Today’s FT reports that many captains of industry are ex-school prefects. I too was a prefect, a responsibility I discharged in a similar style to that of Cub Scout Seconder some years earlier. I teamed up with a friend called Barnaby, an alternative kind of guy who took his responsibilities with a similar reluctance. Barnaby had a wonderful way with the younger children, holding them up against the walls and asking, ‘do you have a mother?’. This proved wonderfully effective at maintaining order and enabled us to enforce a ban on using the toilet during break (leaving the teachers to enforce the legitimate ban on using the toilet during lessons).
Anyway. We somehow ended up looking after the staff car park and, more specifically, enforcing a ban on ball games therein. This had defeated the head boy who had found himself made the pig in the game players’ piggy-in-the-middle. Rather than play piggy, I grabbed hold of a spectator and, with Barnaby’s help, carted him off to the deputy head. Here we explained that he’d been kicking a ball in the staff car park and that when we tried to stop him he’d hit me. An angry deputy head said striking a prefect was a terrible thing and that if corporal punishment hadn’t been banned, our victim would have been caned. As it was, parents were summoned and he got a fortnight detention. Needless to say, there was no more football in the staff car park.