babel: (beatles - india robert)
babel ([personal profile] babel) wrote2009-10-27 10:30 pm
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Little Robbie argues with Daddy about politics.

I read this and just needed to share it. These are three letters exchanged between Robert and his father when Robert was dabbling in Communism in prep school at age eight.

It is possibly the most British exchange I have ever read in my life.

My Dear Robbie,

Congratulations on getting as many as 9 credits so far! That is not at all bad and I hope you will go on. This time I will not mention the word 'co-operate' but will leave it for you to report on any improvement you may have found in the team spirit as you yourself are concerned.

You are using a lot of very lengthy words in your letters but on the whole you seem to understand what they mean, from the sense of your writing.

Mummy and I had four rounds of golf at New Zealand over the week-end. The whole course was completely white in the mornings, but in the afternoons, especially Sunday, it was quite lovely. We rushed back on Sunday afternoon to have tea with Mrs Heywood-Dove.

Incidentally, I do not think I should let politics worry you very much at the moment, for properly to understand them I can assure you they need tremendous lot of study and time, neither of which you can give at present. For instance, I could tell you a great deal about nationalisation from the practical angle, and I am wondering too whether you are not rather inclined to change about very quickly and accept ht epoint of view of the last person who spoke to you. It is very important in life to give serious consideration to all statements before they are made, especially if one expects others to regard them as profound. The one thing which one does want to avoid is any impression of ranting, otherwise nobody will take any notice of what one says. I feel you ought to give as much attention as you can to your studies, and to loving your neighbour as yourself. If you do the last-named, you will find all sorts of revelations and intelligent ideas will come to you.

Glad you beat Gareth at golf. Did you do a hole in one?

Best love,


Dear Daddy,

Thank you for your letter which I received this morning. I am concerned only in this letter with the first paragraph.

You seem to be bent on dissuading me from pursuing one of my major interests in life. Your request that I should relinquish interest has fallen on completely deaf ears.

You say I change quickly, perhaps I do, but I have been on the verge of this act for over a month, I have thought it over, read speeches from Hansard (of which has been lent to me), looked up definitions in the 'Encyclopedia Britannica' and done everything that might help me on this subject, and having studied have changed. You say Politics is too big a subject, maybe but you have to make a start somewhere, & somehow.

And altogether I deplore every statement in the latter part of that letter. However I will be writing again on Sunday along with some news of a more substantial basis!



My dear Robbie,

We are having a wonderful correspondence on political subjects, aren't we?

I was glad to see from your letter that you were really taking the trouble to study politics to the best of your ability. All I wanted to say was that just at this time, with Eton looming ahead, I did not want you to devote too much time to outside thing. I had just wondered from your previous letter whether you had really given full consideration to the matter. If you have, jolly good luck to you. I am looking forward to some nice friendly talks to you on the subject, and you will then see that you read something into my remarks which was certainly not intended.

You marked your letter 'Private', which I shall respect, and I hope you do the same on your part.

See you on Sunday afternoon.

Best Love,

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