Ranting against the class system

imagesThe old class system nonsense appeared recently in the UK yet again. I left there when I was 33 purely because I could not stand the English class system. (Note the Scottish and the Irish may have class systems but I have never noticed them .And not the boys in the picture are not from Eton.) But the English class system is alive and well and living at all sorts of levels.
A prime example arose when I was proper poorly and not writing but I would like a little rant to clear the air. The incident was superbly reported in the New York Times which these days never seems to put a foot wrong.
David Mellor, a former Conservative Party minister who resigned over a scandal in 1992 and whose big mouth keeps getting him into trouble. He recently got in a tiff with a taxi driver. No harm in that. Done the same in my time. Cab drivers in London consider themselves a superior race just because they have ‘the knowledge’
Back to the tiff with Mellor who is, remember, a former Conservative Party minister.
A taxi driver recMellororded an extraordinarily vicious and elaborate outburst from Mr. Mellor, so full of snobbery and self-regard as to seem a comedy skit. “Shut up! You sweaty, stupid little git!” Mr. Mellor yelled, in a dispute over the route. “I’ve been in the cabinet, I’m an award-winning broadcaster, I’m a Queen’s Counsel! You think your experiences are anything compared to mine? You shut up for Christ’s sake.”
The driver said, “You want to calm down,” which set Mr. Mellor, 65, off into a further extended and repetitive rant, which he later put down, as he apologized, to having something other than water to drink at lunch. What Private Eye calls ‘tired and emotional.’
“Only in Britain,” wrote Hadley Freeman in The Guardian, “is there this kind of paralyzing myopia where a person is defined eternally by where their parents sent them to school, where snobbery and inverse snobbery clash with equal force and explode into a fiery ball of angry arguments involving such seemingly random — but actually deeply significant — things like grammar schools.
And where, at a dinner party I attended, a guest said, ‘The one thing you can say for Hitler is he killed six million Jews.” I was later told he was only joking.
I think only in England you could make such a joke and not be ostracised.

About Gareth Powell

Welsh to the point of affectation. Retired publisher, journalist, author, truck driver, circus hand, sergeant. Lives in Australia and England. Prefers writing to almost any other human activity.

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