbyn comes from a wealthy background, his father almost certainly went to university, he attended a grammar school that will have had experience sending pupils to university, he stayed on for A level, he was politically ambitious. Unless you know of some other pertinent fact, it does not seem to me that there was anything stopping Corbyn being judged fairly by the same metrics as Cameron.

    The simplest sufficient explanation is that Corbyn simply wasn't good enough to go to university at a time when you had to be in the top 2.5-5% of the year nationally to be admitted. Cameron, on the other hand, was good enough to not only attend arguably the most prestigious course at one of the most competitive universities in the world, but come out with a first. The simplest sufficient explanation is that Cameron is smarter than Corbyn.
 
 
 
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