Saturday, July 23, 2005

Too Posh To Win

The punters at Political Betting have been discussing poshness again. In fairness, there's a split decision on whether David Cameron is too posh to win. But there's loads of entertaining stuff on poshness in general and poshness in British politics in particular.

In terms of origin, we all know 'Port Out, Starboard Home', but there are other possibilities discussed here. And in terms of defining it today, perspectives vary dramatically. For example, Tabman- clearly something of an expert- says:

'Someone can be wealthy, privately-educated, a graduate of Oxbridge, wear handmade suits and shoes, drive a Bentley (never a Rolls), live in a stately home etc etc, and still not be posh.'

Really? I must admit I'm struggling to think of anyone like that who isn't posh.

'Its beyond definition, though let me direct you to the works of Nancy Mitford, specifically Noblesse Oblige for an insight into the whole thing. It can be summed up by the example of Alan Clark (posh) describing Michael Heseltine (not posh) as 'the sort of man who has to buy his own furniture.'

Hmm. Interesting that Clark was a big fan of Our Man. Does that make him posh? I suspect AC simply couldn't stand MH.

Mind you, Tabman also offers this famous election leaflet from a Northern constituency:

'Dear Elector,

Can it really be four years since last I visited the Northern Wastes?

As I sit in a leather armchair in my Gentleman’s Club on Pall Mall penning these words to you, I muse on how the years have flown by and on how, preoccupied with important affairs of state, I have given barely a thought to your quaint towns and the numerous queer and charming people therein. Even when the demands of high office have eased so as to allow me time to visit your boroughs, matters of personal business have intervened and, alas, commerce has called me away.

But I have never forgotten the words of my mentor, Col. Sir Tufton Bufton. “The people of the North,” he said, “may be curious and wretched souls, but they are of good English stock and the backbone of the Empire. It is our role to be concerned with matters of statecraft. But we must not be dismissive of - although neither must we trouble ourselves unduly with - their petty, dreary, everyday concerns.” How right he was.

A word about my opponents. The Socialist candidate is a modest man of modest abilities. He says he is a teacher but not at one of our great public schools but at a “comprehensive", a simple factory for tomorrow’s beasts of burden. He is equipped neither intellectually nor morally for a career in public service. As for The Liberal Candidatrix, it is laughable that a mere woman could cope with the pressures and vicissitudes of public life.

No, dear elector, you must re-elect a man of dignity and honour. The type of man who has made this nation what it is today. I am that man.'

Very good. And I'm going to resist any temptation to recast it in terms of Nottinghillese.

The Political Betting post also has a new probability chart showing that Cameron is still improving- now above 20 per cent. But our man is still above 60 per cent, and all the others are nowhere.

It's time for the stragglers to withdraw.


Anonymous Matt said...

On a point of order, I think it was Lord Jopling (former whip and Westmoreland MP) who said the famous "own furniture" line about Hezza. Clark even recorded it in his diary as being "Snobby", though no doubt he agreed totally with the sentiment.

Putting the dire state of his house down to the face that he was TOO POOR to afford servants would also make it difficult to decipher if he was a Davis or a Cameron man. Of course, anyone who has read his diaries will know that AC and DD had a good relationship. Unfortunately, as AC passed away in 1999, we can't add him to the list of those declared for Davis.

7:15 PM  

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