i Editor's Letter: They don't teach incompetence at Eton


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The Independent Online

This letter yesterday on the politics of envy and our tragic obsession with class elicited some of the "green-inkier" of comments I've had recently.

For some of you, the mere fact that David Cameron, George Osborne, Boris Johnson etc went to Eton and Oxbridge is enough to damn them as potential leaders. I would demur. The list of reasons to be damning currently is long. But, incompetence is not the preserve of the upper classes. They don't teach it at Eton.

What they do teach at Eton is confidence. We Brits had it in such abundance during empire, that it morphed into colonial arrogance. Since the War, debatably, but certainly since the Sixties, the UK has been shorn of its confidence, as we have sunk in global rankings on league tables, from the economy to literacy standards.

The collective insecurity which has replaced it is as detrimental as arrogance. It has left us unable to embrace successes. One obvious example is our taste for "build them up, knock them down", seen across all walks of life. As a result we do not celebrate our heroes.

Well, I'd like to celebrate a true British global success story: J K Rowling and her fabulous Harry Potter creation. The books that sold in their hundreds of millions, the films that have made billions, the characters that have impinged themselves on international culture and the generations that were inspired to read in a digital age by Joanne Rowling.

As The Making of Harry Potter studio tour opens tomorrow, the sniping has already begun. Ignore it, and treat some excited children to a delightfully magical day out that you will all remember, while revelling in a unique British success story.