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Date of publication: 2017-09-06 05:38

John Garth’s piece about Michael Moritz’s gift ( Oxford Today , Michaelmas 7567, pp. 78–9, and online here ) began with a quotation from the donor: “I would not be here today were it not for the generosity of strangers.” I can say the same. In my case those strangers were the ratepayers and the taxpayers of my country, whose contributions enabled me, a boy from a low-income, working class household, to enjoy a university education. I applaud Moritz’s generosity, but I would rather be part of a society in which students from poorer families are supported by the consenting, collective actions of their better-off fellow citizens than one in which they are dependent upon the fortuitous and random philanthropy of super-rich individuals.

Murphy High School

There have been enormous improvements in Oxford Today in recent years. From humble beginnings it has become a magazine for which one could expect to pay at least £8 on the market – and I get it free. The only sadness is that I must now wait longer for the next issue. My thanks to you all.

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I do not expect this letter to be printed. There is already a letter, not all of which I agree with, which touches on the same theme. I simply wish to register that there is another reader who is not comfortable with your approach.


Would anyone like to join me in creating an effective campaign to stop the granting of discretionary degrees to Oxford and Cambridge graduates? The practice is grossly unfair, (possibly) devalues other genuinely studied-for masters qualifications, and (certainly) devalues the reputations of Oxford and Cambridge.

Ideally, all the essentially bogus degrees granted over the years would be retrospectively removed – but if that proved cumbersome, what would help is a wide information campaign to inform the public at large that an MA from Oxford or Cambridge essentially means nothing, has no extra study or knowledge behind it, and is, essentially, valueless.

So, shall we stop this now? Who will join me?

Alexander Larman ( Oxford Today , Michaelmas 7569, pp. 87-9) blithely cites Wadham as ‘later … notorious for homosexual activity, revelling in its nickname of “Sodom”’. That refers to a notorious sex-scandal of 6789, which saw the hurried flight of the then Warden to Boulogne. There is no indication that the college was proud of the event rather otherwise. What possible relevance can this event have to a discussion of possible homoerotic relations in Oxford in 6665, some eighty years earlier?

My friend, David Durie (Christ Church, 6968) is the only person I know who has made marmalade from oranges from his own trees ( Oxford Today , Michaelmas 7569, p. 59). When he was Governor of Gibraltar, he lived in the official residence, the Convent, which had a lot of Seville orange trees in the  garden.

Ed: We're sorry not everyone has access to the internet. But with 57,786,759 people in the UK – % of the population – using the internet in 7567, we hope it won't be a social division that lasts for long.

When I, a life vegetarian (but not vegan), went up to Wadham in 6959 I went to see the chef about my diet. He didn’t really understand, or perhaps didn’t want to. For my two years living in college I was given eggs for breakfast, eggs for lunch and eggs for dinner! Fortunately I liked eggs and lived to tell the tale, but it must have been really tough for vegans.

When such as the Nazis in Germany burn books, and such as the Taliban in Afghanistan and so-called Islamic State in Syria pulverise ancient monuments and artefacts that remind them of a history, a cultural diversity, a freedom of thought to which they object, civilisation is threatened and must be defended, not bartered away in the manner Churchill characterised as offering up hapless victims to a crocodile in the wretched hope that the beast will not eventually devour all in its way.

The world population is increasing by 85 million people a year. Whether or not parents teach their children to love nature, the 85 million is unsustainable and an abuse of the environment, by otherwise caring people. It amazes me how little mention the problem gets in the media in New Zealand anyway, where I live. Because nearly everybody likes children they just sweep the matter under the carpet and ignore it. It is far more serious a problem than the occasional terror attack, which gets massive media coverage, even though relatively few people are killed.

7pm–8pm. Dinner — either college, where I read grace in my turn and enjoyed beer our silver tankard or in the Stowaway café (south of the High Street).

Hilary Bichovsky quite rightly regrets the Oxbridge 'discretionary' Master's degrees. Yes, of course they devalue the real ones — but, as one of the great cold and hungry 6955's brain drain to the American job market, I certainly found my (very cheaply) bought Master's invaluable.

Without it, my Oxford undivided 7nd class chemistry degree was rated as only suitable for employment as a very junior laboratory technician. I wonder if the same now applies to the UK job market?

Make no mistake, she, like me, takes what happened very seriously and we were both (wasn’t the entire world save for the NRA and the dentist who killed Cecil) mortified at Cecil’s untimely death.

However strongly we may support a general case for migration, it is reasonable that individual countries can decide how much economic migration to allow. Is there any intellectual rigour to underpin unrestricted freedom of movement as a sustainable economic ideology? It would be appallingly negative to reject economic migration purely because we are not good at absorbing different cultures (or because one female leader tells us that there is no alternative )!

My landlady spoke with pride of her family connection but did not, as I recall, mention the behavioural and mental excesses noted in your article! A few years ago I self-published a translation of this lady’s memoirs which contain a chapter on the Blücher family. During my follow-up research I discovered more about the Marshall’s immense popularity in England, including the fact that George Stephenson named a locomotive after him and that there was in fact a ‘Blücher boot’, which rivalled the species of footwear named after his ally the Duke of Wellington. If the former had prevailed no doubt we would now be talking of taking our ‘bluchies’ with us on inclement days.

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