MPs’ class should never be relevant
Last updated at 15:14, Thursday, 27 September 2012
HOUSEWIVES’ heart throb Gareth Malone has missed a trick with the latest series of his TV show, The Choir.
Rather than coaching amateur choirs of hospital staff and postal workers, he should have headed for Westminster and started an MPs’ choir.
Our politicians need all the positive PR they can muster at the moment. Just last week, they headed a table by Which? to find the ten least trusted professions in Britain.
Nick “I’m so sorry” Clegg would obviously be favourite to take the lead solo, following his triumphant appearance on YouTube apologising for the Lib Dems’ performance over university tuition fees.
Government Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell (still in his job at the time of writing) could perhaps perform a rap version of his alleged “you’re f…... plebs” rant at the police who wouldn’t let him through the Downing Street gates on his bike.
This is a classic example of life imitating art. In the wonderful sitcom Yes Prime Minister, there is a gloriously funny episode where Sir Humphrey Appleby is denied access into Number 10, having had his key confiscated by PM Jim Hacker. After an altercation with a police officer, Sir Humphrey is forced to concede defeat – although he does so without resorting to the choice language allegedly used by Mr Mitchell.
The interesting aspect of all this is that the furore surrounding Mr Mitchell’s outburst centres not so much on his apparently use of the F-word but on the fact he allegedly used the word “plebs”.
Who would have thought such a word could potentially prove to be the downfall of a government minister? In its original sense a plebeian, of which pleb is the diminutive, was simply someone distinct from a patrician or aristocrat. Which surely makes most of us – including Mr Mitchell – plebs (or, as I’m feeling pedantic, plebes).
Use of the F-word and other swear words have become so much a part of everyday life we barely bat an eyelid when we hear them. So it seems almost quaint a word such as pleb is capable of causing a fit of the vapours among the chattering classes because it implies someone is lower-class or inferior. It will be that, rather than the bad language, that will come back to haunt Mr Mitchell.
Politicians fall over themselves to pass themselves off as just like us “commoners”, but why they bother is anyone’s guess.
Who cares what class our politicians are? Surely the only thing that really matters is whether they’re up to the job. How many of the current crop are is another question entirely.
First published at 16:45, Wednesday, 26 September 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
Calling someone a pleb may be "quaint" to you, Louise and its original Latin meaning was a factual description of a type of person but nowadays things are different. The OED today defines it as a "derogatory name for a member of the lower social classes" and so its use by a Government Minister betrays his attitude to ordinary folk as condescending at best. It's not what class the MP is that counts, it's his attitude to the people he is supposed to represent, and in that Mr Mitchell shows contempt, for which he should resign.