In England, success in life is bound up with where you went to school. In Wales, where I come from, the standard of education can be so miserable that you’d do better to get expelled.
I did. I’d just spent three days in ‘isolation’ in my south Wales comprehensive — banished to a cubicle with a CCTV camera — for misbehaviour. As I left the grounds, I lit a cigarette. A teacher accosted me. I got lippy and she smacked me across the face. I was expelled soon after. Thank God.
If you want good schooling in Wales, you’d be best to go private. If you’re taken ill, make sure you’re treated in the English NHS, not the Welsh version. If you want a private-sector job, best leave Wales. You get the picture. My country, with its mighty industrial past, has become the basket case of the United Kingdom.