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Wings Over Scotland

The schools and the universities

Posted on January 16, 2014 by

What the heck – since it’s topical, let’s have another double-header.



“It is hazardous, and perhaps foolish, to compare institutions whose character has varied durng so many centuries, but it may be true that some of the education provided in Oxford and Cambridge was on a higher level than that in the Scottish universities. On the other hand, it was confined to a privileged few, not all of whom took full advantage of their opportunities.”

Final chapter tomorrow. Wasn’t this good?

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11 to “The schools and the universities”

  1. gordoz

    Speaking of Schools –

    Prestwick Academy Debate of around 200 pupils

    Before : Yes 33% No 44% Undecided 23%

    After : Yes 51% No 40% Undecided 9%

    Blair J v Blair M (heard he wasn’t chuffed)

  2. Triskelion

    I’ve held the belief for some time already that there should be more philosophy in the Scottish system of goverment. Philosophers are probably the least corruptible professionals and it’s their job to take a look at to think before they act.

    As part of Scotland’s long lasting philosofical tradition, I think that apart from including philosophy in Scottish education, philosophers should be included in parliament, maybe not give them any votes but should at least be allowed to speak, advice and denounce. It could help get us rid of party politics and make politicians look beyond the short term consequences, make them remember why they chose politics as a profesion. Maybe if this where the case, so many of the troubles the UK is going through at the moment due to politician’s detachment from the society they are supposed to represent could have been avoided.

  3. memaw

    Mr Paton is a wonderful example of what philosophy can teach. Clarity of thought and expression. In this book he puts into words what many people, at the time, may have quietly thought but without his breadth of knowledge, without his formidable understanding of the Establishment and the ability to write in such an authoritative voice it was left unsaid. Many books have been written about Scotland’s issues and problems but I don’t believe that anyone has covered this huge topic in such a clear and accessible fashion.
    On a lighter note:

    Having studied philosophy and English in the 1980’s in Glasgow it was pointed out to me that if you did a combination of philosophy and psychology it could push you over the edge.

    Years later I heard Steve Martin, the American comedian, say that most people go to University and when they leave they forget everything. Whereas if you have studied philosophy you remembered enough to mess you up for the rest of your life.

  4. Ronnie

    So Alistair Darling is trying to tell our young people not to vote ‘Yes’?

    Perhaps someone should arrange for him to debate the issue with Scotland’s Real Darling – Saffron Dickson?

  5. Jon D

    No apologies for being O/T, or for this having been posted before.
    16 year old activist Saffron Dickson addresses the Radical Independence Conference, 23rd November, Marriott Hotel, Glasgow.

    Listen and decide.

  6. msean

    Stuff like this will keep happening until Scotland votes Yes.

  7. Ian Brotherhood

    @Jon D –


    She’s a priceless asset, with qualities that no amount of media training or hard cash can capture – BT don’t have anyone, at any level, who would last five minutes against her in open debate.

  8. Patrick Roden

    “Before : Yes 33% No 44% Undecided 23%”

    Sorry Gordoz, I think you must have made a mistake.

    There’s no way that the young people would poll 33% before the debate, because the MSM polling companies have told us repeatedly, that youngsters are opting overwhelmingly for ‘No’.

    Unless you can show me that when young people were polled in other Uni/College debates they also has ‘Yes’ at around 33% then I simply wont believe you. 🙂

  9. gordoz

    @ Patrick Roden

    Aye no what you mean; must be a rogue poll fixed by the YES side. Couldn’t be any other way. Prof Curtice will destroy it as an impartial fixed debate organized by a Nat crazed School board.

    Mistake No.1 inviting YES into the debate; clear fix – end of.

  10. yerkitbreeks

    As a lad I once asked my Dad ( born in 1895, then a Dominie ) what he had learned at University. The answer was ” how to read my daily paper “. At the time I thought this odd but now it makes complete sense since if he could get through the Scotsman ( he always complained about it’s spelling ) from front to back, understanding it all then he was truly educated. The University of Edinburgh in his day insisted he took the Humanities, including such tomes as Emmanuel Kant’s ” The Metaphysics of Ethics ” !

  11. setondene

    Thanks for showing us this great little book. I was one of the very last people admitted to a Scottish university (Aberdeen) by the direct admissions system. Even then, they preferred you to go through the centralised admissions system based in the S of England. If I had been forced through the UCCA system I probably wouldn’t have got into university. Only 7% of the population attended in these days and it was very much seen as a privilege.

    The writer’s description of how the Scottish universities focussed on philosophy and teaching people how to think reminded me very much of my own experience. It was very worthwhile. I get the impression now that universities are just giant training providers processing huge numbers of students.

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