I wouldn’t ordinarily advocate assassination, but extraordinary times call for extreme measures. I’m afraid that Boris Johnson’s election as London Mayor has been testing my commitment to democratic principles to the limits. If ever we needed proof that, as Homer Simpson once observed, democracy doesn’t work, then this is it. Really, what were you stupid bastards thinking of? Just because you’ve become disenchanted with New Labour, that’s no excuse for electing a turd. OK, I know that after it was confirmed that Ken Livingstone had been toppled you must have all felt pretty pleased with yourselves – ‘Hey, look what we’ve done – we’ve kicked the only remaining popular Labour politician out of office! That’ll teach them a lesson! God, how clever and powerful that makes us feel!’ But let’s be honest, in the cold light of day, now that the reality of the situation has set in, are you still feeling quite so clever? Now that it has sunk in that control of your city is in the hands of a wealthy tosser without an idea in his head, do you still think that it was worth it? Of course, you might well be thinking that I’m overreacting somewhat. That my hatred of Boris Johnson is disproportionate. After all, at worst he’s just some bumbling buffoon, not the Anti-Christ. Surely he doesn’t deserve this level of venom? Well, that’s where you are wrong. My hatred for this knob head is well founded. His continuing success – in the face of his complete lack of either intelligence or ability – is a damning indictment of the extent to which social class, wealth and having gone to the right schools still matters in this country. Believe me, if he didn’t have the money and the right connections, there’s no way that a twat like Johnson would have made it this far. It is certainly the only way he became a Tory MP, and his promotion to the shadow front bench (not to mention his continued restoration to it, following various embarrassing cock ups), is solely down to his being an Old Etonian like his pal ‘Dave’ Cameron. Johnson’s triumph is symbolic of the re-emergence of the Old School Tie brigade. Not that they’ve ever really gone way, they’ve just been lying low for a few years. Whilst the 1960s and 70s might have seen government and the public sector dominated by technocrats, redbrick university graduates and grammar school-types, the toffs lingered on at the top in business (particularly finance), biding their time.
With the economy looking shaky and the value of their houses falling, the middle classes have naturally turned once again to their former masters for comfort. “Please let us drop our trousers, bend down and allow you to reassure us by arse-raping us with your big, wealthy cocks,” is what they’re effectively saying. That’s the trouble with the middle classes – no backbone. Despite all their aspirations and upward mobility, when push comes to shove, they can’t help but give in to that instinctive desire to tug their forelocks in the face of wealth. They’re just naturally subservient. But I suppose they can’t really help themselves – most of them were born into middle class cosiness. They never had to really struggle for anything. They take their freedoms for granted, so don’t bother guarding them. They have no principles other than ‘self improvement’. Sadly, unlike the working classes, their ideas of self improvement have nothing to do with education, but rather focus on being able to trade up from a Volkswagen to a Mercedes. Just recently I’ve had the misfortune to read part of a serialisation of a new book in The Guardian, which bemoans the decline of our liberties and the concentration of power into the hands of a mega-rich elite. So far, so good. But then it goes off into an impassioned bout of hand-wringing at how it is the middle class and its most treasured institutions which now seem to be under attack by this nasty New Labour government. So, Thatcher’s assault on the working classes, destroying Britain’s manufacturing base and undermining the trade unions, didn’t matter? I guess as ignorant peasants with mud on their boots, they should expect to be oppressed. However, attack the middle classes and it is the end of civilisation! I wouldn’t mind, but it was the acquiescence of ‘middle England’ which allowed Blair to start eroding our civil liberties and privatising our health and education services, just as it had earlier allowed Thatcher to sell the country off to her pals in the City, in the first place. They don’t care about society, only about themselves. So, not surprisingly, when they finally ‘rebel’, it is by voting for Boris. Wankers!
Getting back to the point, all of this, along with the rise of Boris, just underlines the fact that, despite what they try and tell you, class does still matter in Britain. The reality is that, no matter how hard they work, how well educated they become, how much they struggle against the odds, people from council estates are very rarely going to get the chance to get on in business or the city. At best they might become a middle manager. However, if your family has money and you were privately educated, then the odds are that you are going to find yourself in a senior position at your uncle’s multi-national corporation before you are out of short trousers. The importance of class is further emphasised by the recent reporting of personal debt in the UK. Rising debt only seemed to become worthy of being headline news when the middle classes started getting into debt. Similarly, rising repossession rates were only deemed news worthy when middle class professionals started getting turfed out of their houses in increasing numbers. Trust me, people on lower incomes, living on housing estates, are in debt all the time. These same people are facing repossession all the time, but because it is for rent arrears, as they could never afford a mortgage on their wages, it isn’t deemed to be as traumatic as when it happens to the middle classes. That’s the ugly truth of modern Britain, despite more than a decade of Labour government, your prospects are still very much dependent upon the way you speak, where you live, what your parents do and which school you went to. Despite all the talk of ‘equality of opportunity’ and the ‘classless society’, the reality is that, for many of us, the odds are stacked against our chances of progress – due largely to factors over which we have no control. So, hand me that rifle and I’ll see if I can get that Old Etonian tosspot in the cross hairs. Shoot ‘em in the head – it’s the only way. Even if it doesn’t even up the odds, it’ll make me feel better!