Warming the Seat / Keeping it Warm.

If any of you are wondering just how is it that we end up with anachronistic / imperialistic / simplistic LNP. “colonialist throw-backs” seeking to govern this country, I will attempt to work on a post (of interest) later that I think will explain it…watch this space!

Warming the Seat / Keeping it Warm.

#1 : “ The British school system had, and still has, a delightful system where snivelling little fags served bozers. Tasks included cleaning, running around, and warming toilet seats…  Fags who showed themselves to a better class of fag were given the opportunity to become bozers themselves, and bully the living shit out of the new fags. “

#2 : “Fagg or Faggs may refer to:

Fagging was a traditional practice in British boarding private schools (nearly all “public schools” in the English sense) and also many other boarding schools, whereby younger pupils were required to act as personal servants to the most senior boys.”

There was a time in my younger years where at the age of around twenty seven, I’d had enough of the building trade for a while and there was a scheme offered to those who had left school early and would like to continue with their education at a tertiary level, using their work experience as “points” toward an acceptance into university (limited courses, of course!)…I filled out the documentation, sat in a hall doing a test with a couple hundred other applicants, was accepted for an interview assessment and attended on the allotted date.

I have a exacting, clear, concise memory of the resulting insult. I also have, in retrospect, an insight into the real intent of that interview..; Less a assessment than a filtering out of the non  “consciousness of kind.” I was “interviewed” by two people, students themselves, a young man and a young woman, who after examining my application and work records, declined my application on the grounds that (and I can still hear her voice) ;

“While you have a lot of experience in the manual work field, you do not have a good record in the higher education area (I had left high school to take up an apprenticeship at fifteen) and without that record of capability to apply yourself to higher education, we cannot be certain that you will be able to complete your education.”

That’s some catch; that Catch 22.

My query about my years in apprenticeship studies were swept away as inconsequential.

I received the formal refusal in my letterbox some time later..I was to learn from a more informed source years later that those so-called “available seats” for working people to complete their education was in reality an opening for “suitable” persons who had started their tertiary education years before, but through one reason or another had cut short their study and left university…leaving open a spot for their return, keeping in mind that in those days, only the more wealthy could afford a university education.. so in effect ; “keeping the seat warm”.

It still rankles ; that interview…and I recall my response to the insulting suggestion that perhaps I was seeking more the “status” of university study rather than academic advancement…fuckin’ little eastern suburbs poncy pricks!

“I NEED the education, NOT the kudos!” was my terse response ..and with that I terminated the “interview.” It is the bitterness from that insulting moment that fixed the “chip on the shoulder” of my attitude toward the “consciousness of kind” middle class.

“It lies in the nature of the case that this appointing power will tend to create a faculty after its own kind. It will be quick to recognize efficiency within the lines of its own interests, and slower to see fitness in those lines that lie outside of its horizon, where it must necessarily act on outside solicitation and hearsay evidence.”

This maintaining of status in the perception of a University Education comes at a cost..and with the changed financial arrangements these days, the integrity of the education institution is gambled on numbers of “bums on seats” verses “academic integrity” It is therefore imperative that a continuity of curriculum delivery and conservative standard of quality is promoted around the institution name , academic staff and curriculum of the institution ; a) Firstly to  impress the ideal that here, is solid knowledge, confirmed by assiduous study and research. b) Secondly to set a fixed base of expected acceptable standards of attainment in academic excellence.

But one has to ask ; Are these standards more a bar set to a height most favourable to that class that moves in a unbroken, smooth transition from private school to University of choice to network of employment without disruption of the continuity of  curriculum? A curriculum designed to facilitate the most capable along with the most obtuse in a wide swathe of  middle-class benefit.

I read that in the current govt’ the LNP. has a proportion of 82%  from private school education…even Labor has a more modest 53%…But what encourages these privileged kids to pursue their political ambitions? What is the motivation that promotes such (in some cases ) futile and buffoonery ambition?

I suspect a certain directional encouragement within the Humanities and Social Sciences, via a distortion of history displaying a kind of “continuity of privilege and expectation” in the upper strata of society..The entrenchment of the “born to rule” philosophy.

I recall my time when I finally did get to university as a now much more mature student studying my favourite “Classical History” subjects, thinking and talking to other much younger students about my doubts of the “authenticity” of the Roman History we were being taught…:

“There’s something not quite right about how it all “fits” so neatly together”..I used to say to one young bloke..” like it’s been strained through a filter of acceptable choreographed political outcome…more to suit the Queen Victorian era of justification of empire , than a record of such a dirty history”.

And I remember several tutorials where an older lecturer was locum’d in to replace a sick lecturer..I could see his notes, all yellowed with age and dog eared with use and he prattled on in a time-line continuity from the ill lecturer, like there was no interruption in the calm-oiled sea of imperial history..All was right, all was as ordained by a higher order..Caesar conquered; as was required, Cleopatra; the upstart was conquered; as was needed, Augustus brought a “Pax Romana” upon the Empire as was his right ..:

Dieu et mon droit.

One day , coming out of a classics tutorial, one young “eastern suburbs” thing angrily expressed to me..

“Don’t ask so many questions..or we’ll be in there forever!”

“Why not..don’t you want to learn history?”..This response was met with a wrinkled nose and look of disdain.

But of course not…such graduates of  private colleges and grammar schools already know the script…They do not need ancient hstory to teach them anything! They knew before they got to Uni’…before they got to their private colleges..before they went to primary school.. kindergarten even!…They knew from the earliest time of their conscious memory that they belonged to the “correct class of people”…their parents could have made their money shipping arms to a despot ruler or drugs to desperate people..it would not matter…as long as they had their BSB. Taxation Number. THEY had the blessings of THE post code!…THE correct connections. THE high social circles….They did not need to learn the machinations of late empire politics..they only needed  to get those academic points on their student record sheet so they could pass UNI. and Classics was seen as a “Mickey Mouse” course easily navigated through to pick up half a doz’ easy academic points toward that w / honours graduation..and woe betide any lecturer that under marks their little pet. And then collect that promised trip to a London “sabbatical” year in a flat in The Barbican..or that little sporty car number…or some such promised reward.

After all…THEIR future employment and placement in the higher strata of society has already been  assured.

“As has already been remarked, these directive boards, committees, and chiefs of bureau are chosen, in great part, for their businesslike efficiency, because they are good office-men, with “executive ability”; and the animus of these academic businessmen, by so much, becomes the guiding spirit of the corporation of learning, and through their control it acts intimately and pervasively to order the scope and method of academic instruction. This permeation of the university’s everyday activity by the principles of competitive business is less visible to outsiders than the various lines of extraneous enterprise already spoken of, but it touches the work within the university proper even more radically and insistently; although, it is true, it affects the collegiate (undergraduate) instruction more immediately than what is fairly to be classed as university work. The consequences are plain. Business proficiency is put in the place of learning. It is said by advocates of this move that learning is hereby given a more practical bent; which is substantially a contradiction in terms. It is a case not of assimilation, but of displacement and substitution, garnished with circumlocution of a more or less ingenuous kind.”

Such graduates of  privilege need only to have all their prejudices of “born to rule” bound and framed in a gilt-edged justification. Disingenuous historical example can supply this. metaphorically inlaid with filigreed coat-of-arms and the family motto : “Non Cineadus Meus” scripted clearly, all supplied and wrapped and tied with a blue ribbon security by their elders and mentors.

And THAT is why we end up with such shit-faced conservative politicians screwing up the country.

For as “The Good Book” says…: “So it is written”.

Nb…All quotes were from Thorsten Veblen…”The Theory of the Leisure Class”..

4 thoughts on “Warming the Seat / Keeping it Warm.

  1. I will think on this. Our humanities school in the now University of South Australia, which started life as a teachers college, was anything but elitist. Proper lot of radicals were we. Now if we’re talking University of Adelaide, that might have been a different story. Except as I remember, there was a hotbed of lefti radicals in there as well.


    1. I was reffering to those politicians that are of a “mature” age NOW..meaning that they were at Uni (more than likely Adelaide…the higher soc’ circles sneer at the other unis) a fair while ago..Yes, there were radicals at Adelaide..but in my experience, those middle-class “radicals” generally toe-the-line socially as they get into serious employment…I would never trust them “with my back”.


      1. When i was at the now Uni of SA, I read a letter to the editor for the Adelaide Uni newsletter. The writer was sneering at the other universities and very much at the Institutes and College of Advanced Education. I think the writer was just a law student or something, nothing flash.


  2. Thank you for the link, freefall852. You write about matters I know instinctively that you are right. But I haven’t got the vocabulary to express myself so well as you do.

    I thought universities are there to ask questions and not to pass the time only. I’m against private schools too. With their debating clubs, students are encouraged to lie. With the right path and the skills to say anything that helps along the path, the world is their oyster. Keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

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