Divorce is never at the drop of a hat. The final split comes after years of papering over the cracks, such that not only is a great sense of relief felt afterwards, but each half asks themselves why they persevered in a futile cause for so long. For the children, maybe. Or simply because the status quo seemed preferable to the inevitable blaming and shaming, adversarial legal proceedings and a public fall from grace.
Tony Blair arranged a marriage back in the days of New Labour. In fact, he married us all. This coming together was named the ‘classless society’, but after a long honeymoon the notion that we all get along splendidly regardless of social background fell apart. If 50% go to university, what of the other 50%? And whose values were to be followed in this marriage? Not those of lesser mortals, but those of the progressive liberal-Left. Getting more school-leavers into higher education was simply a means of indoctrination: their success would depend on internalising the dogma, or virtue-signalling at every opportunity.
Like many people in the very broad bracket of the middle class (my father was a social services manager with an Open University degree, my mother a housewife), it was not until Brexit that I fully realised the breadth and depth of the chasm between lower and upper segments of this nebulous category. And since 2016 I have reappraised many situations and relationships from my past. Utterances by privileged people, and social distancing, that at the time I hadn’t really considered for what they were: class snobbery.
Of course, I was aware of the yawning gap between provincial, patriotic Daily Mail readers and the enlightened, cerebral followers of the Guardian cult. Working in a university, I was alert to ideological sensitivities. On reacting to colleagues joking about the death of the Queen Mother. I was tainted as a ‘royalist’ – a few points deducted from my social credit score. On holiday abroad I often heard the disdain of refined tourists on unwantedly meeting some compatriots: ‘’We’ve come all this way to get away from British people’.
Perhaps I was guilty too. The great unwashed, I thought, drove down the quality of life with their trashy tastes and crude talk. That’s why we got those awful ‘reality’ television shows. But it began to dawn on me that the participating ‘chavs’ were like the inmates of Bethlem Hospital in the eighteenth century, when rich men with top hats paid a penny to derive amusement from the pitiful scene. Reality TV reinforced class condescension, and that, arguably, was the purpose. Jade Goody – see the racist oik and be glad of your higher state of being.
I took a cutting from the Daily Telegraph in 2014, two years before the referendum. This article had no relevance at all to the EU, but looking back, it probably influenced my passion for freeing ourselves from the liberal establishment that had sold us off to the globalist agenda. It’s a restaurant review by Matthew Norman, on a branch of an upmarket chain in my local high street, and here are some snippets: –
Location, location… with restaurants, as with all real estate, one cannot overstate the importance of position (hence the strange phenomenon of the “graveyard site” where no venture can survive). This may explain why there are no Michelin-starred restaurants in Tottenham, and so very few greasy spoons in Belgravia. Yet every now and again a joint somehow slips the positional shackles, and is so refreshingly at odds with its surroundings that it joins the tiny subcategory known to me as the Oasis Restaurant.
The barren desert amid which Brasserie Vacherin may be stumbled upon is an ugly street encircled by a brutal one-way system in the centre of Sutton, perched on the rim of London. After the slow and arduous process of parking above a nearby Morrisons, we entered it expecting a shabby imitation, and were startled to discover the real thing.
Location, location… the point was made again by Vacherin’s emptiness on a Saturday lunchtime, when in most parts of the country it would have been rammed with shoppers seeking respite from the aridity beyond – especially so given a three-course set lunch at £17.50.
Norman was surprised by the quality of the food in this godforsaken hinterland, which spurred him on to greater heights of arrogance: –
The atmosphere, it must be admitted, was not electric, with the whispering of a smattering of fellow diners leavened only by overloud pop (worryingly, I had a yearning for soppy French ballads).
The surprises kept coming when an inquiry about the wait for the puddings was answered with unusual candour. ‘I am sorry to inform you,’ said a waitress, with the kind of solemnity with which a newsreader might announce the death of a former prime minister, ‘that the chocolate fondant has collapsed’. Concerned about the wardens patrolling Morrisons’ car park, we said that it couldn’t matter less.
We called for the bill and left the oasis for the Saharan wastes beyond, agreeing that the only thing Brasserie Vacherin needs to fulfil its potential is to be airlifted to almost anywhere else.
This struck me as the prejudice of the metropolitan elite. ‘Anywhere else’ might include a gritty council estate in Camden or Brixton, an edgy venture that would add to the credentials of the writer: not that any benefit claimants would be feasting on the foie gras. Typically for a class snob, Norman’s comments were based on ignorance. Sutton is a fairly pleasant suburb, with hardworking taxpayers raising families in a haven of relatively low crime, its grammar schools among the best performing in the state league (sadly, few local working-class kids get in nowadays).
In the same way that Sun readers are tolerated with humour, while the Mail and Express belt is thoroughly despised, the normality of Sutton must be worse than inner-city districts ravaged by gangs and vice. Post-referendum, the thinking is that people with half a brain have sabotaged our future in the liberal project of post-nation rationalism. A hundred years after universal suffrage, Brexit has proved to the posh that democracy is a risk not worth taking.
Leave-voting members of families transcending the middle-class divide will understand what I mean. The answer to snobbery should be this: when they go higher, we go lower. As Mark Francois and Priti Patel might say, the only way is Essex!
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