Tuesday, 2 October 2012

I know my place, I just don't know where it is


Anyone who has studied British politics in the last 15 years will know that the fundamental difference between the Labour party and the Conservatives is that - ever since being trained by the Blair administration - 'Labour' politicians always drop their 'T's when talking in public. That's pretty much it, as far as I can see.

Liberal Democrats do their best to sound 'reasonable', but not very convincingly, and UKIP simply sound like the bad-tempered old bigots who they aspire to represent. Conservatives do their best to instill a sense of tradition and authority with their cut-glass, Eton-taught pronunciation, but let themselves down badly when calling working-class policemen who are paid to keep them safe, 'plebs'.

'New' Labour - who have cannily worked out that well over half of the voting population in the country are made up of plebs - spend months or years practicing the art of dropping their 'T's, so that they become instantly accepted like cuckoos in the nests of every working-class household in the country... or so they think.

Nobody listens to the famous old Socialist, Tony Benn, any more, because he has droned on for about 60 years now and the young blades are getting a bit fed up with it - he just makes too much sense.

Tony Benn was born into an aristocratic family as Anthony Wedgewood-Benn (along with a handful of other names), but dropped his title (Viscount something or other) for the sake of his principals, along with the 'Ant' and 'Wedgewood' bits, so they could hardly have created a peerage for him in his dotage, even if they had wanted to.

What Tone did not drop, however, was his upper-class accent. He was simply too principled to do that. Too honest and principled - unlike this latest batch of nauseatingly ambitious and ruthless war-mongers who cannot afford to wage them any longer.

Being brought up by a combination of East-End London father and upper middle-class mother who had aspirations to minor grandeur, my accent has finally settled down to a sort of BBC neutrality which could not be pin-pointed to any area more specific than 'Home Counties', but when I was at school and surrounded by genuine plebs, I was always thought of as 'posh'. It didn't help that we were brought up in a wealthy area of Surrey, albeit in straitened circumstances.

My first few jobs on building sites meant that I was a bit of an outcast amongst the rest of the plebs, but I learned two things very quickly. You do not gain any respect by trying to mimic the accents of those around you by changing your natural one to 'suit' whoever you happen to be talking to - just the opposite.

You do gain respect by being yourself and being good at your job. Maybe 'New' Labour's advisors should concentrate on this truth rather than aiming for the lowest common denominator before every election.

I understand that Barak Obama is currently on the TV every night right now, telling US plebs about how he prefers to squeeze toothpaste, rather than giving any views on real issues which may alienate them from the Democrats. His Republican opponent has already done just that, by saying he has no interest in representing 41% of the entire population who might be voting Democrat. There's no point in wasting valuable air-time, is there?

Talking of wasting valuable air-time, I had better get to 'work'.


25 comments:

  1. Dear Wedgey. Wasn't he recently involved in the slightly non-labourite activity of keeping oiks orf his bloody land?

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    1. Wedgey's niece came to stay with us a few years back; she arrived by horse-drawn Gypsy Caravan. She stayed for about two months. Nice girl.

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    2. No, she was with her beau!

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  2. I knew Mr. Benn when I lived in England.
    A very decent man which explains why he was first demonised then mocked.

    I don't think any brand of current politician worries about gaining respect, too busy analysing how to get the vote of any particular sector by bribing it.

    Bring back Clement Attlee......

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    1. He made a shrewd move about 60 years ago by predicting the emasculation of the House of Lords...

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  3. It was Mitt Romney who spoke about how he squeezed the toothpaste. Of course, he said it was from the bottom up, and based on his political beliefs, I think that statement couldn't be truer.

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  4. Living here in the US, I am so tired of what passes here as 'news' on TV. Even when there is no election coming up, it is nothing but discussing this or that politian back and forth while bringing in as many no-name-experts as possible.

    The other day I said to my husband: "Gee, I wonder what is going on in the rest of the world. Not that you would ever get to hear about it watching an American news show."

    Neither candidate has a magic wand anyway, so you just have to choose the smalles 'weevil'.

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    1. When I was in the US during the first Gulf War, I watched Al Jazira. That was good.

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  5. Viscount Stansgate Tom. I remember it well. He has always been my hero because he has never changed his views about Socialism. I heard him speak about fifteen years ago - he was just as brilliant a speaker. What was also lovely about him was that he kept lighting up his pipe and he was standing in Thirsk Working Mens' Club directly under a sign which said ' Strictly No Smoking in the Club' - he was never much good at obeying the rules.

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    1. They would crucify him for that these days.

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  6. Well, that pretty much sums it all up.....the only thing that I remember about Wedgey is that he had Guillain Barré syndrome ........ a neurological ascending paralysis. Not good and it left him with a slight paralysis in his leg which he drags slightly. I know this as my bestest friend had it. Her leg is OK though ! Not a lot of people know that !! XXXX

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    1. What's the difference between an ascending paralysis and any other sort?

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    2. I do.
      My husband has a particularly nasty version of G-B nattily named CANOMAD....the name's enough to give you the heebies...

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    3. I'm worried now - still ignorant, but worried.

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    4. It starts at your toes and moves upwards ( hence ascending) ..... if it gets to your heart or your respiratory system you're a gonna !!

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    5. That's how Socrates died, but he was forced to drink Hemlock tea.

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    6. Well, if you will mock the Gods then so be it .........

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    7. His crime was to 'corrupt youth'. Would that I had the opportunity.

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    8. I thought his crime was being pig ugly.

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  7. I have been a Tony Benn fan since I first heard him speak. What I love about him is that what he says always sounds so reasonable -- even when I don't agree with him. He's never tried to be anyone other than the class act he really is. When I first came to the UK in the early 80's I got the impression than he didn't like Americans very much -- then I discovered that he was married to one -- who some say was more to the left than he!

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    1. Churchill's father married one as well. We're still paying for the reception.

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