The Wiki Man

The 5 per cent of people who decide everything (and how to be one of them)

We live by the preferences of the least tolerant. That’s why it’s so important to fight for free speech

27 February 2016

9:00 AM

27 February 2016

9:00 AM

What happens when 95 per cent of people like something, but 5 per cent of people prefer something else?

You might think natural democracy would prevail: that the 5 per cent would acquiesce and go along with the taste of the majority. Not necessarily. In many cultural settings, it is common for a small, intransigent minority to beat a much larger, tolerant majority. If you’re hosting a dinner party, for instance, all it takes is one git with a spurious ‘fenugreek intolerance’ to veto your best lamb curry.

You might call this ‘the asymmetry of tolerance’, where certain social systems end up calibrated to suit their most inflexible component. If the majority prefers X but will tolerate Y, while a minority will only accept Y, what matters is not the weight of numbers or the strength of preference: intransigence carries the day.

[Alt-Text]


Take your typical drinks party. One group of people have a strong overall preference for beer but are happy to drink wine (I will generally drink anything at a pinch, except retsina); however, 20 per cent of women (10 per cent of the group overall) will typically not drink beer under any circumstances. So at any mixed event, the host can get away with serving only wine. Wine is the Type O blood of alcoholic drinks; you can give it to anyone. The intolerant 10 per cent hence defeat the easygoing, beer-preferring majority.

The disproportionate ubiquity of certain foods can be explained by this effect. Pizza is a hugely successful food not so much because it is loved but because nobody hates it: even your picky children will eat it. By contrast, it is a risky venture to open a fish or steak restaurant: in any group of five or more people, there will always be one who doesn’t feel like eating fish or steak: their lone veto will prevail, and everyone will end up at Nando’s instead (chicken being the Type O-negative of the meat world).

As Nassim Taleb pointed out when he spotted this phenomenon, minority rule can prevail in many areas. Schools where only 5 per cent of the pupils are Muslim will keep halal kitchens, because it is assumed non-Muslims can be served halal food whereas Muslims will eat nothing but. All New Zealand lamb imported into Britain is halal, as is the chicken at Pizza Express. Almost all biscuits in Britain are now vegetarian (even Fox’s Party Rings recently capitulated). This process happens for the same reason most hospitals request Type O blood. It is far easier to stock and distribute something that can be given to everyone than to maintain separate -supply chains.

This seems to be a universal mechanism whereby a small stubborn group can beat large acquiescent ones. At times, it is a good thing: consumer boycotts can work even if only 10 per cent of people participate. This vulnerability helps keep companies honest.

But the same thing can be dangerous. The reason the principle of free speech has to be so staunchly defended is that it is vulnerable to abuse by minority rule. Once you let the idea take hold that something cannot be said because it might offend some imagined third party, you fast enter a death spiral of intolerance: demands for safe spaces, no-platforming, trigger warnings; a bizarre world where Peter Tatchell is deemed too ‘racist and transphobic’ to share your stage, say, or where comedians cannot perform on the university circuit because it is impossible to say anything funny without arousing censure from a tiny group of obsessives with invented grievances.

It is worth being alert to minority rule: it teaches that even when most people are reasonable, this does not mean that reasonableness will prevail. There are some principles which tolerant people have to be intolerant about.

Rory Sutherland is vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group UK.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
  • davidshort10

    But the most enjoyable conversations I have are so non-PC and with old friends. They are so enjoyable because of this intolerance..

    • rorysutherland

      Almost certainly true. I think some drugs would lose all their appeal if they were legalised!

      • James Lawrence

        You think? Did alcohol become less popular in the US after Prohibition was ended?

        • http://rantingoldgit.blogspot.co.uk/ Arthur Sparknottle

          I suspect that alcohol is a lot less part of everyday life for the majority in the States than in Britain or the Mediterranean or Northern Europe. Maybe having a large element of the population of a Puritan extraction they were always less into it – maybe not. These are just impressions.

          • EdmundFoster

            They prefer crystal meth

          • El_Sid

            Faced with Budweiser and Gallo, wouldn’t you?

          • El_Sid

            A bit but there’s not much in it, it’s something like 11 litres/head in the UK and 9 litres/head in the US. Since I suspect I drank at least 2/11’s of my lifetime alcohol between the ages of 18 and 21, difference in drinking ages probably accounts for most of the difference in total consumption.

          • rorysutherland

            I think this is true. I was told a few years ago the split in the US is effectively 33/33/33. A third of Americans do not drink at all. A third drink very modestly – a single beer or glass of wine at a time. The remaining third drink a lot. The overall per capita beer consumption of the US is amazingly high, given how many people drink sparingly or not at all.

    • davidofkent

      Which, of course, is not the point. Your non-PC conversations could not be held in a public forum for fear of offending someone and probably having the police call round. Today in Britain, there is a member of the ‘I’ve been offended’ Brigade on every bus, in every shop and restaurant, on every High Street and in every audience. This is what happens when nations decline. There is freedom for all and freedom for anyone to prevent freedom for others.

      • Andrew Cole

        My group of friends and acquaintences comprise of many cultures, ethnicities and beliefs and the names we call each other when we are comfortable enjoying each other company would get us ostracised if it were in public.

  • HomoRationalensis

    This sums up America thus Washington today under direct control of “minority elites” for their own minority interests. General Patton is about to be unleashed upon the global neoliberal elite unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before. The FULL might of President Trump under mandate of the people, backed by full power and authority of the State unleashed upon them. Given Washington underwrites the neoliberal world order, they’re in serious trouble. Who’s going to help them?

    Western Davos crew beware…

    Murdoch
    Bloomberg
    Soros
    Sorrell
    Obama
    Clinton
    Cameron
    Merkel
    Hollande

    Their defence, political correctness used to crush the masses is about to backfire spectacularly, never mind spectatorial.

    • sidor

      A strange list. Employers and employees together. Try to separate those who pay from those who are payed for their services.

      • HomoRationalensis

        Indeed it’s a strange list, but they represent the social justice/left wing neoliberal world order that we’re currently fighting against. Socialists, Liberals, Feminists and of course the ultimate enemy of which the above seems to intent on protecting, Islamists

        • sidor

          I am afraid you missed the point. Murdoch and Soros pay, and they know what they pay for. Merkel, Cameron and Obama are paid and do what they are paid for. Don’t confuse who is who in the labour market.

          • HomoRationalensis

            Does this look like a confused face? They’re all going

          • Andrew Cole

            And Sorrell will work for and promote whoever pays the most

  • TrulyDisqusted

    Then Stop Pandering.

    I’d rather lose a “friend” than give up every iota of me that makes me me.

    Since its important Never to offend, just get in first. Serve one meal, one drink, one opinion and state that you’ll be really offended if everyone present doesn’t agree that it’s the best meal/drink/opinion that they’ve ever tasted or heard.

    If anyone objects – tell them how really offended you are very loudly, ask them why they are being so unreasonable and inform them that they’ve ruined your life.

    Then get on social media and tell the world!

    • E.I.Cronin

      Brilliant! That my friend, is exactly what we can all begin to do.

      Recently a candidate for one of our new minor parties was being interviewed by an obnoxious progressive on national television. She handled him fairly well (the pressure must be intense, I did feel for her) and fielded most of the standard evasions and cry-bully tactics.

      The last victim card he played was ‘How do you think poor victimised (favoured identity group here) will feel hearing this?”. The immediate response should have been ”We should be far more concerned about how the silent, slandered majority feel”.

      • LoveMeIamALiberal

        Or ‘their feeling are no more or less important than mine, I’m interested in what facts and logic they might bring to support their opinions”.

        • E.I.Cronin

          Spot on. It was noticeable how the interviewer kept firing emotionally loaded questions and the candidate kept bringing the debate back to facts and events.

  • hobspawn

    “The disproportionate ubiquity of… …Pizza” in fact arises because you can sell twenty pence of goods for £9.95. No fish or steak restaurant can compete with the mark-up.

  • sidor

    Rory, I am afraid you failed to formulate the problem. There is a simple medical fact: 95% of people are stupid. The real problem is that the same statistics (or worse) is observed among the 5% who decide. Cameron, being a guest at an American talk show, informed the public that “Rule Britannia” was composed by Elgar http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9571852/David-Camerons-ignorance-over-Magna-Carta-and-Rule-Britannia-exposed.html.

    Voltair said that the best kind of government is an enlightened despot. The history of China demonstrates that this despot could be collective: a carefully selected and well educated bureaucracy.

    • Mr Grumpy

      Voltaire (you kind of asked for that one). And did he say that before or after falling out with his enlightened despot of choice?

      • sidor

        I don’t think he made a choice. But do you disagree with his point?

        • Mr Grumpy

          He voluntarily went to Prussia to enjoy the patronage of Frederick the Great, but it all ended in tears. I prefer removable governments.

          • sidor

            His problem was his conflict with Maupertuis. The latter was a great and productive scientist, and Voltaire was just a skilful bullshitter. No surprise that the king supported Mauperuis, thereby confirming the point of Voltaire about the advantage of enlightened despot for the development of science.

            Do you prefer democratic monkey trials where a jury of idiots make decisions on scientific matters?

          • Mr Grumpy

            Are you suggesting that democracy impedes the progress of science? Is that a conclusion you’ve arrived at scientifically?

          • sidor

            Yes. You can see it most clearly in the US.

            Science is notoriously non-democratic. What is right is decided based on scientific arguments, not by vote. Any external interference in science is detrimental. Therefore, the relation between scientific community and the society should be very simple: the population has to pay and otherwise mind its own business. The enlightened despot is necessary for providing these conditions. He forces the population to pay and protect the scientific community from any incompetent interference, particularly from the bureaucrats and politicians.

          • Great_Leveller

            What is identified as the best scientific argument is itself determined by consensus, effectively a “vote” among scientists to accept a certain set of rules and conditions for demarcating some statements as objectively true. To regard science as “notoriously non-democratic” is ridiculous. The more people that understand an argument and are able to provide confirming or countervailing evidence, the stronger or weaker the strength of that argument.

          • sidor

            I wonder if you happened to learn the theorems of Euclidean Geometry when in school? Was there a vote about the validity of Pythagoras theorem?

          • Mr Grumpy

            US not pulling its weight in science? Evidence please.

          • sidor

            The American system of scientific funding is monstrously inefficient. You probably have no idea of how it works.

          • Mr Grumpy

            Very little. That’s why I keep asking for evidence. I’m not interested in sweeping assertions.

          • sidor

            In order to see the evidence you need to know at least something about the system. That you apparently don’t. Just a simple historical fact: the Soviet science was at about the same level as the American one with an order of magnitude smaller funding. Because it was much better organised and much less bureaucratic.

          • Mr Grumpy

            How much did Soviet science contribute to the device you’ve just typed that on?

          • sidor

            This Soviet physicist became a Nobel laureate for his contribution to the development of microelectronics:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhores_Alferov

            I hope you understand what it means.

            These two Soviet physicists became Nobel laureates for inventing laser:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolay_Basov
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Prokhorov

            This man https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lev_Landau

            was one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century building the foundation of quantum theory without which you wouldn’t be able to enjoy your laptop and other pleasures of modern life.

          • sidor

            This Soviet physicist became a Nobel laureate for his contribution to the development of microelectronics:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhores_Alferov

            I hope you understand what it means.

            These two Soviet physicists became Nobel laureates for inventing laser:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolay_Basov
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Prokhorov

            This man https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lev_Landau

            was one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century building the foundation of quantum theory without which you wouldn’t be able to enjoy your laptop and other pleasures of modern life.

          • polidorisghost

            Removable philosophers are cheaper
            Just saying.

    • Ron Todd

      Are you counting yourself in the smart 5%? . The distribution curve for intelligence or at least IQ which might be the best proxy we have is a standard distribution. so why pick the top 5% instead of 4% or 6%.

      A despot is a despot; a despot is usually succeeded by another despot. Often a relative. There is never any certainty that the next despot will be in any way enlightened. The potential harm a despot can do in a lifetime is greater that the potential harm that an elected leader in a democracy can do in one term of office.

      • sidor

        Do you think the number of people able to understand the basic principles of Quantum Mechanics exceed 5% or less than this figure?

        Despotic rule is a form of government. What matters in a historic scale is the result of the rule, not the procedure. Do we care what kind of government was in the time of Newton? We enjoy the results produced in the Prussian Academy during the rule of Friedrich the Great. As compared with this historic result, does it matter how he ruled and how many people he killed?

        • Ron Todd

          Are you claiming understanding quantum Mechanics is the bench mark for being intelligent ? Or are you claiming only people who understand quantum mechanics are fir to make political decisions.?

          Does it matter how many people he killed yes it does. The people at the time of Newton cared what type of government they had. Would you turn this age into a tyranny for the sake of scientific advance in the future and not care how many were killed. Are you assuming tat you would be one of the powerful and not killed. Of course in that sort of government it is often the echelon just below the supreme leader that are most at risk. (North Korea Stalin)

          • Dex Stewart

            The people in Newton’s time had no say in how they were governed

          • Ron Todd

            Some of the high ups did to a limited extent. Even people who have no say in how they are governed will care about how they are governed. People the same age as Newton were born at the end of the Civil war and would almost certainly discus and argue about the best way to govern a country.

          • sidor

            And why should we care about what they thought of the civil war? Cromwell, God bless his name, wasn’t interested in popular opinion. He operated using his army of religious fanatics. As a result of this religious war, we had Newton and modern science. The rest is of absolutely no interest.

          • Ron Todd

            The civil war determined how the country was run. That is why people who cared about how they were ruled even if they had little say in how they were ruled would talk about it. ‘The rest is of absolutely no matter’ care how science developed but not how society developed . I am glad you are not in the 5% and don’t rule the rest of us.

          • sidor

            And we are very lucky that it was that way. If asked, they wouldn’t have given a penny for the Royal society and there would have been no Newton.

          • sidor

            I claim that understanding Quantum Mechanics is a sufficient condition for being in the top 5%. I have never met an idiot understanding Quantum Mechanics. Did you? Do you understand it?

            So, what do you think is important, in a historic scale, the result or the procedure? Please indicate the right answer.

          • Ron Todd

            Sufficient condition perhaps. There must be many people who are intelligent but did not study physics up to that level. I do not understand quantum mechanics. Understanding quantum mechanics of its self would not make a good leader. Plato was a philosopher who thought only philosophers would make good leaders Hipodamus was an architect who thought society should be led by architects, Marx thought only people that had a certain understanding of History society and economics; people exactly like himself should be the leaders. Often people who want a dictator just happen to think only people like themselves are fit for the role. Do you happen to do physics yourself?

          • sidor

            You still discuss the means of power, and failed to answer my question: what matters, the result or the procedure?

            I also note that you have no idea of what you mean when talking about “dictatorship”. You do not understand how it works.

          • Ron Todd

            Don’t they both matter. Anybody that thinks the results matter but not the procedure is like many complete sods before him is likely to fail to get to his ends while causing great misery trying. The better societies to live in are the ones where the leaders of the past did care about means as well as results. For all the caring about ends only did the USSR or Cambodia work out well for anybody other than the leaders?

            They way dictatorship works is generally the way the dictator wants it to work.

          • sidor

            And what is the point in the existence of a society that lives happily but failed to produce anything for the future generations? A parasitic society of that kind is a dead end of evolution. A historic mistake.

            An example: aborigines of Australia, after many thousands years of their existence, failed to learn to count. Quite possibly, they were happy all that time.

          • Mr Grumpy

            You have no grounds for thinking yourself superior to an Australian aboriginal. They knew what they needed to know in order to survive in their harsh environment. Hence the many thousands of years.

            Trade and tax were the early drivers of numeracy. The material conditions for them to develop did not exist in Australia.

          • sidor

            “They knew what they needed to know in order to survive in their harsh environment. Hence the many thousands of years.”

            I am afraid you missed my point. What is the point in their survival? The existence of their society was meaningless. Dinosaurs too survived for a while in a harsh environment and knew what they needed to know. A dead end of evolution.

          • Mr Grumpy

            I’m sure your survival has a point, even if it’s not immediately obvious.

            There’s no such a thing as a dead end of evolution, only new environments which render adaptations non-adaptive. The dinosaurs were wiped out by environmental changes which you would not have been able to predict if you were around. You and I have no idea how long our genes will survive.

          • sidor

            You repeatedly fail to understand rather simple explanation. Let me try again. Dinosaurs have been in existence for quite a while. And were evolving all that time. The result of that long and sophisticated evolution is perfect zero. It didn’t have any impact on the general evolution of life. A road leading to the dead end.

          • Mr Grumpy

            Birds are living dinosaurs.

          • sidor

            I give up. Cannot help you. Discuss your fascinating ideas with a relevant medical expert.

          • Mr Grumpy

            Have a nice evening.

          • Mr Grumpy

            Have a nice evening.

          • sidor

            I give up. Cannot help you. Discuss your fascinating ideas with a relevant medical expert.

          • Mr Grumpy

            Birds are living dinosaurs.

          • D J

            As a doctor I can think of several medical examples of awful leadership by doctors. Some people are aware of their limitations.

          • Ron Todd

            I work in a factory very few factory workers get to high power.

          • D J

            That is a shame as some factory workers good sense could make a government work well.

          • Big Andy

            The normal distribution curve of IQ bears no relationship to the propensity for understanding Quantum Mechanics, for which the proportion of the population that understands it is probably 20% of 20% of 20% of 20% of the males and slightly more of the females. This being because it is not taught in schools, only studied in specialist higher education establishments. It is on a need to know basis. I don’t need to know but I’m in the top 5%!

          • sidor

            1. If no relationship between the IQ tests and the learning capacity, these tests are just a useless exercise. Why not using chess instead?

            2. About females: I have to upset you. The % of women in theoretical physics is infinitesimal.

            3. The learning of theoretical physics, and the respective mathematics takes years, if successful. I presume you never tried.

            4. Which particular top 5% are you in?

      • Mary Ann

        Although of course you could argue that with only 5 years in office we are never going to get any sensible long term plans. Policies are not decided by what is best for the country, it is decided by what is most likely to get another win.

        • Ron Todd

          Yes but a government that did not have to worry about being removed would likely be a worse option.

    • Dex Stewart

      Lord Vetinari’s are rare…

  • ardenjm

    It also explains why vast swathes of non-Sharia following hospitals, schools, county councils and other public bodies serve Halal meat – even though, ironically, the Sikh minority is as equally bound by THEIR religion not to eat Halal meat as Muslims are obliged by THEIR religion to eat it.

    Missed a trick there, back in the 80s, unfortunately.

    • Mary Ann

      The Sikhs need to shout louder. as for the Supermarkets, all we have to do is to refuse to buy halal meat, they would soon start selling halal as a separate product, although I have read that 90% of halal meat sold in this country has been stunned. Non stunned meat should not be sold in this country, and frankly if people object they have two choices, either give up eating meat or go and live somewhere else.

  • GoJebus

    This is a good article and reminds us that Pareto’s law is not the only ratio in town. We know for instance that 5% of the country has decided that 95% of the country can go f*ck itself and its heritage and culture and has sold it down the Indus/Rhine/Rhone.

    • Mary Ann

      Ummm the Indus is not in Europe.

      • GoJebus

        Er, yes I know. It was a sideways comment on our Pakistani Muslim so called community and how through the wonder of multiculturalism great swathes of it seem bent on betraying their host country and rejecting its culture and history. The other two rivers are an oblique stab at our relationship with the EU.

  • itsthepatriarchy

    “Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society.” Aristotle

    • Todd Unctious

      Blaming the poor and immigrants for the credit crunch is the lowest form of lie ,spread to save the skins of corrupt bankers.

      • itsthepatriarchy

        Take it up with Aristotle. The poor have immense power, but chose not to use it, but instead take orders, watch tv and football and let others decide their fate. Please galvanize them to resist the bankers… it would be good. I think you’ll soon find, they won’t bother.

        • Todd Unctious

          Nor do they understand. It is so easy for the Kippers to use foreigners as a scapegoat. It is no surprise Farage was a commodity broker. Those evil swine’s broke the economy of the capitalist world.

          • itsthepatriarchy

            i think you’ll find it was the insurance, banking and mortgage people… not the commodity people… who are bit players

          • Todd Unctious

            The bankers are total crooks. None have gone to prison for their crimes and now they give money to a corrupt media to deflect attention onto the poor and migrants.

      • Tamerlane

        This from the mortgage broker who facilitated the lending of the money and made a nice cut from it thank you very much. Careful that glass house of yours doesn’t shatter.

        • Todd Unctious

          What are you on about now? This has left me more baffled than your usual lies. You seem to find even making stuff up difficult these days. A lack of imagination is a key indicator of being a dim Tory.

  • awooble

    It was like that when the 20 percent of the population that smoked dictated the rules to the 80 percent that didn’t. Fortunately the lawmakers finally imposed common sense.

    • Todd Unctious

      The 10% who like golf get all the spare land to play with their balls on.
      The 20% who like soccer get hours of TV time and dominate the pub tellies.
      The 7% who like private schools get all the good jobs.

      • jazz606

        Er, I think it’s the 7% who can afford good schools who get good jobs.

        • Todd Unctious

          Only 5% of British kids now attend private schools. 491,000 out about 10 million aged 5 to 18. The schools have 615,000 pupils ,but 119,000 are Foreign, mainly Chinese, Russian and Arab.
          Our “elite” is happy to welcome foreign blood/ money to bolster it’s hold on power.

          • Tamerlane

            7% of British children actually, up from 3% 25 yrs ago. The ‘foreign’ are actually mainly Spanish. The Chinese/Russian/Arab etc accounts for a tiny amount, in fact the number of Arab is so small that your inclusion of them is proof positive you are making it up as you go along (hint for you, Arabs traditionally go to Swiss schools).

            As ever – you don’t know what you are talking about. Like it or not private education continues to grow and thrive and will continue to do so as long a the alternative is the basket case ‘education’ you had.

          • Todd Unctious

            I will do the maths for you very carefully. 491,000 British children attend toff schools between the ages of 5 and 18.
            We have 10,200,000 children between those ages. So 4.82% of British children attend toff schools.
            You are simply making things up again. The largest group at toff school after Brits are the Chinese/ Hong Kong with about 30,000.
            Private schools are in a rut now. Declining rapidly as they up the fees to lure rich foreigners and shun their traditional clientele.

          • Tamerlane

            That’s half an hour of writing you’ll never get back. There are more Americans in private UK education than any other nationality you imbecile, your Arabs (including Qataris etc) are mainly Switzerland. There’s no maths to be done you uneducated imbecile. Wriggle all you like but your pat doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, there’s more demand for private schools from (and I’ll make this easy for you) British passport holders now than there’s ever been in the history of education in this country and few any are from abroad. So many thanks to the left for creating the cr@ppy state education that made this possible.

          • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Where is the proof shill? The Chinese and Russians fill our failing toff schools . Sad fact is you know this but try to lie to hide it.

          • Tamerlane

            There are 27,000 foreign pupils at independent schools out of a total of 500,000 – that’s less than 10% oh mortgage broker. Less than there were in the 1970s when the figure was around 15%. There are more British citizens as a number and a percentage at independent schools now than there have ever been in the past. The problem is you have a low IQ and are easily influence by glitzy pictures of Russian babes in the Mirror etc.

          • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Rubbish. Sadly though, you know that ….paid liar.

          • Tamerlane

            I have no doubt there are plenty of private schools with only ten foreign children. If you would think rather than let your prejudices blind you that wouldn’t be a problem for you either. Stop wriggling. You’ve been busted, be man enough to know when you’re wrong and stop trying to move the goal posts.

          • Father Todd Untious

            We si p!y wait for you to show the proof. That there are only 27,000 foreign pupils among the 615,000 at toff schools. Oh and that most of them are Spanish. Tee hee. You do make us laugh.

          • Tamerlane

            Nope, I make you and only you mock laugh. But as I said, be my guest, you let your prejudices drive you, makes no odds to me, my benefit in the long run.

          • Father Todd Untious

            Haha. I win yet again.

          • Dave R

            they’re not ‘his figures’ though are they? Its the annual independent schools census figures.
            http://www.isc.co.uk/media/2661/isc_census_2015_final.pdf
            fig. 28. 27,211 are foreign students alone in UK.
            Adding those foreign students whose families are based in the UK bumps it up a little.

            The median independent school has just 151-200 pupils, so its quite possible many only have a couple foreigners. Most ‘toff’ schools are not made up of sprawling campuses like Eton, regardless of what your prejudices might be. Barely a 3rd even have boarding facilities, which I would imagine reduces the intake of foreigners in the remaining 2/3rd’s to near zero.

          • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            In 1991 the number of Brits at toffs hool was 6.5%. So we are down by 26% as the middle class are hollowed out by your paymasters.

          • Tamerlane

            Oh do grow up, like it or not they’re more popular than ever. Their numbers are full, there’s a such a shortage of secondary places at independent schools the HMC are trying to encourage new independent senior schools to open or existing ones to expand to fill the demand.

          • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            So when foreigners come here you think it is bad
            But when rich foreigners boost the numbers at failing toff schools you think it good.
            You are shamefully anti-British. Promoting the international 0.1%.

          • Tamerlane

            They don’t boost the numbers, their numbers are too small for that. They have very little impact. You would like it to be the case because then you could claim that independent schools are just for rich foreigners but sadly for you, as with everything you write, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Little quiz for you – after Americans what is the second most populous foreign nationality at independent schools? I’ll give you a full half hour to answer. It’s 15:58, you have until 16:28.

          • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Foreigners make up 20% of the kids at toff school. How does that not provide a boost you liar?

          • Tamerlane

            The answer to my question is?

          • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Your question is flawed asAmericans make up!such a small number. Get you facts straight and drop the lies then we can try properly.

          • Tamerlane

            Time’s up. answer is Spanish. There are very few Russians, Chinese or Arabs at private schools Yvonne/Barry hardly any. As I’ve said before, engage brain rather than let prejudice speak for you – you will be a lot happier.

          • Father Todd Untious

            Rubbish. There are far more Chinese than Spanish. Please show the proof of your assertion.

          • Tamerlane

            Nope. You think ‘toff schools’ are places like Eton, Harrow etc because that’s all you know. The Catholic public schools have been piling in the Spanish for generations, the entire Spanish Royal family went to one down in Somerset. There are more Spanish than Russian, Arab, Chinese combined. But as ever you don’t know that because you don’t know…

          • Father Todd Untious

            So you assert that there are over 50,000 Spaniards at our toff schools. But in the other hand only 27,000 foreigners in total. You are a liar, you are literally useless at maths and you are rapidly becoming a laughing stock instead of just a risible irritation.

          • Tamerlane

            Nope, I assert there are more Spanish than Russian (2,000 approx), Chinese (3,000 approx) or Arab (less than 1,000) but most important of all, and the one thing you’re trying to run from – there are more British than any of the others put together, in fact the British make up 95% of children in UK independent schools enjoying the fruits of the best education system in the world. Something you can only dream about.

          • Tamerlane

            No they don’t, they make up around 5%. Less than ever before.

          • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Proof please.

          • Tamerlane

            I’m not justifying myself to you. You find it for yourself, it’s all out there. Foreign passport holders are 27,000 out of 500,000, can you ‘do the maths’ on that oh mortgage broker, or is it a little too complex for you? Frankly, find it for yourself.

          • Father Todd Untious

            So you can’t find evidence for your lies.

          • Tamerlane

            I’m not justifying myself you, you know where will have to freeze over before I do. But you please yourself if it makes you feel better, makes no odds to me. Every time you imbeciles from the left raise a finger in the name of education you benefit the private schools of this country – abolish grammar schools, introduce catchment areas, bring in academies. Every single time you move to level the paying field you strengthen the grip of the private schools so you be my guest, believe what makes you happy, it’s all a conspiracy against you and your son and blah blah blah. Go for it.

          • Father Todd Untious

            ButI know for certain that you do not know. You guess and you invent stats to suit a skewed agenda. You fear truth.

          • Tamerlane

            Now you just sound like paranoid idiot.

          • Father Todd Untious

            You look like one.

          • jazz606

            Bring back Grammar Schools.

          • Todd Unctious

            I agree. Grammar schools wereca massive fillip to social mobility. Fools like Tamerlane hate them as they intrude on his precious moneyed elite.

      • Tamerlane

        And you get nothing. Magic. Way it should be.

        • Todd Unctious

          I get the endless satisfaction of upbraiding you for lack of intellect and want of argument.
          You provide constant mirth and joy by being so damned useless at what you do.

  • http://my.telegraph.co.uk/voteregime/ The Prez

    I’ve been saying this for a while. Students get a bad rap for all being petty intolerant crybullies, but in truth, it’s a tiny belligerent minority who for whatever reason prefer to spend their time at university sat in political meetings and waving handmade placards than getting drunk and enjoying being young. They’re deeply sad and should really just be ignored.

  • Badger

    The tyranny of the shrill minority.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMU47R094T4

  • plainsdrifter

    I am very offended that you won’t drink Retsina, Rory.

    Try Kourtaki Retsina with lobster – but it must be deep-chilled. Satisfaction guaranteed.

    • Shanghai61

      “It must be deep chilled”
      Deep enough to take the taste away?

  • mike

    Just thought I’d point out that you can’t give Type ‘O’ blood to anyone, unless it’s ‘O’ Rhesus negative. ‘O’ positive into an unmatched human will kill him.

Close
Can't find your Web ID? Click here