What on earth do they teach at Eton and Oxford?

One would have thought that Dave’s experience with talk shows would make him steer clear of David Letterman and his little traps.

In 2006 Dave appeared on Jonathan Ross’s BBC show, only to be asked if, as a young lad, he had ever masturbated to a photo of Margaret Thatcher. Any normal man would have instantly got up and left. Then, if by some stroke of luck, that same man became prime minister a few years later, he’d question exactly how hideous, unfunny vulgarians like Ross contribute to ‘promoting education and learning’ and ‘stimulating creativity and cultural excellence’, both stipulated in the BBC Charter. He’d then threaten to revoke this charter unless the BBC complied with it.

Our Dave of course did none of those things. Walking out would have communicated to the electorate that he’s not a MAN OF THE PEOPLE. That cherished distinction presupposes regarding words like ‘wank’ as ipso facto amusing. So Dave just smiled as if he had heard a dazzling witticism. And, judging by the fact that the BBC continues to churn out trivial, mindless and often offensive entertainment, its compliance with its charter has never been questioned.

Now Dave has got into hot water over another charter, the Great one. Letterman offered him a brief quiz on things British, such as who wrote Rule, Britannia. Not only was Dave blissfully unaware of this piece of trivia, but, by guessing it was Elgar, he was at least a full century out. A couple of decades ago, any primary school pupil unburdened by learning difficulties would have known the name of Thomas Arne and what he was famous for, but we’ll let it pass.

The next test Dave failed involved Magna Carta, and this one wouldn’t inconvenience a moderately bright kindergarten pupil. To Dave’s credit, he knew what Magna Carta was and when it was signed. After some visible mental effort he even identified the place where that momentous event took place. What utterly defeated our old Etonian was the English translation of those two devilishly difficult words.

Now let’s suppose for the sake of argument that Dave has never read history books, many of which refer to this document as The Great Charter. Let’s further suppose that he played truant when Latin was taught at Eton and then spent all of his university years getting pissed at the Bullingdon Club to the exclusion of any academic studies. Such suppositions hurt, for generally one expects that a national leader would have been drawn from the pool of those who did well at school. But I, for one, am ready to be lenient about such gaping holes in Dave’s education.

The next problem is much worse. For any averagely intelligent man, even if he never attended a single Latin lesson, ought to be able to guess what these two words mean. The normal thought process would lead him towards other words sharing the same root. Let me show you how this is done, Dave, and for once in your life pay attention.

You must have ordered magnums of Bolli at the Bullingdon, didn’t you? Fine, fine, it wasn’t Bolli but Krug, but that’s beside the point. It’s the word ‘magnum’ that I want you to concentrate on. You know what it is, don’t you? Excellent. It’s indeed a bottle twice the normal size. A very big bottle, in other words. And how do we say ‘very big’ in one word? No, not ‘huge’. Not ‘bloody humongous’ either, and anyway it’s two words, not one. And not even ‘gigantic’, though we’re getting warmer. What was that? Super. You got it in one, or four rather. It’s ‘great’!

Now where else do we find this root Dave? Yes, that’s right, magnum also means a big cartridge in firearms, but I was thinking of different words. No? All right, I’ll give you a tip. What kind of glass do we hold to objects to make them appear larger? That’s right, good lad. A magnifying glass.

That’ll do us for the first word. Admittedly, one has to make the mental jump from ‘magnum’ and ‘magnify’ to ‘Magna’, but even Dave’s cerebral agility should be up to this task.

Now for the second word. Here we’re on shakier grounds, as connecting ‘Carta’ with ‘charter’ may require an IQ in three digits, or certainly no lower than 90. Words like ‘card’, ‘cartography’, ‘carte blanche’ should lead us to ‘chart’, and then we’re within one hop, skip and jump of ‘charter’.

There we have it Dave. The Great Charter, the bedrock of Englishmen’s liberties, commonly though not exclusively referred to as Magna Carta.

Now please tell me it was all a publicity stunt, another trick designed to position Dave as a MAN OF THE PEOPLE. THE PEOPLE, on average, probably wouldn’t even know what Magna Carta was, never mind what the words mean. Is that what your focus groups say, Dave? Do they also confirm that THE PEOPLE don’t want their elected representatives to be cleverer than they are?

On second thoughts, perhaps it may be better to have a mentally challenged ignoramus for prime minister than a devious, calculating spiv. Then again, it may not.

And Dave? Next time you appear on a talk show, make sure it’s prerecorded. Those live ones can land a chap in a spot of bother, what?







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