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The following are extracts taken from unsolicited letters, emails, tweets, articles and comments sent to this website. Comments may be edited for length but no content is changed. Where comments were published in the public domain they are fully attributed. Where comments were made in personal communications, the identity of the correspondent has been withheld to safeguard their privacy. If you wish to make a comment, please use the contact page.

MORE POWER TO YOUR ELBOW: "I read your letter in The Times (18 August) with great pleasure and relief. You have put your finger on an issue that until now has been politically incorrect to talk about, and you are right in my view. It seems simply common sense to assume that genetic inheritance broadly plays a significant part in basic attainment, just as it does in physical appearance. All strength to your elbow. I hope you will continue to open-up this crucial matter (email respondong to my letter in The Times on 18 August 2017).

LOVED YOUR BOOK:
"You may remember me from my letter to you around 1985 regarding your wonderful book on Croydon 'Urban Politics'... I am now a retired professor of urban planning, but loved your book on the rise of the equalities industry, as 'diversity' actually means 'uniformity not 'tolerance'" (comment via my website, 22 February 2016)

REVEALING: A well timed & highly relevant letter to the Sunday Times today. Facts can be so revealing" (Tweet from Tony Armstrong responding to my letter on social mobility in The Sunday Times, 7 February 2016)

LOADED:
"C'mon why should we assume Civitas report is neutral. It's very title is loaded" (Tweet from EU Human Rights barrister Becket Bedford, referring to evidence in my book, The Rise of the Equalities Industry, 3 February 2016)

THOUGHT PROVOKING:
"Now @Saunderspeter responds to @toadmeister's IQ/meritocracy article. I'm very much enjoying this debate …Interesting and thought-provoking article from @Saunderspeter" (Tweet exchange 9 September 2015)

REALLY GOOD ACCOUNT: "For a really good account of social mobility in UK, @Saunderspeter has written the full story for @Civitas_UK" (Tweet by James Bartholomew, 16 June 2015)

PITHY:
"I am rarely motivated by need to respond to good material from you but Peter Saunders’ pithy statement about the moral benefits of free enterprise really deserves a wider audience, as wide as you can give it: “Yet the core case for capitalism is an ethical one: accepting responsibility for creating wealth rather than demanding that others give you theirs. This is a moral argument that has to be spelled out clearly and repeatedly if people are to feel good about voting for parties advocating free markets and a limited state.” (Email to CIS from Gregory Burton, 15 May 2015)

GREAT PIECE! "
Great piece! Exposes the nihilism at the heart of much of modern libertarianism But no values = no free market" (Twitter response to my Ideas@TheCentre thoughts on liberty and licence, 22 July 2014)

FASCINATING:
It has taken me a long time – too long you might very well say – to get round to reading the Civitas booklet “Beyond Beveridge”. A fascinating read on which I congratulate you and Peter Saunders. In particular I applaud the emphasis on “fairness” a concept which I believe underpins the social cohesion of our nation and which we risk losing at our peril (email to Civitas, 2 July 2014)

TELLING IT LIKE IT IS:
"Free movement of labour in Eu bad for socially inept unskilled youth in UK. Telling it like it is, @Saunderspeter!" (Tweeted by Debbie Smythe, 9 June 2014)

REFRESHING: "@Saunderspeter I appreciate your non-left-wing political viewpoint [In Social Mobility Myths]. #refreshing (Tweeted by George Crace @cracecracecrace, 11 May 2014)

SOME GALL:
"I have a query about a possible reference to you in Danny Dorling's book, Population 10 Billion. On page 130, Dorling attacks those anti-egalitarian writers who are upset they cannot get their views published in peer-reviewed journals and write for "right-wing" think tanks instead. It does not occur to Pr. Dorling, perhaps, that the issue is how these "peer-reviewed" journals are often forms of groupthink and hostile to dissent. He quotes your own own reflection on academic sociology and think tanks. He goes on to sneer about how people who fall outside this world have "half-formed" ideas! The gall is astonishing; Dorling...appears to be a bit of a bully" (comment via my website, 24 April 2014)

BAD INFLUENCE:
"@cjsnowdon you and @Saunderspeter can help me out when I fail for referencing both of you and fail my degree in left wing studies" (Edward Anderson twieet, 1 April 2014)

CREDIBLE PLAN:
"A recent Civitas paper set out a credible plan for a means-tested state pension: making participation in workplace pension schemes compulsory, strengthening the “contributory principle” in the system and saving the state some £40 billion a year. ... Not only would such policies free up money with which to reduce the deficit and pay for the child-care, housing, skills and industrial policies that Labour wants to enact, it would also make political sense" (The Economist comments on 'Beyond Beveridge', 10 February 2014)

CLEAR AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN:
"I have just finished reading your fascinating publication 'Beyond Beveridge' - clear and beautifully written. I very much liked the way you incorporated game theory into your analysis" (personal letter received 12 February 2014)

PUNCH IN THE FACE:
"We have just had a phone call that went on for about half an hour from a woman who wants to come round here and punch you right in the face to give you a reality check! She says she is going to take her state pension and stuff it down your throat." (Email from Civitas office following publication of my 'Beyond Beveridge' report, 25 November)

RIVETING:
"I heard John Majors recent speech regarding what he saw as declining social mobility and the connection to the loss of selective, state grammar education for bright working class children. This resonated with my own views and I went in search of data supporting it... I stumbled across your paper for Civitas. It was a riveting read. You are a great writer; the paper is wonderfully structured and paced as it explores the various hypothesis and factual underpinnings of the social mobility issue. I have had my views challenged and become significantly more educated in an area dear to my heart but, prior to your excellent paper, somewhat lacking in facts and analysis. Thank you once again for such a well thought through piece of work." (comment via my website, 23 November)

BRILLIANT:
"Please pass my thanks and congratulation to Peter Saunders for a brilliant article. Politicians should seek the truth not the headlines" (email responding to my article on social mobility on Conservative Home website, 12 November)

NONSENSE!
"who paid this man to write such nonsense?" "My four year old could write a better article than this" (responses from HD2too and retgwte to my article on social mobility on Conservative Home website, 12 November)

SUPPORT:
"I support your view that we must oppose this extreme position on genetics wherever possible" (Email from education researcher in response to my recent letter to The Times on the importance of IQ for social mobility, 29 October 2013)

APOLOGIST FOR THE RICH:
"Your recent role in providing a smokescreen for the rich makes me angry" (Email from UK Politics Professor, criticising my work for free market think tanks, 28 October 2013)

APPRECIATED:
"Dear Sir, this is just to let you know I appreciate a lot what you do. I also want you to know I will use your books for my students (and since I teach in English your audio archive is extremely precious). Thank you again. I perceive good signs in many directions, with young people slowly turning away form Marxism, and this is why I encourage you to keep on the good fight :)" (feedback from Eastern European sociologist via my website, 24 August 2013)

TALKING SENSE:
"Really good to hear some sense talked on the M Maze which I caught by accident. Read the Speccie on the train this am and saw your letter - very good. An uphill battle to get people to see what a catastrophe it would be if instead of genetic resilience, individuals' intelligence were at the mercy of fluctuating environments" (feedback from website, 7 August 2013)

EYE-OPENING:
"@SoundsSage @Saunderspeter The only one of the 4 to actually talk of evidence. eye opening. Just finished your Social Mobility Delusions" (Tweet from Jarneil, 28 July 2013)

BEST SPEAKER:
"@Saunderspeter You best speaker on MoralMaze, shame they had no time for you to expand the factual basis for your approach.BBC fears facts" (Tweet from @SoundsSage, 28 July 2013)

DISAPPOINTED: "I listened to your contribution to BBC’s the Moral Maze and was disappointed and as frustrated as Matthew Taylor by your argument. The programme aims to debate ethical issues but you appeared more keen to discuss your research findings... You were content to rest on your statistics and deflect real debate" (comment posted on Civitas blog by Tuppenceopinion, 27 July 2013)

SANITY:
"Dear Professor Saunders I, too, admired your attempts to introduce some sanity into this week's incoherent 'Moral Maze' discussion and went on to seek out your publications on social mobility... One can only hope that David Cameron is...not planning any serious efforts to 'do something about' social mobility (My credentials: a working class boy who went to Oxford and then worked all his life in comprehensive schools. On the basis of that experience, I am firmly convinced that in this country there are NO significant barriers to any child fulfilling his or her potential.)" (feedback from website, 26 July 2013)

GREAT ARGUMENTS:
"Excellent performance on the moral maze - have never before been moved to give feedback but thought you put across your arguments brilliantly. I come from a so called "deprived area" where i was recipient of free school meals etc. but managed to get into university and now work at management/professional level and in the 25 years I have been working have never once felt disadvantaged by background. I know many others in same position and am continually puzzled by the obsession of politicians with inequality reduction and annoyed with patronising rhetoric about poorer communities. Anyway - great arguments and I will be reading your work as a consequence! Thanks!" (feedback from website, 25 July 2013)

SENSIBLE:
"@Saunderspeter really enjoyed your sensible injection to The Moral Maze" and "@Saunderspeter great to hear some sense: the university admission process is completely fair- the inequality occurs before!" (Tweets from @R.F.Barker and Ponderer following Radio 4 Moral Maze, 24 July 2013)

WE NEED YOU! "
I hope that you get back to working on reforming the family tax and benefits system sometime – it seems to me that you are the only academic to have addressed both the tax side and the benefits side (tax credits) comprehensively or offered a way out of the maze of dependency and disincentives that the Coalition remains locked in. We need your brain on this still!" (email from think tank researcher, 11 July 2013)

SUPERB DEBUNKING: "
Your book “When prophecy fails” is a superb debunking... please change the name of the book. How about “Equality propaganda: how people have been misled” – anyway, something that gives more of an idea of what the book is about. I hope you don’t mind me suggesting this. I only presume to because I am such an admirer of the book and would like to see it get a much bigger audience" (email from UK writer, 1 July 2013)

LOGICAL: "
In a recent comment piece for the Centre for Independent Studies, the ever logical Peter Saunders said that ‘there are two basic ethics that should drive policy’ The first [is] caring and compassion... The second, the need to contribute to your own wellbeing wherever possible, has been lost from our policy debate" (Australian Financial Review, 27 June 2013)

HIGHLIGHT:
"Thank you so much for your superb contribution to the conference. I know that for many members it was the highlight of the two days. There was genuine interest in the research but the humour and panache of the presentation made it really engaging. There were many requests for copies of the presentation for it certainly helps when dealing with some of the mobility claims of politicians and the media" (email from conference organiser, 24 June 2013)

IGNORED: "It is embarrassing that this fact [the link between IQ and social mobility] is never taken into account when policy-making and discussing issues of education and social mobility in the media" (Daniel Ohlvin comment on YouTube, 22 May 2013)

EXCELLENT:
"Just finished @CISOZ's latest (excellent) booklet, "Re-moralising the welfare state," by @Saunderspeter. Lefties will hate it" (Tweet by Chris Ashton, 14 April 2013)

RUBBISH: "CIS is a very biassed institution, dedicated to the free market! I wouldn't expect anything but rubbish from their article!" (Tweet by Glencoehiker responding to my Ideas@TheCentre piece on Thatcher's legacy, 11 April 2013)

SUPERB ARTICLE:
"superb article sir! I wasn't in the UK in the 70s, nor am I even British, but Thatcher had an altogether great tenure" (Tweet by Thomas Slater responding to my Ideas@TheCentre piece on Thatcher's legacy, 11 April 2013)

IMPRACTICAL: "Just read your 'Re-Moralising' piece for CIS... All very noble and intelligently argued, BUT: can these schemes be implemented with lazy, fallible, forgetful, corrupt civil servants and welfare claimants??... The important point in policy advice is always to design schemes with explicit recognition of the fixed and recurrent transaction costs. Too much of what you propose assumes 'perfect knowledge and motivation' by bureaucrats, and you totally forgot the lessons we learnt from Hayek and the public-choice school (Jim Buchanan)" (email from Australian economist, 11 April 2013)

AUSTRALIA NEEDS YOU!:
"I did appreciate your involvement in tonight's discussion...I hope to see you in Oz anytime! We need you!" (email from audience member at CIS welfare seminar, 8 April 2013)

SPLENDID: "I have received and read your splendid pamphlet on "Re-Moralising the Welfare State." Quite convincing. Captures the central rationale for paternalist policies" (email from US social policy academic, 28 March 2013)

CONGRATULATIONS: "Congratulations on your most recent pamphlet [Remoralising the welfare state]" (email from MP, 27 March 2013)

REALLY VERY GOOD:
"I read [Remoralising the Welfare State] on the train. Really very good... you have said the important things so well. I loved your treatment of the quote by Lisel O'Dwyer." (email from UK journalist, 18 March 2013)

HOOKED:
"The author does a fine job of explaining the society and history within the novel. He has erred on the side of caution, as it is not as far removed from reality as 1984, and seems to be more of a cautionary tale than a metaphor for a particular ideology... I really enjoyed the book and consumed it very quickly- I was hooked! But nonetheless it is above all political and may not be suited for a quick easy read" (Reader feedback on The Versailles Memorandum', fom 'Guy of letters' 18 March 2013)

COME BACK TO THE LEFT!:
"Peter, I've never considered you a conservative... I think you do yourself an injustices as trying to pass yourself off as one of them. Suffice it to say, even if you're politics have changed, you've still remained a Weberian and that trace hasn't left you're work... Professor stop writing for Civitas and return to your intellectual home which is clearly the sensible centre left. You're one of the few great contributors of political sociology in the tradition of the late Thomas Bottomore and Im sure you can be remembered as such." (web site comment, 16 March 2013)

SPOT ON:
"just wanted to say that I read your short piece at "ideas@thecentre" about the welfare state, and thought it was spot on. Well said." (email, 15 March 2013)

STRONGLY ARGUED:
"I really appreciate your writings as they are very clear, strongly argued and very intelligable for the students to understand, as well as the arguments for your philosophical approach" (web site comment from Australian social policy academic, 4 March 2013)

BRILLIANT:
"Dear Professor Saunders, I thought your Civitas piece, 'Social Mobility Delusions', was brilliant!" (web site comment from UK Professor, 2 December)

SLOPPY:
"I disagreed with much of your Rise of the Equalities Industry. But worst of all was the complete mess you made of the the Hitichhikers' Guide story on page 70. Golgafricham was the planet that the ship 'Ark B' came from, only Authur was on the ship, and the rest of all the people of Golgfricham did not not get on with their lives, they died in a plague communicated through dirty telephones. I have to say, although your book shows considerably more rigour that some of this ilk, the Hitchhikers' story could stand for geneal slopiness here" (comment via website, 28 November)

IVORY TOWER:
"Seated on a chair located in some lofty 'Ivory Tower', crunching the numbers of statistics from surveys whose outcomes, I would argue, are pre-determined, it is easy to form a view that those claiming to want a job actually don’t" (email responding to my discussion of DWP statistics showing one-third of people on incapacity benefit are capable of working, 24 November)

FASCINATED:
"I attended your recent session at HMC which focused on social mobility, and was fascinated by the alternative view that you presented to the 'received wisdom' of the Sutton Trust and politicians from across the political spectrum... you represented another side to this particular debate that I have not really encountered up to now - and a side that deserves a higher profile" (email from head teacher, 8 October)

FASCIST: "listened to ur talk on abc and wonder why you are so arrogant to think you can judge others(wothy and not wrthy) with your particular form of monetary fascism. i think a lot of the "fecklus" are playing a canny game in realizing that the monetry system is an elaborate scam... your sir are probably funded by these monetry fascists" (comment via website, 4 October)

ABSOLUTELY SUPERB:
"I listened again to your interview on Australian radio about the Spirit Level. Absolutely superb. I have now bought the electronic version of “When Prophecy Fails”" ( email, 26 September)

INSIGHTFUL: "I found your ideas on the drum very insightful. You are right, the discussion does need to move past black & white morals" (Twitter comment following TV discussion of welfare morality, 22 August)

VISIONARY:
"I recently became aware of your book, 'The Rise of the Equalities Industry' and thought it was a visionary piece of writing." (comment via website, 20 August)

WELL CONSTRUCTED ARGUMENT:
"Having just read your paper entitled "The Rise of the Equalities Industry" it behoves me to congratulate you on a well researched and, an experience all too infrequent these days, a well constructed argument. To believe in liberalism, self-responsibility and freedom of expression is, today, to risk a label of extremism. From somebody who has an ever-present sense that something is very flawed in our society, thank you for a piece of work that I will read again" (comment via website, 9 August)

SPOT ON:
"Just discovered your work via Twitter. Your short piece on the Olympics opening ceremony was spot on, especially about the (awful) NHS... Will be reading more of your work over the summer (comment via website, 4 August)

GRIPPED:
"I thought ‘This could be interesting’, and picked it up. So gripped was I that I was still studying it two days later" (Peter Hitchens on The Rise of the Equalities Industry, Daily Mail, 26 July)

OUTSTANDING: "My congratulations to you on what I thought was an outstanding publication" (Email commenting on Social Mobility Delusions, 20 July)

RIGHT WING PROPAGANDA:
"Saunders report relies heavily on weasel wording and framing...Right wing propaganda disguised as objective research" (comment by Paul Warren posted on The Independent website, 28 June)

WHAT THE FACTS ARE: "
What a tribute to the power of herd thinking that Peter Saunders’s study for the Civitas think tank, Social Mobility Delusions, went unreported in the British press when it was published last Thursday...I don’t wholly agree with Saunders’s conclusion [but] I think that there should be more interest in what the facts actually are" (John Rentoul, The Independent 28 June)

SECOND-TO-NONE:
"I can recommend both [Social Mobility Myths and Social Mobility Delusions]. If you want to know the facts, Peter Saunders's pamphlets on this are absolutely second-to-none" (Julia Hartley-Brewer, LBC Radio, 21 June)

ETERNALLY POSTULATING ACADEMIC:
"The author is yet another of those eternally postulating over rewarded academics, who have never ever done a hard days work in their lifetime?... One only acquires the wisdom of the years with age and maturity. Something that seems missing in the author?" (comment on my article on reforming disability payments, posted on Online Opinion by 'Rhrosty', 8 June)

SENSIBLE SOCIOLOGIST:
"Peter Saunders is the only sensible sociologist I know so when he writes on issues such as gay marriage it is worthwhile carefully considering his view" (Sinclair Davidson on Catallaxy website, 1 June)

FASCINATING:
"I really enjoyed reading your social mobility book recently. The IQ stuff is fascinating... I have recommended it to several people" (personal email from social researcher, 27 April)

RENEWED FAITH IN SOCIOLOGY: "I've recently brought a copy of your 'Capitalism a Social Audit'. It has been a very enjoyable read. your analysis is both critical and thorough, compared with other introductions i've read... Had the cultural climate in academia in the UK been more open and sympathetic, you would have recieved the credit you obviously deserve. Your writings have renewed my faith in the subject" (email from undergraduate, 26 April)

BEAUTIFULLY LOGICAL: "What I love about this book is that the case is put so clearly and elegantly. In places it is so beautifully logical that I laughed out loud - sometimes it made me want to commit it to calligraphy to frame and put on the wall. I haven't finished it yet, and I'm not sure that I agree with all of it, but it is a joy to read and to consider" (Review of The Rise of the Equalities Industry, posted on Amazon, 15 April)

BOLD AND BRILLIANT:
"Professor Saunders set out in his bold and brilliant Policy Exchange paper, No Rights Without Responsibilities, to reinstate links between contributions and benefits receipts... George Osborne needs to heed this if he is to find a way through his welfare cuts nightmare" (Kathy Gyngell, writing in The Daily Mail, 10 April)

HIGH AND MIGHTY:
"You don't solve social and economic problems by being all high and mighty and using such sweeping generalisations of people. Why do you think other people are so different than yourself when it comes to motivation? Unless you see yourself as somehow superior. Why not try and understand people and what motivates them without resorting to punitive ideas, behavioural stereotypes and a 'them' and 'us' mentality" (website reaction to my comment that people need 'sticks as well as carrots' to get off welfare, 14 March)

BITTERLY DISAPPOINTED:
"you fool! people will die over such a report, or ideology. you seriously need to review your ideas and consider other things than just from a finacial view point... how did you come to your conclusions? why did'nt you consider the other side of this story??????????????????? bitterly disappointed" (website comment on report 'Father Figures', 14 March)

IMPRESSED:
"very impressed with your critique of 'The Spirit Level'. Where can I find a critique of a similar standard of the Daniel Dorling Doctrines? (website comment, 1 March 2012)

KEEP IT COMING:
"Just a note of thanks for your work in debunking "The Spirit Level". Tonight I am off to my monthly book group meeting,The Spirit Level being the book in question. Thanks to Christopher Snowdon's book and your online presentations I will have ample ammunition with which to make a room of leftist intellectuals squirm a little. Many thanks for your work, keep it coming!" (website comment, 17 January 2012)

OVERDUE CRITIQUE:
"This is a thoroughly researched critique of egalitarianism as practised in this country over the last decades. It is a partisan account, and so what? [5 stars]" (Review of The Rise of the Equalities Industry, posted on Amazon, 16 January)

SERIAL LIAR:
"You claim to have debunked 'The Spirit Level' yet you repeatedly claim in your online articles and on the ABC's Counterpoint program that Wilkinson and Pickett don't acknowledge higher suicide rates in more equal societies. Yet the third paragraph on page 175 of the 2010 Penguin edition of the book clearly and overtly addresses this matter. Why should I trust someone who is either so sloppy a scholar as this or simply a serial liar? Is your case so weak that you need to spice it up in this way?" (website comment, 6 January 2012; I have never made such a claim, and on p.101 of Beware False Prophets I explicitly state: "Wilkinson and Pickett themselves recognise that suicide tends to be ‘more common in more equal countries.’")

ABSOLUTELY SUPERB: "I have just listened to the interview you did about The Spiriit Level. Absolutely superb" (website comment, 29 December 2011)

FANTASTIC AND USEFUL: "I have just finished Rise of the Equalities Industry. What a fantastic and useful little book. You have managed to un-pack the cockamamie legislation and present hard data together with the faulty and fanatical ideology that underpins them. Bravo. Your style is sober yet compelling. I will be buying and distributing copies to friends and enemies.... Would be wonderful if 'Rise' made it into the mainstream bookshops. I hope it generates some acrimonious debates on radio 4. Congratulations and Thanks Again" (website comment, 20 December 2011)

EXCELLENT CRITIQUE: "I am writing to you after reading your excellent critique on the Equalities Industry. It is refreshing to hear such a voice from academica... This legislation is illiberal and totally counterproductive to what a free society should be." (website comment from student, 17 December 2011)

DEVASTATING: "I have just read 'The Rise of the Equalities Industry'; it is devastating. I hope that as many MPs as possible can find the time to read and inwardly digest it" (website comment from Liberal Democrat activist, 16 December 2011)

SANE VOICE: "I look forward to reading more of your work. Always good to encounter a sane voice in a mad world" (website comment prompted by publication of The Rise of the Equalities Industry, 28 November 2011)

THOUGHTFUL: "This is a very interesting and thoughtful book. It nicely shows how much that we commonly read about social mobility fails to paint the whole picture. It provides the facts behind the reported facts, in a highly accessible manner" (comment on Social Mobility Myths, posted on Amazon, 3 November)

PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS:
"If this is the quality of your thinking it is profoundly interesting how you managed to become a Professor. Maybe partly a result of social connections. Also is this really about a professor who feels uncomfortable around anyone who us not upper or upper middle class. Take it from me a psychologist would have a very interesting thing to say about your psychological make up" (website comment on my work on social mobility and intelligence, 11 October 2011)

VERY INTERESTED: "I was very interested to read your personal story as a sociologist who turned from left to right [article published in Sociological Research Online, 31 August]. I think it deserves a wider audience." (email received 2 September)

GREAT ARTICLE: "Fantastic analysis Peter - great article, keep up the GOOD work!" (Neil Innes, comment on my article on the riots, posted on The Australian website, 15 August 2011)

TALKS COMMON SENSE: "Good Heavens! An academic who talks common sense. Who'da thunk?" (Gee Jay, comment on my article on the riots, posted on The Australian website, 15 August 2011)

GREAT ARTICLE: "Thank you for a great article, Peter" (Max, comment on my article on the riots, posted on The Australian website, 15 August 2011)

EXCELLENT READ: "Well written and quite absorbing. Does exactly what it says on the tin: a believable job at dispelling social mobility myths that plague public policies in Britain and elsewhere" (Comment on Social Mobility Myths, posted on Amazon, 15 August)

LIKED YOUR ARTICLE: "I rather liked your article [in The Australian, 1 July]... Your proposals should be considered, and hopefully acted upon, by the next Liberal Government" (email sent via CIS, 16 July 2011)

COMPLETELY TRUE: "I have recently read your book published by CIVITAS,'Social Mobility Myths,' and I cannot agree more. From my own socioeconomic background and experiences, what you say is completely true... I have thought all this for a long time and was glad that someone in the academic community has documented it. This is why I have written to you. I look forward to reading more of your works in the future" (website comment from York University student, 25 June 2011)

INSPIRING: "I was at the CIS talk last night listening to your presentation. To say it left me speechless is an understatement. Prior to your talk, I really felt I understood so much more than I apparently did... my thanks for inspiring me to finally understand why understanding statistics is so important" (website comment from mature student following my CIS talk on The Spirit Level, 7 June 2011)

ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL: "I saw your talk at CIS today. You were absolutely wonderful. I will tell people all about it" (email following CIS talk on The Spirit Level, 7 June 2011)

AN OLD-FASHIONED TORY: "I’ve read quite a bit of Saunders on welfare. He’s a good, thought-provoking analyst in this area. But he also has a very harsh, punitive attitude to people on welfare – a lot of stick, and little carrot, to get the donkey moving. I don’t think he’s a liberal or libertarian – he strikes me as more of an old-fashioned Tory. That said, it would be good to have him contributing to the debate again" (comment pasted by Piett at http://catallaxyfiles.com/2011/05/17/come-back-peter-saunders/, 18 May)

WILLING TO SPEAK THE TRUTH: "Just to say that I fully agree with what you said on the programme. Thank God there are people like you in the world who are willing to speak the truth. The BBC are truly incompetent at presenting evidence." (website comment regarding BBC Today interview on the importance of talent, received 17 May)

EXCELLENT WRITING: "Congratulations on all your excellent writing and media performances. Keep on fighting" (website comment, 9 May 2011)

TRENCHANT CRITICISMS: "Peter Saunders and others have made some very trenchant criticisms [of The Spirit Level] which are evidence based and analytically strong, while the response from Richard Wilkinson et al has been unconvincing and often inappropriate. What is really surprising is the extent to which Professor Dorling and his colleagues on the old state socialist left have circled the wagons in defence of such a weak thesis. Apparently, they so much want to believe the conclusions drawn by Wilkinson and Picket that they are prepared to set aside academic rigour and scrutiny - their mode of thinking appears to be closer to religion than it does to science" (David Wainwright, Bath University, post on Guardian website in response to podcast on inequality, 27 April 2011)

RIDICULOUS AND JUDGEMENTAL:
"I was really disappointed in the article "Society in pyjamas". Is wearing pyjamas in public really where Mr Saunders draws the line?... I think Mr Saunders is being ridiculous and judgemental and if he doesn't have something more interesting and relevant to write about, he shouldn't write at all" (email sent to CIS website, 15 April 2011)

FASCINATING: "Professor Peter Saunders...published a fascinating paper under the title: 'Social mobility myths'... Some sociologists dispute his findings and competence. Yet much of what he writes seems common sense" (Max Hastings, Financial Times, 8 April 2011)

BREATH OF FRESH AIR: "Hi. I saw you interviewed on TV recently and found your views a welcome breath of fresh air with which I totally agreed. I am Australian by birth although I have lived in the UK for most of my life. I found Sydney to be more socially divided by class than London! My family were working class but, via the magic of Grammar School and University i was upwardly mobile. My children have tended to move in the opposite direction! So what! Keep on telling the politicians the facts" (website comment, 6 April 2011)

AGREE WITH ALL YOUR COMMENTS: "Hello Professor Saunders I was listening to your review on Social Mobility on Sky News on 5/4/2011 and wanted to share with you that I agree with all your comments on the above subject." (website comment, 5 April 2011)

TWADDLE: "Your research is twadle, your are completely out of louch I am working class and have been through an elitest system of education where working class people have been objectivised and suffered from class racism and prejudice-in all walks of life my expierence has been that the uk is a class ridden and profoundly divided divisive sociaty- my research over the last twenty five years totally hammers the rubbish/ propaganda youve come out with from your privalleged position of a cushy academic seat etc etc- you are biast and you looked awful scruffy on sky tv but i suppose thats just another tactic !" (website comment, 5 April 2011)

REALLY ENCOURAGED: "I watched your feature on Sky News RE: Social Mobility for graduates getting into work. I was really encouraged by your position on the issue and in particular the research/ stats you mentioned" (website comment, 5 April 2011)

INSIGHTFUL AND CHALLENGING: "I hear you occasionally on radio, so I guess you are still in touch with Australia - you are always insightful and challenging." (email from editor of Australian online journal, 15 March 2011)

INITIALLY TAKEN ABACK: "I am a first year student in Sociology. Having briefly came in contact with some of your studies I was initially taken a back as I suppose many people are [but] I genuinely can see much merit in what you say. I have grown up in a area of much social and economic hardship but like you can recognise much of the welfare dependant lifestyle choices... please post some more." (YouTube message received 15 February 2011)

BEST ARTICLE IN RECENT TIMES:
"Re: Telegraph 09-02-11: The best article written in recent times on this thorny subject - clear, comprehensive and sane" (website comment received 10 February 2011)

BRAINS AND COURAGE: "FINALLY! Finally someone has had the brains and courage to say this" (comment by 'philantony' on Daily Telegraph web site, 9 February 2011)

INCITEFUL ANALYSIS: "It is a breath of fresh air to read an incitful piece that cuts through the emotional clap trap that is spouted for fear of being politically inncorrect. Peter Sanders addresses the issue in a proper context with incitful analysis. Oh that all of the Telegraph reporting was of an equally high and also entertaining standard" (comment by 'paul_basel' on Daily Telegraph web site, 9 February 2011)

AT LAST SOMEONE SAYS IT:
"Thank God for Peter Saunders! At last someone says it: intelligence and income (ergo social class) are correlated... Of course the middle classes are 'overrepresented'. It would be scandalous if they were not" (comment by 'timothyfj' on Daily Telegraph web site, 9 February 2011)

BRILLIANT ARTICLE: "This is a brilliant article, true, apposite, clear and well argued" (comment by 'dutch' on Daily Telegraph web site, 9 February 2011)

EXCELLENT ARTICLE: "An excellent article Mr Saunders. Most DT readers will agree with nearly every word, and you can see the bigger picture, which Clegg cannot... I really suggest this article is forwarded to Nick Clegg" (comment by 'understandingreality' on Daily Telegraph web site, 9 February 2011)

CLEAR COMMON SENSE: "Having just read your article in todays Daily Telegraph, I feel I must write to say well done! Good common sense is sadly lacking in so many aspects of government... Use your position and keep putting forward clear common sense. Unfortunately it may not be a vote winner" (website comment from retired CEO and company chairman, 9 February)

DEFIANT AND UNFAZED: "I proudly take my hat off to you Peter for so defiantly & unfazedly confronting a sanctimonious, manipulative interviewer with the self-evident facts of intelligence distribution which so offended his pre-ordained, cherished, visceral theology. We could do with more of that spirit" (website comment following BBC programme on social mobility, received 4 February)

MADE A FOOL OF YOURSELF:
"i would urge you to exercise your brain before publicly making a fool of yourself" (website comment following BBC programme on social mobility, received 4 February)

INSULTING: "I found your comments insulting- I am the daughter of a factory worker who gained a 2:1, married to the son of a car mechanic who likewise gained a 2:1" (website comment 4 February, unwittingly confirming my argument that working class origins do not block bright people from getting on)

THANK YOU: "Thank you for pointing out the 'elephant in the room' in the BBC's "Who gets the best jobs" documentary... Whilst your comments on how more intelligent parents tend to have more intelligent children is deemed unacceptable, most people don't have a problem accepting that the children of musicians tend to be more musical, or the children of artists more artistic. This intellectual double-standard is astonishing... Thank you again for pointing out a most obvious, yet hardly ever spoken point" (website comment from psychologist, 3 February)

EMOTIONALLY NEUTRAL AND RATIONAL: "I would like to thank you for your appearance on the BBC2 Programme, 'Who Gets the Best Jobs'. I eagerly awaited the programme, but was sorely disappointed at its clearly-established agenda. I found the snippet of your interview particularly interesting. You appeared emotionally neutral to the opinions you delivered, a good sign of someone who is rational... Do not be discouraged" (website comment following BBC programme on social mobility, 3 February)

GOOD FOR YOU: "Good for you!!! for unashamedlly stating that ON AVERAGE the lower the socio-economic population have a lower intelligence. How can we understand disparities (let alone narrow them) if we don't confront blatant facts, however unpalatable?... Richard Bilton's self righteous, chip-on-the-shoulder, naive disapproval (with accompanying face-pulling searching for a guilt response) was head-in-the-sand reportage. I just had to write. Thank you" (website comment following BBC programme on social mobility, 3 February)

NOT AFRAID TO SPEAK UNPOPULAR TRUTHS: "Hi, Just to say that I completely agree with what you say about class and intelligence: it's simply logical. I suspect that you'll get a lot of negative criticism in connection with yesterday's BBC programme (and the appalled look of the interviewer) - I hope you won't let it get you down! I think society needs people like you: who are intelligent and also not afraid to speak unpopular truths in a simple manner, understandable for everyone" (website comment following BBC programme on social mobility, 3 February)

CHANGE PROFESSION: "I saw your comments on the BBC earlier and I suggest you consider changing profession because you are clearly struggling to assess basic evidence...I'm sure you have access to relevant journals so I recommend you get your head down, study hard and you might get on top of your subject... Regards Dr. [name removed] BSc, MSc, PhD, CPA, EPA, RPA" (website comment from academic, 2 Febuary 2011, following BBC programme on social mobility)

DISGUSTED: "I highly recommend you keep your opinions to yourself... My disgust at your statement is only paralleled by my disbelief that someone with your education and academic standing can hold, and share with the public, such an opinion. May I suggest you veto any such unfounded opinions you have on the subject purely to prevent other, more intelligent, academics from being tarred with the same brush as yourself" (website comment from academic, 2 February 2011, following BBC programme on social mobility)

SPOT ON: "You're spot on - I wouldn't be here if Britain was not a meritocracy. I often see more class issues here in Australia, though of course nobody would admit to it. I'm about half way through the book - very interesting" (Australian IT Executive, born and raised in Britain, commenting on Social Mobility Myths, email, 7 November 2010)

THAT RARE BEAST, A SENSIBLE SOCIOLOGIST: "An excellent recent pamphlet published by the think-tank Civitas shows that Britain is a much more socially mobile society than the Left admits. Its author [is] Professor Peter Saunders — that rare beast, a sensible sociologist." (Max Hastings, The Daily Mail, 30 October 2010)

ADMIRATION AND ENJOYMENT: "I recently re-read Social Mobility Myths with still more admiration and enjoyment (how many sociological studies can one say that of?) and some optimism that it may also have some useful practical consequences (ditto)... It almost makes me wish I were still teaching." (UK retired sociology lecturer, personal letter, 28 September 2010)

REFRESHING: "I wanted to say thank you for your demolition of Wilkinson and Pickett. For what its worth I think you've been remarkably restrained in responding to some of the outrageous comments they have made… Please keep fighting them - it is so refreshing to hear someone speaking out on these issues." (UK academic, email 26 August 2010)

ADMIRATION: "I heard your battle [BBC Radio Four Today programme interview, 17 August] and do admire how you managed… I wish you well in your worthy campaign," (UK Professor Emeritus, website comment 18 July 2010)

MAGNIFICENT: "Your pamphlet on "The Spirit Level" is magnificent. Congratulations on an excellent piece of work." (UK journalist, email 10 July 2010)

BRILLIANT AND DEVASTATING:
"Just finished "Beware False Prophets", which is brilliant and devastating. It was doubly useful because I was quite impressed by the Spirit Level, not realising how completely cynical and manipulative academics like this can be. You have done us a major service with this piece." (UK national politician, email 9 July 2010)

ENJOYED: "I have been reading your new Civitas book on social mobility with much appreciation and some feeling of discomfort and, perhaps, guilt. Being an old leftie, and a fervent one in my youth, I found your observations and their attendant conclusions rather difficult to accept . But being an unreconstructed positivist I have had to face your evidence. I did enjoy your book" (UK retired academic, email, 18 June 2010)

ICONCLASM AT ITS BEST: "I have just finished reading 'Social Mobility Myths'...I was enormously impressed by the courage and dedication with which you have marked out these positions and systematically challenged the prevailing orthodoxy. It is iconoclasm at its best. We all owe you a debt of thanks" (UK retired academic, personal letter, 17 June 2010)

DEVASTATING: "'Poverty of Ambition' is the title of a devastating paper by the professor emeritus of sociology at Sussex University, Peter Saunders, and published by the Policy Exchange think tank. Saunders takes an intellectual wrecking ball to the Child Poverty Bill' (Dominic Lawson, The Sunday Times, 13 June 2010)

RIGOROUS RESPONSE: 'We don't know each other personally, but I just wanted to thank you for writing such an excellent new piece on social mobility for Civitas… For some time now I have been very disturbed by the sweeping claims that are made about the supposed collapse of social mobility on what always seemed like a negligible research base. Now, thanks to you, we have a rigorous response at our disposal. I can't say how much I admire your guts in standing up against such overwhelming odds in your discipline.' (UK academic, website comment 1 June 2010)

SUCCINCT: "I thought your talk was excellent. I have written singly or jointly a number of things in this area over the years. However, I have never managed to put the matter so succinctly and clearly as you did last night" (email from UK academic following Policy Exchange debate on family tax and benefits system, 5 February 2010)

FASCINATING PAPER: "Peter Saunders at Policy Exchange, in his fascinating paper Poverty of Ambition, points out…" (Lord Freud cites my work in House of Lords debate on the Child Poverty Bill, Lords Hansard, 19 Jan 2010 : Column GC147)


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