Oxford and Cambridge Universities are being encouraged to accept increased numbers of academically able teenagers from Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, even though their West Country drawl makes them sound rather stupid. The initiative follows a report which shows that Oxford and Cambridge Universities have a disproportionately high percentage of students from the Home Counties. A small minority of crackpot educationalists reportedly believe that it is physically possible to have both a brain and a regional accent.
The universities themselves admit that they receive fewer degree applications from the West Country, and those who speak incredibly slowly at interview, use personal pronouns for inanimate objects and place prepositions at the end of sentences are less likely to be offered a place.
Asked to give an example, an Oxford University spokesman described the interview of a prospective Mathematics student from Yeovil in which he was given a complicated formula and asked to describe the process of finding x. The gifted lad correctly solved the equation but was marked down for beginning the response with ‘Aaaaarrrrrrr, oi seeeees wherrrre heeeee’s toooooo.’
Ultimately, the West Country accent, together with the region’s slow pace of life and the widely-held perception that Weymouth is a big city (and pronounced ‘Wayyyyyyymerrrff’), could become the subject of positive discrimination. Oxford and Cambridge would be expected to accept their quota of yokels who appear not to understand the concept of verb tenses, and Admissions Staff would no longer be able to reject applicants purely because they say ‘Taaaaa frrr invoite meee ere’ at interviews.
The Oxford University spokesman said, ‘We pride ourselves on embracing diversity and we look forward to receiving increased numbers of applications from the West Country in the light of this new initiative. As long as we don’t have to have students from the West Midlands, who insist on using the greeting “owamya?” and terminating the interviews with “Tara-abit.”’ he continued. ‘Now they really do sound thick.’