Monday, December 28, 2009

Eton College: No more strangulation games at £29k a year Tory school, I trust

Prince William models the Eton look*

All this talk of a political "class war" in the build-up to the next general election (because the next Tory government will be largely Old Etonian in character) draws me to Eton College, celebrating its 570th birthday in 2010. Its lucid website describes a most excellent nursery for those fated by God - or at least by parental wealth - to lead us.

The fee per boy boarder per year is £28,851, plus extras for music tuition, "tradesmen's bills", etc. Assuming a boarder stays at Eton for five years (from ages 13-18), that will set back his parents by at least £144,255 at current charges, probably more in practice. Anyone who harbours fears that Eton is a haven of classlessness - David Cameron is after all known as "Dave" - is reassured that "the house system provides excellent opportunities for boys to discover their leadership skills in their final two years in the school."

Eton's most recent Ofsted report, of October 9, 2009, judged the school to be "outstanding". However a close reading of this document reveals at least two areas of concern. The first: "There is a lack of suitable safeguards on some windows." What could this mean? If I were shelling out £144,255 on my brat's education, I'd want to know about the windows. One trusts they are double-glazed at the very least. Iron bars optional.

Even more troubling is the section on severe allergies. Somewhat illiterately, the inspector writes: "In one house, whilst staff were aware of the risk to health, did not sufficiently monitor foods brought into the house that is a serious threat to a boarders well being." Perhaps this would read a little better as:  "In one house, foods which were brought in and which posed a serious threat to a boarder's well-being, were not sufficiently monitored, despite staff awareness of risk to health." One expects better of an Ofsted inspector.

The report rhapsodises on Eton's procedures against misconduct and misrule. Just as well. As recently as 1999 a Berkshire inquest heard how up to 10 Eton boys indulged in "fainting games" - thrill-seeking near-strangulations - after a pupil was found tragically hanged at the college. No satsumas were involved. A 14-year-old boy told the inquest: "You sit on a bed and someone produces a dressing gown cord and it is wrapped around your neck. One or two friends will pull it until you feel dizzy and faint for a few minutes. The attraction was that it was something different - it made you feel abnormal."

One can only hope Eton has eliminated entirely exotic subterranean activities of this sort - though I am sure future Old Etonian memoirs will paint a very different picture from that prettily framed by Ofsted in 2009.

*At 13, William was sent to Eton College, close to Windsor, a choice well-suited to a boy with a public future, not least because his new classmates would be as well-connected and as well-heeled as he: the Prince would not even be the only boy with a private detective." The Royal Report.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Eton is a model of excellence. Everyone would want their kid togo to Eton if they had the money.

Sue George said...

No they wouldn't, Anonymous. I, for one, wanted my son to go to a school where he wasn't taught he was a master of the universe. Hopefully I would still think this even if I had the requisite £144,000 for Eton.

Anonymous said...

The point about Eton is that it is politicised by virtue of the privileges bought. The cost per year to educate a boy there is more than the average annual UK wage. Gordon Brown is absolutely right to make an issue of Cameron's Etonian background. How can such a man, and his Etonian colleagues, begin to understand what it is like to live without privileges?

Smoked Salmon Soot said...

I wish my Parents had been able to send me to Eton,for one reason and one reason only, so that I could have been buggered at a much earlier age -that sort of thing never went on in my Secondary Modern ! I missed out.

Madame Arcati said...

You just miss the lemon drizzle.

Anonymous said...

Well done Madame! A new low for your very low blog. Dancing on the bones of a dead schoolboy to score a point for your dull leftwing agenda. Labour's cheque in the post?

Anonymous said...

Eton is lovely.

Do The Funky Chicken said...

Dreary anti-elitist Pavlovian reflex. It's a marvellous school.

Madame Arcati said...

Stop being a dull, lazy-brained, grape-nibbling cunt. Stop dreaming of Waugh on Want.

Evadne Unhinged said...

Madame's got very political all of a sudden. Taking advantage of the Christmas break, are we? It hardly becomes a psychic to immerse herself too deeply in mundane matters. You'll come a cropper, deary.

veritas said...

Because Madame is interested in such things, I used to visit a Vicar of Eton (now deceased) who was also a Spiritualist but kept the fact hidden for obvious reasons. He was a wonderful psychic and specialised in 'hands on' therapy by 'driving out devils' with a massage.I kid you not, and there was no sex involved (unless it was in his mind). People of all ages and sexes flocked to him to be physically 'exorcised'. Always felt much better afterwards.

One must admit, that Eton uniform is a real turn-on.

an old Shoreditch shirtlifter said...

If Smoked Salmon Soot didn't get buggered at his local Secondary Modern it's his own fault. He was obviously too immersed in his studies to realise the lower orders are at it just as much as their betters.
And if he had travelled to Eton and talked loudly in at least a lower middle-class accent he would have been whipped behind the bike shed before he could yell 'pass the vaseline'.

Madame Arcati said...

I suppose there's a piece to be done on the erotic appeal of Eton - one lost on me: Didn't Tallulah Bankhead worry MI5 or 6 with her reported seductions of Eton boarders? Certainly Etonian Nicky Haslam enchanted the camp old girl. Uniforms, money, alpha contacts - what an irresistible mix in pubescent promise. Perhaps Eton could be porno'd to death.

Anonymous said...

More Etons please, not fewer

Blithe Spirit said...

If I had the money, I would want my child to have the best chance to the best education. That is, whatever school has the best record of facilitating employment and assuring excellence in the field my child chooses to pursue for her/himself. It’s what I would research and would be looking for in a prospect school.

Rich or poor, every child faces his own challenges in making the right choice for his future, in terms of fitting in and achieving the degree of success he expects in life. I don’t mean to sing the poor little rich boy song, but upper-class children have their own problems in terms of learning to make the right connections, if nothing else, not to end up as a good for nothing daddy’s boy that only knows how to squander the family’s fortune.

I think the master of the universe attitude is not precisely learned at any school in particular; it has to do with the child’s upbringing at home and the people he frequents (you learn it form friends and family). Sense of entitlement comes from the same place other prejudiced feelings (elitism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia) come.

Anon, too bad you got stung by MA’s comment on the games children play at school. I would want to know if such things happened and would very much take into consideration any stories of hazing and such. They may or may not stop me from sending my baby to a particular school, but for sure I would have long discussions with him about these occurrences, while trying my best to keep his trust so that he feels comfortable letting me know if anything of the sort is going on (hard task!).

If my child wants to grow up to be a cunt in parliament and most of them come from Eton… well, so be it. I knew I should have used a condom.

Now MA darling, back to the inspector.
“…foods brought into the house that IS a serious threat to a boarders well being”.
Which is the subject the predicate is modifying? Are you sure the inspector doesn’t mean it is the house that poses a serious threat to the boarders well being?
ox

Madame Arcati said...

Dear Blithe, oh, foods is the intended subject, not the house: the house would not pose a threat a health, only that which is brought in. Also, an apostrophe was missing from boarder's (singular). But I'm open to any reinterpretation. Perhaps the subject was "risk to health"; but then that would make "that is a serious threat to a boarders [sic] well being" a tautology. No?

If the inspector had written a proper sentence we wouldn't have had to worry about it.

Alastair said...

I do love an old Etonian. Did anyone on here attend Eton College ?

an old bender said...

Yes I attended Eton but only on a day trip on the Green line bus. Does that count ?.
And I got to watch a rugger match on the famous playing fields so I feel I'll always be a part of the place.

John said...

People in glass houses should not throw stones. I would far rather see an ex public school boy in government than an ex stalinist! See The roots of New Labour. What is wrong with our media, why don't they explain exactly what it meant to be an extreme left winger in the Cold War?

Madame Arcati said...

Better an ex-Stalinist than a Stalinist.

Vinny said...

I wonder if the Eton lovers on here would like to have attended it in the 1960s when Anthony Chenevix-Trench was headmaster?

(the flogger and piss artist was later headmaster at Fettes, Tony Blair's old school)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Chenevix-Trench

Vinny said...

@ John

Jesus,many young people join far left groups when young.

Sir Alfred Sherman, the political analyst, adviser to Margaret Thatcher and co-founder of right-wing think tank the Centre for Policy Studies, was in the Communist Party when young, till expelled for "Titoist deviationism".

If anything he was more right wing and barmier than Thatcher (he once proposed abolishing railways and converting the tracks into roads).

John said...

"Jesus,many young people join far left groups when young."

Well, firstly these communists killed more people than any other dystopian creed in the 20th century. So young nazis and young communists should never be rehabilitated to the degree of allowing them to take over government.

Secondly, the avowed aim of these communist splinter groups was to go underground and infiltrate the establishment. They were traitors and even today they can only rationalise their affection for the Soviet Union by being anti-British globalizers. They'll end up giving our armed forces to the French and our sovereignty to anyone who will take it.

See The roots of New Labour for references to how the communists instructed their young members to infiltrate.

Cameron going to Eton is nothing compared with the covert treachery of Labour ministers.

Anonymous said...

I'm an Indonesian and in our country the difference between the rich and the poor is so great you can't even imagine. Indonesia is a 3rd world country and yet we have many kids having unlimited sources to money, education and refinement but simply refuse to take them.

Some went to so-so colleges in Los Angeles, Boston, London etc. FYI our late president Soeharto's children: none of them have a university degree. And yet this family's fortune has been estimated at US$15 billion.

Now I'd rather have a rich, hard-working, high-aiming kid going to Eaton... than lazy, spoiled kids going to so-so colleges in California just for the sake of lazying on the beach, being drunk and have party 24/7.

At least the first has some determination in life and are willing to make the most use of their parents' sources.

ps: sorry my English is not very good! But I hope my point could be clearly understood.

Anonymous said...

@ Madame Arcati:
out of the 21 comments posted so far you've dun 5 of them. I hope you have that poop soon because you seem to be a little constipated with that stick up you're butt. If that's your real photo I think I'd put a different one up there. Not very flattering if you ask me. With what little time you have left I'd advise you to use it more constructively. Take a pill and chill. Smell the roses, go for a walk in the park and say hello to a stranger you don't know, even if you despise the way they look. It'll do you a world of good.

Madame Arcati said...

Well at least you can count - hope it was worth the fees.

Anonymous said...

@ Madame C.
I guess we'll now have to make that 6. Why is it Madame? Stange title for something who throws the word 'cunt' around on a blog site. Although it does add evidence to my theory that people with glorious names do a lot of inbreeding. Inbreeding dumbs down the senses you know. This is why Madames must insist on being called Madames - to create the false illusion of importance without actually doing anything of importance. Your posting on this blog are evidence of that. Do yourself a favor. Drop the Madame. The respect you demand won't be coming your way, but ridicule will. No need to embaress yourself any further. But if you do need to reply, please address me a s Lumberjack Bob, unless you feel my title is too far above you.

Madame Arcati said...

Mmm, mental age of 14 I'd say. Or 13.

Anonymous said...

Madame, you give yourself far too much credit. Inbreeding produces mental ages no greater than 11.

Madame Arcati said...

Then in your case I was generous. So typical of me.

Anonymous said...

Madame, that was borderline clever. Who did you consult? Someone outside of your circles no doubt. You know that is cheating don't you? Or are you a closet commoner disguising as a Madame? Mind you, you could be similar to a Hollywood Madame in which case your incredible outburst of wit would be well explained - for there would be no inbreeding at all. Now's your chance to come clean...

Madame Arcati said...

I never come. Clean.

Anonymous said...

Damn good article. Why is that twit attacking you Madame? He must be from the colonies - Lumberjack Bob!

Keep up the good work.

Madame Arcati said...

Thank you darling. I believe Lumberjack is trying to tease me into bed.

Anonymous said...

Only if there is someone in there with you Madame.
L.B.

Madame Arcati said...

I don't countenance under-age sex.