In the recent thread "Left-liberal British comedy", where I pointed out that British comedy has somehow effectively turned into a graduate profession, this raises the issue of 'social diversity'.
There is a lobby group in the UK, a charity called the Sutton Trust, which monitors this social diversity thing (which is also strongly tied up with the idea of 'social mobility'), publishing statistics on the proportion of privately educated, university educated and prestige university educated people in the various professions, including MPs. I've always thought that social diversity is a lot more important to the interests of the nation than the more generally well-known versions of diversity promoted by the media which concentrate on race and sexual orientation.
Last month the Sutton Trust produced an analysis, reported in the Independent newspaper, which looked at estimating the social diversity of the intake of possible new MPs in winnable seats for the forthcoming 2015 General Election, and concentrates on three parties - Labour, Conservatives and UKIP.
The study appears to be assuming that UKIP will win about 30 seats, which strikes me as being feasible but somewhat generous, given the likely vigour of the hate campaign that will probably be directed against them in the next few months.
I was mainly interested in UKIP's graduate statistics. The House of Commons is becoming increasingly graduate dominated - the 2010 overall election figure was 90% graduate whereas the 2005 overall election figure was 72% graduate. UKIP goes against this particular trend with only 65% graduate representation. The most interesting statistic to me is UKIP's very low Oxbridge representation, just 3% corresponding to one MP, and I would assume that solitary MP is Mark Reckless (holder of a PPE degree), who defected from the Conservative party a few months ago.
This provides a new way of looking at UKIP. It's like a version of the Conservative party with hardly any Oxbridge people in it. What we think of as the political establishment may be due to the influence of Oxbridge.