David Kynaston on private education

December 15, 2014

He says:

… private education is essentially a mechanism – in its own terms a brilliantly successful mechanism – by which children who are already privileged by dint of the circumstances of their birth go to highly resourced schools and have their privileged socioeconomic position further entrenched and strengthened.

Reminds me of Alan Bennett’s sermon from earlier this year, published in the LRB. I tweeted this comment from it as it mirrored my own reaction to arriving at Oxford:

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 10.57.34

Kynaston also cites Bennett’s sermon at the end of his article.


Dave Cameron: a man of passion

November 25, 2014

Inspired by Ian Jack, I thought I would do some Google searching and draw up a (hopefully) comprehensive list of all the things David Cameron is ‘passionate’ about. Here are the findings so far.

He ‘passionately believes’:

  • ‘that everyone has a part to play in achieving full equality for women and girls’ (27 October 2014, as noted by Ian).
  • ‘that the new [Millennium Development] goals need to be simple, inspiring and relevant’ (24 September 2014, as noted by Ian).
  • ‘in the Union and the future of the whole United Kingdom’ (many times in 2014, as noted by Ian).
  • in the ‘ideal’ of social mobility (October 2014).
  • ‘the rapid growth of renewables is vital to our future’ (April 2012).
  • ‘that we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rid the world of the evil of polio’ (January 2011).
  • in discipline (in schools, September 2011).
  • ‘that local is best’ (February 2012).
  • ‘we need to localise power’ (April 2009).
  • ‘that if we are to take on and beat the great challenges of our time, we need the culture of public policy-making to have innovation at its heart’ (April 2009).
  • ‘that all institutions need to wake up to the case for equality’ (July 2012).
  • in the government’s long-term economic plan (April 2014).

He is ‘passionate’ about:

I’ll keep updating this when I get a chance. Please let me know in the comments about any others you have spotted and I will add those as well.

Soon time for another anniversary…

November 14, 2014

It’s the bicentenary of Waterloo next year, so ‘televisual and book-trade excitement about Flanders mud will be displaced by excitement about Napoleon and Wellington,’ says Vic Gatrell.

The meaning of English football

November 7, 2014

Football is apparently:

an invaluable psychological narrative crutch in a secularised, fragmented, post-industrial world full of loneliness, insecurity and unfulfilment.

And there was me thinking it was just a bunch of idiots lumping a ball about.

Being posh

September 22, 2014

Tee hee:

Far and away the poshest thing you can do is wilfully mispronounce your surname, as if the basic rules of vowels, consonants and syllables simply didn’t apply to you, and then oblige strangers to follow your lead.

… I have encountered this many times over the years.

The next-poshest thing you can do is have a freezing bathroom.

… because that means being in your house is like living in a castle, even if it isn’t one.

Foregone conclusion

September 8, 2014

Gideon Rachman notes:

In his 2011 book ‘Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe’, the historian Norman Davies writes: “That the United Kingdom will collapse is a foregone conclusion. Sooner or later, all states do collapse… Only the ‘how’ and the ‘when’ are mysteries of the future.”

It’s on my reading list. Wonder if I’ll ever get round to it though.

Kropp, on the other hand, is more philosophical.

July 15, 2014

He reckons that all declarations of war ought to be made into a kind of festival, with entrance tickets and music, like they have at bullfights. Then the ministers and generals of the two countries would have to come into the ring, wearing boxing shorts, and armed with rubber truncheons, and have a go at each other. Whoever is left on his feet, his country is declared the winner. That would be simpler and fairer than things are out here, where the wrong people are fighting each other.

All Quiet On The Western Front, Vintage Classics, p.29

The Chain

A searchable database for BBC Radio 6 Music - Radcliffe and Maconie's The Chain, officially the longest listener-generated thematically linked sequence of musically based items on the radio.


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