THE tour-operating arm of Richard Branson's Virgin group makes an embarassingly shameless pitch for the Barbour-and-green-wellie market with an advertisement in the current edition of Country Life.

'Richard Branson Esq and his enterprise Virgin Holidays Limited are pleased to announce the publication of 'Upper Class Holidays': An opportunity for discerning travellers to fly in the comfort of the incomparable 'Upper Class' cabin . . . convenience of chauffeured limousines should you choose not to utilise the self-drive Cadillac . . . some delightful ideas in a delightful brochure . . .' etc etc.

Who qualifies for an Upper Class holiday? Is it a matter of how much dosh you have nestling in your building society extra-interest account? (A quick look through the extensive Country Life property ads would reveal that the Upper Classes are busy flogging off their rural estates in order to raise a few quid to settle debts.)

Perhaps Mr Branson has a U and non-U test to sort the proles from the toffs. Perhaps a quick telephone interview will be conducted to see who talks about 'serviettes' or 'toilets' and betrays their lack of breeding.

And can we now expect Virgin to follow up with Working Class Holidays? Airport transfers in battered old Ford Cortinas, milk bottles on the table at breakfast, air mail copies of the Daily Mirror, complimentary knotted handkerchiefs, in-flight fish suppers accompanied by warm bottles of brown ale?