A little light Eskimo baiting did us nothing but good

THE AGREEABLE WORLD OF WALLACE ARNOLD

Share
Related Topics
Methinks she doth protest too much! My somewhat catty colleague, Miss (Mssss!) Ann Wilson penned a characteristically contrary column in these pages last week in which she suggested that the traditional English public school was in some ways "racist" (dread accusation!).

"Pull the other one, Ann!" I wanted to scream, "It has the proverbial bells on!" Ann's experience at Rugby in the Sixties was greatly at odds with my own experience at Rugby in the Forties. As my Who's Who entry makes quite clear, I spent most of my school days at Basters Academy for Young Gentlemen, and I continue to rejoice in my position as an Old Basterd. But English and languages were thought of as sissy at Basters, which specialised in the more manly pursuits of mathematics and blood sports, so my parents (woolly liberals, alas) had me sent on day release to Rugby, where one or two of the more effeminate schoolmasters were believed to have a smattering of Shakespeare up their sleeves.

Ah, memories, memories! I look back on the time I spent at Rugby as one of innocent joy. Every morning, I would knock on the door of the Headmaster's office. After a couple of minutes in which I would listen to keys being turned and doors unbolted, I would be met by the Head Matron, a retired Sergeant-Major who had been forced to change sex after being dealt a particularly rotten hand in a game of forfeits at some point in the mid-1930s. The Head Matron would then strip-search me, forcing my buttocks apart with a pair of household pliers on the off-chance of discovering a spanner, a jemmy, a packet of Capstan or a half-bottle of Teacher's. If none were found, she would bid me forward with a gentle pat of her fully-licensed cattle prod.

Oh, balmy days of innocence and hope! I would then make my way to the Junior Gymnasium, where a small selection of Eskimos would be chained to the climbing bars. Lesser public schools dealt in the bullying of Jews, Blacks, Indians and what-have-you, but at Rugby this outdated practice was always considered wishy-washy and absurdly generalised. For this reason, a dozen Eskimos would be hired each year for the young gentlemen of the school to taunt and poke at our own discretion.

"Esky! Esky! Get back to your igloo, Esky!" we would chant while the poor Eskimos writhed and squirmed. Every now and then, one of us would have a word with the Headmaster about borrowing the school Polar Bear costume, and, fully dressed up, we would then enter the gym making Polar Bear noises - only to frighten the young Eskys out of their proverbial wits! No doubt the "caring" professions (!!!!) would now accuse us of "racism" or even "bullying". What nonsense! To my certain knowledge, not a single Eskimo ever complained (although they were gagged during daylight hours, one of them could easily have lifted an unchained toe in protest) and in many ways they enjoyed the full run of the school, save in those areas - chapel, dormitories, open spaces, classrooms, dining- halls - covered by the very neat and straightforward "Noli Esquimare" notices.

Card-carrying left-wingers such as Ann Wilson love nothing more than to wring their hands over modish worries such as "racism", "sexual abuse" and "bullying in the classroom". But I have practised each and every one of them and I can honestly say they never did me any harm. No doubt Ann also sees fit to fuss her silly little head over the so-called barbarities of the fagging system. Yet I spent three years as a fag at Basters Academy ("Come on, the Basters! Baste up, baste up, and baste the ball!"), working for a succession of fagmasters (Dr Brian Mawhinney, Michael Winner, Derry Irvine) who were to gain great distinction in later life, and I found it immensely character-forming.

Winner, for instance, would often produce a sawn-off shotgun to back up his demands for a slice of lightly buttered toast with a smattering of Gentleman's Relish. And as the years have gone by, I have come to realise that, contrary to all the received liberal "wisdom"(!), armed force can be an effective and appropriate accompaniment to any halfway- reasonable demand on our time.

So put that in your pipe and smoke it, Ann! And let me add this. By betraying the public school spirit in your column, you have revealed yourself as nothing more than a worthless little squit. You're a worthless little squit, Ann! What are you Ann? Yes - a worthless little squit! Go on, say it, Ann - SAY IT!

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Deputy Head of Science

£36000 - £60000 per annum: Randstad Education Southampton: Our client are a we...

IT Teacher

£22000 - £32000 per annum + TLR: Randstad Education Southampton: Our client is...

Database Administrator

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: The role could involve w...

Science Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified secondary s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Countries that have relaxed sex-worker laws have seen a fall in Aids infections but no increase in street-based prostitution  

As an ex prostitute, I urge all the political parties to commit to the Sex Buyer Law

Crystal
A still from Central African Republic: Descent into Chaos  

Rory Peck Awards 2014 News Finalist: Pacôme Pabandji

Independent Voices
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London