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Perhaps public schools do have their benefits, after all?

7 March 2016

2:46 PM

7 March 2016

2:46 PM

Guardian journalist in self-awareness shock. A very good piece by Hadley Freeman about the utter ubiquity of public school-educated monkeys at the top of every desirable profession (and, of course, trade). Here’s the crucial bit:

Life is unfair, and I benefit from this unfairness every day. Even besides being born in the era of modern medicine and Ryan Gosling’s face, I went to a private school. As much as I’d like to think my career is all thanks to my special snowflake qualities, it’s difficult, when looking around at the rest of my heavily privately-educated profession, to draw any conclusion other than that my schooling might have helped me.

Yes, Hadley. And your affluence, the two going hand in hand. She is an exception which proves the rule. Most of the public-school journos I’ve met are exquisite liberals who believe very strongly in social mobility. But they do not for a moment concede that they themselves have benefitted directly from either their schooling, background or the class-nepotism which pertains in our trade. They think they’re ‘esh’ (which is a word from south Teesside meaning truly bloody marvellous).


This isn’t chippiness on my part – although I am chippy about it, when given the chance – it’s just how it is. And while I would concede – unlike Hadley, I’d guess – that the education available in the private sector is unquestionably better than that in the state sector these days, I do not think that this is the main reason they get their jobs. I tried to explain this once to a privately-educated journo who insisted she had got her job fairly and squarely, but who admitted daddy had got her a work placement at a top publication when she was eighteen. She still wouldn’t have it.

Recently Giles Coren was talking about the same thing – his dad, the much-missed Alan Coren, ‘marched’ him into the Times and sorted him out a job. His sister wrote for the Telegraph when she was about nine, or something. Giles, incidentally, is another exception to another rule. I think he’s a clever and funny writer. Most of the rest of them – and I accept that this is a sweeping statement – are utterly useless.


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