Elitism and The Void

October 23, 2012   ·   1 Comments

Or How The Noble Class Filled The Void In Politics.

It’s an interesting concept for anyone who is seduced by the enchanting politics of anarchism. The concept that a certain group of people – an elite – are naturally suited to govern. You can broaden this to consider it a peoples who feel they are more suited to dictate the order of things. In this scenario we cover a variety of elites such as the political elite, the financial elite. You get the idea.

In the realm of history this order of things, as I said in a previous post, considered a religious elite. Few could argue that today the order of things is well and truly dictated by a financial elite. That is not to say that they always get their own way. A little bit of minor horse-trading does go on between the other elites or classes but essentially we accept that the financial elite dictate the terms in which society must adhere to.

In the UK there is a lot of talk, still of class and elitism. This is nothing knew and the fact that this blog takes it’s title from a class struggle that happened over 600 years ago should evidence that. The class system is something that has changed and been mostly replaced by money which in turn has generated a different class. Allow me a synopsis. The nouveau rich. Hard working types from poor backgrounds who made a ton of cash in the financial deregulation era. These people are somewhat odious to the old school of inherited wealth and dare I say it, breeding. The thing is these moneyed plebs are sending their kids to Eton, Harrow and the other pricey establishments that used to be automatic for Old Money. A good example would be Kate Middleton – common as muck in traditional elitist terms.

Why does elitism matter?  Hold that thought and let’s look at the latest class based kerfuffle.

In the news this week we heard that the son of Sir Peter Osborne, (17th Baronet of Ballentaylor) got annoyed on a train by the boisterous bustle of the second class carriage so decided to move up into First Class. When questioned by this he informed the ticket collector that he couldn’t possibly sit in that class because of who he was. The Chancellor of the Exchequer , George Osborne.

Now I wouldn’t bat an eyelid at someone trying to blagg an upgrade to First Class to get away from screaming kids and drunken football fans. Especially if I didn’t have to pay! But to use the excuse – and this was the first excuse that came to his mind – “Don’t you know who I am?”. That is elitism right there.

I am fascinated by how a group of people can actually believe that they are of the type that should be ruling us. Fascinated by anyone who uses phrases like, “Don’t you know who I am?” .  I know there are cultures of entitlement. I know that a child expects to, at the very least, have the lifestyle of his parents. I am George Osborne feels he cannot mix with the people when decisions him and his party makes can have devastating affects on their lives.

Now I have to express an interest in elitism from my own background.  My mum was horribly “Upper Middle”. Privately and colonially educated daughter of a high-ranking naval officer. Raised on a plantation in Sri Lanka with more servants than you could shake a stick at. How she ended up raising half a dozen kids as a single mum on welfare in the rural East of England is another story. So I am not removed from this culture or detached from it. I had grandparents who were as utterly establishment as you like. My grandmother and mother spoke with such a posh accent they made Prince William sound common. There has been elitism coursing through my DNA for 1,000 years, I have the family tree to prove it!  But I also have a father who was born in a just carpet-bombed, Sarf-London to an Irish mother who was a work-house orphan. My parents were a class war between themselves.

But I am digressing – but that’s what we do with blogs.

So what do I fear about elitism. Well it can be summed up by Plato’s famous quote, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”  That is as true now as it was then. So there I go being elitist, saying that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is inferior to me!

I have chosen to pretty much stop my involvement in party politics for a lot of reasons but most that can be approached from an interest in a society that does no longer needs to rely on “rulers” let alone a ruling class. I find the whole political shenanigans much less necessary now than it ever was. Particularly as the world clearly seems to be dictated to by a financial elite. The point becomes even less important. It is probably that attitude that sees the grandson of Sir William Mount, (2nd Baronet) becoming Prime Minister. (David Cameron, in case you wondered).

I believe there is a void in politics that appeared during the wilderness years when the Conservative party were in opposition. They had lost most of the working class supporters from the 80’s. Most of them “returned” to the fashionable, chic, pre-Iraq, Labour Party of Tony Blair. In that void the Conservatives had no choice but to fill the enormous staffing gaps with the mediocre sons of Lord This-of-That. These mediocre runts are now running the country. (And they are mostly sons, not daughters – another form of gender elitism that the Tories are great at)

It must have been something like this: Mummy and Daddy pulled some strings and said to each other, “Look:  We can’t have Gideon/David  bumming about on Gap Yah’s ,  poncing about with media and journalism and guzzling Bolly every weekend. Surely there’s a job in Conservative Central office that can keep him out of trouble- let’s call Cousin Bernie”.  Of course Central Office, haemorrhaging support in the post-Major years took any help they could get. Day became night.  Time passed.  Labour shot itself in the back of the head, partly over Iraq and partly because they started acting like a political elite themselves. What with Gordon Brown still drunk and arrogant on the euphoria of being a non-elected PM.

Then those Tory nice-but-dims got power. Incredible. The offspring of the Tory Old Guard, those half-wit, entitled Dilettantes actually pulled it off. A lot of Scones and Single Malts were choked on in the Shires over that one, I can tell you.

So the peoples of this country become more divided by wealth and a chronic lack of social mobility. The pool of talent required to make this country what it can be is consistently eroded.The ability for people from impoverished backgrounds to become politically motivated and involved is disappearing faster than ever. What is left is moving beyond elite and becoming oligarchical. We already see the son of Tony Blair sniffing around safe, constituency seats. Truffling for their inherited right to power.

When the front pages balk about, “The Great Train Snobbery” and “Out Of Touch” government. This will continue for as long as there is a void in politics. For as long as people continue to be disenfranchised and do not believe there is any chance that they could make a difference. Because there is a ruling elite and it will always fill the gaps.  You don’t have to worry about that.




Readers Comments (1)

  1. Interesting. Of course, “the elite” and “intellectuals” are thrown about here almost interchangably. In America, intellectuals are largely exiled to live among the masses. But maybe that’s the point.

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