Alex Massie

The Lorettonian Curse

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Now that I think about it, Simon Heffer's broadside against Caledonia-dire-and-rotten, missed one obvious target. Sure, Alastair Darling is a much-ridiculed, much-villified Chancellor of the Exchequer but so too was the last-but-one Scottish Chancellor. Remember Norman Lamont? He may have represented an English constituency but that only emphasised how far he'd travelled from his Shetland roots. Just as Darling is presiding - if that's the applicable term - over the current financial apocalypse, so "Peerie Norrie" was the bluffer in charge during the last economic debacle: Black Wednesday.

I think it unfair, however, to blame Scotland writ large for this sorry duo. Not when there's a smaller, handier target. Both Darling* and Lamont are products of Loretto  - Musselburgh's finest private educational


penitentiary. The lesson is obvious: just as Mrs Worthington was advised not put her daughter on the stage, so future Prime Ministers ought to be wary of appointing Lorettonians to any financially-sensitive cabinet post. Ignore this and ruin will surely follow.

*Bonus Darling factoid: his entry in Who's Who has, for years, avoided mentioning where he went to school. I daresay that, circumstances being what they are, Loretto are quite happy to have this forgotten too.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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