Eton Is a Four Letter Word. What ‘School’ Tells Us about Boris and Dave

“Eton is a four letter word.”

I can’t remember which massively successful Old Etonian actor said that – there are so many: Eddie Redmayne, Harry Lloyd, Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Damian Lewis – but whichever of the gazillions it was you know what he was getting at. An Eton education is as much as stigma for some as it is a badge of honour for others.

Two perfect examples of this are Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Both went to “School”, as Etonians will insist on calling it (the capital in the S is silent). But where David Cameron finds it an albatross round his neck, Boris Johnson exults in it. This tells us something about Eton; but much more about the characters of the two men.

What it tells you about Eton is that it can bring out the best and the worst in you. It is, by some margin, the world’s finest school – with the coolest uniform (white shirt and tailcoat), the most arcane traditions and terminology, the richest history, the largest number of famous old boys – and everyone who goes there is excruciatingly aware of this from the moment on day one where their Dame (like a cross between their honorary Mum and the house matron) shows them how to put on their starched, Edwardian-style collar and they head off towards a chapel built by the school’s founder Henry VI in 1440.

Surrounded by such magnificence, you have two basic options: to spend the rest of your life being quietly grateful at having had the very best education the world can offer; or to become a smug, arrogant wanker with the most massive sense of entitlement and a sly contempt for all those oiks beneath you who didn’t make the grade.

And guess which categories journalist’s son and scholarship boy Boris Johnson and rich stockbroker’s son David Cameron fit into…..

But it would be unfair to blame either Cameron or Johnson for the choices their parents made for them. Far more telling is the way they have chosen to respond to the experience.

Cameron, while surrounding himself in government with a cabal of fellow Old Etonians, has yet sought to distance himself from his educational background at every opportunity. He clearly sees it as a badge of shame that doesn’t play well with the public and doesn’t advance his mission to “modernise” the Conservative party.

Johnson, on the other hand, appears utterly unfazed by his Eton experience. He flaunts his rich vocabulary, his Latin and Greek, and his booming upper-crust accent (which, unlike Cameron, he has never sought to modify). The fact that he is lucky enough to have been educated at the world’s best school is clearly a source of great joy to him.

Since Johnson announced his return to Westminster politics this week by declaring his plans to stand as an MP, there has been much speculation as to whether he might be suited to the job of Prime Minister. Everyone has become instant expert on the subject – those who declare him a buffoon and a clown; those who think he’s as bad a faux-Tory as David Cameron and that his regime as London Mayor has been little more than Continuation Ken Livingstone; those who think he’s the great white hope of libertarian-ish right-wing politics who has come to save us all.

Read the thrilling conclusion at Breitbart London

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Never Mind Gaza: What about the Yezidis?

There was one part of Baroness Warsi’s resignation letter I admired: that was when, just after she’d condemned the Coalition’s inaction over Gaza, she brought the full weight of her righteous indignation to bear on Britain’s abject failure to stop the Yezidis being massacred in Iraq.

No not really. a) the Yezidis aren’t being killed by Jews, but rather by Muslims, which I guess doesn’t make it such a big deal and b) I doubt Baroness Warsi has even heard of the Yezidis.

But then, to be fair, few people had until their bodies started being posted up in pictures on Twitter, often minus their heads, and with grinning ISIS jihadis posing behind them.

If you want to know more about the Yezidis (or Yazidis, as they are also spelt), then this excellent piece by Sean Thomas is a good place to start.

Read the full article at Breitbart London

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Baroness Token Resigns. Cameron Should Have Known: ‘Never Buy the First Pony You See.’

Saaeda Warsi – aka Baroness Warsi; akaBaroness Token – has announced her resignation from the Cabinet in a style entirely becoming her class, intelligence and sophistication: on Twitter.

Her departure will no doubt come as an enormous relief to the more traditional Conservatives in her party, many of whom felt that Warsi’s appointment to a Cabinet post – even one as meaningless as “Minister for Faith and Communities” had less to do with her brilliance, integrity and raw talent than it did to Cameron’s desperation to get his first Asian Muslim female on the books. One of them once described Baroness Token to me as a classic example of “Never buy the first pony you see.”

Read more at Breitbart London

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Why I Don’t Want the NHS to Spend My Money on Sperm Banks for Lesbian Couples

“NHS to fund sperm bank for lesbians,” reports the Mail On Sunday.

Or, as someone put it on Twitter:

The people must be allowed to have their cake and eat it or they’ll sulk…..

There are lots of things that puzzle me about the ‘enlightened’ thinking behind this new measure. Like:

Is it really the State’s job to decide on our behalf that families in which children reared by two parents of the same sex are now every bit as socially desirable as those with the more traditional female mother and male father arrangement?

Who made this new rule and how come we got no say in the matter?

Given that the National Health Service is effectively bankrupt isn’t it a bit of a decadent luxury to strain the creaking system still further by diverting scarce resources that could have gone towards say, cancer care, on an area of “medicine” that has rather more to do with lifestyle choice than it does with urgent clinical necessity?

And

When is this egalitarian lunacy going to end?

Read more at Breitbart London

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Green MP Caroline Lucas Tries to Keep Science out of Climate Science

August 1, 2014

Green MP Caroline Lucas has written to Labour leader Ed Miliband to protest that one of his MPs, Graham Stringer, has been telling the truth about climate change.

The letter, an apparent attempt to get Stringer sacked from his position on the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, begins:

I’m writing with regard to yesterday’s report from the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee on climate science and the 5th assessment report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

I’m sure that we will both welcome the Committee’s unambiguous endorsement of the integrity of the science and the compelling case for urgent action to cut carbon emissions and secure a global climate deal.

However, in light of your criticism of the Prime Minister for having climate deniers in his Cabinet, and your comments about the harm caused to our country by delay and dither on climate change, it was especially disappointing to see Graham Stringer, a senior Labour MP, join forces with Conservative MP Peter Lilley in an attempt to undermine the findings.

As Caroline Lucas should know – she’s an English Literature graduate – this is a wonderful example of irony.

Read more at Breitbart London

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Why You Don’t See Hamas Firing Rockets on TV

January 31, 2014

From the Facebook page of Israeli filmmaker Michael Grynszpan:

I met today with a Spanish journalist who just came back from Gaza. We talked about the situation there. He was very friendly. I asked him how comes we never see on television channels reporting from Gaza any Hamas people, no gunmen, no rocket launcher, no policemen.. We only see civilians on these reports, mostly women and children. He answered me frankly : “it’s very simple, we did see Hamas people there launching rockets, they were close to our hotel, but if ever we dare pointing our camera on them they would simply shoot at us and kill us.” Wooh, impressive. Then I asked him “would you mind saying that on camera? I can film you explaining this…” For some reason I cannot really understand he refused and almost ran away. I guess my camera is as dangerous as Hamas threats… So just for you to know, the truth will never appear on the images you see on television.

Read more at Breitbart London

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Shock US Senate Report: Left Wing ‘Billionaire’s Club’ Using Green Groups to Subvert Democracy, Control the Economy

July 30, 2014

“There aren’t a lot of functioning democracies around the world that work this way where you can basically have millionaires and billionaires bankrolling whoever they want, however they want, in some cases undisclosed. What it means is ordinary Americans are shut out of the process.” Barack Obama, White House press conference, Oct 2013.

Yes, indeed. But the millionaires and billionaires doing the damage are Obama’s allies on the liberal-left, not his enemies on the right. So says a devastating report published today by the US Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works.
The report details how an elite group of rich liberal donors such as Tom Steyer and Hank Paulson – “the Billionaire’s Club” – is directing and controlling the far-left environmental movement, “which in turn lobbies and controls major policy decisions and lobbies on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”

Read more at Breitbart London

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Channel 4’s Jon Snow on Gaza: Fair and Balanced, Anyone?

Channel 4 News anchorman Jon Snow is back from Gaza. In an obviously unscripted, from-the-heart piece to camera he had this to say to British TV audiences about his experiences:

I’m back. And in the comfort of this studio its hard to imagine I was ever away. I don’t need to imagine, though, because what I saw is etched into my mind. What I never knew is what I know now which is that those people who live in Gaza are mainly unbelievably young. The average age is 17. That means that about quarter of a million are under ten. And you know if you know any ten-year olds, seven-year olds, five-year olds, four-year olds, the idea in the looseness of a war zone that you can control your children, that they won’t be somewhere where they can be hit is beyond the imagination. You can’t hope to control that. So, in a very densely packed urban area if you decide to throw missiles, shells and the rest then undoubtedly you will kill children. And that is what they are doing.

Read more at Breitbart London

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Fracking: Why Have We Allowed the Left to Make It a Dirty Word?

“Fracking” was the second most popular UK search term in the “what is?” category on Google in 2014.

(The top ten were: Love; Fracking; Gluten; FGM; Lupus; Anxiety; Twerking; Instagram; Gout; Bitcoin).

What this tells you is that capitalism in general and the fracking industry in particular is losing the argument.

How does it tell you this?

Because what it instantly suggests is that “fracking” is a controversial process.

And indeed fracking is a controversial process. But only because it has been tarred that way as a result of several years of very successful propagandising by the green movement, which the fracking industry and its allies in government have proved hopelessly inadequate at countering.

Read more at Breitbart London.

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The Problem with Owen Jones…

Say what you like about Owen Jones – it’s not like he’ll notice: he will long since have blocked you on Twitter – but he makes the most admirably formidable performer in TV and radio debates.

Fluent, brilliant at interrupting, apparently well-informed, unfailingly polite in the green room, and possessed of an undeniably cute, startled-bushbaby charm, the boy Owen has become the go-to left-winger of choice for all the BBC’s myriad political programmes. And the more often he does it (which is every hour God sends, basically), the better he gets. Is it any wonder that those of us who have to do battle with him approach our encounters with a certain trepidation?

But Owen Jones has a chink in his armour – and it has been cruelly exposed in a series of tweets by spy author and investigative blogger Jeremy Duns. Basically, Jones has been caught out playing fast and loose with his killer “facts” in his bestselling new book The Establishment.

One killer fact, which Jones has been repeating quite a bit on his promotional tours, is the amazing statistical revelation that “…According to a 2012 study, forty-six of the top fifty publicly traded firms in the UK had a British parliamentarian as either a director or a shareholder. This figure – 92 per cent of such businesses – was higher than for any of the forty-seven other nations investigated, with the next-ranked developed nation being Italy, at just 16 per cent of such businesses.”

It’s amazing not least because it’s completely untrue. As Duns goes on painstakingly to demonstrate by referring to the original study quoted by Jones.

Problem number one: It doesn’t say “forty-six of the top fifty”. It says 46 per cent of the top 50. So Jones’s misreading of the report has exaggerated the problem he describes by 100 per cent.

Problem number two. The study wasn’t as recent as 2012 (though presumably it may have suited Jones to overlook this detail to make his research look more up-to-the-minute) but dated back to 2004.

So, as Duns notes, Jones’s “92 percent from a 2012 study is actually 46 percent from a 2004 study. Very different things, these.”

Indeed. But never let the facts get in the way of a good story, eh? Jones certainly hasn’t. This fake statisticoid has made its way into a number of promotional speeches he has given on the subject, including one at the London School of Economics (where it was enthusiastically tweeted by Bonnie Greer – and then retweeted 588 times by others), one to Channel 4 news, and one to a left-wing vlogger called Artist Taxi Driver.

There’s plenty more where this came from.

Here, for example, is what Jones says in his Introduction to the book:

“The legacy of centuries of aristocratic power has not vanished, though: more than a third of British and Welsh land – and over 50 per cent of rural land – remains in the hands of just 36,000 aristocrats.”

Jones gives the source as Country Life.

But when you go to the source what it actually says is:

“Indeed, the 36,000 members of the CLA own about 50 per cent of the rural land in England and Wales.”

Do you see the difference?

Jones apparently couldn’t. (Or, as above, perhaps it suited him not to). But the difference is that the 36,000 members of the CLA – aka the Country Land and Business Association – are not all aristocrats. Indeed, most probably only a minority of them are. Anyone can join the CLA, simply by paying the membership fee.

But obviously if you’re engaged in class war and toff bashing “36,000” is a lot more exciting a figure to quote than whatever the tiny real number is.

Let me give one more small example, quoted here by Michael Ezra:

He provides an unsourced 1970s quote from Harold Lever. When, post-publication, he was asked for a source, he claims it came from an interview with Neil Kinnock. It is at no point clear that this quote is based on a decades-later recollection from someone else.

Now individually these instances of sloppiness may seem no big deal. But cumulatively, they raise serious doubts about the credibility of both Jones and his thesis. If you’re going to write a book which rides your hobby horse that the Establishment is basically a free market, right-wing plot against the ordinary working man, the very least you owe your readers is to give your slipshod thesis a veneer of plausibility by providing some concrete, fact-checkable examples of what you mean.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

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2 thoughts on “The problem with Owen Jones…”

  1. JohnCollins says:25th October 2014 at 2:05 pmI find this a little bit curious. If you wanted to make the case Owen Jones is looking to make, there is really no need to cherry pick and exaggerate. There is plenty of very provable low hanging fruit in the public domain.

    His work being full of fact holes is a reflection of his standard of research and a willingness to say anything that will further his own aims.

    It’s annoying that voices on the left are mostly charlatans. It guarentees a quagmire. Everyone knows you cannot debate a leftist who cherry picks facts to suit an agenda. They’ll resort to name calling faster than you can say “Excuse me..”.

  2. Rhoderick Gates says:25th October 2014 at 9:03 pm“full of fact holes”

    Three wrong quotes is not ‘full’. He used more than three citations in the book

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