All the wonderful gifts Britain has been given by tax-free private schools: A list

KEIR Starmer is stoking class war by threatening to make private schools pay VAT, the ungrateful peasant. Here is a short list of what those with Latin A-level have done for us:

Boris Johnson, David Cameron, Anthony Eden, Pitt the Elder and that’s just Eton

The marvellous leaders who brought us Partygate, Brexit, the Suez crisis and all the other highlights of Britain’s enchanting decline were taught in this hive of rugger, flogging and buggery. Without them, where would we be? 

The City

That square mile of London around which the whole nation orbits, eating and owning property at their mere whim, is 90 per cent private school and all the better for it. Regularly causing global financial crashes is a small price to pay.

Benedict Cumberbatch et al

Name a British actor you love and they’ve got a solid background at a fee-paying school. Without these venerable institutions, so many stars – from Tom Hiddleston to Laurence Fox – would have languished undiscovered as if they were working-class.


Who doesn’t love rugby, apart from much of the world and of Britain? But rugby itself was invented at Rugby, where a boy playing football picked up the ball and ran and was too privileged for anyone to call him on it. And so began a game we respect so much we leave it to the North, the Welsh and Antipodeans.

The Royal Family

Their record of achievement is second to none. Whether committing adultery and divorcing, rowing with their brothers or paying off legal action for sexual offences, the Royals are our guiding light and they would never attend comprehensive school. Nor should they.

That occasional one you come across in real life

Rarely in your life you will be called upon to interact with the products of private schools and will know it instantly. The confidence masking the suspicion that everyone despises them, the lifelong attempts to fit in, the leavening of arrogance with apology, like a Nazi spy too long and deep undercover. Yes, what a benefit it’s been to them personally.

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Nazis say 'Aaargh!' when they die but the Japanese say 'Aieee!': What you learned from war comics

BEFORE sci-fi went massive with Star Wars, male youngsters read World War 2 comics. And while they were pretty xenophobic they taught you a lot, even if it was wrong. Like these things.

World War 2 was still incredibly relevant

Defeating the efficient, ruthless Germans was still very important in 1978, for some reason. You later realised Europe was full of normal, modern nations, but some people didn’t, and we got decades of childish jokes, shit war films like Escape to Victory and finally Brexit. Thanks, war comics.

War is mainly a matter of sneaking up on your enemy

Comics teach you that all sentries are worse than useless, as they always turn away conveniently to be garroted or have their throat cut. Then you simply storm their base, toss grenades through windows, turn their own machine gun on them and run off jovially saying something like: ‘That’s one in the eye for Adolf, eh, Mac?’ Goodness knows why modern armies make it so complicated.

Foreign languages

Germans (‘krauts’), the Japanese (‘japs’, ‘nips’ or ‘yellow-bellies’) and the Italians (‘eyeties’) each had their own peculiarities of speech. Germans would say ‘Aaargh!’ when shot, while the Japanese would use the more exotic ‘Aieee!’. Italians would surrender. It also turns out that 90 per cent of German speech is the words ‘Achtung!’, ‘Schnell!’ and ‘Sieg Heil!’. You still believed that until a work trip to Frankfurt in 1996.

Death is instant

The aforementioned krauts, japs and eyeties (yes, you were learning these words in 1980) instantly dropped dead when shot, bayoneted or grenaded. They never got a chunk of their head blown off then writhed around screaming for their mother. Good on them for not spoiling everyone’s fun.

World War 2 was suspiciously like films of the 60s and 70s

The writers pretty obviously ripped off films they’d seen, such as Peckinpah’s Cross of Iron, where good-guy Wehrmacht troops hate the SS. Warlord comic had a spy who was basically a 1940s James Bond, although there was no Pussy Galore or Holly Goodhead, because DC Thompson would have been inundated with letters from angry mums.

No actual military tactics are needed in combat

Comics never mentioned flanking manoeuvres or waiting for artillery support, possibly because those were less effective than simply running at the enemy with a machine gun blazing from the hip. Other dubious tactics included POWs saying ‘I’ll create a diversion by starting a fight!’, which in real life would probably result in a fractured skull from a rifle butt, and donning enemy uniforms, which meant instant death.

There were lots of decent Germans 

This was a thoughtful reminder to children not to be totally prejudiced. However historians would point out that a hell of a lot of Germans were extremely in favour of Hitler, at least to begin with, and their main criticism of der Fuhrer was that they were losing. Still, a comic strip about the slow process of postwar denazification would have been a pretty ballsaching read. 

Soldiers aren’t interested in getting laid

Actual young men in WW2 were extremely keen on shagging prostitutes, nurses and unfortunate German women who’d do it for food or fags. By contrast, the heroes of war comics were utterly uninterested in women. It’s almost as if they somehow agreed with their seven-year-old male readers that girls were silly and they smell.