What interests me about this interview with the headmaster 0f Eton, published in the Guardian yesterday (https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/sep/23/head-of-eton-hits-back-at-labour-plans-to-abolish-private-schools), is that he seems to have disowned the school’s best-known – or most notorious – recent alumni entirely. Eton used to take pride in the number of leading politicians it had produced. No longer, if this is anything to go by:
Henderson said Eton had changed significantly from the school that produced the likes of current prime minister Boris Johnson, former prime minister David Cameron and the leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg.
“What you are talking about there is a very small number of individuals who left the school over 30 years ago and who have made it to the top levels of politics. Eton in 2019 is a much more inclusive and diverse population than it was previously.
“My responsibility as headmaster of Eton in 2019 is to look at what Eton is doing now and in the future. I can’t change what it may or may or may not have done in the past.” He agreed, however, that the image of Rees-Mogg lounging on the frontbenches during an emergency debate on Brexit was “not a good look”.
It is the behaviour of those three Conservative politicians over the past few years that has, of course, newly besmirched the escutcheon (is that right?) of their old college, and given fresh impetus to Labour’s ambition to abolish the ‘Public’ schools entirely. Whether throwing Dodgy Dave, Boris de Pfeffel and Lord Snooty-Mogg overboard in this way will encourage Labour to call off the hounds is, I would think, unlikely. (With apologies for the mixed metaphor.)