i Editor's Letter: The haves and have-nots


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Full disclosure: I am not sure I have ever bought anything from a Greggs.

I know I have eaten a Cornish pasty or two, once even in Cornwall itself. I confess I'm not entirely sure where the other time was: it might have been at the West Cornwall Pasty Company on the King's Road, or was it once en route to Craven Cottage?

Now, I have played badminton, just a couple of times (badly), across a washing line strung up in the garden at the wrong height, but never on a court with a net and markings.

I do not have any outbuildings in which to leave a jerry can filled with petrol. To be honest, I wasn't really sure what a jerry can was until an i colleague told me. On reflection, and to avoid being caught out fibbing at a later date, I do have an outside cupboard that used to be an outdoor loo. It houses a mini lawn mower and other junk. It's attached to my house, though, so I am not sure if it passes for what Francis Maude would describe as an "outbuilding".

Once upon a time I may even have inhaled, though I cannot abide the taste or smell of cigarettes and have not once smoked a cigar, ever.

Why does this matter? It shouldn't matter at all. But then, I am not a Tory politician either revealing how out of touch I am with ordinary people's lives (Francis Maude ) or, perhaps even worse, trying to prove that I am "one of us" (the PM and Osborne) and that "we are all in this together".

All this is not only the fault of our politicians, but the media and yes, the public too. We have a terrible, growing disparity in this country between the haves and have-nots. But there are also debilitating twin obsessions with the politics of envy and a suffocating need to define each other by class. They both trivialise our common discourse and hold us all back from truly embracing the 21st century. See you tomorrow.