Nevile Gwynne talks grammatically correct cobblers

Nevile Gwynne is the sort of person the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph love. Descended from the nobility. Educated at Eton. Spouting prejudiced rubbish without reference to the facts.

This morning, on the BBC’s Today Programme, he claimed that when he was growing up “everyone” knew their grammar at the age of nine and that since this was the foundation of all thought and the most important of all subjects the implication was very clearly that we were better educated then. I suspect what he really meant was everybody knew their place. But he would have been wrong about that too.

Nevile Gwynne was 9 in November 1950. At that time we were all so brilliantly educated that about 5% of 18-year-olds managed to pass at least one ‘A’ level and perhaps 20,000 got a degree every year.

The idea that we were better educated then is plainly utter cobblers.

You would expect the BBC’s flagship news programme would have taken Mr Gwynne to task for talking such rubbish. You would be wrong. One presenter said he should be awarded a knighthood. Presumably for services to pub bore philosophy.

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