Sunday, 24 August 2008

Majors and Minors

The lot from the Reduced Shakespeare Company had fun mocking John Major on this evening’s Sunday Supplement. But history will be kind to Major, as to Gordon Brown. Each will be seen as vastly preferable both to his predecessor and to his successor, be Brown’s successor Cameron or Miliband.

Major will be recognised as actually having done, is far less time, vastly more than Blair ever did. He will be notable as the last ever “non-graduate” Prime Minister (and never forget that he went from a very working-class home to a grammar school), while Brown will be notable, not only for never actually starting any wars, but also as not just the first Prime Minister ever to hold a non-Oxbridge degree (more than one in fact), but also as the last whether Cameron or Miliband follows him, and as the last state-schooled Prime Minister ever if it is Cameron.


The Aberdonian said...

Actually the Earl of Bute did not go to Oxbridge either but was a graduate - he graduated from Leiden in the Netherlands. Scotland had strong historic and academic links with that university and its thinking had a very strong influence on Scottish jurisprudence through Romano-Dutch law.

Also several Prime Ministers held degrees other than Oxbridge institutions. Campbell-Bannerman went first to his local university - Glasgow before he went to Oxbridge for a second degree and I think it was Earl Grey or someone from that period who went to Edinburgh.

David Lindsay said...

I'd have to check on Grey, although I have to say that I'd be extremely surprised if his only degree were non-Oxbridge. And of course you can get away with foreign degrees, at least of they are from Europe.

Campbell-Bannerman would not have become PM without an Oxbridge degree unless, like Churchill or Lloyd George, he had had no degree at all.

Even John Buchan felt it necesasry to get a second degree from Oxford, even though he had a Who's Who entry by the time he finished it. And of course, like anyone else picked out that young as a future PM, he never actually got to Number 10.

The Aberdonian said...

Grey (or was it Russell) - probably was Grey as Edinburgh would have been his "local".

Whoever also went to Oxbridge as well as Edinburgh.

However Bute stands alone with no Oxbridge degree before Brown.