David Davis MP today becomes the highest-achieving computer science graduate in British politics.
Strictly speaking, Davis graduate with a BSc in “Molecular Science/Computer Science” in 1971 from the University of Warwick. He is now the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU (or “SSEE-U”), a freshly-minted post.
Davis later took a Master’s at London Business School and in his thirties studied management at Harvard for a year.
The recent route into the British political class is typically to take a PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) course at Oxford, which began in 1920. PPE graduates include David Cameron, Theresa May, Philip Hammond, Ed Miliband, William Hague, Ed Balls, Jeremy Hunt and Matthew Hancock. Journalist Nick Cohen, who also took the course, wrote:
“If graduates from an architecture school designed buildings that were unfit for human habitation or doctors from a university’s medical faculty left death in their wake, their teachers would worry. The graduates of Oxford’s Politics, Philosophy and Economics course form the largest single component of the most despised generation of politicians since the Great Reform Act. Yet their old university does not show a twinge of concern.”
Perhaps in the spirit of inclusivity, Oxford University explains that you can opt out of most of the tricky parts, and “specialise in Sociology or International Relations” instead.
Or you needn’t bother at all. Two post-war Prime Ministers left school at 17 and 16 respectively: Callaghan and Major. And back then, there was no student debt.
The list of "improbable computer science graduates" is not a long one: it also includes Irvine Welsh. Liam Neeson took a computer science degree course but dropped out to pursue an acting degree: a decision he must surely regret to this day. ®