A Lottery for Eton school

There must be a lottery fan at work in the Guardian! (There is of course. Our very own kleroterian Martin Wainwright.)

Unthinkable? The Eton raffle

It seems only fair to offer every 13-year-old the same chance of being immersed in a community entirely directed to helping them shine

A cursory glance at the background of the new establishment confirms that Eton is flourishing beyond Henry VI’s wildest ambitions. It’s not only the new archbishop of Canterbury, nor the next but one in line for the throne, nor of course the PM, his chief of staff, nor even the chief whipand the chancellor’s chief economic adviser. There are the actors (Eddie Redmayne, Dominic West, Damian Lewis), the diplomats, the mandarins and all those cabinet ministers. And the London mayor. The school hasproduced 19 of 53 prime ministers, but who would have expected such a 21st-century renaissance of privilege? Eton always boasted that it was comprehensive. The difference between it and, say, neighbouring Slough is the indefinite article and approximately £30,000 a year. This buys your lad world-class academic, artistic and sporting facilities plus star teachers drawn by top-dollar pay. For seven days a week, 24 hours a day, pupils are immersed in a community entirely directed to helping them shine. It seems only fair to offer every 13-year-old the same chance. All parents of 10-year-olds (yes, girls too) would be issued with a special 09- phone number. It would cost, say, £15 a call to defray lost fees, and the number could only be used once. Two hundred names would then be drawn from a top hat. For the next three years they’d prepare, learning to tie a white tie while mugging up on Latin so they too could cry “Floreat Etona”. Twenty years on, high offices might at last be filled from humble homes.

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