There is a revealing recent article in the FT where it is suggested that Clare Foges, who was a speech writer for former UK prime minister David Cameron, argued that to help people climb the ladder we should teach them to “emulate the ease and studied informality of the privileged”.
Ms Foges has described how, working with Mr Cameron, she learnt that “lightness” was an essential quality: “Far better to be jolly and vague than earnest and right — marking you out as someone who doesn’t really get it”. If running the country isn’t a job worth taking seriously, it’s not clear what is. Indeed, if the past decade’s worth of financial and political crises have taught us anything, it is surely that we could use more leaders in politics and business who doubt themselves, who seek the opinions of others and who lie awake worrying about the consequences of their actions.
This cogent comment is worth highlighting, especially as it appeared in the FT! Lightness is a fault that, in my view, permeates much of the current Tory Party and the reason so many ordinary people detest them.
I’m reminded of Cameron, when leader of the opposition, travelling to Parliament on a bike. Only for it to be later revealed that his briefcase and shoes followed later in a car. For lightness we could actually substitute vacuous and insubstantial.
Old fashioned Tories had at least fought in a war and so encountered people other than their ‘own sort’ and had to get on with them.
Now we have Tories who, with very few exceptions, have never, themselves, known financial hardship and whose (mental) lightness is such that they have no empathy.
Professor Danny Dorling thinks that the Public Schools were designed to train the rulers of the empire.
As we now have, mostly, realised how the empire was in fact ruled, perhaps we should not be surprised that the same general insouciance is exhibited when such people rule at home?