Monday, May 29, 2006

Classless Britain

I was rather amused to see, in a characteristically dry post by the Cumudgeon, that the British Chief of Defence Staff, goes by the name of Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup. Jock Stirrup?! Jock Stirrup??!! I thought this must be a curmudgeonly joke. But no - the Chief of Defence Staff really is called Jock Stirrup (sorry, Sir Jock Stirrup). The creators of Blackadder could not have come up with a more ridiculous ruling class name.

A little research reveals that the young Jock Stirrup attended Merchant Taylor's School - current fees £2292 per term.

What of out other military leaders and senior civil servants? Alas, most of them don't have quite such silly names. They do have rather silly titles however - and, of course, public school backgrounds.

The chief of the army is General Sir Mike Jackson (ow! Shaamon muthafucker!) - or, to give him his preferred title General Sir Mike Jackson (ow! Shaamon muthafucker!) MBE CBE KCB DSO ADC Gen. The young Mike Jackson (ow! Shaamon muthafucker!) attended Stamford School - current fees for day pupils, £9564 per annum and for boarders, £17940.

The chief of the navy is First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band KCB ADC. As a nipper the First Sea Lord attended the rather charming sounding Brambletye and Haileybury schools. Current day rates at Haileybury are £16515, while boarding rates are £21990.

Unfortunately, I'm unable to track down school background of the RAF chief, Air Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy CBE DSO BSc (Eng), FRAeS. He's an engineer by trade and, furthermore, the RAF has always been a little downmarket - the toffs prefer the Army and 'Senior Service', so there's a good chance that Glenn... sorry... Sir Glenn was a grammar school boy - though I somewhat doubt that he attended a city comp.

The head civil servant at the FCO is Sir Michael Jay KCMG. Little Michael attended Winchester College - current day fees, £22325 and boarding fees £23500.

The head civil servant at the Home Office is Sir David Normington KCB. Unfortunately, I can't find out where Dave went to school, but his predecessor (replaced this year), Sir John Gieve, attended Charterhouse - day rates £19803, boarding rates £23955.

The Chief Constable of the Met is, of course, Sir Ian 'head-shot' Blair. Little Ian attended Wrekin College - current boarding fees £16170-18585, day rates £9294-11235.

I could go on...

Incidentally, a lot of these military chappies seem to be earning a pretty penny or two on the side as public speakers at business functions. Apparently, all these Sir Whatsits are quite happy to associate themselves with various brands and to help flog stuff - military stuff no doubt. See here for a list of carpet baggers (under 'Defence/Defense' - clearly they're quite happy to help both American and Brit arms dealers). You can also find a list of public school chappies who've moved effortlessly between the upper echelons of the state and various arms manufacturing and mercenary outfits here (Campaign Against the Arms Trade).

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