For all Barack Obama protests that he is "a warrior for the middle class", there is no class system in America, apart from the criminal class, to which a goodly percentage of the great American people belong. In Britain, however, class not only exists but flourishes thanks to the Bolshies. In their Kafkaesque world of reverse snobbery, to have attended public school, to know one's ancestry beyond one's grandparents or to have inherited [or made, or indeed to aspire to make] money, is to be branded a villain. Witness the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, who has said Tories "seem to find sacking people an aphrodisiac". Or Ed Miliband protesting his ability to lead this country because "My family haven't sat under the same oak tree for the last five hundred years". Who but the Left cares where someone comes from? Surely it is where they are going that counts? But being incapable of promoting any sensible fiscal or social policies, the Left has focused on inciting class enmity. In their deranged imagination, it is "us", the victims, against "them" the City's rapacious "boys' clubs" [in the Shadow Chancellor's inelegant phrase]. It is a surreal vision of "cosy" corporate "cartels" hell-bent on turning a "fast buck" [to quote Ed Miliband], at the cost of the toiling masses. Such virulent class hatred, which is the bedrock of socialism, is the sure road to madness.
No Role, No Model
Back in India for Christmas, I was struck by a newspaper columnist's lament that some wretched local politician or the other was not behaving like a "role-model". When I was growing up, the concept, let alone the phrase, hadn't been invented. We grew up in a mercifully role-model free zone. The Bible says; "great men are not always wise", or as my father put it rather less elegantly, "Whenever you feel overawed by someone, imagine them straining on the pot". It was excellent advice which I have always followed. If our Prime Minister had a role he might have been a terrible model. Dr Manmohan Singh has ended up the most supine, spineless, ineffectual and incompetent of men, long past his sell-by date.
Ten Year Wittery
We are in Rajasthan, staying at one of those boutique hotels that are all the rage. "Boutique" in India means rock hard beds and a deranged flautist tormenting the residents as they gag over herbal concoctions in the evening. Mercifully, our hotel is boutique in the European sense of that much misused word. It has an excellent selection of [madly expensive] wines, no wandering minstrels and a solidly non-vegetarian menu. But, oh, the presence of children! Like termites they are everywhere and, worse, their parents allow them to run wild at all times of the day and night, screeching, fighting and generally drawing unwholesome attention to themselves. Yet, it is odd how Indians infantilise their children. As one family left after breakfast this morning, the father crooned to his 10-year old son, "Say goodbye to the nice waiter, son". "Goodbye, waiter". "Say goodbye to the parrots, son". "Goodbye parrots". "Say goodbye to the pretty table, son". "Dad, it's a stupid table".
Asterix and Obelix defended Gaul from the Romans but even they are unable to defend Gaul from itself. Gerard Depardieu, who played Obelix in the film versions of the classic comic strips, has abandoned France and skipped over the border to Belgium. Christian Clavier, who played Asterix, has darted across the channel to London. Now, it is true that whenever the going gets tough, tough Frenchmen go. However, it is not the Germans that threaten but their own President, Francois Hollande. Both men have fled to escape the ravages of Hollande's new 75% income tax levy [which comes on top of hikes in capital gains tax, wealth taxes, death duties and "exit" taxes on the sale of companies]. Earlier this year when France's richest man, Bernard Arnault, considered emigrating rather than putting up with such absurdities, France's Leftie newspaper, Liberation, ran the news under the banner headline; "Get lost, rich b*****d". He did. This time, a spokesman for Hollande's Socialist Party tried another tack. He issued a heartfelt appeal to the actor: "France without Depardieu is not the same, but Depardieu without France is not the same either". True; just richer. Asterix and Obelix have left the building.