Sir Keir’s (Private) School Days and Old Boys’ Club Dinners

The descent of Labour leadership elections into the Four Yorkshiremen Sketch – with each candidate vying to show off their working-class credentials – is fun to watch. Keir Starmer has one of the toughest jobs, given his dad was a Surrey-living, Aga-owning, Buckingham Palace-attending businessman and he himself is constantly trying to remove references to his millionaire status from his Wikipedia profile.

The BBC recently wrote of the contenders’ class statuses:

“The “posh school” reference is harder to pin down – Jess Phillips and Sir Keir went to state grammar schools, but none of the contenders was privately educated.”

Other profiles of Keir also mention his passing of the 11+ before going to university. However, this overlooks a crucial fact: Keir Starmer’s Reigate Grammar School was a fee-paying independent school in his third year. When Keir joined in 1974, the school had been a state grammar for 30 years, however in 1976 it went private and according to their website of ‘notable Reigatians’ Starmer stayed on at the fee-paying school until 1981. Starmer is happy to leave journalists with the impression that he went to a state school. Today his old school charges £20,000 a year…

Whilst he might now like to downplay his posh upbringing – playing violin with Norman Quentin Cook (better known as Fat Boy Slim) and acting in school plays on the same stage that David Walliams first learnt his trade – Guido can also reveal Starmer is still very active in the Reigatian Old Boys’ Club. A co-conspirator passed Guido this picture of Starmer attending the ‘Chairman’s Amicable Dinner’ for former pupils, held at the gilded Reform Club in St James’s. Sir Keir held court after having someone get an emergency bow-tie for him because he had just “hot-footed it from Heathrow in a cab”.

He attends old boy reunions regularly. The picture below was taken at the 2017 dinner at the men’s-only East India Club – the St James’s private members’ club of which Nigel Farage is a member.

He also returned to his school in 2014 to talk to law students and, as of 2016, continues to be an “Ambassador for the [Reigate Grammar School] Foundation”. Clearly he’s very proud of his posh school…

He returned to the private school once again in 2016 for the funeral of his former headmaster, where Sir Keir led the final champagne-fuelled “fitting toast” of “silly sod!”. Rah, rah, rah!

Appropriately, five days ago Rebecca Long-Bailey called for an end to “gentlemen’s club” politics. Unfortunately for her, it seems Labour are about to elect their second posh, male, privately-educated leader in a row…

Guido has contacted Starmer’s office for comment…

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Fraser Burns Polly

Zinger from Fraser Nelson as Polly Toynbee went after Toby Young’s record on free schools:

Polly: “He wanted to create a school for his kids.”

Fraser: “Yes, it’s better than sending them private like some columnists I could mention.”

Remember Polly sent two of her children private. Zing…

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John McDonnell’s
(Private) School Days

When John McDonnell was first approached to confirm that he was an old boy of St Joseph’s College he denied it, when told there were pictures of him his memory improved and he admitted it whilst simulataneously trying to spin that it isn’t the same school. That is despite the school listing him as an alumnus. This is unsurprising,* John McDonnell has spent half-a-century covering-up that he was a pupil at a top private fee-paying school.

His official resume says McDonnell attended Great Yarmouth Grammar School, leaving at the age of 17 and boasts of him working in a series of unskilled jobs. It records that he studied for A-levels at night school at Burnley Technical College, and at the age of 23 attended Brunel University, and took a Bachelor of Science degree in Government and Politics. He has for self-serving political reasons covered up his attendance at a fee paying school for 50 years…

Presumably for reasons of proletarian credibility his days at the exclusive all boys Catholic preparatory school (a De La Salle Brothers’ college), now co-educational and it has always been known as St Joseph’s College with the school motto Fides Labore Et Tenacitate (“Faith, Work and Tenacity”) were missing from his CV. His defenders claim he would not have chosen to go to the school, well given he had chosen to become a priest he did make the choice to go to the Senior School. It is strange that he thinks it even necessary to try cover up or explain away his educational past dismissively. Almost as if he is ashamed of his old school.

The De La Salle schools were more commonly known as “Christian Brothers” schools. They are Catholic charity run schools which originally were set up to educate the poor. McDonnell only had the benefit of the privileged education he got because it was a charity. If in government, McDonnell would remove the charitable status of independent schools as well as put VAT on school fees. In doing so he now wants to take away the ability of independent schools to charitably take in poorer pupils like he was once himself. A classic left-wing case of hypocritically taking away the ladder he climbed up. Shame on McDonnell for wanting that and shame on him for trying to deny the truth and generosity of his benefactors…

*McDonnell has form for blatantly lying. He denied being a Marxist to Andrew Marr despite video footage of him boasting he is a Marxist. Guido has spoken to a former school official who says that McDonnell is wrong to claim it was ever called “De La Salle College” it was at the time run by the De La Salle Brothers order and always known as St Joseph’s College.

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