Oxford Blues

A reader writes:

I was at Oxford from 1983-87 too (Keble - 'not really Oxford' as one family friend put it) and as a Grammar School boy I have memories of the Bullingdon club and their ilk seared into my amygdala. The main thing that I was conscious was the sense of total entitlement ... that the world in general and Oxford in particular revolved around them.

I've never been unhappier than I was at Oxford, largely because of the class split that was still totally evident there. The year afterwards, I went to the States and realised that the entire worlds was NOT like Oxford and that in a meritocracy it didn't actually matter whether you had been a member of the Bullingdon club or not. Those who have not seen their progeny up close tend to think that places like Eton and institutions like Oxford prepare men and women for positions of great power and responsibility. The truth is quite the opposite, and that is the real reason why we should be wary of yet another Old Etonian, or Skull-and-Boneser, jostling for the reins of power.

I'm not so bitter. I've known many Etonians who are well-balanced, sane and gifted people. Same with Skull and Bones: they can't all be at the same level as the president has turned out to be. My own lesson coming to America was to let these resentments die the death they deserve. Of course, immigrating to America was the lazy Brit's way to avoid the class issue. But it seems that many of those who never left have come to feel the same way.