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Monday, June 04, 2007

Meet the new boss

I bought "New Elites" by George Walden from a remaindered pile. Whichever clown had the idea of putting David Cameron's picture on the cover of the paperback is probably to blame for that. Walden's theory, which he presents in a rather scattershot way, is that this island (where we love more than anything to be able to look down on people) is currently run by new political, business and media elites who, far from leading in the way that a conventional elite might, get their way by condescending to what they think the public wants.
Your classic case would be an Oxbridge educated TV executive with a house in Holland Park making his living off a downmarket reality TV franchise. When this goes well he congratulates himself on how in touch he is with the tastes of real people. When it goes wrong he dresses it up as important social work. His new class pretend not to be an elite but will do anything to hang on to their status. Their children will go to private school and will probably get on thanks to the nepotism which is more rife in the media now than at any stage in the past.
Walden's examples of what he calls "inverted elitism" include the late Princess of Wales, the designers of the Dome and the people behind the Turner Prize. I might add Jonathan Ross and the editors of Grazia. I'm sure there are hundreds more.