As Boris Johnson becomes the twentieth Eton-educated Prime Minister, and joins the very comfortable majority of Oxford-educated Prime Ministers, we continue to wonder what it is about these establishments that ensures they churn out leaders. The welcoming environment? The heartfelt you-can-do-anything-you-set-your-mind-to attitude? The world-class education? Perhaps it’s just the connections that having a ridiculous amount of money allows you to make.
Previously, I have written on my belief in the necessity of abolishing private schools, and the immediate imbalance they cause, and yet again I am faced with the reasons for my belief. Boris Johnson is not a unanimously suitable candidate to lead the United Kingdom, and yet, here he is winning by a landslide – the majority of a realistically insignificantly small voting-population, though that may be. This is the Eton-effect.
Not only a private education, but arguably the most elite education in the UK, enables ordinary children with wealthy parents to become our nation’s leaders. Though I am certain that you would leave Eton with an absolute wealth of knowledge that will set you ahead of others when it comes to enhancing your multitude of skills, this does not mean that you are automatically the best, or the most qualified, or even in the top ten. The privilege of such a lofty private education enters these children into a world of expectation, access, and opportunities that most publicly educated children would never even consider.
Even the most intelligent people from my school, the people who have managed to graft their way into top universities, would never seriously consider the possibility of themselves as Prime Minister. Ever. And yet those who would potentially not have risen to such intelligence and accolade had they not been spoon-fed Homer’s Iliad in five different ancient languages, act as though it is their god-given right to rule the world. Before the Conservatives whittled their options down to Hunt and Johnson, Sajid Javid was the only candidate who was not privately educated; considering the fact that under 10% of the population are privately educated, this is disturbing.
Johnson is undeniably a very intelligent man – deceptively and dangerously so – but intelligence does not a Prime Minister make. I don’t believe that you can ever truly understand the need for equality, when you have been raised being told and shown that you are worth more than other people. At the age of 4, your education is given more literal value than that of others; how could that possibly not cloud your world view? Surely, if anything, this week has well and truly proven that money really can buy you power.