I was checking out Alexander Downer’s bio the other day, as one does, and came across this:
“Alexander Downer was born on 9 September 1951. He was educated at Crafers Primary School, Geelong Grammar School, Victoria; Radley College, Oxford, United Kingdom; and the University of Newcastle on Tyne, United Kingdom. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Politics and Economics and is a Doctor of Civil Laws (honoris causa).”
I wondered if casual readers might not risk getting the wrong impression. Might some people not conclude that Radley College was a honey-hued ancient pile associated with the University of Oxford? Would it matter if they did? Indeed, would Alexander be all that concerned?
Radley is actually a high school located at Abingdon in Oxfordshire, albeit quite close to Oxford University but a bit like Marrickville High is close to Sydney Uni.
Filled with a certain foreboding about the intent of Alexander’s somewhat less than perfect clarity here, I have to say that I was less than impressed to discover that the award of Alexander’s honorary doctorate (honoris causa is Latin for, “hopefully those not totally conversant with the ancient tongue might not twig”) is claimed to have predated his illustrious Parliamentary career:
“Qualifications and Occupation before entering Federal Parliament
BA (Hons) (Newcastle-on-Tyne)
Doctor of Civil Laws (honoris causa…& etc”
But it wasn’t. It was awarded in a no doubt glittering ceremony at the University of Newcastle-on-Tyne on May 4, 2001. Alexander, a former vice chancellor and a noted high-jumper were all honoured that day. Given that he’s useless at the high jump I’m assuming that he got it because of his occupation in Federal Parliament. But…..it’s all in the way you read it, I guess.