Leading article: Please sir...

Thursday 18 March 2010 01:00 GMT

Shocking news reaches us from the kitchens of Stowe School: carrot and coriander soup was on the menu. What on earth has happened to the standard of dinners in our public schools? Wasn't the British Empire built on a generation of young men force fed nothing more palatable than gruel and gristle? No wonder we appear to be in a condition of national decline when pupils are being served such decadent cuisine. What next? Caviar? Bread rolls? Cutlery?

The report also mentions that a batch of soup had "something acrid" added to it. There is talk of "kitchen cleaner". A porter has been arrested. How times change. A drop of kitchen cleaner would once have been regarded by hungry pupils as a tasty condiment. Indeed, had such a luxury been available in years gone by, small boys would probably have formed a queue to demand second helpings. How we could use a little of that spirit now.

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