Lofty Labour

The Conservatives are repositioning themselves as the party of the working class.

Forty-three per cent of David Cameron’s new cabinet members were educated at state or faith schools, up from 21% in the first Coalition cabinet in 2010. Among them:

Priti Patel (Witham) attended Watford Grammar School for Girls and the University of Keele. Her parents were newsagents. She is the Minister of State for Employment.

Greg Clark (Tunbridge Wells) attended Catholic school in Middlesbrough before going up to Magdalene College, Cambridge to read Economics. His father and grandfather were milkmen with their own business, John Clark and Sons. Clark is the new Communities and Local Government Secretary.

Sajid Javid (Bromsgrove) attended his local comprehensive and lived on Britain’s ‘most dangerous’ street, Bristol’s Stapleton Road, before reading Politics and Economics at Exeter. His father was a bus driver. Javid is the new Business Secretary.

Meanwhile, Labour’s main players are from the elite. Quentin Letts wrote an excellent article, ‘Top Labour Toffs’, for Tatler‘s February 2015 edition (pp. 92-93). Below is a summary to which I have added information from other sources:

Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham) attended St Paul’s Girls’ School. Although she married Jack Dromey, her own family includes her late aunt Elizabeth, Countess of Longford; first cousin (once removed) Neville Chamberlain and Lady Antonia Fraser. Harman’s father was a Harley Street physician and a Conservative.

Tristram Hunt‘s father is Julian, Lord Hunt of Chesterton. Grandfather Roland was a diplomat in the Foreign Office. Tristram, the MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, attended University College School, Hampstead, which makes him an Old Gower. He read History at Trinity College, Cambridge, and at the University of Chicago. He was also in the Footlights at the same time as David Mitchell and Robert Webb.

Chuka Umunna (Streatham) learned to play the cello at St Dunstan’s College in Catford and was a chorister at Southwark Cathedral. His mother Patricia is a solicitor, the daughter of the late High Court judge Sir Helenus Milmo, a prosecutor at the Nuremburg Trials. In the 19th century, the Milmos married into Irish landed gentry, the O’Dowds and the Creans. One ancestor, Daniel, moved to the United States and founded the Milmo National Bank in Texas. Another, Don Patricio, emigrated to Mexico, where he married the daughter of a prominent general who supported the unfortunate Emperor Maximilian I. The Daily Mail has delved into Umunna’s expensive tastes and property.

Letts also told us that Fiona Mactaggart (Slough) attended Cheltenham Ladies’ College and that her father was Sir Ian Auld Mactaggart, 3rd Baronet. Her maternal grandfather, Sir Herbert Williams, 1st Baronet was a Tory MP; a photograph of him hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. Nick Raynsford‘s full name is Wyvill Richard Nicolls Raynsford. The MP for Greenwich and Woolwich attended Repton before going up to Sidney Sussex, Cambridge, then the Chelsea School of Art. He is from the Milton Malsor Manor Raynsfords, don’t you know.

To think that Labour moan about the Bullingdon Club and Old Etonians … hmm.

5 comments for “Lofty Labour

  1. James Strong
    May 21, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    Why should we care about the background of MPs, Cabinet Ministers and the PM?
    I’d like us to be as blind to this as we are to whether they are left or right-handed.
    I’d like the same blindness to apply to race and gender too.

    • Ted Treen
      May 21, 2015 at 6:06 pm

      Because those who job it is to understand the problems faced by, and the troubles of the other strata of society and then deal with them are best drawn from those with first-hand experience thereof.

      Those who have lived in an ‘intellectual’ cocoon of privilege their whole lives are eminently unsuitable.

      As shown by the last twenty years.

    • Paddington
      May 22, 2015 at 2:18 am

      Some churches here still teach that left-handed people do not have souls (seriously). It light be relevant.

    • May 22, 2015 at 9:41 am

      @James Strong:

      In principle, I agree.

      However, since 2010 Labour — MPs and supporters — have been banging on about the politics of envy.

      The accusations about being ruled by the Bullingdon Club and Old Etonians are countless. The Riot Club, a fictionalised film about the Bullingdon, which appeared late in 2014 was another. How many times have the Bullingdon Club photos appeared online during the Coalition years?

  2. Hereward unbowed.
    May 21, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    I think that, ref’ the above scum party rogues gallery. Without question, these exemplars highlight the very modest ejukayshun standard prevalent even in what are received to be, our ‘best’ schools and ‘top’ universities.

    And may God help the other poor buggers.

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