Equally, his suggestion that 'only' 38 per cent of current staff in the top grades have an Oxbridge background suggests that his view of where the talent lies in society might differ from that of many people.
Most astonishing is the ease with which he deals with the suggestion that there are far too few women in senior grades. The fact that there are only two women at Permanent Secretary rank is something of which Sir Robin should be thoroughly ashamed; it indicates that the senior Civil Service is failing to draw upon a major source of talent.
In the opinion of many of us, the senior Civil Service must shoulder at least as much blame as successive governments for the state of this country and until action is taken to ensure that it draws upon the widest range of talents it seems unlikely the situation will improve.
The male/Oxbridge/arts enclave has let us down; we need many more women, people from a far wider range of backgrounds and a far higher proportion of people with a scientific, technical or commercial background.