A major theme of this chapter is changing patterns of leadership recruitment. For a generation, being well connected seemed to be a hindrance to rising in British politics. After the old Etonian Sir Alec Douglas-Home stepped aside as Conservative leader in 1965, the party chose a selection of leaders of modest origins: of the next six all but one were state school-educated; the exception, Duncan Smith, had been to a minor public school. All were born to families of modest means. The election of David Cameron (Eton and Oxford University) as leader of the Conservative Party in 2005, and the emergence of George Osborne (St Pauls and Oxford) as Chancellor, 2010–15, apparently reverses that trend. Several other prominent Conservatives, such as Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, are also old Etonians. There were 20 old Etonians in the 2010 Parliament, an increase of five over the 2005 Parliament. The leader of the Liberal Democrats until 2015 was Nick Clegg, the son of a rich banker, who was educated at Westminster, after Eton possibly Britains leading public school. The question is: why is democratic politics apparently producing upper-class leaders? There are three possible answers.
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