Captain Moonlight: Chief whip

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The Independent Online
NOW, this flogging business. Never did the Captain any harm, the odd sound beating, ask anybody. Mind you, look at John Patten, and he was taught and beaten by the Jesuits, too. But no more. Fr Kevin Fox, in the office of the headquarters of the English province, says corporal punishment has been phased out at all Jesuit schools here, state and private, over the last 10 years. There are other ways, he says, and I can believe him. Fr Fox also denies all Jesuit responsibility for the well known 'Give us a child at seven and he is ours for life'; you may know different. Anyone who can provide a source will receive a bottle of the Captain's bubbly, three rolled up newspapers and, if I can lay my hands on one, a ferula, the purpose- built Jesuit instrument of child torture, handily shaped like the sole of a slipper.

The most famous flogger in the country, though, remains Douglas Hurd, our mild- mannered Foreign Secretary, such a dedicated practitioner at Eton that he was known as Hitler Hurd. At a recent diplomatic corps gathering, one present murmured: 'It's remarkable just how many of our ambassadors were beaten by Douglas.'