The great Chav debate waxes ever more furiously. Its most recent escalation has been provoked by Tom Hampson, editorial director of the Fabian Society, in a leader for the Fabian Review that has not yet officially been published. Mr Hampson is deeply exercised about the use of the term "chav" and wants it banned (what else?).
"You cannot consider yourself of the left and use the word," declares Hampson. Not a problem in my case, Tom. "It is deeply offensive to a largely voiceless group," he insists. This suggests a lack of empirical evidence to support his case: whatever else chavs may be, they are certainly not voiceless. "It is distancing," he bleats on, "turning the 'chav' into the kind of feral beast that exists only in tabloid headlines." Poor Mr Hampson - he obviously does not get out much.
That does not prevent him indulging in some insightful social analysis: "The middle classes have always used language to distinguish themselves from those a few rungs below them on the ladder - we all know their old serviette/napkin, lounge/living room, settee/sofa tricks." Hah! Got your number, Ms Mitford! (How she would have adored being described as "middle-class".) Clearly, you have to get up pretty early in the morning to put one over on Mr Hampson in the U/Non-U class struggle. With a bolshie attitude like that, however, he is unlikely to accumulate desirable invitations (he would probably call them "invites") on his chimneypiece.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Has this chap written any books I can order?
Chavs become protected species in new PC witch-hunt by Gerald Warner