Dave and Polly take the kids to St John's, which (no coincidence, I'm sure) is Oxford's richest college by some way: “Here was a room of their own, with their own bathroom, use of a kitchen...” Their own bathroom? I very much doubt it, even at St John's. Certainly not at Keble, next door to St John's, where I was a student. Six or eight to a bathroom at best (not all at the same time, alas). Get some perspective.
Despite Dave and Polly's best doom-mongering efforts, the kids on the trip show great enthusiasm for going to Oxford. So Dave and Polly leap in: “Did the Brent students know that over half the students at Oxford and Cambridge come from private schools? They had no idea and it shocked them.” Yeah, that's right, Polly, you step in and piddle on their dreams, why don't you. Tell them they've got no chance. It's your way, after all. (Furthermore, that statistic is another gross exaggeration as a correction in The Guardian admitted yesterday.)
It's not Oxford itself that holds back kids like this, it's sour old Trots like Toynbee.
Polly and Dave go on to contrast, with toe-curling naivety, the “kindly earnestness and bright whiteness” of the Oxford students with “the mostly black Brent kids in urban fashions with sharply razored, sculpted and combed hairstyles”, the prose dripping with that familiar and uniquely Guardian fetishising of black youth that seems to drip with middle-aged female lust for the noble savage. It's positively Victorian.
“Here on display,” wrote Dave and Polly, “was the great fissure in class, race, style, attitude, background...” No, here were children. The fissure is in your minds. In your sad, tawdry imaginations. Part of a world you need to believe in to believe you have any value left as commentators.
PS. Polly doesn't actually say Let's All Hate Rich People, but that's what her arguments lead to - an envy of and hatred for people who have made money. Read the blurb for her book on Amazon. She is the absolute antithesis of the famous Lincoln quote 'you don't make the poor rich by making the rich poor'. In Pollyworld we should all know our place and have ambition driven out of us. We should all conform to a statist norm. It's reading extracts from books like hers that make me realise why I am politically motivated. And one of my main motivations is to stop people like Polly Toynbee dominating the political agenda.
I've enjoyed a few jousts with Polly in my time, and most of you will be relieved to hear that I can think of nothing I have ever agreed with her about. Personally I like her. But I know that the very mention of her name is like a red rag to a bull on many blogs. I give fair warning that I will not allow abusive comments through.