Category Archives: Class

“It’s not his fault, miss; he’s Anger Management.”

People will focus on what Katharine Birbalsingh said about the failure of this country’s educational establishment to serve poor black boys, but the bigger disaster, in simple numbers, is its failure to serve working-class whites. Pseudoscience, whether it’s Marxism or eugenics or anti-vaccine hysteria or educationalist psychobabble, is often characterized by rich people making money […]

Self-Replacing Elites

The BBC’s Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield is broadly happy with his children’s French education, but he does have one complaint: French schools have absolutely no extra-curricular activities. There are no debating societies, no orchestras, no film clubs, no sports teams, no painting classes, no school newspapers, and no drama, at least none worthy of the […]

The ChipOx Club Acquires Another Member

I hated Oxford and didn’t speak to anyone the whole first term, she says.I hated the way students used big words when plain English would do, how they laughed at things that weren’t funny, and how they spent the day in the library, then lied that they’d done no work. I also thought they’d reject […]

Noblesse blancmange

For some lucky and rich people who describe themselves as Left-wing, one of the worst things about free markets is that they have given the oiks the freedom to enjoy the pleasures that were previously restricted to their betters. A real “socialist” state would provide the lower orders with more suitable goods: perhaps they would […]

Good Sports

In the summer of 2006, a particular grim one for British sport, this blog made public the list of new events planned for the 2012 London Olympics. Following the nation’s successes in Beijing, that has been further revised to include the following, again in alphabetical order: 4×4 Hundred-School Run Aussie Baiting Chopper-, Grifter-, Strika-, and […]

Chuck Off

Writing on his blog today, Damian Counsell, who, if he hadn’t been baptised a Catholic, would be 37 234 933rd in line to the thrones of the Commonwealth realms, warned of the dangers to the planet of Genetically Unmodified heads of state. He pointed out that inbred dynasties are susceptible to hereditary disorders like haemophilia and verbal […]

“Let Them Eat Smoke!”

Norm asks two questions: People on the wrong end of social and economic inequalities don’t just experience health disadvantages from smoking, but disadvantages across the board – in every area of health, in life expectancy, in the pattern of life chances in general. Shall we impose compulsory legal norms about diet, about exercise, about whatever […]

Parallel Lives

It’s all over for the ‘Head On the front page of The Spectator online, Fraser Nelson suggests that David Cameron could be “the British [Barack] Obama“, which struck me as a coincidence, because I am the British Gore Vidal.

Gum Shoe

Mick Hartley links to a Times report of a “serious” novelist suing the proprietors of a neighbouring factory because the fumes it produced so affected her concentration that she was reduced to writing genre fiction. It’s not just a funny hook for a news story; it’s a delicious illustration of how class and status in […]

Character Development

Dismissing David Cameron and his gang as “toffs” is feeble, but I’ve noticed a few commentators refining that line lately. The Spectator blog points at Trevor Kavanagh, Political Editor of The Sun—there’s a job—claiming that the workrate of the Cameroonies compares unfavourably with that of either the Blairites or Brownites (as recounted by Alastair Campbell), […]

Bitches From Hell

I’ve observed before that there are good reasons to criticise Cherie Blair, but it’s revealing that those aren’t the reasons why most people in the media criticise her. It’s worse than that: they hate her—and for the oldest human reason of all: she’s “not one of us”. Cherie Booth was a poor north-of-England Catholic girl […]

This Looks Like A Job For A Chartered Diversity Co-Ordinator

This isn’t much of a blogpost, I know, but: what he said.

Blog Bait

Please tell me this article is a parody, aimed at luring bloggers into making mocking fools of themselves. The suspiciously named “Sebastian Cresswell-Turner” complains at length that his middle-class peers aren’t as rich as members of their parents’ generation and have to do shocking things like live in Battersea or send their children to state schools. […]

Unrepresentative Sampling

Not owning a television receiver, being an off-peak gym member, and having friends and relatives with small children, I consume TV in odd ways. I rarely watch the box on purpose, and when I do it’s usually breakfast, daytime, and/or children’s TV. Yesterday morning, as I stretched on a mat, I read the caption on […]

Say It Loud: I’m Chippy And Proud

“Chippy!” is the cry of a winner in the lottery of birth losing an argument. There’s a scene near the beginning of Casino Royale in which Vesper Lynd practises some amateur psychology on 007 as they sit opposite each other on the Eurostar. She says something like: You’re Oxford, but not from money, hence that […]

The Peak District Massive

My sister has done her share of lecturing and teaching in some of England and Wales’s less illustrious educational institutions. Now (as I have bragged before on her behalf) she teaches law in the sixth form of one of the best state schools in the country. The school is so good she and her family […]

Shedding Preconceptions

I know more about science than either football or cricket. For my dad it’s the other way round. This means that our conversations about sport often lapse into arguments in which he’ll say something like, “Tom Finney would be a class above if he were playing today.” And I’ll say something like, “Do you know […]

A Missionary Writes Of The Savages

“I also have a problem with the discourse of planned/unplanned pregnancy in this context. Planned/unplanned assumes young women have agency, that they can choose what happens to them, that pregnancies are either accidents or overtly desired. In fact, for these young women, pregnancy will be one more in a string of things that just happens […]

Admissions

Marvel at this unintentionally revealing Guardian story about the lengths middle-class parents go to to get their children into church schools. It opens with a Jewish mother admitting that she feels hypocritical attending Church of England services so that her two kids can get into the local church school. At least she is honest about […]

Young People Today, Eh? Shocking.

I’m in a Brighton musical instrument shop looking for a couple of brackets for my keyboard stand. There’s a teenager sitting slouched at one of the digital pianos in sweats and a baggy jacket. He’s wearing a mesh baseball cap and through it you can see that his buzz-cut hair is dyed a colour Eminem […]

Budget Agony

I had a copy of The Daily Telegraph (aka The Torygraph) because it’s always worth reading the opposition press on a day of Labour Party smugness. [TEN YEARS OF A CHANCELLOR WHO KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING, YOU TORY BASTARDS! TEN YEARS! HE MAY BE A ONE-EYED WONK FROM PLANET MEDDLE, BUT HE’S OUTPERFORMED EVERY SORRY […]

Serious Breakfast Mistake

Above the usual manufactured outrage headline on the front page of the Daily Mail this morning I read the following smaller banner: He’s quizzed over £350 000 “bribe”. Their home is remortgaged three times in four years. Yet not once, says Tessa Jowell, did she ask her husband: “What the hell is going on, darling?” Crikey. […]

A Simple Matter Of Taste

I hate to find myself on the same side of an argument as a po-faced foodie, but the man’s right: chocolate is a sacred thing; mixing it with orange is a sin.

Yes And No, Jackie

Jackie is of course right to be disgusted with Alastair Campbell admitting that both he and the Prime Minister are clueless about computers. She is wrong to make any connection between this and their being employees of the state. Many senior managers in large UK organisations, both public and private sector, are incompetent because once […]

Penny For A Cup Of Chai?

As a fellow member of the middle-class unemployed I can also testify to the horrors radio agony aunt Anna Raeburn described so “movingly” yesterday in the Guardian. Very recently she found herself jobless, without even so much as a rich husband and a poorly-paid but glamorous career in the media to rub together, and thrown […]

The Stupid Party?

Further to my controversial (and originally wrong) post about Thatcher’s educational history, Chris Brooke notes that the current Conservative Shadow Cabinet has a lot of susstificates—albeit mostly ones in subjects classified as belonging to the humanities.

Well Known Unknown Old Etonians

There’s a boring article about Eton College, Britain’s most famous independent (that is fee-charging—or perhaps that should be fee-fixing) school, in today’s Guardian. Like most of the recent boring articles in the press about Eton, it begins with the question of whether or not, since the inverted snobbery of the Thatcher era washed through the […]

Niggaz In Da Hood

Yesterday, the guy who runs the Internet caff where I have become a regular introduced me to Jay, The Only Black Man In Hove. The proprietor thought that I should meet him because Jay makes his living writing and remixing pop. Coming from Hove though, “Jay” turns out to be short for “Justin St Clair […]

At Least I Didn’t End Up Supporting Crystal Palace

I was thinking of ‘Blogging Marcel Berlins’ explanation of why he supports Aston Villa Football Club before Norm tagged me about it. It contains possibly the ultimate middle-class football fan anecdote. 10 years old and fresh off the boat from France in South Africa, the lawyer-to-be chose to support Aston Villa because: “I knew what […]

With Apologies To Monty Python

[Dull bell tolls. Ominous music plays. A young man dressed in black, carrying a rucksack and wearing a baseball cap approaches the entrance of a charming extended split-level end-of-terrace in Crouch End. He knocks heavily at the door.] CHARLIE: [answering the door]: Yes? Oh. Right. Have you brought a takeaway? Sorry about that. I should […]