Wonderful post by Andrew Brown…
Marlborough College is trying to expel a boy merely for being thick and unpleasant. Perhaps you had to have been there to understand how absurd this is. It’s like being thrown out of Big Brother for being a shallow exhibitionist.
This is a school which has been hated by any pupil of any intelligence or sensibility for as long as it has existed. When I was there, the punishment for new boys thought clever was a kind of gang rape involving boot polish and sometimes sodomy with a broomstick. At the time, I would have welcomed, perhaps incredulously, any sign that the authorities thought anyone could be too stupid or too nasty for the school. Now I know better. If the school has shareholders, they should sue it at once for diluting its brand equity. Up until now, to be an Old Marlburian has made a very clear statement about a man — that he is at best a rather pious evangelical Christian, but very probably nastier, more fucked up or more stupid than even the average Anglican bishop. Should this change, no one will know what being an old Marlburian means, and the £22,000 a year that parents pay to brand their children will be entirely wasted.
I’m relieved to read this. I’ve always thought that parents who send their kids to public schools (i.e. ‘private’ schools in UK parlance) must hate them. Nice to have it confirmed.
Update: In a thoughtful comment on Andrew’s post, David Smith complains that I have “repeated the tired rubbish about children at boarding schools being hated by their parents”. Hmmm… I’m sure there are some occupational circumstances which might mean that a child is better being sent away to school, but those aside I’ve never seen the point of having children and then being separated from them in their formative years. And I’ve seen quite a few public schoolboys in my time who were clearly disliked — and in one or two cases even loathed — by their parents. Sending them away was just a socially-acceptable way of dodging parental responsibility. Or perhaps it was a way of making sure that they didn’t strangle their offspring.