Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The seals are broken, the demons released

What to say about this? Nothing much really; what can one say other than that it's two hundred words of bilious petit-bourgeois ressentiment? We've made the joke about Nick turning into Melanie Phillips so often it's no longer funny - but it is true, you know. Blah blah grammar schools (Nick's views here are just wrong). Blah blah, New Labour is a new ruling class (there are some things to be said for this point of view, but Lord Young wasn't even a Lord when he first came up with the "there is a new ruling class" idea. Blah blah "enveloping economic crisis". Blah blah blah, really. Given her current position providing criticism of both the Tory Party and the Likud Party from the traditional-values right, it is worth remembering that for the longest time, Melanie Phillips also used to deal in the sort of column that professed "tribal" support for the Labour Party while pouring the journalistic equivalent of a bucket of shit over them every week. Blah.

You can't run as an anti-elitist when you are part of the elite.

I find it rather a synecdoche for the whole mardy piece that, despite writing paragraphs dripping with scorn about Oxbridge journalists, Nick neglects to mention that he's one of them (Hertford College Oxford, matric 1980).

PS: Found during research for this post. Tempus mutandit, as they say at Altrincham Grammar School.


Blogger ejh said...


5/27/2008 09:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tempora mutantur, et nos mutamur in illis?

5/27/2008 09:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, they're not very big on Latin at Altrincham Grammar School, it's not a posh public school for posh public schoolboys you know.

In related news, Ophelia Benson apparently wants a retraction and withdrawal of my hideous slur on the integrity of Jeremy Stangroom, in suggesting that he might have anything to do with "Butterflies and Wheels". I will be suspending decision on this matter for the meantime, however, as I see no reason why either of them should expect faster action on this point from Aaronovitch Watch than from Butterflies and Wheels.

5/27/2008 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Readers of the toffee-nosed persuasion may be fascinated to know that this site is currently a googlewhack for the phrase "tempus mutandit" - ie nobody else on the entire internet has ever made that mistake, which I find frankly unbelievable.

Oh yeah, and I think "ressentiment" is misspelled too.

5/27/2008 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic, but Mark Ravenhill argued effectively with Nick's silly "Brecht is not decent" piece from the Observer [which oddly did not seem to generate a single letter in the Observer itself - I guess all the readers politely ignored Nick's sub-Paul Johnson rant]


5/27/2008 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note also the familiar theme viz. the salt-of-the-earth "white working class" doing their democratic duty by voting for Boris, while those naughty ethnic minorities and public sector workers "bought the spin".

5/27/2008 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

On an almost-related note, does anybody know if Ollie's a public school man?

5/27/2008 10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"On an almost-related note, does anybody know if Ollie's a public school man?"

The Kamminator? Leicester Grammar School I fear.

5/27/2008 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Oh well, that's one cod-psychological theory consigned to the memory hole.

5/27/2008 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Nick does seem under the impression that everyone can go to a grammar school, so at least in that respect he's a long way off 'all must have prizes' Phillips.

5/27/2008 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Also, is there a lot of evidence that 'council estates' that had never voted Conservative turned to Johnson? I've read this elsewhere, and I could see how it might be true, but I wonder how it is known?

5/27/2008 04:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing with advocates of grammar schools is that they never, ever, make the case for more secondary mdoerns at the same time. (Incidentally: Nick's missing the real argument, which is selection/non-selection, or Blair/Adonis/Cameron v the Labour party - the Tories won't need to re-introduce grammars to get what they want.)


5/27/2008 09:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matthew - the GLA has posted the ward-level results for the mayor, constituency and top-up votes here.

I suppose if more than one council estate ward with no tradition of returning Conservative councillors voted for Johnson then Nick's statement would be true. I don't know enough about the wards to know where this applies, though. Certainly most if not all of the inner London estates voted for Livingstone and there aren't all that many outer London wards which didn't vote Tory in 2006.

5/28/2008 01:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every time I hear the terms "white working class" and "liberal elite" in an article, I reach for my gun.

Don't Cohen, Anthony, et al realise how closely they're starting to mirror the language of the BNP?

And I thought that they were meant to be standing up for "decent" liberal values. As they are part of the elite - being journalists and all that - are they just acting this out in some parallel universe in their heads?

5/28/2008 06:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leicester Grammar School is a private school, and I am reliably informed that in the 1980s it was run by big Thatcher fans, and a bit like the school in _History Boys_, but without any of the inspiring teachers from that movie, just clones of the headmaster.

But enough of that. I've just discovered that I went to the same Oxford college as NC. Urgh. I feel a need to have a shower.

Chris Williams

5/29/2008 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

If I were to shower every time I came across a distasteful fellow-alumnus I might as well live beneath a waterfall.

Anyway, he made the list and you didn't.

Ironically, Hertford had (and may still have) a reputation for having and encouraging a high intake from comprehensives.

5/29/2008 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hertford in the early 1980s did target state schools. Probably that's the main reason I applied there (others from my school had already got in) The 1985 entry was 65% state to 35% private. Ironically enough, this was a victim of its own success: it then became deluged by applications from the private school kids who were desperate to get away from their peers and mix with the proles. 1987 was half and half, still a little more egalitarian than the Oxford average, but by 1988 it had gone to 60:40 the other way - less egalitarian. On the other hand, the 60% tended to more be interesting people than yer run of the mill silverspoonie.


5/29/2008 02:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You can't run as an anti-elitist when you are part of the elite."

Have you failed to notice the Bush Administration?

5/31/2008 04:57:00 PM  

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