The criticism of David Cameron in the past week, led by former Tory donor Lord Ashcroft, strikes me as petty, hypocritical and smug to the core. Mr Cameron has learnt a harsh lesson, and not for the first time: lie with dogs and you catch fleas. More aptly, this is what you get when you sell out to money.
Sour grapes do not make for pertinent political commentary. Much more useful would be an examination of how a so-called “elite” could have been seduced by a philosophy – of which Lord Ashcroft is the embodiment – that is so contrary to what should actually inspire elites, destroying a country and its culture and replacing its traditions with a single virtue: money.
How could so many of them – bankers, journalists, academics and politicians – have been contaminated by such a bankrupt ideology as Thatcherism? Perhaps when it comes to my generation, which never had to fight a war or truly suffer, such collaboration has been in large part a function of its unique lack of idealism. Hence its adoption of a philosophy that, unlike creeds of old, does not subordinate the individual to the group but deifies him. Here is the point, though. A genuine elite does not collaborate, it leads.
But the anti-Bullingdon discourse, which books such as Call Me Dave and films like The Riot Club propagate, leads the public to mis-associate love of money and its concomitant contempt for the poor with “poshness”, when the opposite is the case. The truly posh always had a healthy disdain for money (often, it is true, because it was not a worry for them). They will instinctively reject the spivvery that New Labour embraced as eagerly as the Tories and recognise the lie that was laid bare in 2008: for, rather than being prejudiced by a worthless underclass, we have been prejudiced by a parasitical financial class that includes the likes of Lord Ashcroft, empowered more than anything by the disease of Thatcherism with its subordination of the real economy to a virtual one.
Mr Cameron’s crime, therefore, was not to cavort at some social event long ago but to suck up to the likes of Ashcroft and Rupert Murdoch; to betray, along with so many of his contemporaries, the ideals that should inform his class; and, in so doing, to conflate the Junker with the Nazi.
Enter Jeremy Corbyn – corresponding far more (so far) with the concept of a genuine elite: a deep suspicion of money and banking, a reluctance to play to the gallery or pander to the press, a willingness to spend decades in political obscurity rather than sell out his values; a man, one senses, who is alive to new possibilities, not having suffered death by a thousand compromises. Let us pray that destiny has given us a new breed of politician who will sweep away the current thoroughly depressing and virulent genus.
Darius Guppy attended meetings of the Bullingdon Club and Piers Gaveston Society during the 1980sReuse content