Posts Tagged ‘class’


December 30, 2013

Is this a class thing?

Only Nigella’s brother ‘Demonic Lawson’, who apparently is rather ‘distinguished’ (nepotism much?) in an article entitled ‘How dare they say my sister has a bad character! Dominic Lawson makes a passionate and very personal defence of Nigella’s honour’ seemed particularly offended by comparisons of Ms. Lawson to a ‘druggie on council estate’.

(Passionate? Possibly. Personal? Most definitely. Dignified? Absolutely not.)

Which I found rather amusing because I know many people who live in council estates who would rather die than wash their dirty linen in public in the manner illustrated in Mr. Lawson’s article.

On the Relative Courtesy of Bullets

October 13, 2010

And now, somewhat belatedly, I come to the verdict of the Inquest into the Death of City Barrister, Mark Saunders.  The Coroner’s Court yielded to common sense and returned a verdict of lawful killing.  So it is now, thankfully, at an end.  My favourite newspaper  The Daily Mail seems determined to squeeze the last few drops of blood out of the case.

I wonder what the Daily Mail’s traditional readers would make of Peter Hitchens’ comments in his column two weeks ago, in which he attributes Mr Saunders’ behaviour to the fact that he had been taking anti-depressants: Oh, and please note, the crazed, shotgun-wielding barrister Mark Saunders was taking ant-depressants – another connection everyone refuses to see.’

Yes, Mr Hitchens, Mr Saunders was indeed taking anti-depressants but he had also imbibed alcohol and taken cocaine along with a whole host of other legal/illegal drugs, non of which would have been compatible with one another.  A doctor can only go so far in ensuring that a non-compliant patient (who is not a candidate for a section) adheres to the drug regime that has been prescribed for him.

And now another ‘Daily Hate’ columnist is in on the act.  Max Hastings claims that the police shot Mark Saunders like a ‘mad dog’.  (Is it common for armed police officers to launch into lengthy negotiations with mad dogs before they eventually shoot them?  And who is in charge of negotiations?  I knew police dogs were smarter than your average pooch but still…).  It is, Hastings asserts, ‘an affront to the values of a decent society.’  And to have simply left him to get on with it would have been a lesser affront?  Hastings is at pains to emphasize that Mr. Saunders was ‘drunken and depressed’.  So, wouldn’t that have made him even more dangerous to the public then?  And intoxication itself is no defence in law.  Hastings proceeds to berate the police officers on the scene for denying Mrs Saunders access to her husband.  Given that they were separated, it is hard to see what good that would have done.  Now let’s imagine what would have happened if the police had permitted Mrs Saunders contact with her husband and she had been harmed in any way.  There would have been an outcry, of course, led by The Daily Mail itself.

It occurred to me that Max Hastings and the tabloid for which he writes have chanced upon some scientific evidence which reveals a difference in lethality between the bullets from a gun fired by a city barrister from his 2.2 million pound home and the bullets fired by the gun of some ‘yob’ from a Liverpool council estate.  Perhaps the brilliant barrister’s bullets were gentler, more civilised, more refined.  Perhaps each one presents a summing up before it tears through your flesh and turns your insides to mush.  Lesson learnt: if you must get yourself shot, get yourself shot by a barrister

A Burden on the Parish

August 1, 2009


I had to reread this article in The Daily Mail to establish whether or not it is satirical a la Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. It is not. The fine specimen of the master race pictured above uses the extreme example of Theresa Winters, a woman who in her relatively short life has given birth to thirteen children all of whom were taken into care, to justify eugenics. He takes pains to emphasize that this is not what he is advocating. Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.  He is more candid about his views in this article in The Telegraph:

“Eugenics, as advocated by kindly figures such as its pioneer, Sir Francis Galton, or its most eloquent exponent, Dean Inge, was simply the notion that the useful and intelligent classes should be allowed, indeed encouraged, to breed, and the murderous morons, who are never going to contribute anything except misery to themselves and others should be discouraged. No one need be killed.”

The article in The Daily Mail is replete with inconsistencies much like Wilson’s own life – he has oscillated between atheism and faith in God for most of his adult life and has pontificated endlessly about this in various right wing newspapers.  Indeed that is what he appears to do in this article.  It is the very embodiment of cognitive dissonance.

‘Human life is not for playing with. Human beings, each and every one of us, are of unique and equal value. And, as I will explain, it is precisely because I share this view that I believe women such as Theresa Winters should be sterilised.”

He then reduces each ‘unique and valuable’ human being to their economic worth and their worldly success.

‘If we pay for these children from the moment of their conception and through their whole lives – of being taken into care, through their early convictions for petty crime, through drug and drink problems, through healthcare and eventually to sickness and old-age benefits, state-funded housing and hospitalisation – why on earth should we not ask ourselves whether we wish to foot the bill?’

He also uses this case as a stick with which to beat benefit claimants. He does not seem to realize that if her children do not reside with her then Ms. Winters is unlikely to receive benefits on their behalf.  He also seems to be unaware of the fact that if these children had been taken from their mother from birth or before the age of two then it is highly likely that they would have been adopted.  By a loving, caring and probably middle class family.

The views expressed in this article are so repugnant that even the average Daily Mail reader would find them hard to stomach. The children AN Wilson refers to may also be future cannon fodder in wars started and sustained by their social superiors.  I wonder if that thought has occurred to him. ‘You are a burden on the parish’ Mr Bumble said to the eponymous protagonist of Oliver Twist.  It appears that little has changed.

Addendum: : Just noticed this: ‘As a society, we already accept abortion on demand, we already experiment on human embryos and we are on the verge of legalising suicide.’ This intellectual colossus is so dim that he isn’t even aware that it is not suicide that the law forbids but assisting a suicide. Didn’t they teach you basic research techniques at New College, Oxford? Or even how to make use of your minions (aka PhD students.) I’m sure your alma mater is very proud of you.


July 30, 2009

Jeremy Kyle is guilty of attempted murder.  Well I’m not surprised.  I never did think much of that bloke. His victim was this exquisitely made up girl whose story is covered in The Daily Mail (or insert epithet of your choice):

Picture 1

Then I read the article a little more closely.  The young woman is holding Jeremy Kyle responsible for the injuries that she sustained at the hands of her charming coke head boy friend, even though he had been beating her regularly for a decade and she had two children with him. Attempted murder was never an issue for the prosecution in this case in spite of the Daily Mail’s fit of hyperbole.  He was found guilty of Grievous Bodily Harm and received a two year custodial sentence.

The journalist continually emphasises the fact that Rebecca Langley hails from a middle class backgound.  Is this a ploy to attract the sympathy of the Daily Mail readership?  She is still ‘middle class’, according to the introduction.  Didn’t she relinquish that status when she got herself pregnant at sixteen?  I’d always thought that when it came to social mobility that one’s status, as is the case in buying shares, can go down as well as up.  Guess I was wrong.  Not to The Daily Mail.  Once a middle class lass, always a middle class lass. That is her birthright and no amount of recklessness or fecklessness can change that.  Apparently.

Flawed Reasoning

January 17, 2009



For me the most disturbing facet of the human experience is that suffering does not always engender a capacity for empathy.  Another thing that baffles me is the unwillingness of many to view their fellow human beings as individuals, precious within themselves, rather than as clones of other members of whatever group they belong to.  The articles I cited in this post contain examples of such flawed thinking.

This week in The Independent  Yasmin Alibhai Brown deals with the allegations of racism that have been directed at HRH Prince Harry.  I discussed that in the post cited above.  It is the column that precedes it: ‘Spare Me No Tears for the White Working Classes’ that I intend to focus upon in this post.

From the outset the arguments in this column stand on shaky ground.  Ms. Alibhai-Brown is basing her views on a survey of forty three self-declared white working-class people.  She is incensed that ‘parliamentarians, the media, even people who claim to speak for immigrants – Baroness Warsi and Trevor Phillips – indulge the always wretched and complaining class’.  Baroness Warsi has, apparently, been appointed ‘Shadow Minister for Social Cohesion’ by the Tory Party.  ‘Social Cohesion’ and its absence affect every member of society.  There is no indication that Baroness Warsi’s only role is to ‘speak up for immigrants’.  The same assertion could be applied to Trevor Phillips who is the head of an organization known as the ‘Commission for Equality and Human Rights’.  This organization incorporates ‘The Commission for Racial Equality’, ‘The Equal Opportunities Commission’ and ‘The Disability Rights Commission’.  It also deals with gender equality and sexual orientation equality.  There is nothing in the Commissioner’s remit that obliges him to focus solely upon immigrants.  Phillips’s role is to promote equality in all areas of society.  If he feels that there is evidence to show that members of ‘the white working class’ are not being treated fairly in comparison to other groups then he not only has the right but he also has the duty to highlight this.  If he had failed to act then he would not have been doing his job.

In this piece Ms. Alibhai-Brown refers to the views of a writer called Liz Jones who describes ‘beer swigging blokes in working men’s clubs’ (which I imagine to be just like the Bullingdon Club without the champagne) who complain that immigrants are ‘overtaking them.’  She quotes the damning verdict of Liz Jones: ‘A snail with special needs could overtake this lot…it is patronizing and not remotely helpful to treat the white working class as they are all helpless toddlers in need of conservation.’  But surely if these people are as intellectually inept as Ms. Alibhai-Brown and Ms. Jones seem to believe then that is exactly how they should be treated.  Isn’t the strong helping the weak a mark of a civilized society?  And if they are innately inferior then they can’t really be expected to adhere to Ms. Alibhai-Brown’s elevated moral standards. Or maybe they are suggesting that we should wipe these people off the face of the planet. One thing is certain though: It is absurd in the extreme to assume that the views of the members of some obscure working mens’ club reflect those of an entire class.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown proceeds to both unimaginatively and predictably introduce the biggest red-herring I have ever seen: the case of Karen Matthews.  ‘And so it becomes a matter of honour for me to oppose them’. Yes, all forty three of them.  Ms. Alibhai-Brown we salute you for you are clearly the very epitome of courage.  You should really be The Patron Saint of Bravery. ‘A foolhardy step’.  You got one thing right Yasmin.  ‘You saw the rush to defend Karen Matthews when her daughter went missing’.  Now, she has really lost me.  Is she saying that kidnapping their own daughters is something members of the white working class do on a regular basis?  Is she saying that Karen Matthews epitomizes working-class womanhood?  One problem with this is that, by all accounts, Ms. Matthews has never actually worked.  The working class are called the working class for a reason.  And Karen Matthews may be many things but I don’t believe she has been accused of racism.

Ms. Alibhai-Brown goes on to allege that ‘the white working class’ supported Oswald Mosely and Enoch Powell.  Here she fails to acknowledge that the two men were products of very different ideologies.  I am more familiar with Mosley so I’d like to point out that he had supporters from all social classes, including some members of the aristocracy.  Indeed he was embraced by the upper echelons of British society.  In 1928 he married Lady Cynthia Curzan and when she died he married into that wretched, poverty stricken family – the Mitfords.

I would like to inform Ms. Alibhai-Brown that while there were most certainly white working class men who followed Mosley there were equal, if not greater, numbers from this group who opposed him.  Nobby recollects that he frequently marched against them.  Many young working class men fought in a war in which they had no personal stake – The Spanish Civil War.  They fought a war that was not their own because they opposed fascism.  They didn’t fight for any kind of material gain.  They died fighting an ideology they despised.

Ms. Alibhai-Brown, quite rightly, points out that ‘We ordinary immigrants did not cause the credit crunch’.  This is true but then neither did the ‘white working class’ she disparages.  She manages to slip in a dig at benefit claimants: ‘We didn’t make the British choose benefits over work’.  No, chronic disabilities and mental illnesses made many ‘choose benefits over work’.  Is she suggesting that only members of ‘the white working class’ claim benefits?  You really can’t let a bandwagon go by without jumping on it can you, Yasmin?

In the final paragraph Ms. Alibhai-Brown expresses hope that ‘perhaps there will be a respite when Britain will not blame outsiders for its woes’.  It will probably blame ‘benefit scrounging scum’ because they are the most despised outsiders of them all.

Addendum: Ms Alibhai-Brown’s contempt for those she regards as her social inferiors is clearly illustrated in this column.  In it she claims that  ‘Two fit white British men loiter outside my local bank. They beg. I asked if they wanted to clear out my back garden for a fair wage. They said I was one crazy lady. Polish Andrew* did the job cheerfully and efficiently. God bless bloody foreigners who do our dirty work and are then damned by an ungrateful, obtuse nation.’  (‘One crazy lady’?  Who talks like that?) I would have imagined that an intellectual ubermensch like Yasmin Alibhai-Brown would be sophisticated enough to realize that just because someone appears fit and healthy it doesn’t mean that they are. Is she unaware of the existence of mental illness or hidden physical disorders? I also wonder if she is aware that many male ‘beggars’ are ex-servicemen. Hypocritical, ignorant and shallow – what a pleasant combination. Now, bring on the Phenobarbital.

*I think she meant Andrzej


January 14, 2009

one of HRH Prince Charles’s  (or Charles Windsor for Republicans) best friends is a sock puppet…


Does he hang out with Sweep and Sue too? It’s good to see a member of the royal family reaching out to the puppet community.

And in other news, here’s Yasmin Alibhai-Brown doing what she does best – responding to bigotry with bigotry.  This is what she has to say about the ‘white working class’.  Note the markedly more sympathetic tone with which she responds to Prince Harry’s latest faux pas.  In Ms. Alibhai-Brown’s world you are allowed to be  bigoted and prejudiced as long as it’s accompanied by power and prestige.   I guess she owes them one.  After all, they did give her an MBE and she probably doesn’t want to bite the hand that feeds her.

Why should Harry be judged more harshly than others, she asks.  Oh, Yasmin, if you had a brain cell we’d be able to hear it rattling. It’s because he is third in line to the throne and one day he may be head of state.  Ms. Alibhai-Brown is hypocrisy on legs. In her strange, screwed-up little world racism is verboten (and rightly so) and yet class-based prejudice is permissible if not laudable.  In my world they are equally reprehensible.

Addendum: The comments sections on both articles cited seem to have disappeared from the face of the web. ‘Curiouser and curiouser,’ said Alice.

Maybe even Yasmin herself knows that she crossed the line.  I won’t be holding my breath though.  And maybe those responsible for the vitriolic racism in the comments sections realize that they too crossed a line.  I won’t be holding my breath there either.  A pox on both their houses!

Addendum 2: I had intended to comment upon this ages ago. According to Ms. Alibhai-Brown: ‘It will be decades before Britain elevates a man of African ancestry to the position that Barack Obama has reached. On this, the US has shown us a face that is wholly to be admired, impossible to reproduce on these isles, as yet.’  That’s because we’d have to abolish the monarchy.  Barack Obama has been ‘elevated’ to ‘head of state’ who, in this country, happens to be a monarch.  Duh!  ‘On the other hand, we Britons would never cheer on, to teetering heights, a Sarah Palin’. Um, Yasmin, have you never heard of Margaret Thatcher?  Do keep up!


December 6, 2008

In response to this although it probably won’t be printed:

Most of the people I know on ‘welfare’ have very serious mental health problems. In the past such people would have been inhabiting long-stay mental health wards in traditional psychiatric hospitals. They do not exist anymore because they were closed down and the land on which they were built was sold off at rock-bottom prices to private industry. Who was responsible for this? The last Tory government. You say you have been a doctor for twenty years. Did you approve of this and, if not, did you protest? Just curious.

I am also curious about what the good doctor thinks of middle class people who abuse their children.  When I was on an eating disorders unit I heard some pretty nasty stories* of  middle class parents maltreating their children.  What causes this?  These people most certainly were not on welfare.  And, if the actions of Karen Matthews reflect the morality and ‘values’ (or lack thereof) of an entire class then is the same true of their social superiors who subject their own children to abuse? And, if not, then why not?

*And I am prepared to admit that my fellow patients’ stories may have been exaggerations or even outright fabrications.  But these people are middle class.  They wouldn’t do a thing like that, would they? They are, after all, innately superior.  But in the unlikely event that my fellow patients were lying, whining attention seekers then that must mean that all middle class brats are lying, whining attention seekers because for the concept of collective guilt to have any validity then it must be applicable to all groups of people, right?

Addendum: You may be aware that more and more working class girls are now suffering from eating disorders. Anorexia, in particular, used to be an illness confined almost exclusively to the middle classes. Still, the lower classes have always been urged to emulate their ‘betters’ and I guess that is exactly what they are doing. Good on ’em, huh?

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