Saturday, 20 June 2009

An ally of convenience? I think so

Radio 4's Any Answers? phone-in on Saturday afternoon offered the plummiest, most genuinely posh voice I've heard on British radio for aeons. Out of that voice, remarkably enough, came words I overwhelmingly agreed with. The caller was one of the few people at any stage in the MPs' expenses debates to tell the unpalatable truth - that the headline-grabbing "scandal" is merely a smokescreen for the real problem, that to alter a few rules on expenses would merely be papering over the cracks, that much of the rot set in under Thatcher, that the French system in many ways functions better than ours, that a key part of the reason for public disconnection from politics is our ridiculous electoral system ...

I may not have agreed with every single word he had to say, and no doubt his ideal remedy would differ in many details from mine, but at heart I found the caller - presumably a lapsed old wet - hard to disagree with. Let it never be said that a traditionally posh accent is in any way the sound of the worst elements in British society today, any more than it is the sound of the very worst British pop music ever made (even "The Living Years" - horribly metricious and exploitative though it always was - is, in some ways, more defensible now than "Viva La Vida"). Cameron's clique all speak in the same strained, flat, nu-posh whine as those who have brought British pop to its cultural knees - that is enemy-speak, if ever we have known it.

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