Today’s Quora Bordeline-Racist Award goes to….

Grahame Hedger, (originally) Norfolk

The never ending exploits of institutional racists on Quora never ceases to amaze me!

Grahame Hedger, 57 (Spanish ex-pat, previously from Norfolk) is the latest member of the “I’m racist but don’t know it” brigade.

“How’s that?” you may ask. Well, it started with an easy enough question.

Image for post

To which Grahame responded with something that started out OK. The first paragraph is OK as a matter of opinion. Then he goes and ruins it (still current as of 17th March 2017).

Image for post

“People from other countries are given free driving lessons (fact, I’m afraid)”

Sorry, I didn’t catch that the first time. Can you repeat it?

“People from other countries are given free driving lessons (fact, I’m afraid)”

Outlandish Claim

Those of us who have worked at the CAB, close to the welfare system, and with DSS claimants, from home and abroad, wracked our brains to remember a time when free driving lessons were given to people from other countries “on the DSS” (Note, it hasn’t been called the DSS since 2001, but let’s assume it’s a turn of phrase).

OK, let’s work with the hypothesis it’s a fact. In order for it to be a fact, and his answer to be true, it has to have been at some time, a registered UK wide policy that foreigners get free driving lessons.

I and another Quoran, questioned this. His responses are added:

Image for post

Louis Henwood and Richard Endersby, I love you for fact checking ;)

So, for the benefit of our readers who may not know where these two towns/cities are in relation to each other:

Image for post

King’s Lynn is in Norfolk and Cambridge is in Cambridgeshire. They are 45 miles away from each other, in different counties. At 1 hour 15, that is a very long driving lesson! Though students may have booked 3 hours to drive there and back? Whatever. People smell a rat here.

Image for post

OK, OK, OK. Let me get this straight. A good friend of yours owns (present tense) a driving school in Cambridge but is now dead, as of two years ago (RIP your friend). So he doesn’t currently own it, but his son owns? If his son is a good fried of yours, and you don’t know his son well, he isn’t a good friend of yours. Don’t worry, we’ll come on to the racist logic in a bit.

Now, the crux of the argument is his statement that it is a fact. Let’s look at the inference behind the statement.

  1. “People from other countries [alone] are given free driving lessons.”
  2. “(fact I’m afraid)”

Fact? One data point doesn’t make a fact

The statement about his friend (RIP) is one single data point and a conjecture at that.

We’ve been here before. One data point does not make an inference make.

Try this. Flip a coin. Whatever you get, let’s say heads, does this mean the coin you hold in your hand is a double headed coin, just from that one flip? If you worked on the assumption it is not a fair coin, and spun it again, and it comes out as tails, then you have falsified the first assumption. Thus proving the coin is fair. If it comes out as heads, you still cannot reliably prove that the coin is not a fair coin. You have to spin it several times and it come out heads each time to be satisfied it’s a two headed coin.

That is also what those wearing stats hats mean when we say “you have failed to disprove the null hypothesis”. The null hypothesis being that it not a fair coin.

His friend isn’t good enough evidence for it to be fact alone. Let’s ask Google to search for evidence of this “fact”…

People from other countries alone…

Google… doesn’t show any such objective fact anywhere. What it does show, is a pilot from 13 years ago in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Migrants have to prove they are receiving benefits.

Image for post

And you will also notice that the scheme actually applies to unemployed people in general, though it is another group it appears My Hedger has a problem with.

What was the outcome? Did the DSS make this a national policy?

No. Indeed a pilot was also conducted in Lincolnshire in 2005 and the money to provide these two schemes came from a National Lottery (now BIG Lottery) fund. It wasn’t from taxation.

Institutionalised Racism?

So, we’ve established Mr Hedger’s statement isn’t fact, and his statement that it is fact, is also just as pretty darn false.

Let us move on to the racist inference. As with Max Lane, 2 weeks ago, Mr Hedger is making the assumption that I am not a Brit. The comments section doesn’t show my credentials on the subject nowadays, so in his knowledge-less state, his brain has filled in the gap, even though it is easy for him to click my name, find some information and infer where I live.


Given his statement is that foreigners only receive free driving lessons, his statement;

“I guess if you want to join the queue, just ask your local DSS office.”

Infers that I am a foreigner. He didn’t make explicit the unemployed reference in his answer. Indeed, his inference implies he doesn’t know about it and it isn’t first hand knowledge. He didn’t do his homework on this.

Hence, he has made the statement on the grounds of my name. Great! Another one. Ironic considering he’s a foreigner in another land… apparently.

Or maybe he assumes I’m unemployed? OK, that’s not true that either. Plus, he could have thought that I already have a driving license?! Maybe?

Should I sue him for defamation? On which one of those? ;) Perhaps, it’s better for me to make this statement and thinking style public, for folk and perhaps himself to learn from. I am not overly convinced he’s an overt or conscious racist, I think he needs to check himself a bit and perhaps clarify and understand what his Hitler vid means, satirically. Also, he’s single and maybe I can find him a mate who thinks the same? Or perhaps when folk Google to find out if he’s worth appointing to teach Aviation English. They can make their own mind up. He can have some promo anyway from this link for his trouble.


So it reads to me, the reader, and any other reader, that foreigners only receive free driving lessons across the UK [untrue] and I, as a foreigner [untrue], should ask the DSS [DWP now] for free driving lessons to find out. Clearly a racist statement. He might want to rethink that posting.

Got your own story? Let us know.

Written by

EA, Stats, Math & Code into a fizz of a biz or two. Founder: Automedi & Axelisys. Proud Manc. Citizen of the World. I’ve been busy

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store