My application to Eton

An entrance exam question from 2011(pdf):

The year is 2040. There have been riots in the streets of London after Britain has run out of petrol because of an oil crisis in the Middle East. Protesters have attacked public buildings. Several policemen have died. Consequently, the government has deployed the Army to curb the protests. After two days the protests have been stopped but 25 protesters have been killed by the Army.
You are the Prime Minister. Write the script for a speech to be broadcast to the nation in which you explain why employing the Army against violent protesters was the only option available to you and one which was both necessary and moral.

Good evening everyone.

I'm sure you all know why I'm talking to you tonight. Like you, I've been deeply shocked by the images we've all seen on our EyeScreens over the past few days. The random, unconstrained violence. The lawlessness and criminality. Streets taken over by gangs of feral thugs. Public buildings attacked. Ordinary hard-working people unable to go about their lives. Children terrified to go to school. Doctors and nurses unable to get to work. Old people afraid to leave their homes.

Worst of all, we've all seen the unprovoked and despicable attacks on members of the Metropolitan Police, our society's first line of defence against anarchy. I'm sure I speak for everyone when I offer my thanks and gratitude for these brave men and women, who selflessly put themselves on the front line on behalf of us all. It's often said that Britain has the finest police service in the world. Well, this past week has proved it. Tragically, five fine officers lost their lives in the violence. Sgt Paul Franks, a 33 year old husband and father whose wife Sue spoke so movingly this morning. PC Brian Blogs, just 21 and the apple of his mother's eye. PCs Bob Southwell and Kevin Manx, two exemplary officers. And Sgt Tony Fallguy, who has been described as one of the most promising officers in the district. Let me be quite frank with you: These unarmed men were murdered. They were murdered mercilessly and cold-bloodedly by thugs who shame our society. So my first promise to you is simple: their killers will be hunted down and brought to justice. They will have no hiding place.

Some people have asked if these deaths were necessary. Whether the police were properly protected. Whether all possible precautions were taken to keep them safe. Whether new laws and powers are needed to deal with violent disorder. Whether the army should have been brought in sooner to reinforce the police. I have already ordered an inquiry into all the circumstances of their deaths. Lord Justice Cocklecarrot has agreed to lead the review, and we can all be confident that he will ask the necessary questions. No doubt there will be lessons to be learned for the future. But without prejudicing the inquiry, I think I can say that the only responsibility for the deaths of those five officers lies with the criminals who used the cover of a mob to perpetrate acts of extreme violence.

It was of course with great reluctance that I decided to call upon the regular army to restore peace after the rioting had continued for four days and nights. I cherish the British traditions of our unarmed police force. But I'm sure you all understand the nature of the emergency that this country was facing. The rioters were a tiny proportion of London's population, in no way reflective of the law-abiding majority. Yet for the best part of a week they were able to paralyse the nation's capital. The riots threatened not only peace and order, but our infrastructure and our economy. As prime minister, my first duty is to secure law and order. To preserve the King's peace. To keep the country safe on behalf of all our hard-working families. I have no doubt that bringing in the army was the right thing to do. And I'm sure that you'll join with me in thanking our brave soldiers for their swift and professional job. Along with the police, the armed services represent the best of us.

Inevitably, there were a number of casualties among the rioters. Of course, I regret any deaths. And the deaths will of course be investigated. But I want to make one thing crystal clear: everyone who took part in those riots chose to be there. The young men and women who sadly lost their lives chose to put themselves in danger; chose to take up sticks and stones against the police and, later, the army; chose to ignore repeated requests to disperse. No-one forced them to threaten innocent members of the public, to trash key buildings or to disrupt the life and work of London. I make no apology for asking the army to restore order. It was not only the right thing to do, it was the only thing to do. I have no doubt that taking this action helped to save many more lives than were unfortunately lost. And I think I can be confident of your support.

So let me conclude by once more paying tribute to the murdered police officers, and also to the courage and resolution shown not just by the police and the army but by every one of you in recent days. Now more than ever I'm incredibly proud to be the prime minister of this great country. I know that, together, we will get through this difficult period. Good evening to you all.


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