David Davis: Cabinet look like toffs


4:35 pm - March 29th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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David Davis MP today said what everyone else had been thinking: freely admitting that the front bench was unable to connect with working class voters and ‘looked like toffs’.

He also said the government’s campaign of austerity was hurting working people and made them more resentful of government policies.

He made the comments to BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme.

He said:

With so much austerity and so much pressure, a lot of the working class and lower middle class feel they’ve been pushed off the escalator.

They think we’re better off. They think we’re toffs. The truth of the matter is they look at the front bench and they see them all very dressed, well turned out, well fed, and perhaps feel they’re in a different world to them. That’s why the phrase ‘we are all in this together’ is very important but at the moment its not working.

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Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


The whole parliament looks like toffs to me.
Heck, most of Britain looks like toffs to anyone from another country.

If somebody paid my Council Tax, TV licence, energy bills, transport costs, telephone and broadband, maintained my house (and that of my ducks) paid me £400 a month to feed myself and topped it off with £60K pa pocket money, I might just be encouraged to develop the sort of foppish sneer much in evidence in Parliament.
Fortunately, a mild winter meant we still have chairs to sit on and we can thank the Saints Aldi and Lidl for ensuring our bottoms are still able to do so.

Perhaps the front benches could wear dungarees, string vests and ‘Billy Bob’ teeth, chew tobacco and spit copiously and frequently, the Speaker could attend with his ‘coon hound and Ellie May in hot pants.

Lobbyists hold the power, the electorate needs to find the money to pay them to bribe our politicians to do the job we already pay them to do.

It has a sort of Kafkaesque beauty to it.

“The whole parliament looks like toffs to me”

Toffs ! Not the word that I would use to describe them.

“We’re all in it together” doesn’t work because it isn’t, and never has been, true.

Try the Daily Mail from 23 May 2010:

The coalition of millionaires: 23 of the 29 member of the new cabinet are worth more than £1m… and the Lib Dems are just as wealthy as the Tories
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1280554/The-coalition-millionaires-23-29-member-new-cabinet-worth-1m–Lib-Dems-just-wealthy-Tories.html

“We’re all in it together” doesn’t work, and never has worked, simply because it just isn’t true.

From a Press Association news report a fortnight ago:

Homecare for elderly ‘disgraceful’, report finds

Standard of care provided to elderly in their homes has been described as disgraceful in report by consumer group Which? Guardian: 16 March 2012
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/mar/16/home-care-elderly-disgraceful-which-report

David Rogers, chairman of the Local Government Association’s wellbeing board, said there was too little money in the system “and without fundamental reform the situation is only going to get worse”.

Look like Toffs, Feel like Toffs, Smell like Toffs, are Toffs.

Unfortunately David Davis is only only the first stage of this, and has not confessed that they are.

If you link definition of toff as being educated at Oxbridge, then 70% are toffs. If you take it as being hereditary peer only Thomas Galloway Dunlop du Roy de Blicquy Galbraith is a toff. If you require both, then no one is technically a toff.

Sutton report, link below

http://uk.search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A7x9QV5ywHRP7DkAAipLBQx.;_ylu=X3oDMTBybWpoN25zBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMgRjb2xvA2lyZAR2dGlkAw–/SIG=151018ekf/EXP=1333080306/**http%3a//www.suttontrust.com/research/the-educational-backgrounds-of-government-ministers-in-2010/Ministerseducationalbackgrounds2010-final.pdf

Some care is needed about labelling all Oxbridge graduates “toffs” regardless.

Try Labour PMs: Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson and Tony Blair were Oxbridge graduates and so were many Labour frontbenchers such as Hugh Dalton, Douglas Jay, Hugh Gaitskell, Richard Crossman, Tony Benn, Roy Jenkins, Denis Healey, Barbara Castle, Tony Crosland, Dick Taverne, William Rodgers, Michael Foot, Shirley Williams, David Owen , Peter Mandelson etc.

I’m not an Oxbridge graduate. My son is but then his grandfathers were an accounting clerk with no qualifications who left school at 14 and a railway guard. How come? My son went to that maintained selective school down the road which scores better average A-level results than Eton. The grammar schools were and are an important vehicle for social mobility.

I was picking up the Oxbridge requirement from a Wikipedia which quoted the etymology of the word. In fact that definition required both a title and an Oxbridge educaiton.

Thomas Galloway Dunlop du Roy de Blicquy Galbraith went to UEA. I’ve just noticed that George Young would have been at Oxford when he had inherited his Baronacy, so he is a toff using this definition.

The Sutton report posted show quite a remarkeable degree of privilege and lack of wordliness in the current government.

Mind you, the calibre of non-Oxbridge cabinet members is interesting: Andrew Lansley, Caroline Spelman, Eric Pickles, Ian Duncan Smith, Sayeeda Warsi… no toffs there… (Lansley went to Exeter, popular with Oxbridge rejects)

It’s instructive to compare front line politicians who made it without having been to Oxbridge, like Ernest Bevin, Aneurin Bevan, John Stonehouse, Alan Milburn, Norman Tebbit, Lord Young, John Major . . .

Perhaps contrary to expectations, John Prescott went to Ruskin College, Oxford.

12. Leon Wolfeson

@6 – What? I have to disagree – They really ARE all in it together!

13. Gloy Plopwell

A really inteligent and intelectual artickle. I love your blog. Lib Dems will be in government ourselves next time, with an overall majority.

The Tories are toffs.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. sunny hundal

    David Davis MP: "They think we’re toffs. They look at the front bench and… feel they’re in a different world to them" http://t.co/YEtX38sK

  2. Michael Dugher

    RT @sunny_hundal: Audio: Conservative MP David Davis admits what everyone's been saying: 'Cabinet look like toffs' http://t.co/QTMlrMev

  3. Pia Christina Jensen

    RT @sunny_hundal: Audio: Conservative MP David Davis admits what everyone's been saying: 'Cabinet look like toffs' http://t.co/QTMlrMev

  4. Meeting Joe Strummer

    Straight from the horse's mouth and all that http://t.co/BzNzwmA8

  5. Steve North

    Straight from the horse's mouth and all that http://t.co/CrRTEN5g

  6. thabet

    David Davis MP: "They think we’re toffs. They look at the front bench and… feel they’re in a different world to them" http://t.co/YEtX38sK

  7. colincurryer

    Straight from the horse's mouth and all that http://t.co/CrRTEN5g

  8. Zoroaster

    David Davis: Cabinet look like toffs | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/DCnmlJbY via @libcon

  9. David Davis: Cabinet look like toffs | marylanes19

    [...] Source: http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/03/29/listen-david-davis-says-cabinet-look-like-toffs/ [...]

  10. marina crampton-'

    David Davis: Cabinet look like toffs | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/xbms0dWc via @libcon—-HMMMM???

  11. David Cameron may be a posh boy, but he’s the best the Conservatives can do | Tim Bale | Dani News

    [...] still hoping for preferment – but she is not alone, as similar (though less highly-coloured) remarks by David Davis, make clear. As the economy bumps along the bottom, the proverbial middle continues to feel [...]

  12. David Cameron may be a posh boy, but he’s the best the Conservatives can do | Tim Bale | Old News

    [...] still hoping for preferment – but she is not alone, as similar (though less highly-coloured) remarks by David Davis, make clear. As the economy bumps along the bottom, the proverbial middle continues to feel [...]

  13. Peter Skevington

    David Davis: Cabinet look like toffs | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Bz0cWsMa via @libcon





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