Elite here to stay

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Up to a point, George Kerevan is right about the “new Archbishop following a well-trodden path”. (Perspective, 9 November)

However, Eton is the beginning of the educational route to power through Oxford and Cambridge colleges, though intermittently and noticeably under New Labour, Edinburgh or Glasgow universities became influential political conduits.

Now the smooth road to establishment elites is through “Eton’s playing fields and Oxbridges’s dreaming spires”.

An elitist educational system regulates and distributes top jobs in business, the professions, administration and politics.

Moreover, this somewhat explains why women have been excluded from the economic, political and military elite. What is that “trick” George Kerevan archly refers to, “to dismantle the British establishment at source?”

No matter the outcome of the referendum, in a liberal democracy there will still be elites. Perhaps the “trick” is, as previous analysts put, it “to ensure their rapid and regular circulation”.

Ellis Thorpe

Old Chapel Walk


George Kerevan’s piece about the Etonian connections and associated networking was an excellent reminder of the role of all fee-paying “independent” schools in our and the UK’s governance in all aspects.

A touch more flesh on how pupils are selected – or not – would have been enlightening, as one implication of his article was that the boys did not necessarily have to be that bright to get into such schools, and it does seem to be true that parental background and being able to splash out more than £30,000 per year can be key factors, but none the less there is a high degree of selection at these schools by academic ability, often linked to focused tuition from very early on in childhood.

More on the Eton scholarship boys would have illuminated this gap, as would more on those schools which have successfully integrated girls and boys, and on the so-called designation as charities of so many. The argument remains that private, fee-paying schools save the state from additional educational expense, but a much greater bursary-linked entry from the less privileged would be greatly beneficial to society generally as it does seem to be accepted that fee paying is often linked to better and more intensive teaching, associated with wider-ranging and higher-status employment opportunities – even if pupils have the means later not to have to work at all.

Joe Darby