According to the writer Walter Ellis, author of a book called the Oxbridge Conspiracy, Britain is still dominated by the old-boy network: it isn't what you know that matters, but who you know. He claims that at Oxford and Cambridge Universities (Oxbridge for short) a few select people start on an escalator ride which, over the years, carries them to the tops of British privilege and power. His research revealed that the top professions all continue to be dominated, if not 90 per cent, then 60 or 65 per cent, by Oxbridge graduates. 据《牛津剑桥阴谋帮派》一书作者沃尔特·埃利斯所说，英国如今仍然处于老同学关系网的控制下：你懂什么并不重要，重要的是认识谁。他声称在牛津大学和剑桥大学求学的少数精英一开始便平步青云，扶摇直上，几年之内，就登上了特权和权力的顶峰。他的调查结果显示，英国高级职能部门仍然由牛津和剑桥的毕业生控制着，如果没有90%，至少也有60或者65%。
And yet ,says Ellis, Oxbridge graduates make up only two per cent of the total number of students who graduate from Britain's universities. Other researches also seem to support his belief that Oxbridge graduates start with an unfair advantage in the employment market. In the law, a recently published report showed that out of 26 senior judges appointed to the High Court last year, all of them went to private schools and 21 of them went to Oxbridge. 埃利斯指出，牛津、剑桥的毕业生只占英国大学毕业生总数的2%。其它的研究者似乎也证明了这一点，即牛津、剑桥的毕业生一开始就在劳动市场上占据着不公平的优势。最近公布的一份调查结果显示：在法律界，去年任命的26名高级法官都就读过私立学校，其中21人曾就读过牛津和剑桥。
But can this be said to amount to a conspiracy? Not according to Dr. John Rae, a former headmaster of one of Britain's leading private schools, Westminster: 但仅凭这些就能说是一个阴谋帮派吗？根据英国一家有代表性的私立学校——威斯敏斯特的前任校长约翰·雷博士的看法，情况并不是这样的：
"I would accept that there was a bias in some key areas of British life, but that bias has now gone. Some time ago - in the 60s and before - entry to Oxford and Cambridge was not entirely on merit. Now, there's absolutely no question in any objective observer's mind that entry to Oxford and Cambridge is fiercely competitive." "我承认过去英国的某些重要领域内存在着偏见，可如今这种偏见已经不存在了。一段时间以前——-即60年代或更早的时候进牛津、剑桥并不完全是凭本事的。而现在，在任何能够客观看问题的人的眼里，毫无疑问，去牛津和剑桥读书竞争是很激烈的。"
However, many would disagree with this. For, although over three-quarters of British pupils are educated in state schools, over half the students that go to Oxbridge have been to private, or "public" schools. Is this because pupils from Britain's private schools are more intelligent than those from state schools, or are they simply better prepared? 然而，很多人都不同意这种说法。尽管有3/4的英国毕业生就读于公立学校，而上牛津剑桥的学生中有半数以上的人曾就读于私立学校。难道这是因为英国私立学校的学生比公立学校的学生更聪明些？或者，仅仅因为他们准备得更加充分吗？
On average, about ￡5,000 a year is spent on each private school pupil, more than twice the amount spent on state school pupils. So how can the state schools be expected to compete with the private schools when they have far fewer resources? And how can they prepare their pupils for the special entrance exam to Oxford University, which requires extra preparation, and for which many public school pupils traditionally stay at school and do an additional term? 私立学校平均每年在一个学生身上的花费是5000英镑，是公立学校每个学生费用的两倍还多。那么财源少得多的情况下，公立学校的学生怎么可能与私立学校的学生竞争呢？这些考试需要精心准备，为此许多公立学校的学生传统上要住校，以便有额外的学习时间。
Until recently, many blamed Oxford for this bias because of the university's special entrance exam (Cambridge abolished its entrance exam in 1986). But last February, Oxford University decided to abolish the exam to encourage more state school applicants. From autumn 1996, Oxford University applicants, like applicants to other universities, will be judged only on their A level results and on their performance at interviews, although some departments might still set special tests. 直到最近，仍有很多人就牛津大学的专门入学考试一事谴责牛津存在偏见。但牛津大学直到去年2月才决定取消入学考试，鼓励更多的公立学校毕业生报考本校。从1996年秋天开始，申请上牛津大学的学生像其它大学的申请者一样，将只根据他在中学学习期间的成绩和面试的表现来决定是否被录取，尽管有些系仍可能需要专门考试。