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November 02, 2015



I really don't understand why the drivel that people like Amis come out with is given such publicity. Other then, of course, a chance to snipe at Corbyn again.

Amis is a has-been novelist, author of a crap book on Stalin and a virulent Islamophobe. Why doesn't he just shut his ignorant trap.

Luis Enrique

intelligence is only one element of ability and it needs to be complemented by non-cognitive skills etc.*

*I write this being entirely ignorant of psychology and other relevant fields

Dave Timoney

This isn't about intelligence. Both Amis and Hunt are using social identifiers that they are comfortable with, having been privately-schooled and gone to Oxbridge, to signal their dislike/distrust of others who are not like them.

This shows a lack of imagination in respect of people from other social strata (hardly surprising in Amis's case, considering his love of working class caricatures), and intellectual laziness that inevitably leads to conservatism (Hunt's cadre-mindset is doubly ironic given the warning of Labour becoming a "sect" and prey to "emoji politics").

The tragic dimension of this is that neither can imagine that they are anything other than default members of the 1%. The truth is that Amis is a minor novelist who will remain junior to his father in the history of English literature, while no one would suggest that Hunt is anywhere near the top 1% of historians. Of course, being put in your place is something that happens to other people.

Jonathan da Silva

The hilarious conceit of Hunt and Amis is I assume they are in the top 1% which brings to mind the Dunning-Kruger cognitive bias.

Nonetheless Labour's anti-thought anti-intellectualism rhetoric as policy over 20+ years now has been found out but they do not see it. Only last week Labour wanted to be against corporate welfare and pro a bailout of steelworks.

They really need to drop the short term random contradictory need to show their morality. They need thought out positions the public can understand.

gastro george

I can just see Hunt leading reborn-New Labour into the next election on the slogan - "vote for me, vote for the 1%". Guaranteed vote winner.


Martin Anus.

Ralph Musgrave

"In elite Washington circles, ignorance is a credential." - Dean Baker.

Matt Moore

A few points.

1. Top 1% at what? At "political goodness" renders the problem tautological. Academic achievement is problematic, because the qualities of a good student are not those of a good politician. It seems like we are talking about some general cognitive ability, in which case:

2. Being in the top 1% is not a very restrictive criterion when selecting 600 people from 60 million. We should be able to discover the other requisite qualities in that population.

3. The real problem is that top 1% of electability does not equal top 1% of governing quality. I think this is the main point. The democratic system does not do a good job of choosing representatives or delegates, especially when candidate selection is so narrow.

4. Therefore... the solution is to narrow the scope of government (I'm not talking about scale / size in this case).

marcel proust

"The democratic system does not do a good job of choosing representatives or delegates ... "

Brings to mind the statement (attributed to HL Mencken):

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

(And my elision of the quoted comment is deliberate!)


As Corbyn's Labour 'sect' slumps in the polls, loses voter confidence and creates chaos in it's most critical policy of government-defence of the nation ( as Times led on Monday)then surely we need no 1% member to tells us its a farce. We the public and centre-Left moderates know the party has been taken over by the politically unintelligent, the deluded and the ideologues. Its grim but reality and it was all predicted by New Labour and others in the summer.


I agree that this has nothing to do with intelligence.

I think politicians sit at more or less the top of a decision making process, they are given a range of unsatisfactory choices and tend to plump for the one that keeps them in power or causes them the least grief. The thinking and analysis has been done (well or badly), the politicians are presented with advice (good and bad) from lobbyists. So the skill needed (if any) is to judge which way to jump - or not to jump at all. This would normally come from long experience, old hands know the ropes and have some hope of for-seeing unfortunate consequences. So, high intelligence is not really needed and indeed might lead them to think they can out think the system.

None of this has much to do with whether the decisions help or damage the citizens or the nation's economy, but that is the nature of democratic politics and has nothing to do with the intelligence or otherwise of politicians or their advisers.

Niall Murray

Hang on, Thatcher had a first class education in Science (Chemistry) before qualifying as a Lawyer. You can call her many hings, but she was no slouch in that respect. Who were these intellectually superior wets you talk about?


I think you are being unfair to Hunt here. Surely he was looking to engage his audience of Cambridge students who may feel that their exam results mean they are in the top 1%. The revelation that they aren't is yet to come.


Niall - Real Intellectuals(TM) read the Classics.

Brian B

Not myself being hyper-intelligent, I take the no doubt simplistic view that "Corbyn is under-educated" is a statement of verifiable fact, not of opinion: that his failures at secondary and tertiary education levels must tell us something about his intellectual ability (or lack of it), such as an ability to identify the central factors in a problem, to reason deductively and inductively, to set and pursue goals that are relevant and achievable, to form evidence-based judgements, and to distinguish between the rational and the irrational -- all things that are derived to a greater or lesser extent from the experience of studying and gaining a degree at a competent university; and that a politician who aspires to lead a major party in parliament, to manage a department of state or to be an effective prime minister -- or even to win an election as a party leader -- needs all or most of these skills to succeed. I accept of course that there have been and doubtless will be successful political leaders who have been failures at school and who have had no university degrees (although I'm not sure that Churchill was a successful peace-time prime minister or opposition leader and I agree that people like Callaghan, Bevin and Bevan lacked the opportunity to go to university and get good degrees rather than lacking intellectual ability). We can all draw our own conclusions from the facts about Mr Corbyn, his educational shortcomings, the reasons for them, and whether or not these are relevant to an assessment of his politico-leadership skills.

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