(A detail of the Remain campaign in Oxford that should be recorded somewhere.
It was organised with tireless energy by Oxford University students and recent graduates, some fitting canvassing around their final exams, which I could never have done. They were indefatigable, one only had to suggest a possible campaigning target and they were onto it. They always good-humoured, even in the face of the Brexiters who used to enjoy fixing on our young women and girls and bullying them, not to mention threats on the lines of 'we'll settle with you lot later'. They were of all political parties and none. They knew more about the ins and out of the various parties than I ever did. They perhaps were a little blind to a world outside Facebook, but that's a minor matter. They achieved an outstanding 10% increase in voter registration in Oxford, as well as one of the highest Remain votes in the country, though annoyingly slightly below Cambridge. It was a pleasure working with them - and that helps me now. If our country is still producing intelligent, thoughtful and publicly-minded young people like this, I've no right to despair.
A very different story at Brookes University, in the same city. 19,000 Brookes students produced precisely one Remain campaigner. We wanted to canvass on site but the Vice Chancellor, one Professor Fitt, forbade it, on the grounds that the Referendum was 'contentious'. Quite. He needn't have worried. We found Brookes students saturated in a kind of bovine apathy which was really one of the low points of the whole campaign. One – UK -born, I checked – actually asked me what 'EU' stood for. Another said: 'Mate, I never vote, it never changes anything'. Mate, I think you'll find it just has. A despairing lecturer explained: understand that we get the less able, less driven sons and daughter of parents who wanted them to be at Oxford, and this is the best they could do. These kids will never pose any sort of problem for Authority, provided always that they are allowed to remain plugged into their Ipads and smartphones. Brookes produces many degrees, but not, it would appear, citizens.)
I was formerly Finance Director of the Prison Service and then Director of the National Offender Management Service responsible for competition. I also worked in the NHS and an IT company. I later worked for two outsourcing companies.
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