I was representing myself at the count for the Borough elections on Saturday with my worthy team and, along with most other representatives for their respective parties, I found that most of the Conservatives were being thoroughly pleasant.
However, there were a couple of bad apples amongst their ranks who made no attempt to disguise their contempt for the ‘lower orders’.
I’m afraid I must seem incredibly irksome by not ‘knowing my place’ in their eyes, but I actually do know my place, and it doesn’t fit in with their privileged fantasies of how the order of things should be. I’m afraid deference is going out of fashion! Funnily enough, it seems to be going out of fashion at the same rate as education, aspiration and self confidence are coming back into fashion!
I’m proud of the class I come from, proud to be a working-class ‘oik’ - despite the way we’re portrayed by an increasingly vicious right-wing media.
In fact, I insist that shop assistants don’t call me ‘Sir’ (unless I get knighted and that there’s a tinge of irony in their voice!) and I believe with certainty that nobody is inferior to me until they give me good reason to convince me that they are - and these reasons are all based on common decency.
These people may have cowed some people with their attitude but I think I somewhat un-nerved them by not showing them the deference they seemed to demand.
I’d like them to come up with a list of how they regard themselves as how they are so ‘superior’ to myself and so many other people from other parties who may have less money than them but whom they seem to envisage as just a bunch of ‘proles’? I’m sure the list would be minuscule and I’m pretty sure that we ‘plebs’ (which is how you regard practically everybody outside of your social circle) will not be too impressed about your lineage, money or who you’re distantly related to which you may come up with as examples.
Actually, people don’t care if you’re related to the fifth Baroness Lady Priscilla Ponsonby Fortescue Smythe (who?).
One of my supporters is BBC Four presenter Neil Brand - and I bet that impresses more posh people than any of the obscure names from Who’s Who you can link yourself to.
In fact, unlike you, I think we’ve all got achievements to be proud of and at least the financial pasts of our ancestors aren’t clouded with darkness - apart from maybe lopping the heads off of a few Normans!
We can be proud of the altruism and philanthropy which we’ve shown in life which seem to be such alien terms to people like you.
Even the ‘new money’ of the ‘nouveau riche’ ‘parvenus’ who you hold in such disdain was earned in some way and was probably gained in far more humane ways.
It seems very ironic that the rules of etiquette which you were so well versed in, do not include the basic decency of politeness, respect and good manners.
In fact, when I see people like you sneer at people just because they don’t know these complicated rules, it sort of defeats the object of it being the epitome of politeness!
Saying ‘please’, ‘sorry’ and ‘thank-you’ are all the rules anybody needs to know in company, and apart from that, you should be a ‘culture chameleon’, show mutual respect and just act in a way which makes your company feel comfortable in your own.
Those are my basic rules of etiquette.
In fact, your mannerisms and sneering attitude did well to convince us all exactly who the ‘inferior’ people were at the Town Hall that day.
10b Penhurst Close