BL17 FINAL - Page 23

5. Don’t send them to Eton (or
Winchester, or Westminster)
One of the disappointments with
public schools these days is how
oppressively woke they are. Not
even Eton is safe. Indeed, it’s
probably one of the worst
offenders because it trains its
pupils in the chameleon skills
needed to accommodate the
fashionable idiocies of the day, like
identity politics, ‘sustainability’
and other such nonsense. If you
still want to risk it – as I did, for
the tailcoat and the connections
and the troll points – there’s
always the possibility that your
boy will turn into a maverick,
contra mundum Orwell rather
than another identikit lefty like
Shelley. Otherwise, I’d recommend
somewhere more provincial like
my alma mater, Malvern. Yes, like
all such schools it has its share of
lefty teachers. But the largely
conservative pupils – coming on
the whole from solid shires
backgrounds – tend to see it as
their job to make these teachers’
lives misery rather than to imbibe
their dodgy politics.
drizzly picnics in the Highlands
heather (for to be born British is, of
course, to have won life’s lottery);
make them write thank-you letters.
Yes, they may still go through a
Corbynista phase, but every fibre
of their being will shriek at the
cognitive dissonance of it all and
sooner or later upbringing will out
and normal service resume.
8. Splash the cash
This may seem counterintuitive.
Surely there is no greater incentive
to a life of feckless socialism than
the cushion of being bankrolled by
Daddy? Yes, indeed. But parental
largesse serves two key purposes.
First, as the last enduring element
of influence you have over your
offspring (to be withdrawn only
in extremis); secondly to reinforce
in their silly, idealistic little heads
the fundamental notion that
abundance and freedom of choice
are things that conservatives value
but which socialists just want to
steal away from you.
6. Move to the country
If you want your child to grow up
believing that men too can have
periods or that white people
(“wypipo” as they’d probably
pronounce it, in a Sarf London
grime accent) need to check their
privilege, then stay living in
London. If not, get out of town,
sharpish. Do not, under any
circumstances, delude yourself that
moving to Brighton, Bristol or Bath
constitutes ‘getting out of town’.
9. Chill
Obviously don’t try to be ‘down
wiv da kidz’ – they’ll only mock.
But it does help, in my experience,
if you don’t give them too much
to rebel against. On sex, drugs
and rock’n’roll, for example, be
understanding rather than
disapproving. Keep the lines of
communication open so that they
feel comfortable talking to you
about stuff. This has the added
bonus that all their friends will tell
them how amazingly relaxed and
cool their Dad is, thus bolstering
your authority.
7. Lead by example
Show, not tell! Raise your children
– in an Old Rectory, ideally – in
a quintessentially conservative
environment. Take them to church;
go on long family walks; make sure
that they can ride, shoot, ski, sail,
double spey cast; eat plenty of red
meat, cooked rare; watch Where
Eagles Dare and Zulu; play board
games, literary games; ensure that
some of their best holiday
memories involve wild swimming
in the Wye, surfing at Bantham,
10. Be patient
Despite all I’ve said, the main
reason my kids didn’t turn out left
wing is because I got lucky. If
you’re not so fortunate, don’t
despair – almost all the young go
through a socialist phase. Happily
most of them grow out of it when
their first tax bill arrives; and if
not, then when they see how
rubbish the local school is and
realise they’re going to have to
go private. “Er, Dad. There’s
something I need to ask you...”
Stanley Johnson is concerned by
Japan’s plans to resume commercial
whaling in its own waters
t the end of July, I flew to Ningaloo, on
Western Australia’s Coral Coast, where
the coral reef comes right up to the
shoreline. Less than a week after my
eldest son became Prime Minister, I was sitting on
the veranda of Sal Salis Safari Camp, a glass of
merlot in hand, watching the humpback whales
breaching and spouting a hundred yards off-shore.
An Aussie friend had told me that, if I was
lucky, Ningaloo would provide views of Australia’s
Big Three: humpback whales, whale sharks and
giant manta rays. Well, I was lucky. I swam with
a whale-shark, and watched manta rays barrelrolling and occasionally leaping from the water
with extraordinary aerodynamic prowess.
This stretch of ocean is a super-highway for the
humpbacks, as they leave Antarctic waters for the
balmier seas further north. Around 40,000 migrate
past here each year, and I saw a host of them,
sometimes so close that, as they spouted, I’d get a
stomach-turning whiff of what they had for lunch.
So it was pleasing to hear, while there, that Japan
was to end its so-called ‘scientific whaling’ in
Antarctic waters. I remember, back in 1972,
marching through Stockholm at the first United
Nations Environment Conference, shouting “Save
the Whale!” The international ban on whalehunting came in eventually, but Japan found the
famous ‘scientific’ loophole and simply carried on.
The announcement changes things, but we can’t
pop champagne corks yet. Japan, though retiring
from Antarctic waters, has decided to resume
commercial whaling in its own waters, even
though the domestic demand for whale-meat
continues to decline towards zero. There is still
no humane way to kill a whale.
Up till now, the UK government – backed by
public opinion – has taken a strongly pro-whale
line, supporting the international ban and
encouraging EU colleagues to do the same. I can
only hope that, post-Brexit, this continues. I am
not so sure. A free-trade agreement between the UK
and Japan is being mooted. Will Japanese whaling
and whale-meat become a bargaining chip in a
UK-Japan FTA, like chlorinated chicken?
I am old enough to remember eating whale-meat
for breakfast post-war. Rationing went on till 1951
as I remember, but whale-meat was allowed to be
sold ‘off ration’. Whale-meat again, some not so
sunny day? What a thought.

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