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Oct 27 2010

Questions for undergraduates… cabinet edition

Thinking back many years to my first fraught days as an undergraduate, the three questions that came up most frequently as icebreakers between students were:

  1. Where are you from?
  2. What were your A-level results?
  3. What degree are you doing?

In this post I thought I would answer the third question, for members of the cabinet. The data is all culled from wikipedia:

Prime Minister David Cameron Politics, Philosophy and Economics (Oxford)
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg Social Anthropology (Cambridge), Political Philosophy (Minnesota), MA European affairs(College of Europe)
Foreign and commonwealth affairs William Hague Politics, Philosophy and Economics (Oxford), Master of Business Administration (INSEAD)
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne History (Oxford)
Justice Kenneth Clarke Law (Cambridge)
Home department Teresa May Geography (Oxford)
Defence Liam Fox Medicine (Glasgow)
Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable Economics and Natural Sciences (Cambridge), PhD Economics (Glasgow)
Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith Sandhurst
Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne Certificate in French language and civilisation (Sorbonne); Politics, Philosophy and Economics (Oxford)
Health Andrew Lansley Politics (Exeter)
Education Michael Gove English (Oxford)
Communities and local government Eric Pickles Law (Leeds Polytechnic)
Transport Philip Hammond Politics, Philosophy and Economics (Oxford)
Environment, food, rural affairs Caroline Spelman European Studies (Queen Mary College)
International Development Andrew Mitchell History (Cambridge)
Northern Ireland Owen Paterson History (Cambridge)
Scotland Michael Moore Politics and Modern History (Cambridge)
Wales Cheryl Gillian Law
Culture Olympics Media and sport Jeremy Hunt Politics, Philosophy and Economics (Oxford)
First secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander Politics, Philosophy and Economics (Oxford)
Leader of the House of Lords The Lord Strathclyde Bachelor of Arts (UEA)
Minister without portfolio The Baroness Warsi Law (Leeds)

As a scientist this is both depressing and comforting, depressing because of 23 members only 2 has any sort of scientific training: Liam Fox and Vince Cable (the latter of whom only did science in his first year). Comforting because at least we don’t get the blame!

It also highlights once again the dominance of the Politics, philosophy and economics degree at Oxford in providing Cabinet ministers – I haven’t checked but I believe this applies to previous cabinets.