Monday, September 29, 2008

Where the Guardian keeps getting it wrong

Or rather that whole stratum of the British left that can't face the prospect of an Old Etonian becoming Prime Minister. Here's Jackie Ashley:

Yet even without difficult decisions to be made, Cameron has to explain what the new Tories stand for. Do they have distinctive, properly thought out policies? Or are they content to kick a deeply unpopular government in hard times? So far, they still seem more Flashman than Gladstone.

Oh come off it. If ever there were a boy who was tossed in a blanket, roasted in front of a fire and had his head shoved down the bog in the dorms it is Cameron minor. He is no more a Flashman figure than Nick Clegg is Gladstone come again.

More generally, the obsession with the Old Etonian = Tory Toff!!! OMG!!!! line of argument, which does not work in the slightest, misses the real reason why we should be worried about a cabinet of Old Etonians. It is that the school is England's academy of darkness, the greatest nursery of vice, brutality and degradation known to man.

Of course, this experience can give a valuable insight into human nature and it's no surprise that Eton has produced some fine writers: Orwell and Powell, for instance. But let's remember the words of another Old Etonian writer (and pornographer, confidence trickster and minicab driver): Robin Cook (aka Derek Raymond). He said of his schooling "An Eton background is essential if you are at all into vice".

It is a fairly good rule of thumb that one should never trust an Etonian - certainly not when matters of money or honour are at stake. Really: one would expect the Guardian, as a newspaper written by people who were bullied at public school for people who were bullied at public school, to know this.

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Blogger Nick said...

Bill, shouldn't that be: 'a newspaper written by people who were bullied at minor public school for people who were bullied at minor public school'?

I believe only Seamas "Shameless Minefield" Milne (Winchester) and Patrick Wintour (Westminster) went to top-notch public schools.

Milne reminds me of the Tommy Judd character in Another Country. Except he's not as good looking as Colin Firth. And nor has he been killed in a foreign war. More's the pity.

12:00 am  
Blogger bill said...

Damn, I believe you're right there Nick. (Though are the likes of Rugby or Marlborough minor? Discuss).

Let's also not forget George Monbiot who claimed that his experiences at Stowe made him the man he is today.For example:

(Ban hunting because the people who bullied me at school liked it)

2:45 pm  
Blogger Nick said...

Hmmm. I believe both Rugby and Marlborough avoided becoming minor public-schools by going co-ed. I mean they are certainly not "minor" in terms of size, but no longer - I feel - have the cachet they once did. The same is certainly true of my alma mater - Sherborne - which has radically upped its intake of foreign pupils in order to survive.

I would suggest that Eton, Harrow and Winchester - like the high street banks - are the last "big beasts" : - everyone else is of a lesser species.

Monbiot is a classic class-rejectionist - but still fundamentally a patrician left-liberal - and therefore just like a public-school prefect, who have always been fond of telling other people what to do.

6:17 pm  
Blogger bill said...

All perfectly true, Nick. Though it suits my own world view to see the pukka schools as being anything that's a cut above Uppingham, Oakham or Oundle. (Besides, Flashman went to Rugby, so it's got that going for it).

As for Monbiot, I have no problem at all with someone being a classic class-rejectionist - but still fundamentally a patrician left-liberal. I do however object to the being a snivelling little pussy about the whole thing.

2:36 am  

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