Leveling Britain

Theodore Dalrymple, City Journal, Winter 2007

The increasingly Kafkaesque nature of British society recently received two illustrations in a single week. Under a new, government-mandated system of appointing junior doctors to training posts in Britain’s nationalized health service, senior doctors could not see the curriculum vitae of any applicant, for fear that it might prejudice their choices.

Instead, the candidates responded, via computer, to interview questions, most of them having more to do with the doctors’ ability to present themselves as paragons of political correctness than with anything relevant to medicine. The computer marked the answers and generated a short list of candidates. The senior doctors then interviewed the short-listed candidates directly, but in asking questions they had to stick with a script that government bureaucrats had prepared for them.

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The government also announced a new policy on university admissions: henceforth, when selecting students, universities must enquire as to whether applicants’ parents have university degrees themselves, in order to discriminate against them and favor applicants whose parents do not have degrees.

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