Letter: Touche, the Oxbridge mafia strikes again

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Sir: If Lucy Manning, an Oxford undergraduate, thinks that going to Oxford or Cambridge confers no advantages ('Dear Walter Ellis', 27 September), she could do no better than consider the media, including the Independent.

You, Sir, are a graduate of Queens' College, Cambridge; your new deputy holds a doctorate from Cambridge; your political editor is an Oxford man. At the Financial Times, where you and I worked in the past, and at the BBC, where you were formerly head of news, it is exactly the same. Six out of the BBC's eight graduate trainees this year are Oxbridge. When I was interviewed recently by Melvyn Bragg on Start the Week, four out of five of the others round the table, including Bragg, were from Oxford, while both the programme's producer and her deputy were from Cambridge.

One of Ms Manning's student colleagues at Cherwell is at present doing work experience on the Times. A second has been given the same opportunity at the Sunday Times. As for her friend who holds a First in Physics from Oxford and now works in a fairground - well, good luck to him. But perhaps he should have tried looking for a job in industry or science.

Yours faithfully,


London, SE3

27 September