‘School gave me the confidence’ - Simon Jack
At school Jack was a keen sportsman and he said: “I mainly played for the second XV (at rugby) but I played for the first XV too – that’s where the Mary’s rivalry came in. You realised you were in a privileged position being at this school.
"I think everyone was grateful for that. Maybe sometimes I felt a little bit guilty being at such a really good school. People think it’s posh but compared to the world’s posh schools it’s a pretty decent and honest, all round education. If I lived here I’d have no qualms sending my kids here if I could afford it.”
Jack was born in London and moved north aged eight. He attended Merchant Taylors’ from 11, while living in nearby Aughton. After leaving the school he attended Oxford University, graduating with the same degree as the Prime Minister – a BA in politics, philosophy and economics.
He said: “I did the same degree as David Cameron. I was a contemporary of George Osbourne. I knew him a little bit. He was well-known at university and his notoriety of his membership of certain clubs is well known – like the Bullingdon. I wasn't a member of any of those.”
So did he receive special attention at Oxford for his northern roots? He said: “I suppose I did but I was born down South so maybe it wasn't as obvious. When it came to say who is going to whose house they would say, 'No way am I going to the frozen wastes of the North'. They would make a joke about it – and then they would come anyway.”
Before entering journalism, he worked as an investment banker in London and New York. He said: “I wasn't a very good one. I didn't enjoy it very much. The atmosphere didn’t suit. I prefer what I do now – a sort of expert for five minutes then doing something completely different. Working with Sian and Bill is great. We have a lot fun. Bill can be a cantankerous sod but it’s done in the best possible way. Sian is lovely and calms him down. We all have our ups and downs because we get up in the middle of the night.”
Jack lives in Notting Hill and is married to Suzy with two daughters – 11 and seven. He said: “I’m very happily married. Marriage is another school, but an equally happy one.”