Following an inspection by the Ministry of Magic, Eton College is to offer intensive training in Muggle Studies to prepare the next generation of Prime Ministers.
'Leadership in the twenty first century requires a degree of empathy with ordinary people' a spokesman told us. 'Who knew? It came as a massive surprise. We’ve been following the eighteenth century syllabus, which possibly explains why we keep sending gunboats to "deal with" refugees.'
'Pupils will learn about something called a "gas bill" and an "overdraft".'
'Oh, that one has caused some scratching of heads,' chuckled the spokesman. 'It’s a pretty advanced mathematical concept when you drill into it. You spend money you don’t have, but then instead of just getting more to plug the gap you increase the amount which you don’t have, until you reach a theoretical point where strangers are allowed to walk in and steal your possessions. Fascinating stuff.'
Rupert Fortescue-Smythe is prepping for his Grade 3 Northerner exam. 'I’m ok with the set texts and the technical studies – I can swear, walk like a Mancunian and quote passages from The Royle Family – but it’s the sight-reading I struggle with. Phrases like "eckerslike" or "youvegorrabekiddin" just don’t trip off the tongue. I’ve been practising with the staff. I really want to excel in this, so I can buy my own Northern town one day and really blend in.'
Wealthy families have been buying up chalets (terraced houses) in Liverpool so their offspring can cram for their Grade exams. They’re cheaper than a decent cello, though they don’t hold their value as well.
'I had to get on a bus yesterday,' said Fortescue-Smythe. 'It’s a magical conveyance. Buses can only go on their approved routes – you can’t just tell the driver to nip to Fortnum’s or whatever – and they smell funny because they have old people in them. A total stranger called me "love", it was amazing.'
The first empathic Prime Ministers will roll off the production line in 2024, just in time for the General Election.