Apart from the economic and political upheaval caused by the Referendum, surely what also have taken a battering are Oxford’s myths and shibboleths that shaped the beliefs, attitudes and behaviour of its graduates who managed the whole affair.
From these they imbibed a greater sense of superiority and self-importance than was justified, which in turn encouraged the general public to take more notice of them than was perhaps deserved.
For example the much lauded ‘First in PPE’ is now shown to have little worth in enhancing judgement when the possessor is faced with ‘real life’ political decisions. Cameron, however brilliant his former tutor might have thought him, will still go down in history (and into a future Finals question?) as a weak, unprepared political chancer who unnecessarily put his own and his Party’s interests ahead of the country’s.
Next, someone is not ‘highly educated’ just because they read classics at Oxford and can easily inject Latin quotations into a speech or conversation.
Such was the ruse used by Johnson to give the illusion of intellectual superiority in order to cover deception and to evade giving direct answers to serious questions.
And finally the renowned Oxford Union, though it apes the style of the House of Commons and may thus provide superficial training for a Parliamentary career, certainly does not enhance any unique aptitude or personal trait necessary for the running of the country.
Gove and Johnson prove that holding office in this institution simply encourages a glib tongue, a pompous self-importance and a propensity for the same childish behavior and ambition in national politics as was shown earlier in Frewin Court.
Perhaps the University would enhance its reputation by using its PR budget to promote more strongly the genuinely valuable contributions made to society by its graduates in science, medicine and the humanities rather than in national politics.
A bigger yet probably impossible task might be to try to curb the number of students with an inbred notion of superiority, entitlement and ’the right to rule’ such as featured in the Referendum.
Fewer cliques of Etonians and others of that ilk?!