Sunday, 19 February 2012

Howardian High and the Son of a Cardiff MP

Sorry this week has been a bit barren with posts. There's a cartoon in the latest Private Eye which has a person saying to another "how am I supposed to know what you think when you don't update your blog." Well, quite!

Anyhow, I got to reminiscing this week about the good old days. Yes, rose-tinted specs firmly in place, and all periphery vision set to sepia, I dived (dove? tweet tweet) straight in like an older and less fit Tom Daley.

When I was in school - at Howardian High in Cardiff - there was one chap who was a friend. Not a close friend, part of the inner circle, folks you played sports or 'hung' out with at dinner time or after school, but the kind you shared one lesson with and got on great with.

His name was Toby Grist. He was a good laugh, intelligent, but open to the kind of incisive and clever humour that still tends to tickle me to this day. Now despite him being a thoroughly good egg, this isn't what's made me put pen to paper (well, you know what I mean!).

No, the fact was (and is) that Toby's dad was a Tory MP, for Cardiff Central at the time I was in school. Sadly he died in 2002. Yet despite being a Conservative, his son went to what was in essence a bog-standard comprehensive school.

I don't (and didn't) know anything about the politics of Ian Grist MP, yet the fact his son was a funny bloke, likable yet intelligent, and that his dad hadn't ushered him off to some private school always made me think highly of the Conservative MP.
Kirsty Williams with Welsh stereotypes

Without getting too political I've always thought it a 'bit rum' that the very MPs who vote on schools and hospitals very often send their children to private schools and/or use private healthcare. It's like a social version of the Mid Lothian Question. I have long thought that those who went to or send their child(ren) to private schools, like Dianne Abbott MP, should be forcibly absent from votes on the education system.

A regular face on the Welsh news is Kirsty Williams, the leader of the Welsh Lib Dems. She went to a very expensive private school in Carmarthenshire, yet often attacks the Welsh government's record on education. Whenever she pops up on TV to launch into a tirade, especially if it's on education, I often think of Toby Grist the son of a Tory MP, and Howardian High which was sold-off when I was in my last year there.

Ahh. The good old days.


  1. Cheers Gareth - very nice of you to remember me and rather fondly at that ! And I have to say I agree with your assesment of Dianne Abbott ! Hope all is well and keep up the blog - amusing, informative and brings some light relief and amusement for us readers.

  2. Hi Toby. Great to hear from you. Wow you are old... I know because I am too ;-) Fantastic you found my humble blog and took the time to write in. Look after yourself old timer.


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