At long last! An end to the absurd illusion of meritocracy. What a wretched couple of decades it has been under these ghastly career politicians and their embrace of popular culture. Did anyone believe that you could achieve equality by snipping off the old school tie, by filling The Commons benches and the bourgeois haunts of the arts and the media with women and the lower orders? Did they really think that they could find equality with Big Brother… the X factor? Jonathan Ross?
Sadly, that is exactly what they believed, it seems. During the early nineties, when the ‘people’s party’ was rooting around for new ways to captivate folk, as the Tories had done in the eighties with share ownership, they found inspiration in celebrity culture. Here was an arena where you didn’t have to be aristocratic to stand a chance of being rich, famous and admired. In fact you could come from anywhere and have little education… or talent. What could be more egalitarian than that? What could be more meritocratic, more aspirational? Soon, all we heard was People’s this and People’s that.
Shame nobody told the proponents of meritocracy that the children of meritocrats are effectively aristocrats, born with silver spoons in their mouths, despite having even less talent than their X-Factor parents. Of course, these young ‘aristocrats’ go one further, bearing horrid names like Peaches and Brooklyn. You see, meritocracy really is a one dimensional concept. All that really happened under Labour was a farewell to the old old order and the embrace of a new old order. Except that where the previous bunch had grace and style and, quite often, erudition, this new celebrity lot have shown themselves to be vacuous and vulgar and really rather witless.
However it now looks as though the middle classes, the chattering classes, are vehemently rejecting the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ class of politician. Of course we all know that nobody trusts MPs nowadays. But they particularly don’t trust those who want celebrity stardust to rub off on them. They cringe when they see the likes of our tedious little PM hanging out with pop singers and the stars of reality TV, pretending to be a man of the people.
So it looks increasingly like Old Etonians will be making a bit of a comeback at the next election, courtesy of David Cameron. If the Conservatives have their way, the government benches will be rather more Macmillan than Thatcher, come 2010. It leaves one wondering where the next bunch of Labour strategists and spin doctors will find their future role models. Maybe YouTube or Twitter... or, wherever they expect 'the people' to be hanging out a decade from now.
By guest blogger Lord Trencherman of Furmity