Sunday, 7 December 2014

Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music

Dear Britain,

I never intended to make this letter public. You see, you and I have had our disagreements over the years but on the whole our relationship has been rather solid. I love you, Blighty, royal warts and all. But this latest twist of events in your current social affairs has got me worried.

I thought that the tide had turned against working class people. In my innocent Cuban mind, to call someone “working class” in 21st century Britain was to liken them to skivers, benefits fraudsters and scroungers. In this respect I had come to the conclusion that the Cameron-led coalition had unfortunately won.

How wrong I was. Not on the working class bit, mind you. They are still seen as “chavs” with all the negative bias that that word conveys. No, I was wrong because it is not just hoi polloi who are despised, but also posh people. Who would have thought that the very upper class so admired – envied, some might say – by many denizens on this pleasant and beautiful land are also derided and mocked?

Don’t believe me? Exhibit A: Andrew Mitchell. Now, if you are resident in the UK, you probably remember what got Andie in hot water last year. Apparently the former Conservative cabinet minister called a policeman a “pleb” after a verbal spat with the officer outside the Downing Street gate. Let’s forget for a moment the rather patronising comment by the high court judge who oversaw the case. To quote him verbatim, our learned friend opined that the officer in question was not the sort of man “who had the wit, the imagination... to invent in the spur of the moment what a senior cabinet minister would have said to him”. Make of that what you will. But what to say of Andrew Mitchell? Or rather, what did the papers say of him? They went for his jugular. At the centre of their attack on Mr Mitchell was that word, “pleb”. Like a swearword let out accidentally in a roomful of children in a nursery, this is one of those terms that has the label “toxic” scribbled all over it. It is also a word that carries with it a sense of superiority and entitlement on the part of the user.

I've made my point, you pleb! Now, I shall cycle off.

Sense of superiority could be the link to our Exhibit B: David Mellor. Another Conservative former cabinet minister, Mr Mellor found himself recently in a black cab with his wife leaving Buckingham Palace. Following a disagreement with the driver over which route to take, David Mellor proceeded to give the taxi driver a piece of his toff mind. What ensued was a volley of insults from the politician to the cabbie, from calling him a “smart-arsed little git” to that old do-you-know-who-I-am chestnut “I’ve been in the Cabinet, I’m an award-winning broadcaster, I’m a Queen ’s Counsel. You think that your experiences are anything compared to mine?” Unfortunately for David, the cab driver was recording him all along. On finding out that his arrogant tirade had been captured on record, Mr Mellor told a tabloid: “I will leave the public to judge his actions”.

I will leave you readers to judge his actions, too. And those of Andrew Mitchell. Two specimens who suffer from the same self-delusional illness that apparently makes its victims behave like total idiots. Idiots with a sense of superiority.

But Britain, back to you. I thought, I honestly thought that you would side with these two “sweaty, stupid little shits” (to use David Mellor’s words when confronting the cab driver. Don’t you love it when a supposedly erudite man stoops so low to show off his power?). After all, according to a recent documentary called Posh People: Inside Tatler, we are apparently fascinated by the lives of those who live “upstairs” whilst laughing at those who live “downstairs”. Yet, this is not what happened to David and Andrew. They were taken apart by both right-wing and left-wing media. Could it be that we are witnessing a grand occasion in the history of class in this nation? The moment when the playing field is finally being levelled? Or, could the reason be a more mundane one? Editors need to sell more newspapers and both stories were too good to take into consideration decades-old political allegiances. Let rip and rake in the profits.

Still, Britain, you owe me an answer. Proles or toffs? Plebs or posh? Who is really Public Enemy Number One?

Yours truly,

Your Favourite Cuban In London



© 2014

Photo taken from The Daily Telegraph

Next Post: “Living in a Multilingual World”, to be published on Wednesday 10th December at 11:59pm (GMT)

19 comments:

  1. HI Favourite London Cuban! I've not been a position to follow this conflict but I think that the British people would hate anyone who is "lording it over" others. They may allow for people to have a certain kind of privilege, and give them de facto favors, but they would not like the person openly acting as arrogant as you've described. At least that would be my knee-jerk thought. I highly recommend Terry Pratchett on this subject! Especially Feet of Clay, where one lowly --very lowly--police corporal is deemed to be a lost earl. It is hilariously funny. Take care, k.

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  2. I think there is a lot more nastiness all round at the moment, and certain politicians are using that to strengthen divisions for political reasons. I actually really do worry about where this country is going

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  3. haha yeah it is to sell more papers and that is it. Greed wins out, there will be no shift.

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  4. Andrew lives in my neighbourhood and is my MP. I know him, he greets me in the supermarket, believe it or not he's a normal guy. Whatever he said that day doesn't warrant the papers and others screaming blue murder. Could we count on one hand those that have caused an equal uproar by using an occasional bad word? The incident that day was organised, of that I am certain. It's a dirty world lately.

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  5. Ha...no contest!
    Has to be the tabloids...they've always been public enemy no.1...would sell their own Grandmas to make a buck!
    As for David and Andrew...it's a personality thing, I think: arrogance and superiority have nothing to do with class...if we look, we'll find such attitudes in all walks of life.
    A sad fact of life, eh?! *smiles*

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  6. Hoy tan solo dejarte mis saludos, que pases un feliz domingo londinense.

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  7. I like it when people say what they think, no matter who they are and no matter who they are talking to or about .... what bothers me to no ends is when people lie about others or the positions of others.

    Next, sooner or later politicians should pick up on the fact that only film stars, rock stars and their ilk can talk to the "working classes" in inappropriate language and get away with it relatively unscathed. To be a politician is to be an invertebrate butt kisser, but, on occasion, some forget and allow their "mirror, mirror on the wall" mentality to dominate the occasion.

    Finally, the only things that never do change are the purveyors of news -- real or hokey. Whether a legitimate publication, cable television, tabloid journalism or internet blogs (and any others I may have left out), they all are in the business of selling and making money and winning whatever game they happen to be playing.

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  8. Public enemy number one ... there's a challenge ...

    That aside, I think the problem with Mitchell and Mellor is less that they're posh, but that they combine that with having real political power. Now we know what they think of the rest of us - do we really think that Cameron, Osbourne etc really think any differently? From the evidence, they despise anyone with an income less than £1,000,000 or who hasn't gone to one of 'their' schools.

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  9. My Public Enemy No 1 is a draw. The spin-doctors who use weasel words to try and convince us that everyone (who has a brain) should accept that black and white have reversed themselves. And the media which slavishly accepts the spin - and ties bright baubles on it.
    Mind you self important arrogance comes in a close second.

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  10. Many thanks fo ryour comemnts. i do agree that both Andrew and Mellor were caught "off guard". That is, they showed their real selves. Like Milliband and THAT bacon sandwich! :-)

    It's a funny world. We hate politicians when they reveal what they're really made of, but at the same we slag them off if they hide their personality behind a mask.

    Have a great week.

    Greetings from London.

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  11. Although all politicians have their weaknesses, some do have more than others.

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  12. usually under pressure it is revealed what really is inside... and it makes me sick if some politician talks like that to whoever it is... shows much of their character...ugh... and i think as well it goes through all levels of society, this sickness of thinking of oneself as a superior being

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  13. for backlit images you need to be in charge of the camera. No auto setting :) And a little practice is good too.

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  14. How very interesting... And it happens everywhere... :-)

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  15. It is always nice to be reminded that we don't have a lock on politicians who are also jerks

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  16. i must say that i am rather not fond of the posh...and anyone putting on aires....

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  17. Politics is like that everywhere...
    Glad that you wrote the letter!

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  18. One of the most interesting things when I visited London was Speaker's Corner. I found it fascinating that people just stand up there and speak and people actually listen. When people do that in America, they're called "homeless" or "crazy!" I guess blogging is like Speaker's Corner...we reach about as many people as Speaker's Corner does in an average week.

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  19. It is true that many (most?) of those that are born privileged and those who become priviledged through luck or work or talent can forget from whence they came. The hope is that not all of the oligarchy loses site of humanity.

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