Snobs live OK!

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The Independent Online

Some things never seem to change. We will soon hit the summer season in Britain - Ascot, Wimbledon and Henley - when the toffs and would-be toffs are out in force, and London gets gridlocked as traffic is held up to allow minor royals in their Daimlers through to the Chelsea Flower Show. During the rest of the year, it's easy to be seduced by the idea that we live in modernised, equalised, PC New Britain.

Some things never seem to change. We will soon hit the summer season in Britain - Ascot, Wimbledon and Henley - when the toffs and would-be toffs are out in force, and London gets gridlocked as traffic is held up to allow minor royals in their Daimlers through to the Chelsea Flower Show. During the rest of the year, it's easy to be seduced by the idea that we live in modernised, equalised, PC New Britain.

Easy, that is, unless you're a Geordie lass trying to forge a career in the Army. Angela Gobin has been made to quit the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and claims that she was forced out because of her comprehensive education and working-class roots. She says she was told that people from the South were officer material, and Northerners were would-be privates on parade.

The Army has in recent years boasted of its attempts to counter racism in its ranks. But it seems snobbery is still rife. There should be no place for petty behaviour of this kind. Belonging to an elite in a modern fighting force should depend on leadership qualities, not on your ability to sing the Eton boating song rather than the Blaydon Races.

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