The British have become the coarsest and most ill-mannered people of just about anywhere, and certainly of Europe.
Yet it is an aspect of their hubristic self-indulgence and self-absorption that they would be astonished — indeed, they would not believe you — if you told them how truly despised they are, for this and many other reasons, by so many people around the world. Dalrymple is one of the few British writers who has even noticed this, let alone pointed it out.
In Britain, gracelessness, he writes,
has become, by an ideological inversion, a manifestation of virtue. Egalitarians demand equalisation of manners.
He notices that egalitarians are
as attached as everyone else to their own material possessions and have no real intention of forgoing them. The struggle for equality—of the actual rather than the formal kind—has therefore to be transferred to fields in which it will cost the egalitarian nothing. What better way to prove your credentials than by adopting the supposedly free-and-easy, utterly informal manners of those at the bottom? Such informality demonstrates another quality beloved of intellectuals: superiority to the dictates of convention.