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How can he possibly live such a scandal down — especially when the book in question, Sex, Lies and Eton: Dave Cameron's Schooldays, is supposedly written by the politician himself? Step forward Bill Coles, the Edinburgh-based writer and real author of the book, which follows Cameron as he settles into Eton College, experiencing all sorts of scrapes and calamities along the way.
According to Bill, the Prime Minister-wannabe rents porn out to the other students, tries to spy on the master's daughter as she undresses and gets completely drunk after a few too many pints of beer. It's not exactly the sort of image the Tory leader is hoping to project but Bill, who lives near Calton Hill with wife Margot and two sons, explains that the book is meant to be taken as a piece of fun. I'm hoping David will take it in good humour, but I must admit it is a bit close to the knuckle.
I suppose being a politician he'll just have to laugh it off. If he hates it my sales will go through the roof. During the minute session, pupils were also expected to take part in what was known as the 'lavatory line'. The boy whose name was top of the list went first, still reciting his 'Rep' from his book.
Book review: Dave Cameron's Schooldays by Bill Coles
When he had finished he had to tick his name off the list on the lavatory door and find the next boy on his cubicle's rota. Simon Carder, a young classics teacher of the era who later married the school matron, recalled to the Mail: Those who forgot or wilfully defied the rules were dealt with severely by today's standards. If a boy had behaved well during the morning he was allowed to take two sweets from a large tin which was passed round after lunch - cottage pie a regular fixture. At the end of the day prayers in the chapel were followed by prep, then bathtime and lights out which, for the younger boys, was at 7.
Television viewing was very strictly limited, with free time largely spent playing sports or engaged in such socially necessary exercises as ballroom dancing lessons. On Sundays, dressed in green boiler suits, the boys were allowed to play in the grounds. Hollywood star David Niven had once been expelled from Heatherdown. Infractions during Cameron's time usually resulted in a boy being beaten on his trousered behind by Mr Edwards, who used the back of one of a set of three ornate clothes brushes; wood, ivory or silver depending on how outrageous the crime.
Prince Andrew has recalled being given one 'sanction' which, he said, dissuaded him from smacking his own children. Mr Cameron with the Queen last week. He swore in front of her Majesty on the first occasion of meeting her, his school colleagues have revealed. Another former pupil, Daniel Wiggin, remembers getting beaten for simply 'taking my teddy for a walk in the corridor after lights out'. Three years ago Cameron also admitted getting the clothes brush for stealing strawberries from the headmaster's wife's kitchen garden.
Simon Andreae recalled other adventures which escaped detection and punishment: If feelings developed, love letters were conveyed discreetly between the schools by the Heatherdown groundsman. Former matron Mrs Carder says: David was one of the huge swathe in between so you don't really have any vivid memories of him. That must have been a good thing.
One of the highlights of the school year was sports day which was a reminder once again of the social strata from which the pupils came. One pointed in the direction of the 'Ladies'' lavatories. The second directed the 'Gentlemen'. A third read 'Chauffeurs'. Viscount Goschen fondly reminisced to the Mail about 'the lovely sports days and the fathers' day race where lots of beetroot-faced colonels took part'. The colonels were rather junior in rank at Heatherdown, given their Commander-in-Chief, the Queen, attended such events as well.
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Her Majesty was also present on another school occasion which has gone down in legend among his friends of the time. A former pupil told the Mail: But, possibly due to nerves, he forgot to say 'Thanks be to God! Mr Edwards did not hear the expletive, so Cameron was not beaten for it and continued to figure in school plays. One in particular sticks out for the irony of its title. In March , Heatherdown put on a production of J. Barrie's The Boy David.
Cameron, aged ten, was given the role of the narrator. Prince Edward appeared as King Saul the Queen was away on a foreign tour, so the Queen Mother, chaperoned by Mrs Carder, took her place in the audience on the wooden chair in the front row. In the summer of Cameron was one of four other Heatherdown boys invited to accompany Getty junior on a no-expense spared tour of America to celebrate the heir's 12th birthday.
- Judgment and Rewards?
- Dave Cameron's Schooldays.
They flew by Concorde, during which the precocious Cameron toasted his friends with Dom Perignon ' All the boys liberally covered themselves with complimentary after shave. In a Florida hotel suite on the eve of Peter's birthday, the excited boys were told that a present from the Getty family was about to arrive. One told the Mail: When Peter opened it a uniformed waiter thrust a huge cream cake into his face.
Cameron and the others were speechless with surprise and disappointment; they'd hoped for a display of largesse rather than a weird practical joke. A Heatherdown class report from recently came into the public domain. It apparently showed Cameron to be bottom of 13 boys in the summer term of that year. Contemporaries leap to his defence.
Book review: Dave Cameron's Schooldays by Bill Coles - The Scotsman
Former master Simon Carder, concurs: You had to be clever to manage that. In Cameron passed the Common Entrance and progressed, as tradition expected, to Eton College, the social exclusivity of which rather paled in comparison to that of Heatherdown. There, he won an exhibition to study politics philosophy and economics at Brasenose College, Oxford, and was the only one of his contemporaries at Heatherdown to get a first-class degree. Along the way, of course, and to his future political embarrassment, he was a member of Oxford's socially exclusive and notorious Bullingdon dining club.
A photograph of him posing in the Buller's dark blue tails and mustard waistcoat will long amuse those who like to damn him as a feckless Toff. But, although it took some time to become apparent, he had also begun a passionate interest in politics. In September , Cameron began work at the Conservative Research Department in Smith Square, where he rocketed upwards from the backroom ranks. By his mids he was, one childhood family friend observed with only a suggestion of irony: The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
David Cameron top during his time at Heathdown.
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