James Delingpole James Delingpole

James Delingpole: I told Radley school pupils how to rebel. But I’m not sure they want to

From primary school onwards, we're handed this starter pack of right-on notions — and if we question them we're regarded as pariahs

Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

For two blissful days last week I was at Radley College — what you might call the posh person’s Eton — as the school’s Provocateur-in-Residence.

Delightful place: like an especially agreeable gentleman’s club with a first-rate school attached. My only criticism — and it’s not really a criticism, more a rueful observation — is that even in this Helm’s Deep of immense soundness, the Orcish forces of lentil-eating progressivism have begun tunnelling beneath the walls and infecting the defenders of western civilisation with their malign and slithy creed.

Or to put it another way: if you cannot rely on the boys of Radley College to stick up for man’s unalienable right to hunt foxes, what the hell can you rely on?

We’re talking here, remember, about an establishment so pukka that any boy whose father is caught standing on a touchline and found not in possession of a shooting stick and tweed suit of at least Edwardian vintage is pegged out on the college golf course with croquet hoops and left to be devoured by the school’s beagle pack.

That’s why, when I put it to some of the young gentlemen that anyone who thought foxhunting ought to be banned on the grounds of ‘animal cruelty’ needed his head examined, I was so surprised to find one or two of them disagreeing with me.

Actually, that’s not true. I was not, in fact, remotely surprised by this display of politically correct groupthink. I’d seen flashes of it after all in pretty much every subject we’d broached, from the NHS to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs to the EU. But I had slightly hoped — hoped, note, not expected — that this might have been one of those areas where personal insight would triumph over cant.

So I asked whether any of them had tried foxhunting.

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