May 15, 2010

Britains Lubricant Future

If I look at Cameron and Clegg (I try not to) they look like the archetypical smooth, empty-faced and empty-headed twits Thatcherism and its aftermath has washed to the surface. Weren't it for their different ties, they'd be almost indistinguishable. One is oily, the other one greasy. (At least Gordon Brown, who belongs to a different generation, is clearly recognisable, although it isn't pleasant to do so.) However, it is interesting to have a closer look at their backgrounds.

Cameron is old establishment-upper middle class and if you go back in his pedigree, you'll find a lot of upper class men. Clegg is nothing of that sort. I am always deeply mistrustful of people who claim Russian aristocratic ancestry, it's a bit like the Shroud Christi or the formerly German property in Eastern Europe and miraculously expanded over the years, but in his case it comes from his paternal grandmother's side, so it doesn't matter so much anyway. (Women are always marrying their husband's class.) Clegg is by education (notabene that he went to a good, but lesser school than Cameron), profession and family sheer and undiluted middle class. I'd wager that, if one follows his patrilineal ancestry back, it's the opposite of Cameron's, namely that there will be middle middle- and lower middle class men soon and God knows what then. It may be a cynical view, but I think if it weren't so, we had been told in his biography.

Basically, here we have two upper middle class men, one old establishment, one the result of social climbing, who look exactly the same but come from very different backgrounds. The phenotypical versus the genotypical version, so to say.

Will it reflect on their politics? We don't know yet and I don't think so, but I found this at Clegg's Wikipedia entry :
His background has informed his politics. He says, "There is simply not a shred of racism in me, as a person whose whole family is formed by flight from persecution, from different people in different generations. It’s what I am. It’s one of the reasons I am a liberal."[13] His Dutch mother instilled in him "a degree of scepticism about the entrenched class configurations in British society".[14]
What a waffler! If suffering would make people better, Jews were bound to be the most saintly people on earth. (To "expect" that and to be "disappointed" if it turns out to be not the case, is antisemitic standard lore, by the way.) And in the last sentence he throws the people he has sworn to serve under the bus for the sake of making a few politically correct brownie points. I'd wager, too, that this is the statement of a man who ambitiously tried to assimilate to the old establishment, but hasn't quite managed to do so.

However, this is not more than a moderately interesting play with socio-historic notions. At the end of the day, Cameron will be the bigger traitor because he has sold out conservative principles to please the hedonistic whims of the politically correct, nihilistic crowd for whom the LibDems cater. Not that this was a very difficult thing for him to do, mind you.