Eagleton has himself in such a state about it that he’s throwing every insult he can think of, without worrying too much whether they cohere smoothly. The college is condemned both for being disgustingly elitist and for overcharging for knowledge that could be acquired for the price of a cheap paperback:
Who would pay £18,000 a year to listen to this outdated Victorian rationalism when they could buy themselves a second-hand copy of John Stuart Mill?
Many newspapers have odd obsessions, and the SMH‘s odd obsession is with people paying for education. Though presumably many of its eastern suburbs and north shore readership would never dream of sending their kids to a government school, the SMH leaps on any opportunity to present private schools in a negative light. Private schools are wasteful status competition, in decline (that turned out to be wishful thinking), responsible for white flight, etc. etc. It was one of the most persistent critics of full-fee undergraduate places at Australian universities.
But using scarce opinion page space to condemn a small college 24 hours flying time away seems to take this obsession to ridiculous lengths.