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Posh Boys: How English Public Schools Ruin Britain by Robert Verkaik
accounting loophole / creative accounting, Alistair Cooke, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, British Empire, Brixton riot, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Etonian, G4S, gender pay gap, God and Mammon, income inequality, Khartoum Gordon, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Livingstone, I presume, loadsamoney, mega-rich, Neil Kinnock, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Robert Gordon, Robert Mercer, school vouchers, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, trade route, traveling salesman, unpaid internship
After addressing a working-men’s club in the East End of London, Eton headmaster Robert Birley said: ‘I pointed out to them that while people thought of the Suez policy of the Government as an “Eton” policy, because of the number of Etonians in the Cabinet, they had not recognised that both the junior members of the Government who resigned and the majority of the “dissident” Conservatives were Old Etonians. I said that what we wanted to do at Eton was to produce men who would hold independent views and be prepared to stick up for them, not men who would take an “Etonian” line.’10 Seven years later, another Conservative administration suffered a similar fate in 1963 when a privately educated politician lied to parliament about his personal life. John Profumo (Harrow), a leading member of Oxford University’s exclusive Bullingdon Club, enjoyed an active sex life outside his marriage.
Why waste time and valuable resources recruiting further down Britain’s rigid class ladder when the public schools delivered access to the top on a plate? The KGB’s pragmatic obsession with Old Etonians during the Cold War was no different to Putin’s fascination with the eleven schoolboys he had agreed to meet in August 2016. And when David Cameron and his fellow Etonian friend arrived in the Crimea in 1985, looking distinctly out of place on a gap-year break, it is hardly surprising that the KGB tried to recruit them. As it turned out they were really on to something. David Cameron’s effortless rise from home counties prep school to become the nineteenth Etonian prime minister was proof that the Kremlin’s foreign-agent recruitment policy was sound. The Soviets might have also noted that between 1900 and 1979 almost a quarter (333) of government ministers (1,489) were educated at Eton.6 Cameron’s rise from riches to power is a parable of our times.
Ministers and civil servants, who felt excluded from government, suspected that it was unhealthy to run Britain in such a narrow echo chamber.38 Helen Ghosh, a former Home Office permanent secretary, said that women were conspicuous by their absence from Cameron’s executive decision-making club, which she described as an ‘Etonian clique’. There were plenty of promoted OEs to support Ghosh’s claim. Boris Johnson’s brother Jo Johnson was appointed head of Cameron’s Downing Street Policy Unit, while Oliver Letwin was put in charge of developing cabinet policy. There were also key appointments outside government in Cameron’s gift to OEs. The Etonian son of his old headmaster, Eric Anderson, was made the independent reviewer of terrorism laws.39 By 2014, concern over the number of Etonians at the heart of government had become so serious that Cameron’s ally, Michael Gove, told the Financial Times that the numbers of Eton-educated advisers was ‘ridiculous and preposterous’.40 Gove, godfather to one of Cameron’s children, was the first Conservative education minister to send his child to a state secondary school and publicly argues that twenty-first-century prime ministers should be choosing from a much wider talent pool.
Reaching for Utopia: Making Sense of an Age of Upheaval by Jason Cowley
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, coherent worldview, Corn Laws, corporate governance, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deindustrialization, deskilling, Donald Trump, Etonian, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, illegal immigration, liberal world order, Neil Kinnock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, open borders, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Right to Buy, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, University of East Anglia
James Wood, now a literary critic and Harvard professor, remembers Cameron as being ‘confident, entitled, gracious, secure . . . exactly the kind of “natural Etonian” I was not’. He remarks on Cameron’s ‘charm and decency [at Eton] – almost a kind of sweetness, actually’, though he says Cameron showed little interest in politics. (Rory Stewart, the writer-traveller, Conservative MP and another Etonian, once told me that he thought Cameron and Boris Johnson were the ‘wrong kind of Etonians’, which leads one to assume that there must be a right kind, of whom Stewart is presumably one.) Eton: a word of just four letters but with a multiplicity of associations. Eton: a word synonymous with upper class and aristocratic ease and entitlement. Eton: a word that inspires as much anger as it does respect. Etonian: a word that can be used as a statement of fact, as a signifier of status and privileges from birth and as a pejorative adjective, depending on who is using it and in which context.
Eton mess: a sweet and sickly pudding, but also a metaphor for unrest in the Cameron government and for the larger failure of intergenerational social mobility in Britain in 2013. Eton style: pupils’ amusing spoof of the South Korean pop hit and YouTube sensation ‘Gangnam Style’ by Psy, but also a sense of the boarding school as one of the ultimate luxury British ‘brands’, and especially desirable to international plutocrats. Old Etonian: David Cameron is of course one such, and the nineteenth British prime minister to have attended the school. Ferdinand Mount, a cousin of Cameron’s mother, Mary, and a writer and journalist (and, inevitably, an Etonian), recalls the young Cameron ‘abounding in self-confidence’ when as a student he visited Mount while he was working for Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street. At Brasenose College, Oxford, where Cameron read philosophy, politics and economics, his contributions in classes are remembered by a former economics tutor as being ‘thought out and charmingly delivered’.
It is subtitled ‘Practically a Conservative’, which suggests that even the authors are unsure of Cameron’s true motivations or purpose; are unsure of what kind of prime minister he was, or would have been if only he’d won the 2010 election, against an unpopular and exhausted Labour government, and was free of those pesky Lib Dems, who acted as brakes on his more radical desires. Cameron’s back story is well known. He grew up in the Berkshire village of Peasemore, the younger son of an Old Etonian stockbroker, Ian, who was born disabled. Home was the Old Rectory (Cameron’s brother, Alex, who is a barrister, still lives there with his family), which has a large garden, with a swimming pool and tennis court. ‘Home was decidedly old-fashioned if not notably bookish,’ the authors write. The family was ‘very county’, we are usefully told. Cameron was sent at a young age to board at Heatherdown prep school and then, inevitably, when he was thirteen, to Eton.
The Man Who Was Saturday by Patrick Bishop
It was on a grand scale and included a library and an assembly hall. One hundred and twenty-nine names were listed on stone tablets. When the time came to consider another memorial, the scale of the loss was very different. Between 1914 and 1918, the trenches of the Western Front, the grey wastes of the North Sea, the heights of Gallipoli and the baked earth of Palestine and Mesopotamia swallowed 1,157 Old Etonians. Various grand schemes were examined, including a tower in the style of the era of the school’s founder, Henry VI. In the end, the enormity of the loss defeated imagination. The death toll amounted to more than the number of boys at the school when war broke out (in 1914 there were 1,028 pupils). The authorities settled on a frieze of plain bronze plaques listing name, rank and date of departure.
By the time he visited in October 1931, he was well embarked on his campaign to liberate India from British rule. The invitation had come from the Political Society run by the boys, an initiative of Jo Grimond, who went on to lead the Liberal Party.* He wrote that when the school authorities learned of it, they were ‘vexed … However, they soon recovered their poise and fended off the indignant letters fired by blimpish Old Etonians.’ Gandhi, who wore his familiar loincloth as protection against the dank October Thames Valley weather, was ‘only a modified success. Mr Gandhi was long-winded and shuffled round all direct questions. He did not impress the boys.’5 Airey Neave noted in his diary that the Mahatma rose from his bed in the headmaster’s house long before dawn and ‘prayed from 4–5 a.m. in the garden’.6 That is as far as the entry goes.
‘No one really doubts that the Oxford Union [which the year before had voted ‘in no circumstances to fight for its King and Country’] would go with the others when the time came.’ While he believed that ‘there are few people in this country who would not fight for England … I hope there are none who will fight for France.’ Six years later he would do just that. The essay appeared in a magazine called Sixpenny: Stories and Poems by Etonians. It had been started by Robin Maugham, nephew of the famous author, Somerset, and by the second issue Neave’s initials appear as a co-editor. The two had similar backgrounds. Maugham came from an Establishment family and his father was a high court judge. Their temperaments and their school careers, though, were quite different. Maugham’s autobiography reveals another side of Eton whose existence could never be guessed from Neave’s diary.
A History of Modern Britain by Andrew Marr
air freight, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, battle of ideas, Beeching cuts, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Geldof, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Brixton riot, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, congestion charging, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Etonian, falling living standards, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, floating exchange rates, full employment, housing crisis, illegal immigration, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, Live Aid, loadsamoney, market design, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open borders, out of africa, Parkinson's law, Piper Alpha, Red Clydeside, reserve currency, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, upwardly mobile, Winter of Discontent, working poor, Yom Kippur War
He was the son of the canon at Windsor, a clergyman so ferocious he was said to have terrified even Queen Victoria. He tutored the King-Emperor, George V. His son, George VI, loathed Dalton and begged Attlee not to make him Foreign Secretary. This was probably a service to the nation because of the extreme nature of Dalton’s anti-German feelings but the King saw merely Dalton as a turncoat, an Etonian who rebelled against his class and monarch. Dalton had started out as a Tory and switched, partly as an act of rebellion against his father. He was sexually repressed and easily depressed. The poet Rupert Brooke had been one of those he adored. ‘My love’, he said much later, ‘is the Labour movement and the best of the young men in it.’ Beyond anything, though, Dalton loved conspiracies. As Chancellor he paused on his way to deliver the crucial 1947 Budget and told a lobby correspondent some of its key points, allowing a London paper, the Star, to scoop his speech.
Public school education remained the key for anyone hoping to make a career in the City, the Civil Service or the higher echelons of the Army. Schools such as Eton, Harrow and Winchester might educate only some 5 per cent of the population, but they still provided the majority of political leaders, including many of Labour’s post-war cabinet. Parliamentary exchanges of the period are full of in-jokes about who was a Wykehamist and who an Etonian. Briefly, it had seemed such schools would not even survive the war: boarding schools had been in enough of a financial crisis for some to face closure through bankruptcy. Churchill’s own Harrow was one, along with Marlborough and Lancing, though all struggled on. More generally there was a belief that public schools had contributed to failures of leadership in the thirties and right up to the early defeats of the war.
But the naive idea that simply taking an industry into public ownership would improve it had been punctured early. What matters is the quality of the managers. The historian Correlli Barnett was unkind, not unfair, to complain that Whitehall chose for the nationalized boards ‘administrators of their own kidney, sound chaps unlikely to rock boats, rather than innovative leaders strong in will and personality’.48 Coal was under Viscount Hyndley, a 63-year-old marketing man from the industry, an Etonian ran the gas boards and transport was overseen by Sir Cyril Hurcomb from the Ministry of War Transport, ‘a man whose entrepreneurial experience and knowledge of engineering were nil’. The political symbolism of taking over great industries on behalf of the people was striking but as politicians discover anew, every few years, talking about change and actually imposing it are very different things.
Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones
Asperger Syndrome, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, 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, 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.
Content Provider: Selected Short Prose Pieces, 2011–2016 by Stewart Lee
accounting loophole / creative accounting, Boris Johnson, call centre, centre right, David Attenborough, Etonian, James Dyson, Livingstone, I presume, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, Right to Buy, Robert Gordon, Saturday Night Live, sensible shoes, Socratic dialogue, trickle-down economics, wage slave, young professional
The scenario above is sheer satirical fantasy, of course, and it is lazy of the Left to make political capital out of the fact that the chancellor made welfare savings while eating a burger, even if it was a more expensive burger than any the average welfare claimant could ever afford. But it is hardly a state secret that Byron burgers are extremely popular with the right-wing politicos who dwell in the leafy paradise of west London. Byron is run by Tom Byng, a member of the same Old Etonian cabal as David Cameron himself and Boris Johnson. And the mass of juicy meat that top Tories ate in Byng’s previous restaurant, Zucca, saw it described as the de facto works canteen of the Cameron set. Even Nicholas Clegg extols Byron’s succulent flattened beef pads. The coalition has bonded over Byron burgers, and all its key players are proud to stand before their fellows and declare, “Ich bin ein Byronburger.”
Chelsea types, in their pink trousers and yellow jumpers, are coming, displacing ordinary people, even as they themselves are ousted from the verdant pasture of their own west London homelands by the property power of Russian mafia and wealthy Arab Spring escapees. New Byron branches in Manchester and Liverpool reflect similar spurts of gentrification. The rich are eating at Byron in places where the poor once ate at Chicken Cottage, a name I will appropriate for my rural retreat when I too am finally displaced from the capital. The food-press spin on the Old Etonian Tom Byng’s company is that it represents a kind of credible indie alternative to the corporate McDonald’s and Burger King chains. But earlier this month The Times reported that Jacob Rothschild, the father of Osborne’s Bullingdon Club associate Nat Rothschild, is considering buying Byng’s big burger business, though his plan to rename it as Bilder Burger has been seen as a potential PR disaster.
Conservative politicians, and their husbands and wives, have always been obsessed with toilets. Last week’s Daily Mail carried a full-page picture of Sarah Vine, partner of the education secretary, Michael Gove, emerging from a “bog standard” public toilet in Westminster, waving an ordinary toilet brush and declaring that her family will be using public toilets in future, and not the private facilities selected for the ablutions of the families of her husband’s Etonian colleagues. It’s easy to be cynical about a politician’s spouse using their family to score political points, but finding the original picture of Vine emerging from the Westminster toilet online, before Conservative HQ had cropped it, reveals an image every bit as damaging as that famously suppressed photo of George Osborne poking a proboscis monkey with a pencil. True, Vine is holding an apparently ordinary toilet brush, of the sort ordinary people like the late Jade Goody or that woman who put the cat in the bin might use, but zoom in on it and it appears that the handle is made from the ivory of the severely endangered African forest elephant, which sells at a million pounds an ounce, while the bristles have been fashioned from the tail hairs of the virtually extinct white rhino.
Rule Britannia: Brexit and the End of Empire by Danny Dorling, Sally Tomlinson
3D printing, Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, anti-globalists, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, British Empire, centre right, colonial rule, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Etonian, falling living standards, Flynn Effect, housing crisis, illegal immigration, imperial preference, income inequality, inflation targeting, invisible hand, knowledge economy, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, megacity, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, out of africa, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, University of East Anglia, We are the 99%, wealth creators
CHAPTER 4 HIGH INEQUALITY AND IGNORANT POLITICIANS Brexit is intricately connected to Britain’s unaddressed and unredressed imperial past. – NADINE EL-ENANY, NOVEMBER 20171 The questions are obvious. Who are we? What does ‘we’ mean in a state that encompasses four different nations? Where have ‘we’ come from? What diverse and contested histories have shaped ‘us’? Where are ‘we’ going – and where do ‘we’ want to go? The answers are a different matter … But the England of frivolous Etonians, the swollen House of Lords and the London-based elite is not the only England. – DAVID MARQUAND, JUNE 20182 INTRODUCTION The British, and especially the English, are not good at thinking about themselves except as being in competition with other peoples and countries.3 Today, that competition is most obvious when it comes to the football World Cup, but in the past it also concerned industrial prowess.
Results of a survey of people in England carried out in May 2018.8 Fewer than half of all 18–24-year-olds in England are now proud of being English. Given this, and given that the young are traditionally the most rebellious, there are some questions to be asked and answered. Why don’t the British rebel against their leaders? One answer is that they have been taught that their leaders have incredible intellects (especially the Etonians), so it is folly to pooh-pooh them and, of course, the English are seen by so many within England as being naturally superior. There is a geography to this tendency. When surveyed in May 2018, some 90 per cent of respondents in Lincolnshire and the Midlands felt strongly that being English was something to be proud of, but less than half the populations of towns such as Liverpool and Manchester were proud of being English.
Reprinted with kind permission of the British Library Board.53 In September 2017, with less than eighteen months before the leaving bell tolled, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier told the world that the UK’s approach to leaving the Union was ‘nostalgic, unrealistic and undermined by a lack of trust’. Two weeks later, Prime Minister May suggested adding another two years before actually leaving, thereby prolonging the uncertainty and lack of clarity on trade deals. In mid-December 2017, both Boris Johnson and his fellow Old Etonian Jacob Rees-Mogg described a transition period as the UK becoming a vassal state of the European Union. They probably deliberately used a term that only ‘superior’ people imbued in the finer points of empire would know – but were actually using it inappropriately. The British are choosing their fate, it is not being forced upon them, and the EU is not threatening to invade, which is what the subjects of a vassal state would fear.
The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics by David Goodhart
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, assortative mating, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, borderless world, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, central bank independence, centre right, coherent worldview, corporate governance, credit crunch, deglobalization, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, first-past-the-post, gender pay gap, gig economy, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global village, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, market friction, mass immigration, mittelstand, Neil Kinnock, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, obamacare, old-boy network, open borders, Peter Singer: altruism, post-industrial society, post-materialism, postnationalism / post nation state, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, shareholder value, Skype, Sloane Ranger, stem cell, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, wages for housework, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, World Values Survey
It is worth recalling, for a bit of perspective, that sixty years ago in 1957 Anthony Eden’s Conservative cabinet of eighteen were all public school educated men and ten, including Eden himself, were old Etonians. Move ahead twenty-two years to Margaret Thatcher’s first cabinet in 1979 and all but two had attended public school, though the Eton count was down to six. John Major’s first cabinet in 1990 was also more than two thirds public school with the Eton quota a mere two. By contrast David Cameron’s first cabinet in 2010 was the first Tory-led cabinet in which over half its members had not gone to public school, twelve out of twenty-two, and he was the sole Etonian. Theresa May’s cabinet has an even lower public school representation, just five, but still with one very visible Etonian. We should, of course, still worry about making our elite more open and representative but it is also worth recording that Britain is a less static society than many people think.
The ‘life chances’ agenda to boost the prospects of people from relatively deprived backgrounds was enthusiastically backed by David Cameron and then Theresa May. Yet progress in this area is hard to measure and easy to discredit. The cynics always seem to be right about social mobility and meritocracy. Movements at the elite level such as the decline of state-school students at Oxbridge in the 1980s or, more recently, the political prominence of a few old Etonians, can attract all the attention while often disguising more profound shifts below the surface. And because social mobility, in particular, is such a complex phenomenon it is hard to design effective policy measures to promote it. Everything seems either too small, such as the Office for Fair Access trying to increase the number of poorer students in elite universities and the Social Mobility Commission trying to prevent well connected young people monopolising the best internships; or, on the other hand, too big and obvious, such as improving educational standards for poorer pupils.
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, Boris Johnson, 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.
Three Years in Hell: The Brexit Chronicles by Fintan O'Toole
airport security, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, blockchain, Bob Geldof, Boris Johnson, British Empire, centre right, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, deindustrialization, deliberate practice, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Downton Abbey, Etonian, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, full employment, income inequality, l'esprit de l'escalier, labour mobility, late capitalism, open borders, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, technoutopianism, zero-sum game
In spite of the scoffing, in spite of the negativity, in spite of the scepticism that you will hear from the other side, we will work flat out to deliver it.’5 That this is drivel is a given. What is striking, though, is the weird mixture of registers. Words like ‘implausible’ and ‘work flat out to deliver it’ come from a world of facts and processes. The Golden Age (as Rees-Mogg and Johnson ought to know from their Etonian education) comes from the world of cosmological myth. It is elaborated in Hesiod’s Works and Days as a long-ago era in which people had neither facts nor processes to worry about: Like gods they lived, with spirits free from care; And grim old age never encroached. The feast Where they moved limbs to music never ceased; Their hands and feet not ageing in the least. They were free from every evil you could number, And when death came, it stole on them like slumber.6 The whole point of the Golden Age is that it is outside history.
If this poisonous word can be avoided when it has no meaning, perhaps it can be used when it really is called for. 18 June 2019 It is becoming inevitable that Boris Johnson will win the Tory leadership contest and become prime minister. How does such an egregious liar rise so far? If lies were flies, the swarm around him would be so thick that Boris Johnson would be invisible. His gruff, mock-jovial Etonian tones would be drowned out by their incessant, deafening hum. There is ordinary political lying – evasions, circumlocutions, omissions, half-truths. And then there is Johnsonian lying – bare-faced, full-throated, unabashed. I wonder is this the real mark of how far British political life has fallen: people are so sick of the first kind of dishonesty that they actually find Johnson’s upfront mendacity refreshing.
When words bubble up from obscurity like this, they often tell us something about the zeitgeist, and spaffing is very Brexity. It is a public schoolboy term for male ejaculation. One of the earliest examples I can find in print is from an account in the Telegraph of a visit to a sperm bank: ‘I decided to spaff into a cup back in 2014.’ It has since come to mean any form of careless waste. Old Etonian Boris Johnson speaks, with exquisite bad taste, of money spent on police probes into historical child abuse allegations being ‘spaffed up the wall’. It seems apt, both that English public discourse would need a word to describe the pleasures of pointless self-abuse and that it would find it in the puerile vocabulary of its male elite. I find a particularly interesting example, though, in Chris Cook’s riveting new account of how the British screwed up their negotiations with the EU, Defeated by Brexit.
Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America by Christopher Wylie
4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, Boris Johnson, British Empire, call centre, Chelsea Manning, chief data officer, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, computer vision, conceptual framework, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Etonian, first-past-the-post, Google Earth, housing crisis, income inequality, indoor plumbing, information asymmetry, Internet of things, Julian Assange, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, Shoshana Zuboff, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Valery Gerasimov, web application, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game
I can remember sitting around the computer one evening and watching as someone toggled between looking up plantain recipes and watching porn, all while Nix laughed at them. It was a revoltingly giddy laugh, almost infantile. He looked up the IP address and then opened up Google Maps satellite view to see the neighborhood this person lived in. As Nix watched the screen, I began to watch him, taking such deep, nasty pleasure in the chance to ridicule and exploit others. It was classic Nix—or “Bertie,” as his pompous peers called him. Like many Old Etonians, he excelled at banter, flirtation, and entertainment. The directors of SCL assigned him to lead the firm’s side business of rigging elections in forgotten countries of Africa, the Caribbean, and South Asia. It was with cabinet ministers of micronations that Nix was completely in his element. Performing the role of the English gentleman, he would give these politicians access to anything they wanted in the old imperial capital of London—the prestigious clubs frequented by royals and prime ministers, invitations to exclusive parties, or, if desired, the private company of elegant and open-minded women.
In the end, SCL didn’t undertake the project, so I just compartmentalized my concerns and kept working. I began trying to avoid Nix at the office—everyone did, because he behaved so repulsively. His efforts to take me under his wing—to remake me in his image—were a dismal failure. Our backgrounds were too different, for starters. Even if I didn’t find Nix’s arrogance and snobbery appalling, I never could have disguised myself as a “respectable” Old Etonian, and his constant hectoring—what to wear, how to speak, etc.—only made me more self-conscious. We did occasionally bond over a mutual fondness for good whisky, but mostly I kept my distance. The projects that most engaged me were those that were doing some good in the world, such as programs to de-radicalize what the military affectionately called the YUMs—young unmarried males—in the Middle East and root out jihadist behavior.
Bannon was not a typical client for Nix, who was far more used to dealing with ministers or businessmen from the developing nations of Britain’s old empire. Bannon did not need a second passport from a tropical nation. He was not looking for colonial cosplay in London, and he did not care how Nix pronounced his words or about the tailoring of his bespoke suit. Bannon wanted real things. It was deeply disorienting for a man accustomed to seducing ministers with scantily clad Ukrainian women and inebriated Etonian banter. Originally, Nix suggested to Bannon that we meet somewhere on London’s Pall Mall, a street lined with grand stone buildings. A couple of blocks north of Buckingham Palace, Pall Mall begins at Trafalgar Square and ends at St. James’s Palace, the sixteenth-century residence of several members of the royal family. The area is home to some of Britain’s most exclusive private gentlemen’s clubs, where black tie is common and Nix socialized with his peers, sucking down drinks in opulent surroundings.
Why Orwell Matters by Christopher Hitchens
anti-communist, British Empire, colonial rule, deindustrialization, Etonian, hiring and firing, land reform, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, 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 Nanny State Made Me: A Story of Britain and How to Save It by Stuart Maconie
banking crisis, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Boris Johnson, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, David Attenborough, Desert Island Discs, don't be evil, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Etonian, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, G4S, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, helicopter parent, hiring and firing, housing crisis, job automation, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, North Sea oil, Own Your Own Home, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent control, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Silicon Valley, The Chicago School, universal basic income, Winter of Discontent
The inescapable fact is that the public school system as it stands blights British life immeasurably. Sometimes, it’s actually been famous old boys and products of the system who’ve pointed this out, especially with regard to the kind of man the elite ‘top’ schools have been wont to turn out. Cyril Connolly claimed that ‘it results that the greater part of the ruling class remains adolescent, school-minded, self-conscious, cowardly, sentimental’. When Old Etonian George Orwell lay in hospital at the end of his life, he described the man in the next bed, an old boy of a ‘good school’, in a way that suggests several major players in our current politics. ‘A sort of over-fedness, a fatuous self-confidence, a constant bah-bahing of laughter about nothing, above all a sort of heaviness & richness combined with a fundamental ill-will – people who, one instinctively feels, without even being able to see them, are the enemies of anything intelligent or sensitive or beautiful.
It was a form of wealth redistribution that gave me, the youthful Marxist, a certain pang of remorse. But not enough to stop me doing it. The naming of the pub had proved hugely controversial, though. Aldermen and dignitaries in variously inflated states of affront and dudgeon took turns to rail against Orwell himself. Better, they said, to have named the pub after another famous George, that cheery banjolelist son of the town and recipient of the Order of Lenin, Formby, than the Old Etonian Orwell who had done nothing but traduce the town in his dreadfully downbeat book published down in London. Orwell, though, was not writing for the Lancashire tourist board. The Road to Wigan Pier is a brilliant and bitter polemic intended to waken comfortable metropolitan Britain to what was happening to some of their countrymen. It was not intended to increase bookings for mini-breaks to the town’s boutique hotels, even had it possessed any.
When the private sector has left you stranded and alone, when you cannot pay your way, when you are tired and heartbroken, the state, though a diligent, tireless and underpaid worker, will help you stand and carry on when the businessman will only ask what’s in it for him. When the market has left you friendless and alone, the state will still be there. I hope. I’m writing these words on the north-eastern fringe of the Lake District in the summer of 2019. As I write, a multimillionaire old Etonian, sacked twice for dishonesty, firstly by his newspaper, then by the leader of the Conservative Party, a man who described black people as ‘piccaninnies’ with ‘watermelon smiles’, compared Muslim women to bank robbers and letterboxes, gay men as ‘bum boys’ and the EU to the Third Reich, the man who has lost the taxpayer £43 million in the half-baked vanity project the London Garden Bridge, abandoned without a brick being laid, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has just become the Prime Minister of Great Britain.
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.
Inequality and the 1% by Danny Dorling
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, buy and hold, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, corporate governance, credit crunch, David Attenborough, David Graeber, delayed gratification, Dominic Cummings, double helix, Downton Abbey, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, family office, financial deregulation, full employment, Gini coefficient, high net worth, housing crisis, income inequality, land value tax, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, lump of labour, mega-rich, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage debt, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, TaskRabbit, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trickle-down economics, unpaid internship, very high income, We are the 99%, wealth creators, working poor
He presides over a cabinet containing more members of the 1 per cent than has been the case for decades, and has appointed a series of close advisors not just from the 1 per cent, but often from his own school; and, hardly surprisingly – and unlike Mr Obama – he does not explain to his electorate how the business strategies of his friends have impoverished the middle of British society. As even Cameron’s secretary of state for education, Michael Gove, complains: ‘Mr Cameron, who went to Eton, numbers four Old Etonians among his inner circle: Oliver Letwin, minister for government policy; Jo Johnson, head of his policy unit; Ed Llewellyn, chief of staff; and Rupert Harrison, George Osborne’s chief economic adviser.’42 Is it any wonder inequalities in the UK continue to rise? In the UK the leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband, although to the left of Obama, takes conspicuous care not to enrage the 1 per cent.
Page, ‘Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens’ forthcoming in Autumn 2014 in Perspectives on Politics, pre-publication version available at http://folk.uio.no/sigurdkn/usa_oligarchy_empirical.pdf in April 2014. 42. Which continues: ‘ “It doesn’t make me feel personally uncomfortable because I like each of the individuals concerned, but it’s ridiculous”, Mr Gove said. “I don’t know where you can find some such similar situation in a developed economy.” ’ G. Parker and H. Warrell, ‘Gove Takes Aim at Cameron’s Etonians’, Financial Times, 14 March 2014. 43. P. Wintour, ‘Ed Miliband Attacks Coalition’s Growth Strategy in which Rich Will Gain Most’, Guardian, 17 March 2014. 44. ‘He was later widely reported as saying that Labour would “tax the rich until the pips squeak”, which Healey denied.’ Denis Healey, at en.wikipedia.org. 45. Apparently income inequality has been falling worldwide since the year 2000. Figure 3 in B.
A Classless Society: Britain in the 1990s by Alwyn W. Turner
Berlin Wall, Bob Geldof, Boris Johnson, 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, lateral thinking, means of production, millennium bug, minimum wage unemployment, moral panic, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, period drama, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, 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.
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.
This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality by Peter Pomerantsev
"side hustle", 4chan, active measures, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, call centre, citizen journalism, desegregation, Donald Trump, Etonian, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, illegal immigration, mass immigration, mega-rich, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Skype, South China Sea
More elections followed, but Oakes was never in the big league of PR companies. His methodology was slow and expensive. His clients could be the sort of rulers who might hire him, take his research and then refuse to pay; and as they were in countries where the courts were not exactly independent, there was little Oakes could do to get his money. In 2008 another Etonian, Alexander Nix, joined SCL. He was a different type of Etonian to Oakes: he came from a fabulously wealthy background, had studied art history at university and his friends called him ‘Bertie’, a nickname out of Edwardian England. Oakes says Nix wanted to drag the research into the digital age, wanted to make money. He was better with clients. In 2012 Nix took the elections part of the company and made it his own, renaming it Cambridge Analytica (a whistle-blower would later claim that mentioning the prestigious university, which the company had no official affiliation to, impressed American clients).
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.
The Secret World: A History of Intelligence by Christopher Andrew
active measures, Admiral Zheng, airport security, anti-communist, Atahualpa, Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, Fellow of the Royal Society, Francisco Pizarro, Google Earth, invention of movable type, invention of the telegraph, Julian Assange, Khyber Pass, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, RAND corporation, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Skype, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, the market place, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, WikiLeaks, éminence grise
Hall seems to have had a weakness for Old Etonians. In December 1914 he made one of Room 40’s earliest recruits, the Old Etonian Lord Herschell, Lord in Waiting to George V, his personal assistant. Convinced that he required ‘men of wider experience of the world’ than the Admiralty or Whitehall could provide, he took on as a second personal assistant the Old Etonian stockbroker Claude Serocold, who struck Frank Birch as a ‘slim, well groomed creature with a black moustache’ (later removed). Through Herschell and Serocold, Hall recruited mostly well-connected German-speakers from a variety of professions. The Old Etonian publisher Nigel de Grey, depicted by Birch in Alice in ID25 as ‘the Dormouse’ (‘very quiet and apparently asleep’), rivalled his fellow Old Etonian Dilly Knox as the ablest codebreaker in Room 40.81 After the Germans’ transatlantic cable was cut by the British at the outbreak of war, the officially neutral but pro-German Swedes allowed them to use the Swedish cable to communicate with German diplomatic missions in the New World.
With secret financial support from both the French and Spanish crowns, Beaumarchais founded the front company Roderigue Hortalez et Compagnie, which by April 1777 had sent the rebels nine vital shiploads of military supplies, only one of which was intercepted by the British.9 The Continental Congress had been quick to grasp the need for foreign intelligence at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. On 29 November 1775 it created the Committee of Secret Correspondence, the distant ancestor of today’s CIA, for the sole purpose of ‘Corresponding with our friends in Great Britain, Ireland and other parts of the world’.† Two weeks after its foundation the Committee wrote to one of the first of its secret correspondents, Arthur Lee, an American-born Old Etonian lawyer resident in London: It would be agreeable to Congress to know the disposition of foreign powers toward us, and we hope this object will engage your attention. We need not hint that great circumspection and impenetrable secrecy are necessary. The Congress rely on your zeal and ability to serve them, and will readily compensate you for whatever trouble and expense a compliance with their desire may occasion.
What was then passing in his mind could possibly have solved a problem that was to win a battle.77 Ewing also recruited a series of other academics, mostly classicists and German linguists, from Cambridge and other universities. They included, in addition to Knox, two other Fellows of King’s College, Cambridge. Frank Adcock (later knighted and Professor of Ancient History at Cambridge University) arrived at about the same time as Dilly. The Old Etonian King’s historian Frank Birch arrived in 1916.78 Birch was a brilliant conversationalist and comic actor who later appeared in pantomime at the London Palladium and wrote a comic history of Room 40, Alice in ID25, which included a celebration by Knox of his bathtime brainwaves: The sailor in Room 53 Has never, it’s true, been to sea But though not in a boat He has yet served afloat – In a bath at the Admiralty79 In the Second World War Birch and Adcock were to take the lead in recruiting one third of the King’s Fellowship to Bletchley Park (including its greatest cryptanalyst, Alan Turing).80 But for the experience of the contribution made by King’s eccentrics to codebreaking in the First World War, it is unlikely that Turing would have been recruited in 1939.
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.
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.
The Last Job: The Bad Grandpas and the Hatton Garden Heist by Dan Bilefsky
Property also offered an easy way to hide stolen cash. As Perkins drove through Enfield, past Polish specialty food shops, Turkish restaurants, and council estates, the two candidates in the election, the incumbent prime minister David Cameron, and Ed Miliband, the challenger from the left-leaning Labour Party, were about to make their final pleas to voters. Perkins was working class to his core, and Cameron, an Old Etonian who talked as if he had a plum in his mouth, irked men of his ilk. He told Spencer that he liked to vote conservative. He also loved Margaret Thatcher, he said. She had been one tough old bird, and he still credited her for low income taxes and a muscular foreign policy—invading the Falkland Islands, showing the French and Germans who was boss, telling Brussels to bugger off—that had made Britain a country to be reckoned with.
As the daring antics of the Hatton Garden heist grabbed headlines, Britons of all ages and classes marveled at the old men who had managed, like the Great Train robbers before them, to buck the establishment. And while the government of Conservative prime minister David Cameron was not rocked by scandal as in the days of Harold Macmillan during the Great Train Robbery, the occupant in No. 10 Downing Street was an Old Etonian “toff,” presiding over a country that remained deeply polarized by social and class divisions. That helped burnish the aging gang as working-class heroes akin to the Great Train robbers decades earlier. For the dedicated men and women of the Flying Squad, the tendency of the media—and everyday Britons—to idolize the men was a source of deep frustration, since they had, in fact, stolen millions of dollars of valuables.
No Such Thing as Society by Andy McSmith
anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Geldof, Boris Johnson, 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, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, Live Aid, loadsamoney, long peace, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, 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.
Spitfire: A Very British Love Story by John Nichol
The most successful pilots were those who got in close before opening fire, sometimes seeing pieces fly off the pilot as well as his plane. They were experiencing the full spectrum of emotions that came from fighting a fellow human being to the death. For some it was a killing rage, for others cold, clinical and remote. Nineteen-year-old Tim Vigors’ first success over Dunkirk felt similar to bagging a pigeon. The Anglo-Irish Old Etonian of 222 Squadron said: ‘I was aware that I had killed a fellow human being and was surprised not to feel remorse. Of course, Hitler’s atrocities had been well-publicised and we had got into the way of identifying all Germans with their leader.’16 LATE MAY 1940 Bernard Brown With Dowding limiting Spitfire numbers, the RAF threw whatever they could into the fight. This included the Hawker Hector, a 187mph biplane whose only previous action had been on India’s North-West Frontier, keeping musket-toting insurgents at bay.
Like socialising. Diana had spent a long night in the 400 Club. The Leicester Square venue was filled with its usual smoke, banter and close dancing. After all, the club was, according to the press, the ‘night-time headquarters of society’. And they were probably right. On one side of Diana was Max Aitken, fighter pilot and son of Minister of Aircraft Production, Lord Beaverbrook. On the other was Old Etonian, Oxford graduate, British international skier, stockbroker and Hurricane ace Billy Clyde. The two men were listening intently, and with a degree of jealousy, as Diana described what it was like to fly the latest Spitfire. ‘What’s it like for blind flying?’ Aitken asked in passing. He referred to the pilot’s necessary skill for poor weather, when they had to rely on a few key instruments to stay aloft: the altimeter, artificial horizon indicator, airspeed and the climb and descent indicator.
‘I see you’re a member of the rival establishment.’ A clean-shaven captain in an ironed uniform emerged from a dugout. The words were spoken in a cut-glass accent by someone who could only have been to bloody Eton. Charnock always wore his Old Harrovian scarf when flying in his Spitfire, in the knowledge that in his permanently unkempt state it would be a snub to the establishment in general and rival Old Etonians in particular. The officer handed over a canteen. Charnock took a swig, half in expectation that his throat would be delightfully lit with the sting of something strong. It was water. He turned on his heel and left, still swigging the canteen. At the rear lines, Charnock found a truck heading in the direction of Souk-el-Arba and got a lift. His irritation at the lack of a proper drink abated when an idea struck him as they drove past a monastery.
The Lost Decade: 2010–2020, and What Lies Ahead for Britain by Polly Toynbee, David Walker
banking crisis, battle of ideas, Boris Johnson, call centre, car-free, centre right, collective bargaining, congestion charging, corporate governance, crony capitalism, David Attenborough, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy transition, Etonian, first-past-the-post, G4S, gender pay gap, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global village, high net worth, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Dyson, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, moral panic, mortgage debt, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, payday loans, pension reform, quantitative easing, Right to Buy, Saturday Night Live, selection bias, smart meter, Uber for X, urban renewal, working-age population
Their support was guaranteed, despite the rush rightwards – indeed, middle England willed it, asking why it took so long for the Tories to become the sadistic, authoritarian, nationalist party they were by 2019. Cameron, May and Johnson represented an identifiable class – possessors, aspirants to possession and the deferential – at a time when, paradoxically, resentful class consciousness was advancing, though a big effort was made to cloak it non-threateningly as ‘social mobility’. Etonians ruled just as we became more acutely aware of the UK’s (or should that be England’s?) rigid social selection. The stage was stormed: too few working-class actors were playing alongside Benedict Cumberbatch (Harrow) or Eddie Redmayne (Eton). Access to universities, the arts, consultancy, journalism or the law was found to be barred to those lacking the correct background and education. Sociologically speaking, none of this was new but, attitudinally, the plates seemed to be shifting, with more grudging complaints against posh supremacy.
Admonished for their ‘£350 million a week wasted on the EU’ lie, they simply repainted their bus with ‘£50 million a day’ – no less mendacious. But they could rely on friendly journalists, a collective failure of nerve on the part of broadcasters and – it has to be admitted – the public’s receptivity. Two-thirds of them heard about the claim painted on the big red bus. The UK Statistics Authority intervened to condemn this ‘misuse of figures’. Its impotence was another facet of the age. The Etonians and Nigel Farage of Dulwich College whistled racist and xenophobic tunes. Johnson, of Turkish extraction, warned direly of impending invasion by 80 million Turks, at the same time as the leave campaign gulled citizens of Pakistani and Bangladeshi descent with the promise that exiting the EU would mean more visas. (Non-EU immigration did increase after the vote.) Michael Gove, the white-tied ex-president of the Oxford Union, mocked ‘elites’ and uttered the epigraph of the era: ‘The people of this country have had enough of experts from organisations with acronyms saying they know what is best.’
QI: The Second Book of General Ignorance by Lloyd, John, Mitchinson, John
Ada Lovelace, Boris Johnson, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Charles Lindbergh, 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, 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.
Brexit, No Exit: Why in the End Britain Won't Leave Europe by Denis MacShane
3D printing, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, centre right, Corn Laws, deindustrialization, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Etonian, European colonialism, first-past-the-post, fixed income, Gini coefficient, greed is good, illegal immigration, James Dyson, labour mobility, liberal capitalism, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Mont Pelerin Society, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, new economy, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, open borders, open economy, price stability, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, reshoring, road to serfdom, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Thales and the olive presses, trade liberalization, transaction costs, women in the workforce
But for the Tory Party faithful who disliked and distrusted Europe and all its works, Theresa May’s scorn and contempt for the EU brought them cheering to their feet. She was thus confirmed as prime minister by her conference and will face no challenge unless she fails in major policy areas. But her confirmation as undisputed party leader was bought at the price of raising the concern, anger and determination of her fellow heads of government in Europe. Margaret Thatcher was an economic liberal, while Old Etonian Tory prime ministers such as Harold Macmillan and David Cameron were cultural and social liberals. In the name of provincial southern English Tory nationalism, May began burying Tory liberalism and internationalism at her party conference. Her successor as home secretary, Amber Rudd, said that firms in Britain should publish lists of names of foreigners whom they employed. This suggestion sent a frisson of fear around the world, as the idea of naming aliens was utterly alien to Britain, where no one carries an identity card and most national institutions, from premier league football clubs to major banks or universities, are saturated with non-English talent.
When the six continental nations decided to move forward to a broader common market Britain again kept its distance. Hapless Tory prime minister Anthony Eden refused to participate in the Messina conference in 1956 which negotiated the Treaty of Rome. Eden is more famous in history for the disaster of his Suez invasion fiasco, when President Eisenhower called him and said: ‘Anthony. Are you mad?!’ His Old Etonian successor, David Cameron, had managed to achieve both the disaster of his intervention in Libya (jointly with Nicolas Sarkozy) and Brexit, and future historians will struggle to find a British prime minister with a record of such spectacular failure as Cameron’s plebiscite. In 1956, Eden despatched a minor Whitehall civil servant to Messina with Britain’s message to Europe’s prime ministers: ‘Gentlemen, you are trying to negotiate something you will never be able to negotiate.
The Secrets of Station X: How the Bletchley Park codebreakers helped win the war by Michael Smith
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’.
Ma’am Darling by Craig Brown
Often I think back to that first day I saw him and how I watched him briskly stepping out along the pavement with his head in the air and a spring in his step and I wish that he had walked away and never returned to claim Margaret’s hand in marriage.’ 38 Yet, for all Tony’s faults, she might have done worse. After all, many men, not all of them quite savoury, had once entertained the idea of walking her up the aisle. Like many a schoolboy, Jeremy Thorpe enjoyed indulging in fantasies about his future. Aged sixteen, he entertained his fellow Etonians by delivering the balcony speech he would one day address to a tearful crowd upon standing down as prime minister. Another fantasy ran alongside it: one day in the not-too-distant future, he planned to marry Princess Margaret. A year older than the Princess, handsome, well-connected and amusing, he felt himself well placed to achieve this ambition. Fifteen years later, Thorpe was the up-and-coming young Liberal MP for North Devon.
‘I rather hoped to marry the one and seduce the other.’ Following Jeremy Fry’s withdrawal from the role of best man at the forthcoming wedding ‘owing to a recurrence of jaundice’,* Armstrong-Jones put forward the name of Jeremy Thorpe. A discreet investigation on behalf of MI5, the Chief Constable of Devon, Colonel Ranulph ‘Streaky’ Bacon, revealed that while the friendship of Armstrong-Jones and Thorpe was ‘nothing more than two Old Etonians catching up with each other’, it was ‘fairly common knowledge in Devon’ that Thorpe was homosexual. It was felt that this was enough to disbar him from being best man, though not apparently from being an MP, or, a little later, leader of the Liberal Party. Nineteen years after the royal wedding, Jeremy Thorpe was on trial for conspiracy to murder his former lover, Norman Scott. Scott had worked for Norman van der Vater as a stable-boy.
Making It Happen: Fred Goodwin, RBS and the Men Who Blew Up the British Economy by Iain Martin
asset-backed security, bank run, Basel III, beat the dealer, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, call centre, central bank independence, computer age, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, deindustrialization, deskilling, Edward Thorp, Etonian, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, G4S, high net worth, interest rate swap, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Kickstarter, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, moral hazard, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, Nick Leeson, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, old-boy network, pets.com, Red Clydeside, shareholder value, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, upwardly mobile, value at risk
, ref 1 Yorkshire Bank, ref 1 Younger, George, ref 1, ref 2, ref 3, ref 4, ref 5, ref 6, ref 7, ref 8 becomes RBS chairman, ref 1 death of, ref 1, ref 2 and HSBC secret talks, ref 1 illness of, ref 1 and NatWest, ref 1, ref 2, ref 3 and RBS hubris, ref 1 and Thatcher leadership campaign, ref 1, ref 2 Your Magazine, ref 1 List of Illustrations 1. A bust of William Paterson in the Bank of England, the institution he helped found before devising Scotland’s disastrous Darien scheme which led to the creation of The Royal Bank of Scotland in 1727. 2. Archibald Campbell, Earl of Ilay and the 3rd Duke of Argyll. The old Etonian aristocrat involved in the Treaty of Union became the Whig political master of Scotland and a founder of the Royal Bank. 3. The wily John Campbell, long-serving cashier of the Royal Bank who handed over the money Bonnie Prince Charlie needed to fund his invasion of England during the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. 4. The headquarters in the heart of Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town, from 1828 until the construction of Gogarburn. 5.
Clean-up operation: RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton and Goodwin’s successor as chief executive, Stephen Hester, face MPs at Westminster. 1. A bust of William Paterson in the Bank of England, the institution he helped found before devising Scotland’s disastrous Darien scheme which led to the creation of The Royal Bank of Scotland in 1727. 2. Archibald Campbell, Earl of Ilay and the 3rd Duke of Argyll. The old Etonian aristocrat involved in the Treaty of Union became the Whig political master of Scotland and a founder of the Royal Bank. 3. The wily John Campbell, long-serving cashier of the Royal Bank who handed over the money Bonnie Prince Charlie needed to fund his invasion of England during the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. 4. The headquarters in the heart of Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town, from 1828 until the construction of Gogarburn. 5.
The Wake-Up Call: Why the Pandemic Has Exposed the Weakness of the West, and How to Fix It by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge
Admiral Zheng, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, Corn Laws, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Etonian, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, global pandemic, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jones Act, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, McMansion, night-watchman state, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parkinson's law, pensions crisis, QR code, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, trade route, universal basic income, Washington Consensus
“The ideological debates of the past began to give way to a new agreement on the practicalities of managing a modern economy,” Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Kennedy’s house historian, observed. “There thus developed in the Kennedy years a national accord on economic policy—a new consensus which gave hope of harnessing government, business and Labor in rational partnership for a steadily expanding American economy.”30 There was a clubbish feel to all this. In Britain, a Magic Circle of Old Etonians gathered around Bobbety Salisbury, the grandson of the great nineteenth-century prime minister, to choose the next Conservative Party leader (and thus usually prime minister). Eisenhower and Kennedy called on a cohort of Waspy “wise men,” typified by W. Averell Harriman, the son of a railway tycoon. Whenever a problem emerged, the East Coast establishment called in the best and the brightest from academia, business, or the civil service—whether it was asking Keynes and Harry Dexter White to design the IMF and the World Bank, “Mac” Bundy to mastermind foreign policy, or Bob McNamara and his “whiz kids” to fix the faltering Vietnam War.
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, Kickstarter, 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, Ross Ulbricht, WikiLeaks, 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.’
Dictatorland: The Men Who Stole Africa by Paul Kenyon
agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, British Empire, centre right, clean water, colonial rule, Etonian, European colonialism, falling living standards, friendly fire, land reform, mandatory minimum, Nelson Mandela, Norman Mailer, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Scramble for Africa, transatlantic slave trade, Yom Kippur War
Sovereignty would undoubtedly bring with it economic and political dominance right across the region. Borders were fluid at the time, but the Boer republic of Transvaal had the strongest claim. Britain’s Cape Colony lay twenty-five miles to the south. Its claim was so thin as to be non-existent, but its governor had an idea. Why didn’t they appoint an arbitrational court to settle the issue? The chairman would be Robert William Keate, an old Etonian who had played cricket for Oxford University and for England. The Transvaal Boers were right to be suspicious. It was a stitch-up. In 1871, Keate awarded the diamond fields to a local chief called Nicholas Waterboer, who had already secretly agreed to hand the territory to Queen Victoria. The British colonial secretary, Lord Kimberley, arrived to celebrate, and instructed his underlings to anglicize the local place names so he could feel more at home.
His fury over their mistreatment, which his advisors put down to his fierce anti-racism, continued when he arrived at the office of the governor of Rhodesia, Sir Humphrey Gibbs, where Wilson later recalled, ‘On going in to harangue the governor, I was unable to see him because of the red flashes before my eyes.’3 That evening, as Sithole and Nkomo were driven back to their cells under darkening skies, Wilson found himself at a dinner in Salisbury being mocked by Smith’s ministers. Throughout the year-long negotiations, Smith had always presented himself as a relative moderate, reluctantly trying to accommodate the ill-mannered right-wingers in his party who were pushing him further to the right. Now Wilson got to see them for himself. One, the old Etonian Lord Graham, a minister in Smith’s government, told a lewd story and then illustrated it by belly-dancing and ‘brushing his capacious frame’ against Wilson’s face. The others were boorish and drunk, and taunted Wilson as he squirmed with discomfort. He finished the night feeling physically sick. In the circumstances, with such a momentous decision looming, their behaviour did not bode well. On his return home, deflated but still hopeful, Wilson threw away any small advantage he might have had by confirming in a radio broadcast what Smith suspected but couldn’t, until now, have known for certain.
Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939 by Virginia Nicholson
They went hatless and shoeless, painted their front doors red, slept on divans. They became tramps or took off in caravans. Flamboyant and subversive, they read Edward Carpenter, Havelock Ellis and Ann Veronica. They were trying out contraception, imagism and Post-Impressionism. They were often drunk and broke, sometimes hungry, but they were of a rebellious spirit. Inhabiting the same England as colonials, Etonians, peers and puritans was a parallel minority of moral pioneers, travelling third class and coping with faulty fireplaces. Often their idealistic experiments went disastrously wrong, and sometimes they felt cast adrift on the sea of new freedoms. And yet gradually, imperceptibly, they changed society. This book testifies to that quiet revolution. Thus the choices made by Bohemians are its subject, not their achievements.
Colum, Mary (1886–1957) Released from her Catholic school into the heart of Bohemian Dublin, this ‘lovely, saucy, bright student at University College’ was much influenced by the Irish Revival writers Yeats and Synge. She was also deeply involved in women’s suffrage. With her husband the poet Padraic Colum she helped found the Irish Review and became a friend of James Joyce. Connolly, Cyril (1903-1974) Etonian and Oxford graduate, Connolly vacillated between literary respectability and dissolute Bohemianism; his one novel, The Rock Pool (1947), describes Bohemian life on the Côte d’Azur. An ardent traveller and hedonist, his close friends included Patrick Balfour, Noel Blakiston and Peter Quennell, though as editor of Horizon he knew most of the major writers of his day. Cooper, Lady Diana (1892-1986) ‘Dazzling and valiant’, Lady Diana Manners was one of the ‘Mayfair troika’, consisting of Nancy Cunard, Iris Tree and herself.
Straight on Till Morning: The Life of Beryl Markham by Mary S. Lovell
The two became a familiar sight, for as she grew into adolescence she continued to accompany him when he went to Nairobi a hundred-odd miles to the south-east, for business reasons or to the races. They travelled down by the twice-weekly train, with their horses. By the time she was eleven Beryl was already riding out on her father’s racehorses32 and had become an accomplished and competent horsewoman. On some of these trips south the pair would hunt with the Masara Hounds. Jim Elkington, a huge Old Etonian with a genial countenance and sparkling blue eyes, was the Master and huntsman of this pack of imported foxhounds, and both a good friend and a rival of Clutterbuck on Nairobi’s race course. The Elkington farm was a regular stop for Clutterbuck and Beryl when they came in from up country. The Elkington homestead was ‘complete with bleached and horned animal skulls lining the walls, a veranda ran all round the ramshackle wooden bungalow, littered with riding crops and bits of saddlery with dog bowls and…a huge population of dogs and cats, waiting to trip you up.’
But by the time Beryl arrived the initial nervousness had worn off and the duchess was accustomed to entertain often. With her quick, bright energy she had transformed the formerly gloomy residence, overfilled with heavy late-Victorian mahogany pieces, to a bright and comfortable, well-furnished home filled with light and flowers.35 The duke’s aide, Gray Phillips, was a close ally of the duchess and he also became a friend of Beryl during her stay in Nassau.36 Six and a half feet tall, the Old Etonian classics scholar was charming, resourceful and witty. A bachelor with a strong artistic streak, he was Beryl’s dinner partner on several occasions at Government House and elsewhere. The duchess’s dinners were said to be extremely amusing for she was very clever and funny and tried always to ensure that her guests were equally entertaining.37 By the end of June Beryl had sent four batches of typewritten manuscript to her publishers in Boston, totalling 110 pages.
Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now by Alan Rusbridger
accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, centre right, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, David Brooks, death of newspapers, Donald Trump, Doomsday Book, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Etonian, Filter Bubble, forensic accounting, Frank Gehry, future of journalism, G4S, high net worth, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, natural language processing, New Journalism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pre–internet, ransomware, recommendation engine, Ruby on Rails, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social web, Socratic dialogue, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, traveling salesman, upwardly mobile, WikiLeaks
‘Jenkins sees red over the much-lauded two-way communication characteristics of the Internet . . . to those who claim “the advent of digital hypertext will liberate the reader from the tyranny of the writer” he retorts that this is the “freedom of the brain-dead”.’ Jenkins was not alone. * Katz, by now barely 30 and with almost no editing experience, set himself up over the road in the Ray Street loft and started to assemble a team. They had no idea who they were looking for, or how much to pay them. One of the first through the door was Robin Houston, a 21-year-old Etonian, Oxford-educated computer scientist who had spent just one year as a web programmer and was, according to Katz, ‘the cleverest human being that ever walked through the Guardian’s doors’. He had one bag of clothes, long hair and brightly painted fingernails. Houston was originally hesitant about taking the job because he thought the Guardian was ‘too commercial’. Katz sent his recently hired business lead, Justin Walter, round to convince him that the Guardian was completely uncommercial and that we were destined to lose vast amounts of money.
In the age of print-alone it was just about imaginable for one person to keep up with the news across all science and deliver three or four pieces a week. But the new beast had to be fed constantly, seven days a week. Science articles were well-read and appreciated.2 How did they see the role of the broadsheet over at the Telegraph, then being edited by Charles Moore, a libertarian Conservative Old Etonian who subsequently wrote a three-volume biography of Margaret Thatcher? He and I did not see eye to eye on many political and social issues – and, from time to time, our two papers would snipe at each other. But at the heart of what we did there was a similar idea of what a serious newspaper’s job was in this age of peak broadsheet. I recently asked him to describe it from his end of the telescope.
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, Charles Lindbergh, 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.
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, shared worldview, 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.
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, Kickstarter, lateral thinking, 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.
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.
Dreams of Leaving and Remaining by James Meek
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, bank run, Boris Johnson, centre right, Corn Laws, corporate governance, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Etonian, full employment, global supply chain, illegal immigration, Jeff Bezos, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, mega-rich, Neil Kinnock, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, working-age population
– but the disappearance of the estuary within recorded history is a salutary reminder of the impermanence of land and the folly of destabilising, as we are doing, an already unstable climate. Farmer-conservationists like Wright have moved a long way from their old mindset, but according to some radical farmers, when global warming is the peril, they haven’t moved nearly far enough. One such was Peter Melchett, the former head of Greenpeace UK, who owned the 890-acre Courtyard Farm in northwest Norfolk, near Hunstanton. He was also a hereditary peer, also an Etonian, also in receipt of a six-figure subsidy (£107,545 last year). But he was the only member of the Norfolk farming aristocracy to have spent two nights in a Norwich jail, in 2000, for attempting to purge a local farmer’s field of an experimental crop of GM maize.* Like Wright, Melchett was a farmer–conservationist, and rewarded for it by the subsidy system. Unlike Wright, he was an organic farmer; he was the policy director of the Soil Association, which certifies most British organic produce.
The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding
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, MITM: man-in-the-middle, national security letter, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, undersea cable, 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.
Night Trains: The Rise and Fall of the Sleeper by Andrew Martin
If it really was true that the sleeping car conductors were fluent in three languages and conversant in half a dozen, then the average Englishman, fluent in one (and not even that after a few drinks), might easily feel intimidated. It might be thought that Sleeping Car to Trieste had been written by some gauche person who’d suffered social embarrassments on the Wagons-Lits, but the scriptwriter was William Douglas-Home, an old Etonian who’d also attended Sandhurst and Oxford and whose older brother, Alec Douglas-Home, became Prime Minister in 1963. Dinner eaten, the choice was between the bleakness of the dining car (because the Texans had left and no one else had come) and the bleakness of my compartment. I ordered half a bottle of white wine to ‘take away’, and asked for the bill, which came to a reasonable twenty-five euros.
Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed
Albert Einstein, anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, 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.
Nine Crises: Fifty Years of Covering the British Economy From Devaluation to Brexit by William Keegan
banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, congestion charging, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Etonian, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, financial thriller, floating exchange rates, full employment, gig economy, inflation targeting, Just-in-time delivery, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, oil shock, Parkinson's law, Paul Samuelson, pre–internet, price mechanism, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, short selling, South Sea Bubble, The Chicago School, transaction costs, tulip mania, Winter of Discontent, Yom Kippur War
Why, why, why did Cameron not go back on his commitment to a referendum? I think the answer may lie in that familiar British aristocratic or upper-middle-class assumption – mainly among the male of the species – of ‘effortless superiority’. So far in his life, David Cameron had had an easy ride. He had risen almost effortlessly to the top, and there was much talk among those who knew him well of ‘that Etonian self-confidence’. Moreover, the Scottish referendum, after a few nervous moments, had gone well for a Prime Minister who was leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party. During his mission to extract concessions from Brussels and the rest of the EU, he gave the impression to his counterparts of being overconfident that he could pull it off. At this point I wish to pay tribute to a Dutch journalist, Titia Ketelaar, then based in London, whom I used to meet at our local coffee bar, Pistachio and Pickle.
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, post-work, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, Results Only Work Environment, shareholder value, social intelligence, 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.
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, Boris Johnson, call centre, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, David Brooks, Dominic Cummings, 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?
The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge
Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Asian financial crisis, assortative mating, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, cashless society, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, circulation of elites, Clayton Christensen, Corn Laws, corporate governance, credit crunch, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, Etonian, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, liberal capitalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Nelson Mandela, night-watchman state, Norman Macrae, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, old age dependency ratio, open economy, Parag Khanna, Peace of Westphalia, pension reform, pensions crisis, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, profit maximization, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, Skype, special economic zone, too big to fail, total factor productivity, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, working-age population, zero-sum game
Kansas has created a post called “the Repealer” to get rid of red tape and pays a “bounty” to high schools for every vocational qualification their students earn in certain fields. Forty-five states are developing new curriculums, thirty-eight have introduced a performance element in teachers’ pay, and forty-two allow charter schools. The list could go on. Change is even coming to the country that was at the center of our three and a half revolutions. An old Etonian pragmatist, stuck in an unwieldy coalition, might seem an unlikely radical, but David Cameron is on course to reverse Gordon Brown’s spending splurge by 2015, reducing public spending to below 40 percent of the GDP, roughly where Margaret Thatcher left it in 1990. Mr. Cameron has engendered far less opposition than Thatcher largely because most of the savings have been found in a nonideological way—through freezing pay, getting councils to share facilities, buying fewer police cars, and so on.
No Such Thing as a Free Gift: The Gates Foundation and the Price of Philanthropy by Linsey McGoey
activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, American Legislative Exchange Council, bitcoin, Bob Geldof, cashless society, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crony capitalism, effective altruism, Etonian, financial innovation, Food sovereignty, Ford paid five dollars a day, germ theory of disease, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, income inequality, income per capita, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Mitch Kapor, Mont Pelerin Society, Naomi Klein, obamacare, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price mechanism, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, school choice, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, urban planning, wealth creators
‘By diminishing the apparent power of religion’, Tocqueville writes, ‘one increased its real strength’.4 Throughout the twentieth century, the new priests of laissez-faire economic policy exemplified the perceptiveness of Tocqueville’s insight. They grasped that in order to wield lasting power it was important to make sure their efforts appeared as non-political as possible. Unfailingly, whenever confronted with a choice between overt political engagement and more surreptitious political lobbying, Hayek would recommend the second strategy. Shortly after the Second World War, Hayek cautioned Antony Fisher, an Old Etonian who would earn a fortune introducing factory poultry production in Britain, against a career in politics, suggesting that positive reform would be impossible without ‘first effecting a change in the climate of ideas’.5 Hayek urged Fisher to establish a ‘scholarly research organization’ that would supply intellectuals in the academy and journalism with studies of the free market and its application to current affairs.
War for Eternity: Inside Bannon's Far-Right Circle of Global Power Brokers by Benjamin R. Teitelbaum
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bitcoin, Boris Johnson, creative destruction, crony capitalism, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, Etonian, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, illegal immigration, Joseph Schumpeter, liberal capitalism, liberal world order, mass immigration, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, Saturday Night Live, school choice, side project, Skype, South China Sea, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks
He had creepy social media profiles: he often posted a bizarre combination of skull and chaos-sign icons along with articles about Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn. His connections with wealthy Muslims were real. They included the former emir of Qatar and, of equal note, a wealthy, well-known rabble-rouser—a half-Iranian Iranian nationalist from the UK named Darius Guppy. Guppy, like Michael Bagley, had been caught in elaborate illegal schemes to raise money for unclear purposes, and had once conspired with his friend and fellow Old Etonian British prime minister Boris Johnson to have a journalist physically beaten. Those were the connections that had so worried the anti-fascist activist who had helped me investigate this Londoner, for the information outlined the possibility that Jason had been contacted by someone with channels to power. His and Bagley’s circle of contacts also included the CEO of a media company who moved between Mexico and London and who published a website tracking oil prices and trading—that’s probably where the Venezuela documents (for yet another money raising scheme) came from.
The Rise and Fall of the British Nation: A Twentieth-Century History by David Edgerton
active measures, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, blue-collar work, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, centre right, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Corn Laws, corporate governance, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, deskilling, Donald Davies, double helix, endogenous growth, Etonian, European colonialism, feminist movement, first-past-the-post, full employment, imperial preference, James Dyson, knowledge economy, labour mobility, land reform, land value tax, manufacturing employment, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, new economy, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, packet switching, Philip Mirowski, Piper Alpha, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, trade liberalization, union organizing, very high income, wages for housework, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor
An accommodation with local workers would be sought, bypassing the declared interests of the local whites who dominated local politics.14 The imperial police forces outside Great Britain were quite different from our image of the domestic British police force. They were like the Royal Irish Constabulary, an armed gendarmerie with a distinct officer corps. In Asia and Africa they had white officers at the head, and local, or non-local, usually non-white, constables and other lower ranks. Officers were a distinct cadre, recruited after public school, trained in special schools and put into positions of command. Eric Blair, an Etonian, served seven years in the imperial Indian Police, stationed in Burma – he returned to Britain and became the writer George Orwell. It would have been unthinkable for him to have joined a domestic police force, though had he stayed in the Indian Police he might have returned home to become a chief constable. The chief constables of the largest forces were recruited from imperial police officers, or the armed forces.
The English and Welsh Conservative and Unionist Party was led by the aristocratic Winston Churchill to 1955; by Anthony Eden, from a minor aristocratic family, to 1957; and by Harold Macmillan, married into the grandest of aristocratic families, until 1963. Macmillan was succeeded by a fully titled aristocrat, the 14th Earl of Home, or Sir Alec Douglas-Home, as he became on renouncing his peerage. The ministers in Conservative governments of the 1950s and early 1960s were overwhelmingly public school and Oxbridge educated. Around one-sixth were aristocrats, and fully one-third Etonians.9 The Labour Party, excepting a small part of its leadership, was very different. Those with secondary and university education had, as in the case of the Tories, tended to have been to public schools and Oxbridge. Where Labour differed was that part of its front bench (and most of its MPs), had no secondary or university education. Neither parliamentary party, in other words, had a strong cadre of the emergent grammar school/civic university middle class.
Fall Out: A Year of Political Mayhem by Tim Shipman
banking crisis, Beeching cuts, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, centre right, Clapham omnibus, Corn Laws, corporate governance, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, drone strike, Etonian, eurozone crisis, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, iterative process, John Bercow, Kickstarter, kremlinology, land value tax, mutually assured destruction, Neil Kinnock, new economy, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, open borders, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, Snapchat, working poor
‘The thing about David is, he’s a self-confident, secure person, and he doesn’t hold grudges, or sit awake at night,’ one friend said. ‘He’s more interested in what animal he’s going to shoot, or what claret he’s going to have for lunch, or where he’s going to shag Sam next! He’s not a political obsessive, which is one of his great strengths.’ When the former Israeli premier Shimon Peres died in October 2016, Cameron found himself on the same plane as Boris Johnson, his nemesis in the referendum campaign. The two Old Etonians made up over a scotch at the King David Hotel. Johnson told a friend later, ‘He’s a guy who feels he was doing a bloody good job as prime minister and then suddenly he wasn’t allowed to be prime minister any more. He’s pissed off. You can’t blame him.’ Yet as 2017 went on, the Cameroon set grew concerned about their leader, who was easily bored, confiding that he was becoming depressed by the implications of Brexit and the state of his life.
As the face of Brexit, and yet one whose department was not central to delivering it, Johnson felt under growing pressure. He knew he would be the one blamed by the public if things went wrong, but throughout the summer he had watched as Hammond asserted his influence and Davis had his high-profile meetings with Barnier. The phrase that was increasingly used by MPs in the House of Commons tea room was that Johnson was ‘a busted flush’. Over the summer he had even been eclipsed by his fellow Old Etonian, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who had been hailed as a leadership contender by ‘Moggmentum’ online activists. Boris’s one attempt to insert himself into the Brexit debate – telling the EU to ‘whistle for it’ on the money – had been seen as a gaffe which confirmed his lack of seriousness. Had Johnson had a better year, he might have seemed the inevitable choice to replace May after the general election. He might already be prime minister.
Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language by Robert McCrum
Alistair Cooke, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, 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 Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett
assortative mating, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, discrete time, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, East Village, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, income inequality, iterative process, knowledge economy, longitudinal study, Mason jar, means of production, NetJets, new economy, New Urbanism, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post scarcity, post-industrial society, profit maximization, Richard Florida, selection bias, Silicon Valley, The Design of Experiments, the High Line, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, Thorstein Veblen, Tony Hsieh, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Veblen good, women in the workforce
The knowledge that one’s kitchen is big enough to contain a table. The suggestion that, elsewhere in the house, there might be another room where, on a more important occasion, one might also eat. The deft swerve around the words “dinner party” (these, being aspirational middle class, are presumably non-U16 in Maude-ian circles) and “meal” (also non-U, though I’ve no idea why; I’m only aware of this at all because a horrible old Etonian I once met ticked me off when it fell sluttishly from my lips).17 Similarly, saying one went to a “small school in Cambridge” when everyone knows you mean Harvard suggests the downplaying of something that is actually prized and rare, just like the option to have dinner in the dining room or the kitchen. A household’s rule of taking one’s shoes off when entering suggests too much regard and preciousness for the house (nouveau), while the aspirational class wouldn’t dare imply their house was worthy of such care (even if it actually is).
Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse: And Other Lessons From Modern Life by David Mitchell
bank run, Boris Johnson, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, credit crunch, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, Etonian, eurozone crisis, haute cuisine, Julian Assange, lateral thinking, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, payday loans, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, sensible shoes, Skype, The Wisdom of Crowds, WikiLeaks
His crowing glee at the sight of a passing bandwagon, the intense joy because his opponents have messed up, and so he’s closer to his aims without having to do anything good, made me want to puke. And every time a Labour politician says “out of touch”, I want to scream, which is difficult to do if you’re already puking. I can’t shake the feeling that someone in Miliband’s team thinks it’s unbelievably clever that they keep repeating that phrase, basically as a synonym for “Old Etonian”, and I want that person’s feeling of cleverness to be ripped out of them without anaesthetic. Politicians just can’t win with people like me. But then they appear to have stopped trying to win and to be willing to settle for losing least – which, as David Cameron can attest, brings with it the same job title. Is it fair to blame them? They get maligned for who they are and, when they try to conceal that, they get vilified for “not being themselves”.
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.
The Mystery of Charles Dickens by A. N. Wilson
British Empire, Columbine, Corn Laws, Etonian, Fellow of the Royal Society, George Santayana, Honoré de Balzac, James Watt: steam engine, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Ralph Waldo Emerson, sexual politics, spinning jenny, Thomas Malthus
How often, when living, Dickens had taken this trip, as often as not alighting at Peckham Rye to see Nelly, or whizzing on to Charing Cross Station, a short walk from the offices of Household Words in Wellington Street. Now he rattled along to Charing Cross in his coffin. When it arrived at the terminus, it was carried into a hearse and three carriages followed, not the two the family had originally specified as a maximum. In the first were the four children who were still alive and still in England – Charley, Old Etonian and failed businessman, at present making a mess of editing Household Words; Harry the barrister; Mamie; and Katey Collins, who would one day be the person who revealed Dickens’s Secret Life to the world. In the next carriage was the purveyor of the official version, biographer John Forster, who had known Dickens since the Doughty Street days, the early triumphant Pickwickian days; he shared the carriage with Charley’s wife; with Georgy, who had also been with Dickens ever since the days of Doughty Street and had been his companion to the very last; and with his sister Letitia, four years Charles’s junior, who had been a little child when their father was taken into the Marshalsea, but whose eyes had seen it all: the hilarity of the aunts and the parents clapping and laughing as the infant Charles entertained them with songs and imitations; the ignominy of her twelve-year-old brother setting out to Warren’s Blacking warehouse; the success of Boz; the holidays in Broadstairs when she and her husband stayed with Charles as he laboured on Barnaby Rudge; and later holidays on the Isle of Wight, when, at Lady Swinburne’s house at Bonchurch, the company had screamed with excitement at Dickens’s skill as a conjuror, and Lady Swinburne’s strange flame-headed little boy, with an enormous head, Algernon Charles, had clapped and cheered.
The Railways: Nation, Network and People by Simon Bradley
Alfred Russel Wallace, back-to-the-land, Beeching cuts, British Empire, clean water, Corn Laws, cross-subsidies, David Brooks, Etonian, intermodal, joint-stock company, loose coupling, low cost airline, oil shale / tar sands, period drama, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Punch cartoon of 1858 shows a guard looking into a compartment occupied by three smart travellers, all visibly in breach of regulations: ‘There are two things not allowed on this line, gentlemen: smoking, and the servants of the company receiving money.’ The pay-off may be guessed. As Robert Audley mused in Lady Audley’s Secret (1862), ‘The Company may make as many bye-laws as they please … but I shall take the liberty of enjoying my cheroot as long as I’ve half-a-crown left to give the guard.’ Or you could take the rap and pay up: another Punch cartoon from these years has a ‘fast Etonian’ rebuked by a stove-pipe-hatted figure who reveals himself to be the manager of the line, only to receive the cool reply, ‘Well, old boy, I must have my smoke, so you may as well take your forty shillings now.’ The young Prince of Wales himself was detected in the offence, according to society gossip in the 1860s. Senior personnel did not always escape the suspicion of double standards: an errant passenger brought before Huddersfield magistrates in 1861 was let off partly on the grounds that the companies’ officials and directors were habitual and hypocritical smokers on their own trains.
p. 108 fashionable new forms: Wilson, A. N. 2, 197–8. p. 108 the briar: Alford, 111. p. 108 ‘railway pipes’; covered in scratches: Quick, 169, 171–2. p. 108 nearly £30,000 of share capital: Alford, 87–8. p. 108 first-class saloon of 1846: ILN, 12 Sept. 1846. p. 108 Eastern Counties: Paar and Grey, 71. p. 109 two unchivalrous male passengers: PIP, 7 June 1862. p. 109 cartoon of 1858: Punch, 23 Oct. 1858. p. 109 ‘fast Etonian’: Punch, 28 Sept. 1861. p. 109 The young Prince of Wales: Ellis, C. H. 6, 35. p. 109 Huddersfield magistrates: Harris, 49. p. 109 John Stuart Mill: Hansard 193, 24 July 1868, col. 1736. p. 109 By October 1868: RW, Jan. 1969, 38. p. 110 Judy magazine: Judy, 2 Dec. 1868. p. 110 Great Western smoking compartment: Kilvert, iii, 159. p. 110 Wills brothers: Wilson, A. N. 2, 198. p. 110 red triangular stickers: Harris, 55.
The Verdict: Did Labour Change Britain? by Polly Toynbee, David Walker
banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Geldof, Boris Johnson, 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 Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom by Simon Winchester
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.
Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything by David Bellos
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.
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, Kickstarter, 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 Secret Life of Bletchley Park: The WWII Codebreaking Centre and the Men and Women Who Worked There by Sinclair McKay
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.’
Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles--And All of US by Rana Foroohar
"side hustle", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, AltaVista, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, death of newspapers, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Etonian, Filter Bubble, future of work, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, light touch regulation, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, PageRank, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, price discrimination, profit maximization, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, search engine result page, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Snapchat, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, the new new thing, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game
After selling the company in 1998, they’d turned their attention to the fashion market, specifically targeting the young, tech-savvy customer who they thought would pay full price for tough-to-find sportswear items like Vans sneakers or Cosmic Girl T-shirts. Turned out that Bernard Arnault, the head of the global luxury conglomerate LVMH, thought so, too, as did the Italian retailer Benetton. Malmsten and Leander’s Boo.com quickly raised three large rounds of capital, opened offices on Carnaby Street, and launched simultaneously in seven countries.5 Another good-looking and posh pair, Old Etonian Brent Hoberman and Martha Lane Fox, the daughter of an Oxford historian, started Lastminute.com, a successful travel site that specialized in great deals on eleventh-hour vacations. They eventually took the company public in a £577 million listing.6 Even First Tuesday itself was eventually sold for roughly $50 million.7 Meyer, to her great credit, admitted that First Tuesday had been “in the right place, at the right time.”
Bean Counters: The Triumph of the Accountants and How They Broke Capitalism by Richard Brooks
accounting loophole / creative accounting, asset-backed security, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, blockchain, BRICs, British Empire, business process, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Strachan, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, energy security, Etonian, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, forensic accounting, Frederick Winslow Taylor, G4S, intangible asset, Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, low cost airline, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, principal–agent problem, profit motive, race to the bottom, railway mania, regulatory arbitrage, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, supply-chain management, The Chicago School, too big to fail, transaction costs, transfer pricing, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks
Retirement into some plum boardroom positions, including one at investment bank J. P. Morgan, followed five years later. The British establishment also embraced the bean-counting veterans of the crisis. KPMG’s senior UK partner until 2006, and thereafter European leader, while it audited HBOS, Bradford & Bingley and the Co-operative Bank, was John Griffith-Jones. In 2012, Chancellor George Osborne rewarded the Old Etonian with the chairmanship of Britain’s new financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority. Somewhat embarrassingly, Griffith-Jones was repeatedly forced to leave the boardroom when the scandals that broke on his bean-counting watch at KPMG were discussed. More recently, when KPMG came to elect a new British chairman in 2017, its partners chose Bill Michael. He had been in charge of auditing financial services companies such as HBOS and the Co-op Bank in the critical period from 2005 to 2009.73 These men had all made millions from the expansion of their firms through the boom years leading up to the crash, much of it from the banks themselves.
Flame Trees of Thika by Elspeth Huxley
Thika in those days – the year was 1913 – was a favourite camp for big-game hunters and beyond it there was only bush and plain. If you went on long enough you would come to mountains and forests no one had mapped and tribes whose languages no one could understand. We were not going as far as that, only two days’ journey in the ox-cart to a bit of El Dorado my father had been fortunate enough to buy in the bar of the Norfolk hotel from a man wearing an Old Etonian tie. While everyone else strode about Nairobi’s dusty cart-tracks in bush shirts and khaki shorts or riding breeches, Roger Stilbeck was always neatly dressed in a light worsted suit of perfect cut, and wore gold cuff-links and dark brogue shoes. No bishop could have appeared more respectable, and his wife, who looked very elegant, was said to be related to the Duke of Montrose. Roger Stilbeck had met us at the station when we arrived and Mrs Stilbeck came to see us off, a mark of grace by no means conferred on every buyer of her husband’s land.
Operation Chastise: The RAF's Most Brilliant Attack of World War II by Max Hastings
Before 1940, however, pilots lacked social cachet. Indeed, they had a rueful pre-war joke that a flier would sooner tell people he was a pianist in a brothel than admit to being a member of the RAF. Even after hostilities began, while many British aristocrats enlisted in the army and some in the Royal Navy, very few became pilots. The aircrew of 617 Squadron eventually included several public schoolboys and one Etonian, but none were authentic ‘toffs’. In Gibson’s case, after a few months the RAF relented and accepted him for pilot training. This was indisputably exciting, but also perilous: during the inter-war years sixty-two cadets at Cranwell, the service’s elite college, were killed in flying accidents. In November 1936, aged just eighteen, three months after leaving St Edward’s, Gibson reported for instruction to the airfield at Yatesbury in Wiltshire.
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'.
Hard Times: The Divisive Toll of the Economic Slump by Tom Clark, Anthony Heath
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, British Empire, business cycle, Carmen Reinhart, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, deindustrialization, Etonian, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, full employment, Gini coefficient, hedonic treadmill, 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, MITM: man-in-the-middle, 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.
Chasing the Devil: On Foot Through Africa's Killing Fields by Tim Butcher
… seediness has a very deep appeal: even the seediness of civilisation, of the sky-signs in Leicester Square, the ‘tarts’ in Bond Street, the smell of cooking greens off Tottenham Court Road, the little tight-waisted Jews in the Strand. It seems to satisfy, temporarily, the sense of nostalgia for something lost; it seems to represent a stage further back. Throughout the book the reader is given extraordinary snapshots from Graham Greene’s life, his own direct experience of seediness: an Old Etonian pervert in Kensington Gardens talking to strangers about caning schoolgirls; a vagrant who froze to death in a wintry Cotswolds cottage being dragged out by the police, his stiff corpse rattling down the stairs; an army Major telephoning a brothel on Savile Row and ordering girls, as if choosing a meal from a menu – young, fair, curved; an old Baltic aristocrat fallen on hard times, forced to carry tourists’ luggage as a porter.
On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service by Eric Thompson
amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, friendly fire, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Parkinson's law, Winter of Discontent, Yom Kippur War, young professional
It felt like my chances of winning a Scholarship had already evaporated and I hadn’t even made it to the interview. As if that were not enough, Charterhouse was a private school that actually played proper football. It had virtually invented the game back in 1862, fifty years before my school was built, and it was a founder member of the Football Association. Old Carthusians were the first winners of the FA Cup (in which they beat Old Etonians). At least we had football in common, or so I thought. But Wilmott-Randall didn’t play soccer as he called it. He didn’t even play rugger. He shot. Mon Dieu! If I’d taken a gun into Coatbridge High School, I’d have been handed over to the police. If only I could have got the upper class twit on to a football pitch, I’d have shown him who was top dog. In my bones I just knew that I would be better than Wilmott-Randall at almost anything he cared to name, with the exception of bullshit and shooting.
March of the Lemmings: Brexit in Print and Performance 2016–2019 by Stewart Lee
Was it Disaster Racists, like my relative who voted Leave to ‘get rid of the Pakistanis and Indians’, and whose existence will now be questioned in below-the-line comments on the online version of this piece, accusing me of inventing a straw man to demonise stupid Leave voters, as if there were any need to fabricate one. Or was it the Disaster Johnsons, like Boris Piccaninny Watermelon Letterbox Cake Disaster Johnson, hoping to drop an Etonian biscuit into his reflection in the melted molten-metal puddle of post-Brexit Britain and let lustful nature take its course? Whoever is to blame, as Wednesday afternoon turned into Wednesday evening, and my 10 a.m. Thursday morning deadline loomed, the full impossibility of delivering the mildly satirical column expected of me by both my readers and my editor began to dawn on me. I emailed my editor to ask if this week’s piece could be absent from Sunday’s printed edition of the Observer and then belatedly inserted into the online edition, by unilateral agreement, perhaps in as much as two years’ time, as a kind of satirical column backstop, when the meaning of the week’s events finally becomes clear.
Head, Hand, Heart: Why Intelligence Is Over-Rewarded, Manual Workers Matter, and Caregivers Deserve More Respect by David Goodhart
active measures, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, assortative mating, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, call centre, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, centre right, computer age, corporate social responsibility, COVID-19, Covid-19, David Attenborough, David Brooks, deglobalization, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, desegregation, deskilling, different worldview, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Flynn Effect, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, income inequality, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shock, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, post-industrial society, post-materialism, postindustrial economy, precariat, reshoring, Richard Florida, Scientific racism, Skype, social intelligence, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thorstein Veblen, twin studies, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, wages for housework, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, young professional
Everyone comes alive if they feel someone is interested in what they have to say; it’s a dynamic process between speaker and listener, performer and audience. We all know people who make us feel dumb, and our lasting friendships or romantic attachments are usually with people who make us feel smart and witty and admirable (at least initially!). Was my evolution a kind of delayed onset of that infamous Etonian confidence? Or a need to prove myself to my high-achieving father? Maybe that is part of it, but I think just as plausible is that it resulted from achieving something in my own right, at least partly independent of the privileges of my background and schooling. That something was leading a team that launched a monthly magazine of ideas called Prospect and finding for the first time in my late thirties something I could do really well: commission and edit essays on current affairs and intellectual themes.
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.
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.
The Prince of the Marshes: And Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq by Rory Stewart
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.
Targeted: The Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower's Inside Story of How Big Data, Trump, and Facebook Broke Democracy and How It Can Happen Again by Brittany Kaiser
Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, Burning Man, call centre, centre right, Chelsea Manning, clean water, cognitive dissonance, crony capitalism, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Etonian, haute couture, illegal immigration, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Nelson Mandela, off grid, open borders, Renaissance Technologies, Robert Mercer, rolodex, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, statistical model, the High Line, the scientific method, WikiLeaks, young professional
But all he had been doing in the sting video—which had been seriously doctored, he assured everyone—was “playing along” with “ludicrous hypothetical scenarios.”4 Reuters posted a photograph of him trying to make his way through a scrum of reporters at the front doors of the SCL London office, a security guard gripping him tightly at the elbow to move him along. On Alexander’s face was a look of almost childlike amazement. None of this could have been easy for him—it was so tawdry, so very un-Etonian and dark. It was Theater of the Absurd on steroids. Technically, I stood apart from it. I no longer worked for Cambridge Analytica. I could watch it through the jaundiced eyes of a witness. I texted back and forth with Paul. “Were you fired?” he asked. “Or did you quit?” Something of both, I wrote back. To borrow a Facebook expression, it was complicated. What was my place? And what, if anything, was my responsibility going forward?
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, G4S, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, large denomination, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, North Sea oil, post-work, Red Clydeside, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, strikebreaker, Torches of Freedom, traveling salesman, union organizing, uranium enrichment, 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.
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, global pandemic, 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.
Jennifer Morgue by Stross, Charles
call centre, correlation does not imply causation, disintermediation, dumpster diving, Etonian, haute couture, interchangeable parts, Maui Hawaii, MITM: man-in-the-middle, 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?"
Protest and Power: The Battle for the Labour Party by David Kogan
Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, Brixton riot, centre right, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Etonian, F. W. de Klerk, falling living standards, financial independence, full employment, imperial preference, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, Northern Rock, open borders, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, Yom Kippur War
The campaign had been misjudged and undermined by members of his own party, but his decision to push for a referendum had been rooted in his over-confidence and desire to resolve the internal fights over Europe that had lasted fifty years in the Conservative party. He will be remembered not for liberalising the Conservative party, as he attempted to do with social reforms such as legalising gay marriage, but for presiding over a period of austerity and creating the circumstances for leaving the EU. He will also be remembered for walking away with a typical old Etonian insouciance: now it was someone else’s mess to clear up. Cameron’s statement at 8.00 a.m. was preceded by an interview by Jeremy Corbyn at 7.30 a.m., in which he made two statements that would come back to haunt him. The British people have made their decision. We must respect that result and Article 50 has to be invoked now so that we negotiate an exit from the European Union. Obviously there has to be strategy but the whole point of the referendum was that the public would be asked their opinion.
The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World by Simon Winchester
Albert Einstein, British Empire, business climate, Dava Sobel, discovery of the americas, Etonian, Fellow of the Royal Society, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, lateral thinking, lone genius, means of production, planetary scale, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, trade route, William Shockley: the traitorous eight
He wrote letter after letter. Each, however, was rebuffed. I like to imagine the scene in Cooke Street in late April of that year. There was yet another letter sitting on Henry Royce’s desk, but one that, yet again, the engineer had had no time to answer. The letter had come from London; now it was in Manchester, and Henry Royce knew it would be yet another plea from this metropolitan swell, this Old Etonian and Cambridge graduate, pleading for Henry Royce to go down to London for a meeting. But Royce was not planning to budge. He was far too busy, and the work he was performing in his cramped little mechanical shop was consuming his every waking moment. All of the previous early-spring week, I like to suppose, he had been working on a near-impossible self-imposed task: he had been trying to machine a forged-steel crankshaft into such perfect balance that, once set spinning, it would never stop, as no one side of the shaft would be heavier than another, which would have tended to slow down the spinning.
After the Flood: What the Dambusters Did Next by John Nichol
Maltby sent a one-word radio transmission: the name of Gibson’s black Labrador dog, which told all those waiting in the operations room that the Möhne dam was no more. Air Marshal Arthur Harris, the head of Bomber Command, turned to Barnes Wallis, shook his hand and said, ‘Wallis, I didn’t believe a word you said when you came to see me. But now you could sell me a pink elephant.’6 Gibson told Maltby and Martin, who had both used their bombs and sustained flak damage, to turn for home, while he, old Etonian Henry Maudslay, the baby-faced Australian David Shannon – only twenty, but another pilot who was already the holder of the DSO and DFC – and yet another Australian, twenty-two-year-old Les Knight, who ‘never smoked, drank or chased girls’,7 making him practically unique in 617 Squadron on all three counts, flew on to attack the next target, the Eder dam. Thirteen storeys high, it was virtually unprotected by flak batteries, since the Germans believed that its position in a narrow, precipitous and twisting valley made it invulnerable to attack.
Londongrad: From Russia With Cash; The Inside Story of the Oligarchs by Mark Hollingsworth, Stewart Lansley
Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Geldof, business intelligence, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, crony capitalism, Donald Trump, energy security, Etonian, F. W. de Klerk, income inequality, kremlinology, mass immigration, mega-rich, Mikhail Gorbachev, offshore financial centre, paper trading, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Sloane Ranger
The 2005 transfer of the registered ownership of all his UK properties from offshore companies in obscure locations to his own name was also a sign of his intention of securing a more permanent base in the UK. In May 2008 Oleg Deripaska cemented his links with the UK by buying two racehorses and enlisting the help of one of Britain’s most prominent bloodstock agents, James Wigan. Deripaska already owned a number of racehorses in stables closer to home, near the Black Sea. He had met Wigan, an Old Etonian employed by Lord Rothschild, through his friendship with Nat Rothschild. Boris Berezovsky showed no sign of moving on from his bitter campaign against his country of birth. He continued to play the role of the slighted James Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld from his fortified Mayfair offices. But, despite devoting the lion’s share of his fortune to this defiant campaign, he was still no nearer to his dream of unseating Putin and his chosen successor, Medvedev.
Kleptopia: How Dirty Money Is Conquering the World by Tom Burgis
active measures, Anton Chekhov, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, British Empire, collapse of Lehman Brothers, coronavirus, corporate governance, COVID-19, Covid-19, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, do-ocracy, Donald Trump, energy security, Etonian, failed state, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Julian Assange, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, trade route, WikiLeaks
Kenes Rakishev, athletic and delicately bearded, had come up under the wing of Timur Kulibayev, Nazarbayev’s billionaire son-in-law. But Kenes was very keen to be perceived as a businessman – no, an entrepreneur – in his own right, not some frontman like, say, the Russian cellist whose $2 billion fortune was more likely related to his close friendship with Putin than business acumen. Angry Birds credit cards, that was one idea, or a cryptocurrency venture. He employed PR experts, such as the Etonian who would arrange for Western journalists to interview him and encourage them to seek his views on Brexit or other pressing matters of the day. These efforts failed to convince everyone, however. Executives from one of the companies in which Kenes had invested asked for a loan from the International Finance Corporation, the arm of the World Bank that supported private businesses. The IFC’s officials conducted some due diligence on him.
Why We Can't Afford the Rich by Andrew Sayer
accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, anti-globalists, asset-backed security, banking crisis, banks create money, basic income, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, 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, Kickstarter, 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, WikiLeaks, 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.’
New World, Inc. by John Butman
Admiral Zheng, Atahualpa, Bartolomé de las Casas, British Empire, commoditize, currency manipulation / currency intervention, diversified portfolio, Etonian, Francisco Pizarro, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, market design, Skype, spice trade, trade route, wikimedia commons
Generally, arable land was tilled by one owner or tenant, but after the harvest or during an off-season, it was available to everyone and was typically employed for the grazing of sheep.15 For landowners who sought relief from the damaging effects of inflation, the temptation was to convert some or all of their arable land into pasture for their own animals to graze exclusively. This involved enclosing their fields with wooden fences, rows of stones and mounds of earth, or hedges—and thereby removing them from common use. Such enclosure made good economic sense for the landowners. Wool for cloth was in high demand, and the cost of grazing sheep was considerably less than the cost of growing grain or corn. Thomas Tusser, an old Etonian Norfolk farmer, reckoned that enclosure made land three times more profitable than when it was made available to everyone.16 But the effects on local communities could be disastrous. Smith noted that a plot of land that once employed one or two hundred people would, after enclosure, serve only the owner and a few shepherds.17 Without employment—or even land to grow food or graze small flocks—entire villages were abandoned.
The Finance Curse: How Global Finance Is Making Us All Poorer by Nicholas Shaxson
activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, airline deregulation, anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Blythe Masters, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, centre right, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Donald Trump, Etonian, failed state, falling living standards, family office, financial deregulation, financial innovation, forensic accounting, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, high net worth, income inequality, index fund, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, land value tax, late capitalism, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, pushing on a string, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transfer pricing, wealth creators, white picket fence, women in the workforce, zero-sum game
And here lies another reason, or justification, for the relentless and almost thoughtless pursuit of wealth: the heroic myth of the wealth creator is tied up intimately with a libertarian, anti-government, anti-society ideology which pervades tax havens, the world of global finance, upper income brackets and especially the super-rich.18 Spend time talking to people offshore, in parts of the City of London or in the world of trusts and wealth management, and you’ll crash into these attitudes again and again. Government is ‘a self-seeking flea on the backs of the more productive people of this world’, opined Matt Ridley, the wealthy old-Etonian son of the 4th Viscount Ridley. ‘Governments do not run countries; they parasitise them.’ Not long after he said this, the bank that he was chairman of, Northern Rock, collapsed and needed a huge government bailout. I got a forceful verbal blast of these attitudes – typical of what I have encountered in tax haven after haven – from Adolfo Linares, a prominent Panamanian lawyer, who vented to me in a bar in Panama in 2016.
War and Gold: A Five-Hundred-Year History of Empires, Adventures, and Debt by Kwasi Kwarteng
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, business cycle, 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.
The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible by Simon Winchester
British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, 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, Joi Ito, 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.
Next Stop Execution: The Autobiography of Oleg Gordievsky by Oleg Gordievsky
active measures, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Etonian, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, Ronald Reagan, union organizing, urban sprawl, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, working poor
In London Bogdanov tried to make contact with Joan Ruddock, and invited her to drinks; whether she was nervous that someone might compromise her or try to photograph her in the company of a Soviet official, I do not know, but she stayed away. Her anxiety was, no doubt, increased by the rumours that CND was receiving Soviet money although I have no evidence that this was true. For sheer naivety, we all agreed that no one could touch Tam Dalyell, the Old Etonian left-winger with a castle in Scotland. Although never classed as a confidential contact, he became useful to the KGB’s propaganda initiative because of his obsession about the sinking of the Argentinian cruiser Belgrano during the Falklands War. As I have said, the KGB and the Soviet establishment were strongly on the Argentinian side in the conflict, so that anyone who criticized Britain’s handling of the war and the Conservative government found a warm interest in Moscow.
If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities by Benjamin R. Barber
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Legislative Exchange Council, Berlin Wall, bike sharing scheme, borderless world, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, clean water, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, desegregation, Detroit bankruptcy, digital Maoism, disintermediation, edge city, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, Etonian, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global pandemic, global village, Hernando de Soto, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, London Interbank Offered Rate, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, megacity, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, obamacare, Occupy movement, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peace of Westphalia, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart meter, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, Tony Hsieh, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, unpaid internship, urban sprawl, War on Poverty, zero-sum game
Personality outweighs ideology by miles: it’s a long ideological journey from “Red” Ken Livingstone to Tory “Mayor Jolly-Good-Fun” Boris Johnson, yet both are characters who stand for aspects of London’s urban persona. Livingstone, a radical leftist with “sometimes wacky policies” has nonetheless developed a loyal post-ideological following, and Johnson, despite being a self-described “libertarian anarcho-Tory,”7 and in the face of “all his maverick bluster” and his status as a “Latin-spouting old Etonian with a quip for every occasion,” is in fact a “capable administrator and high profile champion for London,” far more popular than Prime Minister David Cameron and, for some Tories, the man who should be Cameron’s successor.8 No wonder that the two rivals again contested the London mayoralty election in 2012 around issues other than ideology, and that despite his Conservative Party’s declining poll numbers, Johnson eked out a second victory over Livingstone.
The Rough Guide to England by Rough Guides
active transport: walking or cycling, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, bike sharing scheme, Bob Geldof, Boris Johnson, British Empire, car-free, Columbine, congestion charging, Corn Laws, deindustrialization, Downton Abbey, Edmond Halley, Etonian, food miles, haute cuisine, housing crisis, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Kickstarter, low cost airline, Neil Kinnock, offshore financial centre, period drama, plutocrats, Plutocrats, the market place, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, University of East Anglia, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl
This part of the site remained empty for no less than three hundred years and the Great Court complex of today – facing King’s Parade from behind a long stone screen – is largely neo-Gothic, built in the 1820s to a design by William Wilkins. Henry’s workmen did, however, start on the college’s finest building, the much-celebrated King’s College Chapel, on the north side of today’s Great Court. King’s College once enjoyed an exclusive supply of students from Eton and until 1851 claimed the right to award its students degrees without their taking any examinations. The first non-Etonians were only accepted in 1873. Times have changed, however, and King’s is now one of the university’s more progressive colleges – it was among the first three to admit women, in 1972, and consistently has one of the highest intakes of state-school students. King’s College Chapel Entrance either via the main gatehouse on King’s Parade or the North Gate, at the end of Senate House Passage Committed to canvas by Turner and Canaletto, and eulogized in no fewer than three sonnets by Wordsworth, King’s College Chapel is now internationally famous for its boys’ choir, whose members process across the college grounds during term time in their antiquated garb to sing evensong (Tues–Sat at 5.30pm, plus choral services Sun 10.30am & 3.30pm) and carols on Christmas Eve.
In the build-up to the general election of 2010, both main political parties, as well as the Liberal Democrats, spoke of the need to cut public spending more or less drastically, manoeuvring the electorate away from blaming the bankers for the crash. In the event, none of the three was able to secure a Parliamentary majority in the general election, but an impasse was avoided when the Liberal Democrats swapped principles for power to join a Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition, which took office in May 2010 with Conservative David Cameron as prime minister. The Cameron years An old Etonian with a PR background, David Cameron (b.1966) made a confident and sure-footed start as prime minister, keeping his ideological cards well hidden (if indeed he had any), while his government set about a concerted attack on the public sector on the pretext of the need for austerity following the financial crash. All seemed set fair, with the Liberals suitably supine, but key policy initiatives soon began to run aground and the coalition zigzagged between decision and revision, for example in its plans to transform (that is, part privatize) the NHS.
The Enemy Within by Seumas Milne
active measures, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Edward Snowden, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, invisible hand, Kickstarter, market fundamentalism, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, 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.
Disrupt and Deny: Spies, Special Forces, and the Secret Pursuit of British Foreign Policy by Rory Cormac
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, currency manipulation / currency intervention, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Etonian, illegal immigration, land reform, Malacca Straits, Mikhail Gorbachev, private military company, Ronald Reagan, Stuxnet, trade route, union organizing, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War
Guided by the new cabinet secretary, Burke Trend, Douglas-Home enthusiastically agreed and approved the formation of the Joint Action Committee (JAC).9 Created in July 1964, the JAC formed part of a broader reorganization of the joint intelligence machinery.10 Bernard Burrows chaired it himself. Tall and handsome, Burrows enjoyed an eventful diplomatic career and has been described as one of the five most powerful men in the Foreign Office at the time. An old Etonian, he radiated an air of natural authority but possessed a kindly demeanour and lacked self-importance. Outside of public life, he cultivated eccentric interests in crop circles and square-dancing.11 Burrows was a sensible choice for chair, not least because the JAC drew heavily on Joint Intelligence Committee assessments and shared its secretariat.12 Burrows’ colleagues on the new body were, at Trend’s insistence, hand-picked.13 Trend had become cabinet secretary at the start of 1963 and, like Norman Brook before him, took a close interest in intelligence.
The Asylum: The Renegades Who Hijacked the World's Oil Market by Leah McGrath Goodman
anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, automated trading system, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, East Village, energy security, Etonian, family office, Flash crash, global reserve currency, greed is good, High speed trading, light touch regulation, market fundamentalism, peak oil, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, price mechanism, profit motive, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, upwardly mobile, zero-sum game
Others said Viola would never look the same again. It was inevitable the speculation would take on theatrical overtones. “The stories about Vinnie got so widespread, I was hearing about him from the guys over at Goldman,” says one former Nymex executive. “Vinnie had become this iconic figure on Wall Street after leading the oil market out of 9/11. So I’m standing there, trying to keep a straight face, while some gap-toothed, blue-blood Etonian is telling me about how Vinnie rises like Lazarus, half his face hanging off, and calmly tells his wife to call the paramedics. While he’s waiting, he bench-presses five hundred. That’s roughly the kind of stuff I was hearing.” Many of the pit traders had trouble coming to grips with a man of Viola’s stature being felled by something as ordinary as a garage door. With Viola out of commission, Schaeffer assumed the chairman’s role in all but title.
The Billionaire's Apprentice: The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and the Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund by Anita Raghavan
airport security, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, business intelligence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, delayed gratification, estate planning, Etonian, glass ceiling, high net worth, kremlinology, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, mass immigration, McMansion, medical residency, Menlo Park, new economy, old-boy network, Ponzi scheme, risk tolerance, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, technology bubble, too big to fail
Raj and his kid brother Rengan in Kenya for Raj’s fiftieth-birthday bash. At the August 2007 event, guests wore black T-shirts that read “The Riotous, Rowdy, Rebellious Raj Tribe.” The campus of IIT Delhi, where Rajat Gupta graduated in 1971. The school has become an incubator for global leaders in technology and finance. (Courtesy of the Hindu.) Kashmir House at the Doon School. The old boy network of Doscos, India’s answer to Etonians, aided Anil Kumar as he helped launch McKinsey’s business in India. The aspiration of a Doon School boy as laid out by its first headmaster. Sanjay Wadhwa, senior associate regional director of the New York office, came to the United States from India in 1986. Wadhwa paid for his undergraduate education by working fifty-hour weeks as a stockroom boy and cashier at a local drugstore. US attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara.
Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art by Michael Shnayerson
activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, banking crisis, Bonfire of the Vanities, corporate raider, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, East Village, estate planning, Etonian, high net worth, index card, Jane Jacobs, mass immigration, NetJets, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent control, rolodex, Silicon Valley, tulip mania, unbiased observer, upwardly mobile, Works Progress Administration
Hirst was on the cusp of that fame in 1993, when dealer Jay Jopling opened the London gallery he called White Cube.7 Like Anthony d’Offay, Jopling had been immersed in art as a child, parked at the museum—in his case the Tate—while his mother went on errands.8 He was just 30 when he persuaded Christie’s to lease him a space for free amid the Old Masters shops of Duke Street. The Young British Artists were right in step with Jopling, none more so than Hirst. Hirst and Jopling met in a pub, an unlikely duo: Jopling a pinstriped Old Etonian and son of a former Tory agriculture minister, Hirst wearing his working-class background on his sleeve. Yet the next day Jopling signed him up, having only seen Hirst’s plans. “He had very detailed computerized drawings of how these sculptures would be fabricated,” Jopling recounted. “To see these diagrams and plans for works of art I thought were extremely strong was very exciting.”9 Hirst was eager to take on the art world.
Inside British Intelligence by Gordon Thomas
active measures, Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, job satisfaction, Khyber Pass, kremlinology, lateral thinking, license plate recognition, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, old-boy network, Ronald Reagan, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, Yom Kippur War
THAT POSSIBILITY BEGAN EARLY IN WORLD WAR II when Moscow sent intelligence officers to Iran to establish contacts with nationalists opposed to Britain’s control over the oil industry. Partly because they had minimal understanding of Iranian culture, the Russians achieved little, and the MI6 chief, Stewart Menzies, despite a strong anti-Bolshevik mood among his senior officers, decided the presence of the Soviet spies posed no serious threat. Menzies, the third man to be appointed chief, was an Old Etonian who spent his weekends riding with the Beaufort and Quorn hunt, and he would sometimes discreetly claim to his country house hosts he was the bastard son of King Edward VII. As well as creating a frisson of excitement, it added to the mystery he liked to cultivate. When war started he spent a part of his day reading the communications of the French, Belgian, Norwegian, and Dutch intelligence officers working with their governments in exile in London.
Lonely Planet London by Lonely Planet
Boris Johnson, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, congestion charging, discovery of the americas, East Village, Etonian, financial independence, haute couture, haute cuisine, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, low cost airline, Mahatma Gandhi, market design, place-making, post-work, Skype, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, urban renewal, Winter of Discontent
Johnson’s first mayoral term coincided with London’s transformation for the 2012 Olympic Games, as neglected areas of this recession-hit city were showered with investment and a vast building program in East London took shape (Click here). The era also saw a transferral of government power from the lacklustre Labour Party under Gordon Brown’s leadership to a Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition government with fellow Etonian David Cameron as prime minister. But with so much to play for in the next mayoral election, it’s likely that Ken vs Boris, round two, in 2012 will be even more of a spectacle. In 2012, London will be the first city in the world to host the Olympic Games for the third time. Timeline AD 43 The Romans invade Britain, led by Emperor Claudius himself. Before this the Britons paid tribute to Rome following an early incursion here by Julius Caesar in 55 and 54 BC. 47–50 The defensive fort at Londinium is built.
Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World by Timothy Garton Ash
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, activist lawyer, 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, Nelson Mandela, 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.
Pauline Frommer's London: Spend Less, See More by Jason Cochran
Bonfire of the Vanities, Boris Johnson, British Empire, congestion charging, David Attenborough, Etonian, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, Haight Ashbury, haute couture, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, Kickstarter, low cost airline, Nelson Mandela, Skype, urban planning
The Castle is the superstar here, but minor supporting roles are played by the succinctly named Great Park adjoining it; the 4.8km (3-mile), pin-straight Long Walk that culminates with an equestrian statue of George III; and the museum at Eton College (% 01753/67-11-77; www.etoncollege.com; £4.20 adults, £3.25 children/seniors/students; guided tours Mar–Oct at 2:15 and 3:15pm, £5.50 adults, £4.50 children/seniors/students), a short walk over the Thames (which is narrow at this western remove) from the castle. Eton is one of the most exclusive, most unbelievably posh boys’ schools in England. Princes Harry and William are alums, known as Old Etonians, as are kings and princes from around the world. The Guildhall (High St.; % 01753/74-39-00; free admission), just south of the castle, was where Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles had a quiet civil marriage in April 2005; it’s no St. Paul’s, where in 1981 Charles wed his first wife, what’s-her-name, but it is also the work of Christopher Wren (note its delicate arches). The building was apparently designed without the center columns, which made councilors nervous; Wren threw up some columns but left them an inch shy of the ceiling, just to prove that his architecture was sound.
The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes
Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, animal electricity, 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, 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.
Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest by Wade Davis
In 1915 Winchester sent not a single student on to Oxford. That same year Charterhouse graduated 411 upperclassmen, all of whom proceeded directly to the trenches. The chances of emerging unscathed were slim. Indeed, in 1914, the chances of any British boy aged thirteen through twenty-four surviving the war were one in three. Schools, on average, lost five years’ worth of students. The student body of Eton numbered 1,100; in the war, 1,157 Old Etonians would perish. Wellington, a school of only 500, would sacrifice 699. Uppingham would lose 447, Winchester 500, Harrow 600, Marlborough 733, and Charterhouse 686. The Public Schools Club in London lost over 800 members, forcing it to close for lack of numbers. Of the thousands of public school boys who entered the war, one in five would perish. The lucky ones served on staff positions behind the line.
Crucible: The Long End of the Great War and the Birth of a New World, 1917-1924 by Charles Emmerson
Albert Einstein, anti-communist, British Empire, continuation of politics by other means, currency peg, Etonian, European colonialism, ghettoisation, Isaac Newton, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Solar eclipse in 1919, strikebreaker, trade route
Meeting Vladimir in the Kremlin, one of the British delegates compares Soviet Russia to a patient recovering from a serious illness: sick, but on the mend. Yes, Lenin pounces, that’s it. And the revolution is like a severe but vitally necessary operation. The delegates arrive in Russia wanting to believe in the great experiment, or at least wanting to approach it with an open mind. They leave it disappointed. The commissars are worse than the old Etonians they have to deal with back home. The intellectual inflexibility of the Bolsheviks grates. Is poetry, art, love, all just a subset of Marxist theory? On a long cruise down the Volga, even the philosopher attached to the British delegation grows a little tired of interminable discussion of the materialistic conception of history. Many of his fellow delegates fall sick at some point during their time in Russia, mostly with digestive trouble.
The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance by Ron Chernow
always be closing, bank run, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bolshevik threat, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, British Empire, buy and hold, California gold rush, capital controls, Charles Lindbergh, 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, undersea cable, 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.
The scramble for Africa, 1876-1912 by Thomas Pakenham
active measures, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, centre right, clean water, colonial rule, Etonian, European colonialism, God and Mammon, imperial preference, Khartoum Gordon, land reform, out of africa, Scramble for Africa, spice trade, spinning jenny, trade route, transatlantic slave trade
At the whistle stops the Minister was shrilly saluted by half-naked Africans (‘There is a sleek grace about these active forms – bronze statues but for their frippery – which defeats all their own efforts to make themselves hideous’).25 Between the Indian Ocean and Lake Victoria, Churchill descended from the cowcatcher and had himself photographed with various African celebrities he had encountered – and in some cases, shot, including two warthogs and a rhinoceros. The more testing part of the tour of British East Africa (modern Kenya) he did not confide to readers of the Strand Magazine (or of his exuberant travel book, My African Journey). A couple of thousand newly-arrived white settlers were defying – indeed, baiting – the governor of the protectorate. Their leaders, some of them old Etonians, others Boers from South Africa, swaggered around with guns and jamboks. Ewart Grogan, President of the Colonists Association and famous for his Cape-to-Cairo walk in 1899, was keen to show that Kenya was ‘white man’s country’. In March 1907, a few months before Churchill’s arrival, Grogan had taken three Kikuyu servants and flogged them right in front of the courthouse at Nairobi. Their offence was that they had the ‘impudence’ to jolt a rickshaw, and the ‘impertinence’ to answer back to some white ladies.
England by David Else
active transport: walking or cycling, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, 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, Kickstarter, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Nelson Mandela, 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, 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.
Europe: A History by Norman Davies
agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, centre right, charter city, clean water, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, continuation of politics by other means, Corn Laws, cuban missile crisis, Defenestration of Prague, discovery of DNA, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, equal pay for equal work, Eratosthenes, Etonian, European colonialism, experimental economics, financial independence, finite state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, global village, Honoré de Balzac, Index librorum prohibitorum, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, land reform, liberation theology, long peace, Louis Blériot, Louis Daguerre, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, New Urbanism, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, Peace of Westphalia, popular capitalism, Potemkin village, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, road to serfdom, sceptred isle, Scramble for Africa, spinning jenny, Thales of Miletus, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, Transnistria, urban planning, urban sprawl
‘The prevalent feeling’, wrote Max Nordau, ‘is that of imminent perdition and extinction.’68 In England, Oscar Fingall O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854–1900), author of several brilliant comic dramas, notably The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), spent two bitter years in Reading Gaol for homosexual offences. Much of the work of his collaborator, the erotic illustrator Aubrey Beardsley (1872–98), was unpunishable, as was that of Algernon Swinburne (1837–1909), poet, critic, and Old Etonian flagellant. The mood of these aesthetes was totally at odds with the preoccupations of most sections of society, where religious observance, social betterment, and temperance were at their height, [BAMBINI] [TOUR] Modern painting broke forever with the representational art which had prevailed since the Renaissance, and which photography had now rendered obsolete. The moment of departure came in 1863, when édouard Manet (1832–83) in a fit of exhibitionism exhibited Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe at the ‘Salon des Refuses’ in Paris.
Great Britain by David Else, Fionn Davenport
active transport: walking or cycling, Albert Einstein, Beeching cuts, Boris Johnson, 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, Kickstarter, 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, 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.