Old Etonians

It costs around 30,000 pounds (or 1.5 million baht) per year in school fees at Eton, apparently – so what does a parent get for that money (assuming that parent is a part of a sufficiently privileged elite as to be able to get the son on the waiting list at all)? Writing in The Guardian today (nominally about David Cameron, leader of the right wing opposition Conservative party), Michael White wrote:

“…the apparently effortless superiority which Eton instils in so many of its sons. That’s what folk pay £30,000 a year for.”


“Such people [i.e. old Etonians] … are marked by a strong sense of entitlement … dangerously inflated by a degree of inexperience the previous generations did not suffer. The Etonian officer class at least knew a lot about the men they led.”

Of course, there are differences between Cameron and Thai PM Abhisit – perhaps the most famous Thai Etonian of the day – Cameron is a lot smarter, for a start (anyone who has seen Abhisit speak live will know that he can read the words well but has very little idea what he is saying or what it means). The rest rings fairly true, though, of a man out of his depth whose entitlement and ego blind him to that fact.

Cameron and Abhisit

Having seen the coverage of the conference speech by leader of the Conservative Party Sweaty Dave Cameron, it becomes increasingly clear how similar he is as a politician to the meat puppet Abhisit Vejjajiva.

In one sense, the reasons for this are obvious: both share enormously privileged backgrounds which have kept them insulated from the real world and wholly unable to relate to anyone other than the equally rich and privileged, both have the patina of charm and charisma that the many thousands of pounds education at Eton and Oxford University provides, neither has done a socially-useful day’s work in his life.

When reading out a speech, Cameron has the edge – but only I think because he at least has enough self-awareness to realise that he is cynically mouthing a series of platitudes and obvious lies – only a fool or a charlatan would really suppose that his claims to be interested in helping the poor were anything other than mendacity.

Abhisit, on the other hand, reads out the speech but has very little understanding of the issues or any interest in policies and their implications (in this, he resembles George W Bush more). Perhaps he is different behind the scenes or in committees and so forth but it is really difficult to imagine why (apart from the status and power) he wants to be in politics when he offers no indication of any meaningful personal ideology or philosophy – maybe it is, as is the case with other right wing politicians, that he can occupy office simply to deny power to someone who actually try to change things.