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Today's mad Oxbridge academic in la la land is Wendy Ayres Bennett - time to learn Polish

Tom Winnifrith
Wednesday 18 January 2017

In last week's demonstration of how out of touch elite academics are with the rest of us, an Oxford Don reported the half witted Home Secretary Amber Rudd to the old Bill for Hate Crimes for a speech he had not heard. This week Cambridge has struck back in the battle to show which top University is more out of touch.

Wendy Ayres-Bennett, professor of French philology and linguistics at the Fenland university, said it was 'very important to think of integration as a two-way street. So while supporting calls for immigrants to learn English, she says "I would like to see more opportunities for British people to learn some of the community languages of the UK, such as Polish, Punjabi and Urdu."

Bollocks. Earning a multiple of the average wage with holidays that last forever and being well educated it may be easy for Prof Ayres to find the time and money to learn Polish. And as a bonus she would be able to chat to her cleaning lady who is likely to be about the only immigrant Wendy meets because people like her life in plush leafy areas where only people like her can afford to live and nearly all people like her are white Brits.

For the rest of us, struggling to pay the bills and working long hours with short holidays, learning Polish to make Professor Ayres-Bennett's cleaning lady feel more welcome is not exactly a top priority.

My wife's family moved here from India in the 1960s. I am jolly glad they were thrown in at the deep end and made English the family language. That is why one daughter has a good job in IT and the other is an academic. Thank heavens they did not stay in a ghetto with other folks from the same background with greatly reduced pressures to learn English.

Okay Oxford your turn now - which nutty Don are you sending in to bat next to trump Professor Wendy.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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