Magazine article The Spectator

If I'm Part of the Ruling Elite Why Isn't Charles Moore?

Magazine article The Spectator

If I'm Part of the Ruling Elite Why Isn't Charles Moore?

Article excerpt

Look, we've known each other a while, you and I, so I think it's time for a confession. It's a big one, this. I haven't even told my parents yet. But I think I might be a member of the ruling elite.

Granted, it doesn't feel that way of a morning, when I'm using my thumbnail to scratch baby vomit off my shoulder on the bus to Finsbury Park. But then, maybe it never does. Columnist for The Spectator, leader writer for the Times, the public schooland Oxbridge-educated son of a Conservative former Cabinet minister; hmm, hard to fight it. There have been five prime ministers in my lifetime, and I've met three of them and been in the same room as the other two.

So let's be objective about this. What I think about it is neither here nor there.

Only, here's what's worrying me. If I'm in the ruling elite, how come Charles Moore isn't? His is the first column I read in this paper every week, and I'm a huge fan and frankly wish I could be writing this bit about somebody else. But he said something last week which gave me a jolt. 'The ruling elites have very, very slowly caught up with public understanding, ' he wrote, in an otherwise flawless item about benefits. And if there was an implicit mea culpa in here, well, it was too implicit for me.

I don't think there was, though. 'They all belong to a political elite whose attitudes and careers are pretty different from those of the rest of us, ' he also wrote - this Eton- and Oxbridge-educated former editor of the Daily Telegraph and The Spectator - a few weeks ago, of David Cameron and his friends. And I dare say he meant it, too. Strange is the class divide that has me on one side and Charles Moore on the other, with the miners.

Searching through recent commentary, though, post local elections, there's a lot of this stuff around. Peter Oborne, it turns out, isn't a member of the ruling elite either.

Nor Trevor Kavanagh, nor David Davis, nor even Roy Hattersley. Similarly, vast numbers of political journalists turn out to not be must be in, too. I wonder what I'm doing so right?

I think it's because I live in north London. I really do. This makes me 'metropolitan' and thereby 'aloof', even though nine tenths of this country live lives as urban as mine, and if we're all being aloof to the other 10 per cent, I think you'd technically need a different word for it. The upshot, anyway, is that like our Prime Minister and also our Chancellor, I get this 'aloof' and 'elite' business thrown at me from both sides. For the left, I'm dining with the bankers and permanent secretaries, quaffing port and oppressing the proletariat. …

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