Category Archives: Leftist personal finance

Attire that connotes the plebeian but denotes anything but

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 22.35.33The mandarin and the masses

A smug, moneyed, adolescent, Leftist poseur

Motorbike, leather jacket, T-shirt, jeans connote proletarian mass but denote Marxist mandarin

Yanis Veroufakis, the Greek finance minister, has been described as the pop star of the left. This is, as Dalrymple points out,

hardly a term of approbation, rather the reverse.

He has a powerful motorcycle, and likes to dress in a leather jacket, T-shirt and jeans. He is going quite bald. Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 22.49.25His facial expression

is that of considerable self-satisfaction. He no doubt thinks of himself as deeply unconventional, but in a world of six billion people it is hard to escape convention, and in any case it is not a worthy object.

In fact

he is that most conventional of figures, the adolescent who cannot bear to be fully adult, who wants to be 18-20 forever. In a few years’ time we shall see the first 80-year old adolescents.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 22.51.21While Veroufakis’ clothes have proletarian connotations,

their denotation is anything but. You can see that his black leather jacket must have been very expensive indeed, and his motorbike is not the kind that students ride, but a top-of-the-range swank model [a Yamaha XJR1300].

Veroufakis married into money and a high standard of living, that of the upper 0.1 per cent of the population, and Dalrymple guesses that

he has no great vocation for giving up his privileges for the benefit of the people.

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 22.09.37

Metamorphosis

Screen Shot 2014-02-22 at 01.43.07From Viscount Stansgate to Tony Benn (via the pupal stage of Anthony Wedgwood-Benn)

Benn, writes Dalrymple, was an early avatar of the rejection of the traditions of British high culture, this rejection being considered by the weak-minded to be a meritorious political act, a sign of solidarity with those whom history had oppressed and exploited.

He was obliged to forgo his hereditary peerage to continue to sit in the House of Commons, but the plebeian contraction of his family name was his own invention.

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 10.02.10Left-wing in everything but his finances

Benn sent his children in well-publicised fashion to the local state school, omitting to mention the extensive private tutoring they received.

In this way Benn came up with the perfect solution to the moral dilemma facing every Left-leaning parent of the upper and middle classes (the Jeremy Cardhouse incarnation Michael Gove, for instance, or Harriet Harman):

The moral high ground of having self-denyingly rejected private education, while simultaneously having avoided the disastrously low educational standards in the state system that have left at least a quarter of the British population virtually illiterate.