napier and whittingdale
I MANY years ago, shortly after I making a hasty exit from secondary education, I sent my old housemaster a postcard explaining why I would not be returning. It consisted consisted of a quote from one of Henry Fielding's novels: "Public schools are the nurseries of all vice and immorality." immorality." In a brief and bad-tempered bad-tempered bad-tempered bad-tempered reply, the housemaster pointed out that Fielding was describing conditions conditions more than two centuries ago. "It is quite different today," he insisted, insisted, "as you know perfectly well." Oh yeah? I wonder if he noticed a front-page front-page front-page news story last weekend, revealing that Scotland Yard detectives detectives "are investigating allegations of a paedophile network involving teachers from some of Britain's top public schools". The network is said to include "Charles Napier, a former treasurer of the Paedophile Information Information Exchange and a former staff member of the British Council in Cairo, who was jailed last year for sex assaults on youngsters in London". Charles Napier was my gym-master gym-master gym-master gym-master at prep school and a very good gym-master gym-master gym-master too, always willing to lend a hand (quite literally) as the boys practised their back-flips back-flips back-flips and headstands. From time to time he would invite his favourites into a small workshop next to the gym, where he plied us with Senior Service Service untipped and bottles of Macke-son Macke-son Macke-son before plunging his busy fingers down our shorts. Although 1 rejected his advances, I continued to help myself myself to beer 'n' cigs from his secret depot when he wasn't around. It never occurred to me to report him to the authorities. Why? Because he was the authorities. Complaining about a teacher was as unthinkable as refusing to participate in crosscountry crosscountry runs. Anyway, no 11-year-old 11-year-old 11-year-old 11-year-old 11-year-old boy wishes to parade his sexual innocence: Napier warned me and many others that by refusing to cooperate cooperate we were merely demonstrating demonstrating our immaturity. "X lets me do it, you know," he said, naming a classmate classmate of mine. For weeks afterwards, X sneered at me for my squeamishness. I don't know where X is now (running (running a prep school of his own, probably), probably), but I'm glad to learn that Napier has been taken out of circulation at last. As his half-brother half-brother half-brother told me a few years ago, "Charles is such a trial to my mother. Every time he gets sacked, she asks him why he can't find some work which doesn't involve involve children. And then, after being on the dole for a while, he rings her up in great excitement and says 'Marvellous 'Marvellous news, mummy, I've got a new job it's in a youth club. . .' " The half-brother, half-brother, half-brother, by contrast, has delighted delighted his mother by staying on the straight and narrow. Very narrow indeed, actually: he is a Tory MP.