Monday, 11 November 2013
Toffs at the top a Major concern
John Major is concerned, shocked even, at the disproportionate influence that Old Etonians and the moneyed middle class have in every sphere of our national life. Seems that these days an ordinary chap from Brixton, the sort of person who might come from a family of failed trapeze artists and garden gnome manufacturers for example, that kind of person would just not get a look in these days. I have very mixed feelings about social mobility because although my heart lifts whenever I hear a working class accent coming from a doctor or lawyer and I'm all for people reaching for the stars and being able to fulfil their potential, I see no reason why I should cheer on people who aspire to nothing more than increasing their personal wealth and status. If that's what is meant by "social mobility" you can shove it where the sun don't shine. "Aspirational" has come to be a dirty word on the left and a mantra for the right. What I find distressing is the way that the word is now automatically assumed to refer to personal greed and aggrandisement. What happened to gender, class or group aspiration? John Major may have stuck it to Cameron and we can't suppress our giggles and sneers but, and it grieves me to admit this, I think that the PM was right when he claimed, with reference to his own toff background that, "It's not where you come from but where you are going to that matters".