Skip to Content

George Osborne’s boarding school trauma

It’s a joke. He didn’t board. Ha Ha. He went to private day-school.

It’s just the ghastly Saturday Guardian’s ‘only joking’ pages that for me brings the whole paper down several notches by featuring the drivel of the likes of Ha Ha columnists Sophie Heawood.

Sophie’s fantasy piece Who needs therapy? It’s high time our politicians hit the couch highlights an important issue: that, lamentably, this is how we are used to treating the very serious subject of normalising ‘privileged abandonment’.

In the meantime we keep electing Wounded Leaders and sacrificing the children of the wealthy, unquestioned as if it were still 1910. Well, maybe that is not so off because, economically, it looks like we’re getting close to being back there again.

To spare you having to read it all, here is the nub of the joke. Sophie pretends to have met a therapist “down the pub” she says, as if she were a working class male, which of course she isn’t. Then this therapist reveals that she has been seeing our current cabinet for therapy – as if any of them would submit to therapy or any therapist would talk about their work ‘down the pub’! Here is what Sophie learns:

‘George Osborne apparently still has work to do on his boarding school trauma. I ask if this means he silently suffers the long-term effects of forced separation from his parents at a young age? “No,” she says, “his boarding school trauma is that he didn’t go to one. When he’s with Boris and Dave and that lot, all bantering about with their elite boarding school bantz, he feels cruelly left out, because he was only a day boy. So her work involves reinforcing his sense of self so that he can stop falsely idolising his chums? “Well,” she replies, “a bit of that. But mainly we just do a role-play with the lights off where George pretends to wet his bed in the dark dormitory and I pretend to be matron.” ‘

I am all for pointing out the hideous clannishness of the public school ethos and their contempt for vulnerability – both inside them and in society. But is this the kind of Ha Ha moment we really need?

For some young boarders wetting the bed is the only way to get a bit of female attention. Imagine if such a matron were brought up in the Heawood school of ‘only joking’ femininity.

Here is my plea: let’s use satire against the Establishment (and not marginalized groups or those who feel disempowered or without meaning in our callous society) and let’s use it well and responsibly and allow it to expose the serious failings of our society.

One comment

  1. Well said.

    Comment by Henry Lawson on 21/02/2015 at 3:08 pm

Allowed HTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

By submitting a comment you grant Wounded Leaders a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate and irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin’s discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.