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Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones
Asperger Syndrome, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, collapse of Lehman Brothers, credit crunch, deindustrialization, Etonian, facts on the ground, falling living standards, first-past-the-post, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, mass immigration, Neil Kinnock, Occupy movement, pension reform, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, race to the bottom, Right to Buy, rising living standards, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working-age population
Indeed, the classifieds for nannies and domestic staff are among its big selling points. 'NANNY REQUIRED for delightful girls in West Byfleet,' reads one typical advert. And yet, despite being the sister of a senior Eton-educated Tory politician (although she argues that Boris Johnson's background is 'very different' from that of David Cameron), she expressed her disgust to me before the 2010 general election that 'the prospect is Old Etonians bankrolled by stockbrokers ... It's back to the days of Macmillan and Eden.' She has a point. All in all, twenty-three out of twenty-nine ministers in Cameron's first Cabinet were millionaires; 59 per cent went to private school, and just three attended a comprehensive. No wonder that, as one poll revealed, 52 per cent of us believe that 'a Conservative Government would mainly represent the interests of the well-off rather than the ordinary people.'
'William's not actually the poshestsounding cadet, despite his family heritage, but he struggled to pull off a working-class accent,' one cadet told the Sun.ZIWelcome to twentyfirst-century Britain, where royals dress up as their working-class subjects for a laugh. To get a more detailed sense of what the' chav' phenomenon means to young people from privileged backgrounds, Ihad a chat with Oliver Harvey, an Old Etonian and president of the Oxford Conservative Association. 'In the middle classes' attitudes toward what you would have called the working-class, so-called chav culture, you've still got to see class as an important part of British life,' he says. 'Chav' is a word Harvey often hears bandied around beneath the dreaming spires of Oxford. 'You'd think people would be educated here, but it's still something people find funny.'
Switch on Britain s Dream Homes or I Own Britain s Best Home and watch Melissa Porter and Rhodri Owen saunter round rural Britain ogling country mansions; watch grand properties being restored in Country House Rescue; zap over to A Place in the Sun and let Amanda Lamb give you a guided tour of wealthy Britons fleeing to buy up in Greece or Crete. Indeed, property programmes like Relocation, Relocation and Property Ladder are two-a-penny. Above all, posh is mostly certainly in. Watch Old Etonian chef Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall rustle up an organic treat; be dazzled by the public-school charm of other TV chefs like Valentine Warner and Thomasina Miers; then enjoy the aristocratic Kirstie Allsopp encouraging you to gaze starry-eyed at unaffordable homes. Too much of our television consists of promotional spiel for the lifestyles, desires and exclusive opportunities of the rich and powerful.
When the Iron Lady Ruled Britain by Robert Chesshyre
Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, corporate raider, deskilling, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, full employment, housing crisis, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, means of production, Neil Kinnock, North Sea oil, oil rush, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Silicon Valley, the market place, trickle-down economics, union organizing, wealth creators, young professional
But, as we know, abused by the press and largely unloved, comprehensives in the end got a firm thumbs down, hence the academies and ‘free’ schools that are the enthusiasms of the moment. In 1987 Britain’s social class bedevilled education as it bedevils it today. Choice, as a campaigner for state education told me, is a nice word for an often nasty process. I passed my teens under an Old Etonian cabal, presided over by Harold Macmillan: fifty-plus years later, I live again under an OE cabal. I asked my MP, Old Etonian Zac Goldsmith, how it came about that, in Cabinet terms, we were back in the 1950s. All the Old Etonians in the present government are, he assured me with a straight face, absolutely the best people among our 60 million fellow citizens to occupy the commanding heights. The distortion in opportunity is so obvious that those who benefit from it ought at least to recognize not just the advantages they are buying their children, but the consequences for the far greater numbers of the less fortunate.
Jobs were going begging in the Thames Valley, where firms were compelled to turn down orders because of labour shortages, and people were going begging in the north. Inequalities in Britain are reported in dramatic terms in the United States. It is one of the few subjects that gets London-based American journalists off their bottoms: ‘THE TWO BRITAINS: the gap between stagnant north and prosperous south is wider than ever’ proclaimed a headline in Newsweek a few days before I travelled to Durham. It contrasted pictures of Etonians disporting themselves in fancy dress on the Thames with the children of the unemployed playing amidst the dereliction of a shattered housing estate. ‘Some housing projects in Manchester seem straight out of the Third World’, read one caption. Kids hanging out on a northern council estate – ‘For the country’s underclass, few prospects of a better life’ – were set against young people in evening dress at a party at St Paul’s public school – ‘Laps of luxury’.
With hindsight, 1966 was a fulcrum year between the expectations of post-war Britain and the realities of the late twentieth century. England won the football World Cup. Wilson’s government was handsomely re-elected, giving its supporters hope that the country was about to make a final surge towards prosperity, better education, better health, better housing for all. Harold Macmillan’s ‘never had it so good’ boom had prepared the way, but now the people, freed of Supermac’s Old Etonian cabal and his seedy Edwardianism, would, as in 1945, again truly be the masters. A few miles from where the foundations were being laid for a neo-Napoleonic road system for Skelmersdale, the Beatles had been asserting the new egalitarian age: the class system, it seemed, was finally tottering from the British stage. Led by a grammar-school boy with a Yorkshire accent, a reassuring pipe clasped between his teeth, and a Gannex mac on his back, a meritocratic nation of pop stars and footballers, fashion designers and iconoclastic media folk like David Frost, was ready for the future.
The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It by Owen Jones
anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, bank run, battle of ideas, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, citizen journalism, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Etonian, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, G4S, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, housing crisis, inflation targeting, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, James Dyson, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, Monroe Doctrine, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Neil Kinnock, night-watchman state, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, open borders, Plutocrats, plutocrats, popular capitalism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, stakhanovite, statistical model, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transfer pricing, union organizing, unpaid internship, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent
But important facets of power in Britain were missing from Fairlie’s definition. Firstly, there was no reference to shared economic interests, the profound links that bring together the big-business, financial and political elites. Secondly, his piece gave no sense of a common mentality binding the Establishment together. But there was one – although it was very different from the mentality that dominates today, despite the fact that, then as now, an Old Etonian Conservative (Anthony Eden) was in Downing Street. For this was the era of welfare capitalism, and an ethos of statism and paternalism – above all, a belief that active government was necessary for a healthy, stable society – was shared by those with power. The differences between Fairlie’s era and our own just goes to show that Britain’s ruling Establishment is not static: the upper crust of British society has always been in a state of perpetual flux.
Although the IPPR receives some trade-union money, its big funders include the tax-avoiding multinational Google; Capita, a private company that makes money by taking over public assets; and energy companies such as EDF Energy and E.ON UK. In other words, the IPPR can hardly be described as a think tank that is independent of the Establishment, let alone challenging it. Another self-styled ‘centre-left’ think tank is Demos, whose current director is David Goodhart, an Old Etonian who came to prominence by founding Prospect, a political magazine, in 1995, and whose overriding passion appears to be an almost obsessive opposition to what he regards as mass immigration. ‘The direction I very much want to take Demos in,’ Goodhart says, ‘is a “social glue” direction’ – by which he means social cohesion – ‘looking particularly at those difficult things for Labour, like welfare, immigration and multiculturalism’.
Many leading Tories had been perfectly content to uphold the post-war Establishment principles of state intervention, treating trade-union leaders as equals, and maintaining high rates of marginal tax. In the 1950s the Conservatives competed with the Labour Party over who could build the most council homes – anathema to the later Thatcherite principles of home ownership and leaving housing policy to the market. These post-war leaders were often patrician Tories, including Old Etonians such as Harold Macmillan. When in 1975 Thatcher became Tory leader, she felt isolated within her own shadow cabinet. Even in the early days of her premiership, she found herself battling the internal opposition of so-called ‘wets’, who feared the consequences of overturning the post-war order. In 1985 former Prime Minister Macmillan publicly compared Thatcher’s privatization policies to selling off ‘the Georgian silver’ and ‘all that nice furniture that used to be in the salon’.
What's Left?: How Liberals Lost Their Way by Nick Cohen
anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, centre right, Etonian, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Farzad Bazoft, feminist movement, haute couture, kremlinology, liberal world order, light touch regulation, mass immigration, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-industrial society, profit motive, Ralph Nader, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, sensible shoes, the scientific method, union organizing, upwardly mobile, Yom Kippur War
Palestinians will remember Edward Said’s name, as Iraqis will remember Kanan Makiya’s, but Said’s influence in the West seemed to be confined to the cultural studies departments of the universities where jargon-spouting post-modern theorists perplexed their students – and each other. Like Makiya, he could walk down most streets without being recognized. Said, Tariq Ali and the Marxists who first backed then abandoned Makiya gathered around New Left Review, the world’s foremost journal of Marxist theory for academic leftists. In 2000, on the journal’s fortieth birthday, its Old Etonian editor Perry Anderson let out a piercing howl of regret for the lost world of his youth. Like Karl Marx, he had expected so much for history, only for history to leave him beached. When he was a young man in the Sixties, Marxism had seemed a good bet. Communist tyrants ruled one-third of the world from Berlin to Shanghai. Mass Marxist movements in Western Europe and Japan threatened to overturn the status quo.
As the leaders of other European countries acknowledged, Britain sought to wreck every initiative that might have ended the violence. Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the Prime Minister of Poland in 1993, said, ‘Any time there was a likelihood of effective action, a particular Western statesman intervened to prevent it.’ The Western statesman he had in mind was the British Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, an Old Etonian and son of a peer who had graduated to politics from Cambridge University and the Diplomatic Service. Hurd was every inch the English grandee: a calm and measured politician, who proved the breadth of his interests by writing thrillers that weren’t at all bad. His ally in government and successor at the Foreign Office was the Defence Secretary, Malcolm Rifkind, an Edinburgh lawyer, whose putdowns were so polite on the rare occasions he was rude it was almost worth being insulted to hear them.
Even the critics did not pretend to be interested in what message, if any, Hirst had for his audience, but reported the sale like business reporters covering a soaring stock. For 10 years New Labour stood cross-eyed in admiration as London was turned into the centre of the financial universe. From the sand bags Nick Cohen has watched as they turned their back on the working class, once the object of Utopian hopes on the Left and unreasonable fears on the Right, and lovingly embraced the upper class, once the object of surly contempt on the Left. In Waiting for the Etonians are gathered his selected writings that cover the span of Labour's love affair with the Right and the moral hazard that it has culminated in. It is a romance which has not only broken its traditional bond with the working classes and undermined the very values on which the party was founded, but has now left it with little more to do than warm the seat for the next Conservative Prime Minister.
Why Orwell Matters by Christopher Hitchens
anti-communist, British Empire, colonial rule, deindustrialization, Etonian, hiring and firing, land reform, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, sensible shoes
It is, in all essentials, a study in deliberate underdevelopment and the means by which raw materials are used to finance another country’s industrial progress. But one may also notice the emergence of another trope: the author’s keen and sad interest in the passivity and docility of the victims, who know little or nothing of the wider mercantile world from which their nation is being excluded. This article was the latest in a series of occasional pieces written by ‘E. A. Blair’ — his Etonian and Burma Police name, not to be abandoned for Orwell until 1933 and the publication of Down and Out — for the Parisian radical press. The very first such essay was a study of censorship in England, published by Henri Barbusse’s weekly Monde, a sort of cultural-literary front-publication of the French Communist Party. This article, also, was a thorough study of a given question which also contained a psychically interesting undertone.
Most of them are small (big men are at a disadvantage in that job) but nearly all of them have the most noble bodies; wide shoulders tapering to slender supple waists, and small pronounced buttocks and sinewy thighs, with not an ounce of waste flesh anywhere.’ Certainly class is involved here — words like splendid and noble are applied by the officer corps to unusually good ‘specimens’ among the other ranks, and indeed Orwell found himself employing what Campbell describes as an Etonian accolade when he said that miners had figures ‘fit for a guardsman’. (The National Union of Mineworkers was known until the mid 1980s as ‘The Brigade of Guards of the Labour movement’.) Is there a hint of the homoerotic here? It’s difficult to argue confidently that there is not. We know that Orwell was teased heartlessly by Cyril Connolly while at Eton for being ‘gone’ on another boy and, while that might have been commonplace enough, we also have the claim by his friend and colleague Rayner Heppenstall that he was himself the object of an adult homosexual ‘crush’ on Orwell’s part.
The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell
But Orwell’s representatives, his wife, Eileen, and his agent (Orwell had by then gone to fight in Spain), refused to allow the text to be cut; so Gollancz felt constrained to write a foreword. Particularly in its second half his commission had (to use an often misused phrase in its exact sense) given him more than he had bargained for–a ‘highly provocative’ piece, he said pawkily, as he twisted and turned to protect his readers and his club’s ideological purity from this rude old Etonian. There would be little point in referring to that foreword today if it were not a classic minor document of English middle-class left-wing intellectualism and a striking example of much Orwell was attacking. Gollancz can accept a lot in Orwell’s description of working-class life; yet, for example, he tut-tuts nervously when Orwell says that working-class people are believed by middle-class people to smell, which, indeed, they did.
It is noticeable that he still habitually associates with his own class; he is vastly more at home with a member of his own class, who thinks him a dangerous Bolshie, than with a member of the working class who supposedly agrees with him; his tastes in food, wine, clothes, books, pictures, music, ballet, are still recognisably bourgeois tastes; most significant of all, he invariably marries into his own class. Look at any bourgeois Socialist. Look at Comrade X, member of the CPGB and author of Marxism for Infants. Comrade X, it so happens, is an old Etonian. He would be ready to die on the barricades, in theory anyway, but you notice that he still leaves his bottom waistcoat button undone. He idealises the proletariat, but it is remarkable how little his habits resemble theirs. Perhaps once, out of sheer bravado, he has smoked a cigar with the band on, but it would be almost physically impossible for him to put pieces of cheese into his mouth on the point of his knife, or to sit indoors with his cap on, or even to drink his tea out of the saucer.
Kill Your Friends by John Niven
Trellick says, turning to Schneider and sweeping a raft of thick blond hair hack off his forehead. James Trellick is a generic toff, the end product of a lineage of fine dining and arse-fucking the poor that stretches back to the Domesday Book. He’s tall and pointlessly handsome with the questing, jutting cleft chin that seems to be standard issue to his class. But it’s the voice that really does it; an oak-and-gilt Etonian baritone, the sound of someone brought up to run the empire. “Nearly done,” Schneider says, leaning back, eating a green apple. “He wants to have a playback for everyone in a couple of weeks.” Schneider is like a weedier, discount, Jewish version of Trellick; similar clothes not filled out so well, a more minor public school, his voice a thinner, reedier take on Trellick’s fruity rumble. Today his dark hair is slicked back and he has recently taken to wearing glasses, black-framed designer jobs the clown undoubtedly thinks make him look more intelligent.
“No one believes it,” Trellick lies. I slide across some magazines I’ve brought him—Q, Uncut, Mojo, NME. “There’s a good live review of the Lazies in there,” I say but he just stares at the magazines dumbly, perhaps feeling too keenly the distance between bis old life and his current one. “Why is this happening to me?” he says to no one. “Listen,” Trellick says, using his best let’s-get-a-grip-shall-we? Etonian voice as he counts off the positives on his fingers, “a) you’ll get bail next week, b) the company will pay it, whatever it is, and c) that was an old computer in your office. Christ knows who’s used it over the years.” Trellick talks law for a bit, burden of proof, beyond reasonable doubt stuff. “But what are people going to say?” Parker-Hall looks very small and very young now. He looks like he might cry.
Happy Valley: The Story of the English in Kenya by Nicholas Best
People going out to dinner usually took a rifle or spear with them, just in case. One lady, riding her bicycle to a rehearsal of Trial by Jury, was nearly trampled to death in the street by a herd of frightened zebra. 1906 was also famous for an official visit to the protectorate by one of Queen Victoria’s sons. The Duke of Connaught sailed out with wife and daughter to inspect the latest addition to the imperial collection. An Old Etonian named Jim Elkington invited the three of them to lunch at his farm outside Nairobi. Mindful of social niceties, Elkington went to considerable trouble beforehand to ensure that his servants were fully clued up on the correct way to serve a meal to the King-Emperor’s brother. The operation went like clockwork until after lunch, when the party moved into the garden to have a cup of home-grown coffee.
Sometimes they killed so many that it proved impossible to carry the bodies down the mountain. In that case they would cut off only the hands and put them in a sack to be identified later by fingerprint experts, leaving the rest of the corpse to be devoured by hyenas. It was a grisly, unpleasant business. Nobody liked doing it. But they were fighting hard-core Mau Mau on their own terms, and they believed they were doing right. One European pseudo, an old Etonian, felt so badly about it that he adopted a Kikuyu baby orphaned in a forest action and brought it up as his own child. Since the use of white pseudos was for obvious reasons a closely kept secret, blacked-up Europeans attempting to return to base through the outskirts of the forest frequently found themselves being chased by the Kikuyu Guard or orthodox British army patrols who had mistaken them for Mau Mau.
A Classless Society: Britain in the 1990s by Alwyn W. Turner
Berlin Wall, Bob Geldof, British Empire, call centre, centre right, deindustrialization, demand response, Desert Island Discs, endogenous growth, Etonian, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, first-past-the-post, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, full employment, global village, greed is good, inflation targeting, means of production, millennium bug, minimum wage unemployment, moral panic, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, period drama, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, South Sea Bubble, Stephen Hawking, upwardly mobile, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce
She was then informed by her cabinet colleagues that she stood little chance of prevailing in the next round, and announced her resignation on the morning of Thursday 22 November, thereby freeing cabinet ministers to enter the race – an opportunity immediately picked up by the chancellor, John Major, and foreign secretary Douglas Hurd. That evening, the BBC and ITV news bulletins produced graphics to illustrate how the electoral process worked; both followed the conventional wisdom of the day and showed Major coming last and being knocked out, leading to a final third-ballot showdown between the flamboyant self-made millionaire Heseltine and the patrician Old Etonian Hurd. In the real world, to the surprise of the media, it took just four days for Major to move into Number 10, having seen off both rivals with no need for that final ballot. His opening words to his first cabinet as prime minister summed up the mood of a perplexed public: ‘Well, who’d have thought it?’ The implausibility of his rise helped create an image of accidental premiership that he never quite threw off.
Major was clearly not cast in the same mould as, say, Douglas Hurd – the former Eton head boy turned diplomat, whose father and grandfather had both been MPs – rather his story seemed the living embodiment of Thatcher’s promises to those who aspired to better themselves. It was widely assumed therefore that he bought into her ideology. Certainly that was her feeling. ‘I don’t want old style, old Etonian Tories of the old school to succeed me,’ she observed. ‘John Major is someone who has fought his way up from the bottom and is far more in tune with the skilled and ambitious and worthwhile working classes than Douglas Hurd is.’ There was at least some truth in this perception. As prime minister, Major’s evocation of a classless society echoed Thatcher’s mindset, even as it pointed the way forward to Tony Blair and New Labour.
‘I expect that the Labour Party will go for Major in a big way, portraying him as a wimp.’ He also dismissed the Back to Basics campaign, saying it ‘meant nothing’, though ‘the core aspects are very popular – more people locked up, kids forced back to school. I don’t care what liberals with a small “l” think.’ Nonetheless, he returned to the fold for the 1997 general election, devising the controversial – if unsuccessful – ‘demon eyes’ poster. Meanwhile, Cameron (‘a suave Old Etonian’ according to the Guardian, and ‘one of the brightest young men in the party’ according to The Times) went on to become adviser to Norman Lamont, for whom he was said to have coined the phrase ‘green shoots of recovery’. After Lamont’s fall, he made an easy transition to a similar position under Michael Howard. A subsequent spell of employment with Michael Green at Carlton Communications (‘the most powerful man in the ITV network’) was seen by no one as an end to his political ambitions.
No Such Thing as Society by Andy McSmith
anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Geldof, British Empire, Brixton riot, call centre, cuban missile crisis, Etonian, F. W. de Klerk, Farzad Bazoft, feminist movement, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, full employment, glass ceiling, God and Mammon, greed is good, illegal immigration, index card, John Bercow, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, Live Aid, loadsamoney, long peace, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, old-boy network, popular capitalism, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Sloane Ranger, South Sea Bubble, spread of share-ownership, strikebreaker, The Chicago School, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban decay, Winter of Discontent, young professional
Negotiations resumed, but had got nowhere when, in 1979, responsibility passed to a newly appointed minister of state at the Foreign Office, Nicholas Ridley. He was not interested in foreign affairs. Mrs Thatcher had placed him there as a counterweight to Lord Carrington, the foreign secretary, and his deputy, Ian Gilmour, who were both in the aristocratic One Nation Tory tradition she so distrusted. Ridley, too, was an old Etonian and the brother of an earl, but unusually for someone of that background, he was also a Thatcherite, whose loyalty to her never wavered. He was also the last British minister to attempt to resolve the Falklands issue. He twice made the 16,000-mile round trip to Port Stanley, hoping to persuade the islanders of the merits of a lease-back deal. They were not persuaded, and neither was Margaret Thatcher, who had already had enough grief from the Tory right over allowing Rhodesia to become Zimbabwe, but Ridley bravely insisted on putting the idea to the Commons in December 1980.
They included the Hon Pandora Mond, with nipple exposed, and Nigella Lawson. The pictures captured the attention of Tina Brown, editor of Tatler, and inspired waves of students to ape this behaviour. Jones said in a recent interview: ‘I had access to what felt like a secret world. There was a change going on. Someone described it as a “last hurrah” of the upper classes.’34 One of the stars of this new firmament was Darius Guppy, an old Etonian who helped revive the Bullingdon Club, whose antics had been recounted in Waugh’s novels. Guppy later went to jail for fraud. Another was Count Gottfried von Bismarck, a descendant of Prussia’s Iron Chancellor, who liked to dress up in lederhosen or in women’s clothes, lipstick and fishnet stockings. An Oxford contemporary, Toby Young, recalled: It was as though Oxford – and no doubt the same was true of Cambridge – was a stage and people like Gottfried von Bismarck and Darius Guppy were the theatrical stars we had all come to see.
Ever since, Heseltine had been a formidable presence on the backbenches, with an undisguised ambition to be prime minister. But he was not interested in implicating himself in a bid to remove Thatcher unless he could be sure of success. The conspirators then turned to the former cabinet minister, Ian Gilmour, but he also did not want to impale himself in a contest he was sure to lose. At this point, a little-noticed MP named Sir Anthony Meyer stepped forward. Meyer was an old Etonian, a former diplomat, and a man whose pro-Europeanism meant that he had never been considered for a government post. His decision to challenge Thatcher ended his parliamentary career, when his constituency party sacked him. It also prompted the tabloids to uncover his long affair with a black blues singer, which came as no surprise to his forgiving wife. Despite these handicaps, he drew 33 votes to Thatcher’s 314.
Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger
One whispered to me disapprovingly that he ‘was a product of his age and class’, as though an English gentleman born in 1910 was predestined to be an aristocratic fop or a colonial nabob. In fact, of course, the modernist revolutions in art, science and politics were underway before his birth. Picasso, Proust, Einstein, James Joyce and Mao were all old enough to be his father. While Thesiger was lion-hunting in the Sudan, his fellow Etonian George Orwell was fighting in the Spanish Civil War. When Thesiger was living with the Marsh Arabs, another fellow Etonian, Aldous Huxley, was experimenting with gurus and LSD in California. If Thesiger seemed old fashioned this was in part his conscious choice. His answers to the students were deliberately camp and provocative. He was aware that most of the audience had no idea what First Field Colours were (they are awarded to the best performers in the Field Game – a sport played only at Eton).
His love of the freebooting life of the raiders encouraged him to believe that all modern development was for the worst and that modern cities were ‘an Arabian nightmare, the final disappointment’. He can be naive, superficial and even offensive, such as when (in his autobiography) he praises the Ethiopian race because ‘they had not been mongrelized’. It is not surprising, therefore, that another Etonian explorer, Robin Hanbury-Tenison, seeing Thesiger’s prejudices, aristocratic manner and suits, should conclude on their first meeting, like many others, that Thesiger was ‘an archaic figure, caught in a time warp, with excessively reactionary views’. Nevertheless, Thesiger’s painful participation in such eccentric environments is valuable. He gains a unique insight into the Bedu’s struggle with the desert at its worst, their resilience, their survival skills.
Ghosts of Empire: Britain's Legacies in the Modern World by Kwasi Kwarteng
Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, British Empire, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, Etonian, illegal immigration, imperial preference, invisible hand, Khartoum Gordon, land reform, sceptred isle, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, trade route, urban planning, Yom Kippur War
A committed student of Arabic who had spent some of his earlier career in Cairo, Bowman was delighted to hear ‘again the Arab tongue’ which made him feel that he was coming to a land ‘not altogether strange’. All this he recounted in a broadcast on the BBC entitled ‘Memories of Iraq’, which was transmitted in 1942. His diaries of his time in Iraq paint a vivid picture of the reasonably civilized, enlightened time he spent there. He managed to celebrate 4 June 1919, a date which was remembered as King George III’s birthday at Eton, with some fellow Old Etonians in Baghdad. Five old boys of that school attended a dinner at the officers’ club, where they dined on ‘fish mayonnaise, iced soup, chicken, roast lamb’, followed by ‘trifle pudding’, rounded off with a savoury dish of ‘sardines on toast’.22 Bowman was fortunate. He missed much of the action which quickly threatened to overturn Britain’s position in Iraq. The strange thing about the old boys’ dinners and the letters home is the insular world they evoke.
Churchill, with characteristic energy, convened a conference in Cairo in March 1921, after just a few weeks in the job. In the pleasant warmth of the Cairo sun, at favoured colonial-era haunts like the Shepheard Hotel, the Middle East experts of the British Empire gathered and, for three weeks, discussed the various problems which faced Britain in this turbulent part of the world. From Cairo, on 23 March, Gertrude Bell wrote to Humphrey Bowman, the Old Etonian Arabist, that the ‘stream of nationalist sentiment’ was often ‘the only visible movement’ in Arab politics.43 The most famous man at the conference of the ‘forty thieves’, as Churchill called it, was undoubtedly T. E. Lawrence, an ‘object at once of awe and pity’.44 Lawrence continues to fascinate Western minds, influenced perhaps unduly by what is perceived to be the romance of the East. His participation in Iraqi affairs was peripheral, despite the fact that regarded himself as a ‘foundation-member’ of the new kingdom of Iraq.45 Lawrence famously was convinced of the need for the Arabs to be independent.
At the end of that month, Patrick Wright, the head of the Middle East Department at the Foreign Office, had the ‘impression that Shell were not proceeding actively with this scheme’.34 But it was simply political circumstance, not any qualms about the nature of the Iraqi regime, which put the brakes on an oil deal with Iraq. Even after the Yom Kippur War, the Foreign Office official Stephen Egerton, an Old Etonian and Cambridge-educated Classics scholar in his late thirties, frankly admitted in December of that year that the ‘Iraqi regime is repressive and on occasion hostile; but it is apparently well in control’. Besides, Egerton argued, the Iraqis were ‘more anti-Soviet’ than they used to be.35 In the matter of oil politics, and in the context of the Cold War, the nature of the regime was secondary to stability.
QI: The Second Book of General Ignorance by Lloyd, John, Mitchinson, John
Ada Lovelace, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, clean water, double helix, Etonian, George Santayana, ghettoisation, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, out of africa, the built environment, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, traveling salesman, US Airways Flight 1549
Hitler was convinced Britain owed its victory in the First World War to strategic skills acquired at Eton. Eden, an Old Etonian himself, disagreed. He pointed out that the Eton College Officer Training Corps was a shambles. His protests were in vain: one of the first things Hitler did after the outbreak of the Second World War was to arrange for Eton to be bombed. Two bombs fell on the school. One shattered all the glass in the college chapel; the other narrowly missed a library full of boys studying. There were no reported casualties. When parents asked for the pupils to be moved to a safer location, the Headmaster, Charles Elliott, refused. If London’s poor couldn’t leave London, he said, Etonians wouldn’t leave Eton. Eton College was founded in 1440 by Henry VI. Called the ‘King’s College of Our Lady of Eton beside Wyndsor’ it was originally intended as a charity school, providing free education for seventy poor students using scholars from the town as teaching staff.
One of the first of these naval instructors turned codebreakers was Alastair Denniston, a diminutive Scot known to his colleagues as A.G.D. and by close friends as Liza, who would become the first head of Bletchley Park. But by far the most productive source of codebreakers was the universities. Ewing went back to his old college, King’s, Cambridge, to bring in two Old Etonians: Dillwyn ‘Dilly’ Knox, one of the most brilliant and most eccentric of the codebreakers, and Frank Birch, a talented comic and famous actor, who would later appear in pantomime at the London Palladium as Widow Twanky in Aladdin. Other eminent recruits, almost entirely Old Etonians, included William ‘Nobby’ Clarke, a lawyer whose father had been Solicitor-General and had represented Oscar Wilde during his 1885 trial for gross indecency, and Nigel de Grey, a publisher whose diminutive stature and unassuming nature led the more extrovert Birch to dub him ‘the Dormouse’.
The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography by Stephen Fry
Alistair Cooke, back-to-the-land, Desert Island Discs, Etonian, Isaac Newton, Live Aid, loadsamoney, pre–internet, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Sloane Ranger, South China Sea, The Wisdom of Crowds, University of East Anglia, Winter of Discontent
There had been one or two corruption scandals in the Crown Colony, and I think he rather fancied the image of himself as a kind of Serpico figure in sharply creased white shorts, a lone honest cop doing a dirty, dirty job … Emma, none of us doubted, would go out and achieve her destiny in world stardom. She already had an agent. A forbiddingly impressive figure called Richard Armitage, who drove a Bentley, smoked cigars and sported an old Etonian tie, had signed her on to the books of his company, Noel Gay Artists. He also represented Rowan Atkinson. Emma’s future was certain. None of which is to say that Hugh and I lacked ambition. We were ambitious in the peculiar negative mode in which we specialized: ambitious not to make fools of ourselves. Ambitious not to be called the worst Footlights show for years. Ambitious not to be mocked or traduced in the college and university newspapers.
As he spoke, he noted down a few words on his napkin. When it was time to propose the toast to Mummers and its next fifty years, he rose to his feet and, on the basis of those three or four scribbled words, delivered a thirty-five-minute speech in perfect Letter From America style. Michael Redgrave and I were most annoyed that women were not allowed to act in plays in Cambridge. We were tired of those pretty Etonians from King’s playing Ophelia. We thought the time had come to change all that. I went to the Mistresses of Girton and Newnham and proposed the formation of a serious new drama club in which women might be allowed to take on women’s roles. The Mistress of Girton was P. G. Wodehouse’s aunt, or cousin or something, I seem to remember, and she was terrifying but kind. Once she and the Newnham Mistress had satisfied themselves that our motives were pure, aesthetic and honourable, which of course they only partly were, they consented to allow their undergraduates to appear in drama, and that is how the Mummers came about.
1946: The Making of the Modern World by Victor Sebestyen
anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, centre right, clean water, colonial rule, Etonian, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, illegal immigration, imperial preference, land reform, long peace, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, operation paperclip
The Labour Government tried to take over the citadels of economic power – while the Conservatives, with a better understanding of reality, went quietly and without fuss to restore and recreate the environment in which they could begin to flourish again.’*15 * Smith was fired from the Government in May 1946 and stood down from Parliament at the same time. He was appointed chairman of the newly created West Midlands Coal Board. He was replaced as Minister of Food by the Old Etonian John Strachey, who had flirted with Marxism in the 1930s, but was by now mainstream Labour. Soon the placards were reading ‘Starve with Strachey’, which scans somewhat better. * At the same time Canada, which had also done well economically out of the war, agreed to lend Britain a much-needed £1,500 million on more favourable terms than America had offered. The Canadian loan was also approved by Ottawa far more quickly and became available for use as a credit line earlier
A solution to the dilemma had eluded far wiser men than him and his two colleagues, Sir Stafford Cripps, President of the Board of Trade and a future Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Albert Alexander, First Lord of the Admiralty. To many Indian observers, there was something fitting about the principal envoy the British had despatched to negotiate away India. The colonial masters had habitually sent vigorous, decisive men, confident in their Civilising Mission, to run the Indian empire. Pethick-Lawrence, aged seventy-four, an old-Etonian Labour politician, was a ‘charming old gentleman, kindly’, if a ‘bit of a dodderer.’ Even his friends, of which, being a decent man, he had many, tended to call him ‘Pathetic-Lawrence’. He was best known for having been a passionate believer in women’s suffrage; he had once been arrested at a demonstration along with Emmeline Pankhurst, whom he had joined on hunger strike, and had himself been force-fed.
The Way of the Gun: A Bloody Journey Into the World of Firearms by Iain Overton
air freight, airport security, back-to-the-land, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, clean water, Columbine, David Attenborough, Etonian, Ferguson, Missouri, gender pay gap, gun show loophole, illegal immigration, interchangeable parts, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, More Guns, Less Crime, offshore financial centre, Ronald Reagan, Y2K, Yom Kippur War
The stand was manned by Patrick Hawes, the head of department of its modern sporting guns section, but he was too busy evaluating guns to talk to me. Robin Hawes, though, was able to talk. He was Patrick’s father and had the look of a charming Georgian parson, or an officer in the Crimean War. He had a trim figure, a strong, creased face and, beneath it all, a roguish glint. This raconteur was one of those special sort of old Etonians who never really grows up and who is universally liked. To me, he summed up the spine of the shooting classes and the heart of Middle England’s lower upper classes – a very specific niche which he personified perfectly. He was also clearly in love with the allure of guns and history. ‘It’s a fascinating subject,’ he said, ‘essentially a lot of “boy’s toys”.’ Such things ran in his blood. His father had a pair of renowned Purdeys, the best of the best British shotguns, and on his eleventh birthday Robin had shot a squirrel with one of them.
We enjoy hunting because it’s so different from the society we live in, where we are trapped in front of computers. A fine hunting rifle is your ticket to transforming your dull life into those scenes you see in these black and white photos – back to a time of adventurers. When someone buys a Rigby they buy into that image, a key to that lifestyle. On a Friday night they can transform themselves into Denys Finch Hatton.’ Finch Hatton, an old Etonian and Oxford-educated aristocrat, was an interesting example to use. He was a big-game hunter, who, when on safari with the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, was asked to creep up on a rhino and stick the king’s head – taking the form of postage stamps – on its bottom. He did so, one for each buttock. When Finch Hatton died in a plane crash in 1931 his brother had a quote from Coleridge inscribed above his grave: ‘He prayeth well, who loveth well both man and bird and beast.’
Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge
affirmative action, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, business process, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crony capitalism, double entry bookkeeping, Etonian, hiring and firing, industrial cluster, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, manufacturing employment, market bubble, mittelstand, new economy, North Sea oil, race to the bottom, railway mania, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, tulip mania, wage slave, William Shockley: the traitorous eight
It was considered ungentlemanly for parent companies to exercise too much control over their foreign subsidiaries. Before the First World War, the foreign branches of firms like Dunlop, Courtaulds, and Vickers reported their affairs when and where they wanted.8 The head offices of most British multinationals were not famed for their dynamism: witness Psmith in the City, P. G Wodehouse’s 1910 novel about a young Etonian trying to avoid hard work at the New Asiatic Bank, based on the author’s own brief stint at the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation. The Germans were more systematic, if less adventurous. Germany also had plenty of overseas trading companies—or mercantile houses, as they were known. Yet, the typical German multinational was a successful domestic company that expanded abroad in search of markets and raw materials—first to Austria-Hungary and soon afterward to the United States, where German immigrants provided both willing customers and a ready-made network of contacts.
Private Island: Why Britain Now Belongs to Someone Else by James Meek
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, business continuity plan, call centre, clean water, Deng Xiaoping, Etonian, HESCO bastion, housing crisis, illegal immigration, Martin Wolf, medical bankruptcy, Mikhail Gorbachev, post-industrial society, pre–internet, price mechanism, Right to Buy, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Washington Consensus, working poor
Nigel Lawson, a champion of privatisation, attributes the dropping of the ‘re-’ to a fellow Conservative, David Howell, one of the back-room Tory ideas men tinkering obscurely with economic models while Edward Heath and Harold Wilson squared off against the unions in the 1960s and 1970s. (Howell was Thatcher’s first energy minister. He is, as I write, Baron Howell of Guildford, Foreign Office minister, and until 2012 remained in government under his fellow Etonian David Cameron, alongside his son-in-law George Osborne.) The 1979 Conservative manifesto barely mentioned privatisation, or denationalisation, as it was sometimes called. In 1968, when an internal party think tank called the public sector of industry ‘a millstone round our necks’ and proposed some sell-offs, Thatcher – who had been researching the privatisation of power stations and failed to find ‘acceptable answers’ – was sceptical.
affirmative action, airport security, Anton Chekhov, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Berlin Wall, Chelsea Manning, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Etonian, Firefox, Google Earth, Jacob Appelbaum, job-hopping, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, kremlinology, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, national security letter, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, web application, WikiLeaks
But millions of people in the US, UK, Brazil, India and elsewhere, including national leaders, energy companies and others who are being spied upon for base reasons, were unaware of the fact that their privacy was being compromised.’ None of this permeated to Downing Street. The prime minister instead chose to shoot the messenger. He dropped ominous hints that charges could follow if the Guardian carried on publishing. In a speech in Brussels, Cameron said that he couldn’t afford to take a ‘la-di-da, airy-fairy’ view of the work of the intelligence services, a dangerous choice of words for an old Etonian. Cameron dodged awkward questions about whether Britain was complicit in the bugging of Angela Merkel’s phone. A previously obscure Tory MP, Julian Smith, suggested the paper had compromised the identities of British agents (it hadn’t) and ‘stands guilty potentially of treasonous behaviour’. Smith’s campaign would have had more credibility were it not for a gaffe of his own. He hosted a visit to parliament by staff from Menwith Hill, the NSA’s super-secret facility in North Yorkshire in his constituency.
Respectable: The Experience of Class by Lynsey Hanley
Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Etonian, full employment, housing crisis, illegal immigration, invisible hand, liberation theology, low skilled workers, mutually assured destruction, Neil Kinnock, Norman Mailer, Own Your Own Home, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, upwardly mobile, Winter of Discontent
Any residual belief that pop music still represents a meritocratic route for talent to prevail can’t, alas, be sustained given the current landscape. The music journalist Simon Price highlighted the fact that, at one point in 2011, seven of the top ten British albums were by performers who had been privately educated. Countless major British artists, including Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine (Alleyn’s School), Lily Allen (Bedales), Frank Turner (an old Etonian), Mumford and Sons (King’s College School) and Chris Martin of Coldplay (Sherborne), attended elite public schools, apparently showing that the limited meritocracy of the grammar, technical and art schools has been reversed by an expression of cast-iron confidence inculcated through private education. Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys has his own theory of how pop music culture has changed to reflect the changing times: Think about the albums that changed things in the sixties: Sergeant Pepper is not a ‘personal’ album … the only ideology nowadays is pure individualism expressed through sentimentality.
Austerity Britain: 1945-51 by David Kynaston
Alistair Cooke, anti-communist, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, collective bargaining, continuous integration, deindustrialization, deskilling, Etonian, full employment, garden city movement, hiring and firing, industrial cluster, invisible hand, job satisfaction, labour mobility, light touch regulation, mass immigration, moral panic, Neil Kinnock, occupational segregation, price mechanism, rent control, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, stakhanovite, strikebreaker, the market place, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, very high income, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery, wealth creators, women in the workforce, young professional
Or take Noël Coward: ‘I walked down the Mall and stood outside Buckingham Palace, which was floodlit. The crowd was stupendous. The King and Queen came out on the balcony, looking enchanting. We all roared ourselves hoarse . . . I suppose this is the greatest day in our history.’ The iconography is understandably imperishable: of Churchill making the ‘V’ sign from a floodlit Ministry of Health balcony as the jubilant crowd below sang ‘Land of Hope and Glory’; of the Old Etonian trumpeter (and young Guards officer) Humphrey Lyttelton playing ‘Roll out the Barrel’ as he lurched on a handcart from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square and back followed by a long, swaying line of revellers doing the conga; of young women in confident groups on their own; of even the two princesses (Elizabeth and a 14-year-old Margaret Rose) being allowed to mingle with the crowds after midnight.
The storm died down only when the committee pointed out that all three had played on the course regularly during the war and that no permanent ‘change of policy’ was envisaged.3. There was also, as ever, the uncanny ability of ‘The Thing’ (as William Cobbett called the British establishment) to reinvent itself. Perhaps the prime example in these years was the National Trust, almost entirely run by Old Etonians. Historically, the Trust’s prime purpose had been to preserve actually or potentially threatened tracts of countryside, but that now changed to the acquisition and upkeep of country houses which would otherwise probably have been demolished. Public access to the nation’s new treasures was in some instances fixed at no more than 50 days in the year and at hours which were, as the Trust freely admitted in 1947, ‘settled as far as possible to suit the donor’s convenience’.
Warburg did not know precisely how London was going to escape from being permanently condemned to an existence as a rather insular, largely domestic financial centre, but he did know that somehow it had to be done, preferably with his own merchant bank in the vanguard. The other person with a visionary streak was George Bolton, a talented, restless banker who had come up on the Bank of England’s international side but lacked the social poise and indeed breeding of his main rival Cameron (‘Kim’) Cobbold, the latter becoming Governor in 1949. ‘A pleasant Etonian’ was how Raymond Streat the next year described the City’s new head. ‘Able and adequate, but not tremendous.’ Soon afterwards, Hugh Gaitskell was less polite: ‘I must say that I have a very poor opinion of him – he is simply not a very intelligent man.’8. In fact it was easy to underestimate Cobbold, who though certainly no intellectual was a pretty capable operator and had the great gubernatorial virtue of not getting flustered by events.
Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed
Albert Einstein, anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, central bank independence, centre right, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Etonian, full employment, German hyperinflation, index card, invisible hand, Lao Tzu, large denomination, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, mobile money, money market fund, moral hazard, new economy, open economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, purchasing power parity, pushing on a string, rolodex, the market place
No government seemed capable of doing it and he thought—a little grandiosely—that his guild could somehow fill the vacuum left by politicians. He liked to envisage himself and the other members of his small brotherhood as elite tribunes, standing above the fray of politics, national resentments, and amateur nostrums. Though Norman “delighted in appearing unconventional,” his views about society were very much “those of an old Etonian.” Still an Edwardian, he clung to the belief in aristocratic government. In March 1922, he wrote to Strong in that elliptical way of his, “Only lately have the countries of the world started to clear up after the war, two years having been wasted in building castles in the air and pulling them down again. Such is the way of democracies it seems, though a ‘few aristocrats’ in all countries realized from the start what must be the inevitable result of hastily conceived remedies for such serious ills.”
There were no bank runs, no food shortages, no rush to the stores, no hoarding of goods. Indeed, while wholesale prices in the rest of the world would continue to fall, dropping 10 percent over the next year, in Britain deflation came to an end—prices over the next year even rose a modest 2 percent. The one group who received a big shock was the small number of British people traveling abroad. Time magazine recounted how one man in an Old Etonian tie was sufficiently incensed at being offered only $3 for his pounds in New York—a “hold-up,” he called it—that he stormed off muttering, “A pound is still a pound in England. I shall carry my pounds home with me.” The recriminations began almost immediately. Snowden in his speech to the Commons on September 20 blamed the debacle on the gold policies of the United States and France. Though Americans came in for their fair share, the greatest vituperation was reserved for the French.
The Making of Modern Britain by Andrew Marr
anti-communist, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, business climate, Corn Laws, Etonian, garden city movement, illegal immigration, imperial preference, New Journalism, New Urbanism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Red Clydeside, rent control, strikebreaker, trade liberalization, V2 rocket, wage slave, women in the workforce
Churchill, Tories and Gold If there is one man who symbolizes British capitalism in these years, it is the theatrical, bearded guru of high finance, Sir Montagu Norman, whose governorship of the Bank of England ran from 1920 to 1944. Norman looked more like a raffish painter than a banker. He liked to wear a cloak, travel incognito and, interested in spiritualism, apparently told a colleague he could walk through walls. Superbly connected across the old City of families of merchant bankers and Old Etonian stockbrokers, Norman awed Britain’s politicians (whom he detested). Described by other bankers as being charming, feminine, vain, unstable and prone to nervous breakdowns, Norman was, however, a steely and dominant figure. For much of this period he kept the Treasury at arm’s length and boasted to parliamentarians who had the cheek to question his judgement that he operated by instinct, not facts.
Malcolm Campbell was a huge hero between the wars, his chiselled, long-chinned face familiar across Europe and America, appearing on German postcards, recorded in Tintin drawings and advertising everything from motor oil to American cigarettes. He took the world land speed record for the first time in 1924 on Pendine Sands in Wales driving a Sunbeam, then partly designed his own Campbell-Napier Blue Bird, winning it again in 1927. Enter, on a Florida beach, his great rival Henry Segrave, another boy’s own heroic type, an Etonian who had fought in the war as a machine gunner and then a fighter pilot, being badly wounded twice. The first Briton to win a Grand Prix race in a British car, Segrave had decided to also become the first man to travel on land at more than 200 m.p.h. Much mocked for boasting about the impossible, he achieved it in March 1927 in his Mystery Sunbeam. Campbell responded by moving to Daytona Beach too, and reaching 206 m.p.h.; but Segrave was soon back in his Golden Arrow, which used the latest Napier aircraft engine, getting to 230 m.p.h. in 1929.
Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language by Robert McCrum
Alistair Cooke, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, colonial rule, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, Etonian, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, invention of movable type, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, jimmy wales, knowledge economy, Livingstone, I presume, Martin Wolf, Naomi Klein, Norman Mailer, Parag Khanna, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, sceptred isle, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile
Today more than half the cricket in the world is played in India, by Indians. As the game grew in popularity and became a fixture in the English sporting calendar, it became part of Indian life, too. The Calcutta Cricket Club was founded in 1792, on the site of the present-day Eden Gardens stadium, more or less contemporaneously with the MCC, a matter of some dispute. The first match there was played between Old Etonians and The Rest of Calcutta. Elsewhere in the empire, the game was exported by English public schoolboys turned youthful imperialists. In South Africa, for example, the game was essentially a white man’s recreation. Clubs were formed in Pietermaritzburg, Bloemfontein, Kimberley, Pretoria and Johannesburg, but almost exclusively for the ruling class. Across Africa, cricket became something of an obsession among the imperial soldiers.
The Verdict: Did Labour Change Britain? by Polly Toynbee, David Walker
banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Geldof, call centre, central bank independence, congestion charging, Corn Laws, Credit Default Swap, decarbonisation, deglobalization, deindustrialization, Etonian, failed state, first-past-the-post, Frank Gehry, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, high net worth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, market bubble, mass immigration, millennium bug, moral panic, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, pension reform, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, Right to Buy, shareholder value, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, University of East Anglia, working-age population, Y2K
With their ‘Broken Britain’ trope, the Tories had in opposition lumped together ill health, obesity, drunkenness, truancy, school failure, teenage motherhood and childhood unhappiness. Labour could not admit several of these had worsened and others improved only marginally, and never tried to explain that these were symptoms of Britain’s abiding inequality. The parties came together to deplore low rates of social mobility, but Labour’s political failure lay in allowing a Cameron cabinet stuffed full of Old Etonians and Old Westminsters to sound remotely plausible on the subject, even as it strove to increase educational selection and diminish the weak powers Labour had given the Charity Commission to investigate the ‘social benefit’ of the public schools. Under Labour no plates had shifted in Britain’s social geology. They did not try to break the hold of the few on power, money and status, and only moved to a higher top tax rate in the government’s very last month.
The English by Jeremy Paxman
back-to-the-land, British Empire, colonial rule, Corn Laws, Etonian, game design, George Santayana, global village, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, Khartoum Gordon, mass immigration, Neil Kinnock, Own Your Own Home, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Right to Buy, sensible shoes, urban sprawl, women in the workforce
In popular mythology this type is John Bull.21 This is painting with a very broad brush: there are a dozen other archetypes, too. And if it really was possible fifty or a hundred years ago to discern something of an Englishman from his facial and body appearance, it was much more likely to be a deduction about social class than anything else. The wealthy ate well and prospered. The poor ate badly and it showed. That thin Old Etonian George Orwell remarked, with the sort of sweeping condescension of which only someone of his background was capable, that ‘the prevailing physical type does not agree with the caricatures, for the tall, lanky physique which is traditionally English is almost confined to upper classes: the working people, as a rule, are rather small, with short limbs and brisk movements, and with a tendency among the women to grow dumpy in early middle life’.22 (This is getting dangerously close to the John Glashan cartoon in which two well-dressed women pass a group of workmen digging a hole in the ground.
Those on the Bedford course gave the impression of having been incongruously gathered in from the hedgerows. There was Charles Buckingham, erudite curator from the British Museum who wore a private’s uniform … there was Francis Dashwood of West Wycombe Park, who was a civilian recruited straight from school, there was a very unglossy university-educated North Midlands second lieutenant who shared a civilian billet with me, there was a sophisticated Etonian other rank who lived in Sloane Street, and about ten others I cannot remember distinctly.4 As Jenkins recalled in an interview: ‘You could spend nights in which you got nowhere at all. You didn’t get a single break, you just tried, played around through this long bleak night with total frustration and your brain was literally raw. I remember one night when I made thirteen breaks. But there were an awful lot of nights when I was lucky if I made just one, so it was exhausting.’
Clapham omnibus, Claude Shannon: information theory, Douglas Hofstadter, Etonian, European colonialism, haute cuisine, invention of the telephone, invention of writing, natural language processing, Republic of Letters, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, speech recognition
In Britain, you just can’t escape the messages about region and class that come from anyone who opens his or her mouth. In the musical My Fair Lady, based on G. B. Shaw’s stage play Pygmalion, which itself rewrites a far more ancient myth, Professor Higgins asks, “Oh! why can’t the English teach their children how to speak?” We must answer, Oh! but they do, Professor Higgins. They teach them to declare themselves to be Geordies and Aberdonians, Etonians and lads on the Clapham omnibus, ladies from Morningside or fishermen from Newquay. If you are British, you just can’t not notice. Alongside its role as a planetary interlanguage in print, English speech—like any other—is a highly pixelated way of telling people who you are. That is something that all forms of human speech share, and it is perhaps the only thing that is truly universal about language.
Mythology of Work: How Capitalism Persists Despite Itself by Peter Fleming
1960s counterculture, anti-work, call centre, clockwatching, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, David Graeber, Etonian, future of work, G4S, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, illegal immigration, Kitchen Debate, late capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, means of production, neoliberal agenda, Parkinson's law, post-industrial society, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, Results Only Work Environment, shareholder value, The Chicago School, transaction costs, wealth creators, working poor
Once again, Deleuze well understood this special ‘delirium’ peculiar to late capitalism. The organization of power is the only thing that matters today: ‘Ideology has no importance here’ (Deleuze, 2004: 263). However, shall we press Deleuze a little on this observation? On one level he is correct. The current catastrophe we call ‘society’ has little reliance on rather over-contrived representations that might cloak the domination of the many by a minute and slightly retarded Etonian or Skull and Bones few. Power doesn’t care what you think about it. What we earlier called ‘“Fuck you!” capitalism’ denotes a profound hostility that is proudly displayed by corporations and the neoliberal state towards the 99.8 per cent. But Deleuze is incorrect when he argues that such openness has nothing to do with ideology. In fact, I would argue that power’s use of the truth is deeply deceptive because it still wishes to validate a false totality by using the very weapon it has been afraid of for so long.
Berlin Wall, British Empire, David Attenborough, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, Etonian, Fellow of the Royal Society, index card, invention of gunpowder, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, New Urbanism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, stakhanovite, Stephen Hawking, Ted Kaczynski, trade route
He loved the fact that the more distant hills rising out of the Gobi were called the Cinnabar Mountains, and he thought the whole conjunction—of names, weather, and great antiquity—was vastly impressive. He thought this even more when he crossed a cwm called Black Crow Sand Pass, raced down the slope on the far side to the nondescript village of Anyuan, lunched at a nearby mission, and discovered that its abbot was from England and, moreover, an Old Etonian. Only later that night, when the truck broke down yet again and he had to spend the night in a truckers’ rest stop, did his equanimity falter: his night, he said “was like sleeping in a public lavatory with cocks crowing under the bed.” Northwestward the scenery became harsher, more desertlike. Soon there were camels. At first most of them were solitary, but later Needham saw some harnessed together, in baggage trains.
Lost at Sea by Jon Ronson
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Columbine, computer age, credit crunch, Douglas Hofstadter, Downton Abbey, East Village, Etonian, false memory syndrome, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, late fees, Louis Pasteur, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Skype, telemarketer
Speaking in tongues would normally be something absurd—horrific, even. But imperceptibly, gracefully, Nicky is leading us there. We have a few hours off. We swim and play basketball. The crowd is, as always, mainly white and wealthy. A criticism leveled at Nicky by other Anglicans is that Jesus cast his net wide to embrace poor fishermen, whereas Nicky seems to concentrate on rich widows, Old Etonians, and young highfliers. This annoys him, far more than the accusations that he is a cult leader. He points out a group of men on the edge of the basketball court. They lean against a picket fence, watching the game with an inscrutable vigilance, huge and tanned, like a prison gang during their hour in the yard. “You absolutely must meet Brian,” says Nicky. “He’s quite amazing.” Brian is not his real name.
The Rise of the Outsiders: How Mainstream Politics Lost Its Way by Steve Richards
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Bernie Sanders, call centre, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Etonian, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, full employment, housing crisis, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Neil Kinnock, obamacare, Occupy movement, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley
But most of them are on the outside, appearing to be strong. For the elected insiders, the struggles with purity of conviction are constant. Cameron’s tiny space on the political stage was emblematic. Farage could say what he liked about Europe, and did so, most days of the year. Cameron was in a coalition with the pro-EU Liberal Democrats, while leading a party with lots of MPs who agreed with Farage. Cameron might have had Old Etonian self-confidence, but that was not enough to free him from the incarcerations of power. The traps became more dangerous following the financial crash in 2008. Mainstream parties on the left became part of coalitions that were imposing spending cuts. Mainstream parties on the right had to accommodate the supposedly opposing views of their partners on the left. From a voter’s point of view, what were the differences between them?
Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon Sebag-Montefiore
anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, California gold rush, Etonian, facts on the ground, haute couture, Khartoum Gordon, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, sexual politics, spice trade, trade route, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white flight, Yom Kippur War
While Rasputin policed the morals of the Orthodox sisterhood whom Wasif was busy debauching, an English aristocrat unleashed riots and made headlines across the world.5 THE HON. CAPTAIN MONTY PARKER AND THE ARK OF THE COVENANT Monty Parker, a twenty-nine-year-old nobleman with a plumage of luxuriant moustaches and pointed Edward VII beard, expensive tastes and minimal income, was an opportunistic but credulous rogue, always on the lookout for an easy way to make his fortune - or at least find someone else to pay for his luxuries. In 1908, this Old Etonian son of a Cabinet minister in Gladstone's last government, younger brother of the Earl of Morley, ex-Grenadier Guards officer and veteran of the Boer War, encountered a Finnish hierophant who convinced him that together they could discover in Jerusalem the most valuable treasure of world history. The Finn was Dr Valter Juvelius, a teacher, poet and spiritualist with a taste for dressing up in biblical robes and deciphering biblical codes.
His wife Vera, being the daughter of one of the few Jewish officers in the tsarist army, regarded most Russian Jews as plebeian, preferred the company of English nobility and made sure her 'Chaimchik' dressed like an Edwardian gentleman. Weizmann, this passionate Zionist, hater of tsarist Russia and despiser of anti-Zionist Jews, resembled 'a well-nourished Lenin' and was sometimes mistaken for him. A 'brilliant talker', his perfect English was always spiced with a Russian accent and his 'almost feminine charm [was] combined with feline deadliness of attack, burning enthusiasm and prophetic vision'. The Old Etonian and the graduate of Pinsk chever first met in 1906. Their chat was short but unforgettable. 'I remember Balfour sat in his usual pose, legs stretched out, an imperturbable expression.' It was Balfour, who as prime minister in 1903, had offered Uganda to the Zionists, but now he was out of power. Weizmann feared that his languid interest was just 'a mask', so he explained that if Moses had heard about Ugandaism 'he would surely have broken the tablets again'.
State of Emergency: The Way We Were by Dominic Sandbrook
anti-communist, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, centre right, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, David Attenborough, Doomsday Book, edge city, estate planning, Etonian, falling living standards, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, feminist movement, financial thriller, first-past-the-post, fixed income, full employment, German hyperinflation, mass immigration, moral panic, Neil Kinnock, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, North Sea oil, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, sexual politics, traveling salesman, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban planning, Winter of Discontent, young professional
‘Class-based inequality persists,’ reported the eminent sociologist A. H. Halsey in 1981, with ‘the top half of the population receiving three quarters of all personal income, the bottom half one quarter’, and the richest 20 per cent owning three-quarters of all the nation’s personal wealth. But of course class was about more than just money. In the 1971 edition of his bestselling Anatomy of Britain series, Anthony Sampson noted that there were 65 Old Etonians in the House of Commons, accounting for 22 per cent of Heath’s new government. Oxbridge, meanwhile, maintained its ‘special hold’ over Westminster, Whitehall, Fleet Street and the BBC, providing 26 of the civil service’s 30 permanent secretaries, and 250 out of 630 members of Parliament. Of Heath’s seventeen-person Cabinet, all but three had been to Oxford or Cambridge. Indeed, one college alone dominated political life in the 1970s: not only had Heath and Healey been Balliol undergraduates, but so had Labour’s deputy leader Roy Jenkins, the former Liberal leader Jo Grimond, the liberal Tory grandee Sir Ian Gilmour, the leading Labour moderate Dick Taverne, and the editor of The Times, William Rees-Mogg.
To some extent, environmentalism was a middle-class fad, as its critics had claimed, and its strident, apocalyptic tone, so redolent of protest movements in the early 1970s, meant that it never attracted a mass following. The young man who placed a personal ad in The Ecologist in March 1974, hoping for a partner to ‘share the remaining years of industrial civilisation’ and experience the ‘end catastrophe’, may well have found a girlfriend eventually, but it is hard to believe that he was a very jaunty date. Even Jonathon Porritt, the Old Etonian baronet who chaired the Ecology Party in the late 1970s and became one of Britain’s best-known environmental campaigners, conceded that ‘there was too much doom and gloom in the early seventies, and there’s a limit to how much people will take’. They may have laughed along with Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal, but most were too attached to their comforts to contemplate a life of self-sufficiency, and while they may have enjoyed watching Survivors on Wednesday nights, they had no desire to re-enact it themselves.57 And yet there is another side to the story.
Empire: What Ruling the World Did to the British by Jeremy Paxman
British Empire, call centre, Cape to Cairo, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Etonian, European colonialism, Fellow of the Royal Society, imperial preference, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, Kibera, land tenure, Livingstone, I presume, mass immigration, offshore financial centre, polynesian navigation, Scramble for Africa, transatlantic slave trade
At the battle of the Alma in the Crimean War, Sir John Astley of the Scots Guards watched as a Russian cannonball cut through his company. He recalled in his memoirs that he had shouted to one of his men ‘who was our best wicket-keeper’ to catch it. The man replied, ‘No sir! It had a bit too much pace on. I thought you was long stop, so I left it for you.’ The cricket analogy was ever present. During the siege of Ladysmith in 1899 – two years after Newbolt had composed his famous lines – one Old Etonian wrote to his parents: ‘I think we “played the game” in keeping the Boers busy with us here.’ A couple of generations have now grown up ridiculing that sort of attitude. Everyone knows that war is not a game, and no one is much interested in the idioms which made it possible for our ancestors to deal with danger and death. It has been a long time since the age and beliefs of empire seemed an attractive subject for creativity.
Hard Times: The Divisive Toll of the Economic Slump by Tom Clark, Anthony Heath
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, British Empire, Carmen Reinhart, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, deindustrialization, Etonian, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, full employment, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, income inequality, interest rate swap, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, obamacare, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, quantitative easing, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, statistical model, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, unconventional monetary instruments, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor
If the American dream is about boys born in log cabins making it to the White House, it is Henry VI's dreams for Eton that are the mark of modern Britain. As of 2013, the prime minister, the next king but one, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the chief whip, the chief of staff at No. 10 Downing Street and the chief economic adviser at No. 11 all attended this same boys-only school, where fees are currently £32,000 a year. That summer, when David Cameron moved to ‘broaden his circle’ with new policy advisers, it was to two more Etonians that he turned.68 Yet if we cast such gripes aside, and take the concerns about social mobility at face value, then the priority must surely be to tackle social sclerosis at the bottom of the heap. And in the aftermath of the biggest slump in living memory, the single most pressing priority would have to be to ensure that unemployment does not become an inherited curse. In both the UK and the United States, however, our new analy-sis of long-range tracking data reveals that worklessness is precisely that: a child raised in a home where the parents experience a big gap between jobs is herself more likely to end up without work.
Why We Can't Afford the Rich by Andrew Sayer
accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, asset-backed security, banking crisis, banks create money, basic income, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, decarbonisation, declining real wages, deglobalization, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demand response, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, G4S, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, income inequality, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, job automation, Julian Assange, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, land value tax, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, neoliberal agenda, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, payday loans, Philip Mirowski, Plutocrats, plutocrats, popular capitalism, predatory finance, price stability, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, working poor, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game
They could rely on finding sympathetic ears in government: ‘Some 124 peers, equivalent to 16% of the House of Lords, have direct financial links with financial services firms. On Lords committees scrutinising last year’s budget, peers who were paid by finance firms formed the majority.’35 The City of London Corporation, representing the financial sector, called in public relations and lobbying firm Quiller to do ‘high profile, intensive crisis and reputation management’. Quiller is run by George Bridges, old Etonian, Oxford graduate and friend of George Osborne, and 2006 campaign director of the Conservative Party. Mervyn King, outgoing Governor of the Bank of England, said this to the Treasury Select Committee in 2013: ‘It’s also important that banks don’t leave conversations with the supervisors [that is, financial regulators] and feel that the next step is to telephone Number 11 [the Chancellor’s official home] or even Number 10 Downing Street, and lobby officials or politicians to put pressure on the supervisors to back down on their judgements.’
accounting loophole / creative accounting, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, Atahualpa, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, California gold rush, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Etonian, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial innovation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, German hyperinflation, hiring and firing, income inequality, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, liberal capitalism, market bubble, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, new economy, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, quantitative easing, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, War on Poverty, Yom Kippur War
One newspaper report spoke of ‘his towering, six-foot-three-inch frame’ and referred to the way in which he rolled his ‘pale blue eyes so that the whites blaze and flash with an almost Mephistophelian effect’. The four budgets Dalton introduced earned him a reputation as ‘the most socialist – or at any rate, the most levelling – chancellor ever to have held office’. As one of his protégés, Anthony Crosland, later observed, Dalton ‘maintained, and even extended, the great advance towards income-equality that was made during the war’.4 The son of a clergyman, Dalton was an Old Etonian who had just failed to win a scholarship to the prestigious school. His aggressive manner was bound up in a welter of social insecurities and pompous self-assertion. Once, when dining in the House of Commons, he interrupted his own monologue to boom in the direction of a Conservative MP, ‘What’s that suburbanite looking at me for?’ His manner reeked of insincerity: he was said to be the kind of man who ‘who slaps you on the back . . . and calls you by somebody else’s Christian name’.5 It was a significant feature of British politics in the late 1940s that it was dominated by a genuinely socialistic Labour Party.
Jennifer Morgue by Stross, Charles
call centre, correlation does not imply causation, disintermediation, dumpster diving, Etonian, haute couture, interchangeable parts, Maui Hawaii, mutually assured destruction, planetary scale, RFID, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, stem cell, telepresence, traveling salesman, Turing machine
But — " My heart is pounding again, and my knees are even weaker than they were when I realized Eileen hadn't shot her. "We've got to do it in such a way that it's completely incompatible with the geas." "Okay, wise guy. So you've got a bright idea for an ending that simply wouldn't work in a Bond book" "Yes. See, the thing is, Bond's creator — like Bond himself — was a snob. Upper crust, old Etonian, terribly conventional. If he was around today he'd always be wearing a tailored suit, you'd never catch him in ripped jeans and a Nine Inch Nails tee shirt. And it goes deeper. He liked sex, but he was deeply ingrained with a particular view of gender relationships. Man of action, woman as bit of fluff on the side. So the one thing Bond would never expect one of his girls to say is — " it's now or never " — will... will you marry me?"
How I Escaped My Certain Fate by Stewart Lee
I took every small-hours Fringe festival club set going, revelling in my freedom, choked ecstatically on a million fags, long after midnight, in steamy attics and dripping cellars, turning comedy fat back into tentative muscle. And I saw dozens of superb new acts I’d never seen before, like the disarmingly honest Chippenham skinhead Will Hodgson and the brilliantly realised character comedy of Will Adamsdale in Jackson’s Way, which I attended half a dozen times at least, and which was to alter the whole way I thought about performance. Watching Will, an un categorisable Etonian performance-art eccentric who never blinked in the face of audience disbelief, maintaining the most improbable and engaging of conceits in the face of mass irritation and total audience boredom proved to me that one man on a stage in a room could be anything at all, go anywhere, say anything, suggest anything, do anything. This was what I needed to see. Comedians’ memoirs, about how they got back on the road after a lay-off, or their fully approved fly-on-the-wall documentaries on the same subject, tend towards the sentimental journeys of thoroughly made millionaires, peeping out from their Chelsea penthouses and Hollywood Hills adobe ranches to try and recapture their youth.
We were surrounded by half-forgotten history. I had met some people back home who still remembered British political officers who had served in Iraq between 1916 and 1958. St. John Philby was famous. Before he became political officer in Amara in 1917 and conceived his son, Kim, the British intelligence officer and KGB double agent, he had been a civil servant in the Punjab. The British representative in Basra remembered the old Etonian Dugald Stewart, consul in Amara, talking about driving his two-seater from Amara to Basra in 1952, for a black-tie dinner with the consul-general. But no one had ever mentioned Grimley. And yet it was somehow Mr. Grimley who had imprinted himself on the mind of the old sheikh and left his name in the landscape. Grimley couldn’t have actually paid for the canal—the British consular office by the 1940s was famously short of money.
British Empire, clean water, colonial rule, discovery of the americas, distributed generation, Donner party, estate planning, Etonian, full employment, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, invention of radio, invention of the telegraph, James Watt: steam engine, Khyber Pass, Menlo Park, Plutocrats, plutocrats, transcontinental railway, Works Progress Administration
By way of analogy, people in tribes tend toward natural unity—whether they are Kikuyu, Comanche, Wurundjeri, or Micmac, individuals within each tribe bond together tightly. Clans in Scotland are proud of being firm-welded entities of great antiquity—all McKenzies and MacNeils are one, Scots like to say, whether fortune or happenstance has led them to be dukes or dustmen. Elsewhere class and the tendency toward an intellectual aristocracy have magnified a sense of union—Etonians, graduates of Hotchkiss and Science Po, Harvard and Christ Church may all bond clubbably, as may most European marquesses and counts or their American equivalents, the Biddles, Lowells, Cabots, and Saltonstalls. Race likewise has an annealing affect: Harlem and Hough and Watts and a score of other places have long offered local concentrations of great resilience, strength, and pride. But America as a whole, once its early Puritan settlement had been diluted by those who followed or those already there, became too much of a mongrel nation to enjoy the simpler organic benefits of union.
The Enemy Within by Seumas Milne
active measures, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Edward Snowden, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, invisible hand, market fundamentalism, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, Neil Kinnock, New Journalism, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, union organizing, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, éminence grise
Referring to his December motion, Dalyell said that since it had been tabled, ‘statements have been made to me about the involvement of Stella Rimington and Mr Roger Windsor of the NUM. The motion raises serious issues and calls for some sort of response.’ MacGregor replied that it had been a longstanding practice not to comment on MI5 operations and he did not intend to depart from that precedent.56 Dalyell – an old Etonian who lives in a wing of his family seat, ‘The Binns’, and is renowned for his wide range of high-level contacts in the civil service, police and armed forces – later told the author that his question had been based on information from two separate senior Whitehall sources. He described these informants as ‘solid gold’ – better placed, indeed, than those who had provided the devastatingly accurate tip-offs for his long-running campaign to expose the events surrounding Margaret Thatcher’s decision to sink the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano during the Falklands War.
The Marches: A Borderland Journey Between England and Scotland by Rory Stewart
I liked the fact that he admitted his willingness to use more convenient guitar stops, and his ignorance of the wood that had replaced the maple in the lyre’s frame. I asked what he called the instrument, half fearing he might have named it after some Celtic princess. He simply called it a ‘lap-harp’. He explained that he had been recently appointed as seanachaidh to a Highland chieftain, Maclean of Duart. The previous chieftain, Sir Fitzroy Maclean, an old Etonian war hero and Conservative politician, had not kept a seanachaidh. Indeed, it appeared seanachaidhs had died out long before Dr Johnson’s trip of 1774, perhaps as long ago as the 1400s. But as chieftains and their clan traditions were being forgotten in Scottish culture, seanachaidhs seemed to be reappearing. As a seanachaidh, Scott said he had assembled a large library of rare books on ballads and traditional stories.
The Defence of the Realm by Christopher Andrew
active measures, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Clive Stafford Smith, collective bargaining, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Desert Island Discs, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, large denomination, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, North Sea oil, Red Clydeside, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, strikebreaker, Torches of Freedom, traveling salesman, union organizing, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, Winter of Discontent
Masterton, secretary to the head of C (later H) Branch, Haldane, took over from him, at first temporarily, then permanently, the running of MO5(g)’s accounts, including much financial planning. The ‘Report on Women’s Work’ concluded that this was ‘the only example at this date of a woman managing the finances of a Government office’.41 By the standards of the time, gender relations were sometimes slightly flirtatious. A wartime cartoon by the Old Etonian Cambridge graduate Captain Hugh Gladstone, entitled ‘The Lost File’, shows an attractive young member of the Registry telling a male officer, ‘We’ve looked everywhere, but we can’t find any BAULZ in the Registry.’42 Harmless (not to say feeble) though the joke now appears, at the time it could not have appeared in print or been repeated in polite mixed company. (i) ‘Miss Thinks She is Right’ Percy Marsh’s drawing shows a youthful secretary querying a point with a somewhat bemused middle-aged officer.
After one of his lectures, Major General Joseph Kuhn, president of the US Army War College in Washington, emphasized ‘how excellent the British service is’.121 In August 1917. Dansey left MI5 for SIS, where he spent the rest of his career, rising to become assistant chief. In January 1918 Lieutenant Colonel Hercules Pakenham, late of the Royal Irish Rifles and an experienced foreign liaison officer, became head of MI5’s Washington office.122 An Old Etonian and former ADC to the Governors General of Canada and India,123 Pakenham also had long American family connections; one of his ancestors not only lost the battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812, but managed to do so after the peace treaty ending the war had been signed. The arrival of US forces on the Western Front further increased the importance of American liaison. In August, because of the substantial numbers of US citizens passing through British ports and the large German-American community which had earlier opposed US entry into the war, MI5 opened an ‘American suspect index’, which was shared with the Director of Military Intelligence in Washington and no other ally.124 From August onwards, a surviving MI5 visitors’ book shows a small but steady stream of US intelligence officers calling at its London headquarters.125 On 1 March 1918 Major Norman Thwaites, previously deputy to Cumming’s US head of station, Sir William Wiseman, became head of the MI5 office in New York.126 Thwaites had been partly educated in Germany and spoke fluent German.
MI5’s arrival at the Scrubs on 27 August 1939, made necessary by the need for more wartime office space than was then available in Thames House, was so sudden that some staff found unemptied chamberpots in the cells which became their offices.2 Prisoners remained in several of the cell blocks and were sometimes seen exercising in the yard. ‘Don’t go near them,’ one of the warders warned female staff. ‘Some of them ain’t seen no women for years.’3 Other prisoners, however, had. The ex-public-school ‘Mayfair Playboys’, who had been imprisoned earlier in the year for robbing highclass jewellers, had danced with some Registry staff at debutantes’ balls during the London season.4 The Playboys’ leader, the twenty-two-year-old Old Etonian Victor Hervey, the future sixth Marquess of Bristol, was later said to have provided some of the inspiration for the ‘Pink Panther’.5 The prison buildings, complained Milicent Bagot, ‘appeared never to have been ventilated since their erection and their smell was appalling.’6 The cell doors had no handles or locks on the inside. So, as one Wormwood Scrubs veteran recalls, staff ‘stood a good chance of being locked in by unwary visitors turning the outside door handle on leaving.
The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes
Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, British Empire, Copley Medal, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, Etonian, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Harrison: Longitude, music of the spheres, placebo effect, polynesian navigation, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, trade route, unbiased observer, University of East Anglia, éminence grise
The actress Mrs Sage, renowned for her Junoesque figure, left a vivid account of being the ‘First Aerial female’ after an eventful ascent in Lunardi’s balloon in June 1785. The launch was made from Hyde Park, attended by a huge and increasingly raucous crowd. Mrs Sage, in a low-cut silk dress presumably designed to reduce wind resistance, was to be accompanied by Lunardi and the dashing Mr George Biggin, a young and wealthy Old Etonian. The gondola was draped in heavy swags of silk, and had a specially designed lace-up door which allowed its occupants to be seen more clearly, as if they were installed in a luxurious aerial salon.46 But the combined weight of the fixtures and fittings, and the three passengers, proved too much for the balloon, which began wallowing dangerously on its moorings, to the whistles and suggestive jeers of the crowd.
Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World by Timothy Garton Ash
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Clapham omnibus, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, don't be evil, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Etonian, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, financial independence, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, George Santayana, global village, index card, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, megacity, mutually assured destruction, national security letter, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War
This consists on the one hand of Muslims and those ethnic groups who are furthest in background from traditional British culture and—on the other—the most progressive opinions (often not widely held among those groups) of educated whites. Thus, you must not offend Mohammed (who wasn’t massively into the gay rights agenda) nor must you say anything even remotely “homophobic”.68 The crucial question is: what follows from this? That you should not be allowed to insult Christians in Britain? Or that you should be free to insult Muslims, Jews and homosexuals just as you can Christians, Old Etonians and estate agents? Identity lobbyists feed on the strong claim for equality in modern democracies but themselves often display double standards. In 2006, the then secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Sir Iqbal Sacranie (who once said death was perhaps too good for Salman Rushdie) denounced the publication of the Danish cartoons of Muhammad, but scarcely a month later he publicly declared that gays are ‘harmful’ and ‘spread disease’.69 Abraham Foxman and Christopher Wolf of the Anti-Defamation League in the United States argue that YouTube was right to leave up the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ video (which they mildly describe as ‘mean-spirited’) but insist that Facebook should take down Holocaust denial because it is hate speech.70 If we are to be free of such double standards and take seriously the claim for equal treatment under the law, we stand at a crossroads.
always be closing, bank run, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bolshevik threat, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, British Empire, California gold rush, capital controls, collective bargaining, corporate raider, Etonian, financial deregulation, fixed income, German hyperinflation, index arbitrage, interest rate swap, margin call, money market fund, Monroe Doctrine, North Sea oil, oil shale / tar sands, old-boy network, paper trading, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, short selling, strikebreaker, the market place, the payments system, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, Yom Kippur War, young professional
Consolidations also meant sudden wealth for young deal makers and traders, whose salaries jumped as much as tenfold in a few years. Young bond traders were suddenly driving Ferraris and making six-figure salaries. The elite world of merchant banking faded as the rhythms of the trader speeded up City life. Long lunches at Boodle’s or White’s gave way to twelve-hour days. It was impossible to equip all the trading desks with old Etonians, and so the City became a more egalitarian place. Some people, of course, resisted the new ways. When the Economist tried to track down City executives, it discovered several absentees: “Many were sighted at the Wimbledon tennis tournament, the Henley regatta and the Ascot horse races.”2 For the most part, however, the City was now a more hectic, grueling place, with people grabbing lunches at the fast-food restaurants and crowded sandwich shops scattered among the Wren churches and new office blocks.
Great Britain by David Else, Fionn Davenport
active transport: walking or cycling, Albert Einstein, Beeching cuts, British Empire, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, Columbine, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Attenborough, Etonian, food miles, glass ceiling, global village, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, land reform, Livingstone, I presume, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, mega-rich, negative equity, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, period drama, place-making, Skype, Sloane Ranger, South of Market, San Francisco, Stephen Hawking, the market place, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Winter of Discontent
Lanhydrock House Lanhydrock (NT; 01208-265950; adult/child £9/4.50, gardens only £5/2.50; house 11am-5.30pm Tue-Sun mid-Mar–Sep, to 5pm Oct, gardens 10am-6pm year round) is reminiscent of the classic ‘upstairs-downstairs’ film Gosford Park. Set in 900 acres of sweeping grounds above the River Fowey, parts date from the 17th century but the property was extensively rebuilt after a fire in 1881, creating the quintessential Victorian county house. Highlights include the gentlemen’s smoking room (complete with old Etonian photos, moose heads and tigerskin rugs), the children’s toy-strewn nursery, and the huge original kitchens. Lanhydrock is 2.5 miles southeast of Bodmin; you’ll need your own transport to get here. Restormel Castle A glorious, fairytale crumbling ruin, the 13th-century Restormel Castle ( 01208-872687; adult/child £2.50/1; 10am-6pm Jul & Aug, 10am-5pm mid-Mar–Jun & Sep, 10am-4pm Oct) has one of the best-preserved circular keeps in England.
England by David Else
active transport: walking or cycling, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, colonial rule, Columbine, congestion charging, David Attenborough, David Brooks, Etonian, food miles, glass ceiling, haute cuisine, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, new economy, New Urbanism, out of africa, period drama, place-making, sceptred isle, Skype, Sloane Ranger, South of Market, San Francisco, Stephen Hawking, the market place, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, unbiased observer, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Winter of Discontent
Lanhydrock House Lanhydrock (NT; 01208-265950; adult/child £9/4.50, gardens only £5/2.50; house 11am-5.30pm Tue-Sun mid-Mar–Sep, to 5pm Oct, gardens 10am-6pm year-round) is reminiscent of the classic ‘upstairs-downstairs’ film Gosford Park. Set in 365 hectares of sweeping grounds above the River Fowey, parts date from the 17th century but the property was extensively rebuilt after a fire in 1881, creating the quintessential Victorian county house. Highlights include the gentlemen’s smoking room (complete with old Etonian photos, moose heads and tigerskin rugs), the children’s toy-strewn nursery, and the huge original kitchens. Lanhydrock is 2½ miles southeast of Bodmin; you’ll need your own transport to get here. Restormel Castle A glorious, fairy-tale crumbling ruin, the 13th-century Restormel Castle (01208-872687; adult/child £2.50/1; 10am-6pm Jul & Aug, 10am-5pm mid-Mar–Jun & Sep, 10am-4pm Oct) has one of the best-preserved circular keeps in England.