Affirmative action for the posh

Rich pop star flames shadow culture minister for saying there should be more diversity in the arts. Sounds promising…

James Blunt, the singer, has issued a robust response to an MP who criticised his privileged background, saying his “populist, envy-based, vote-hunting” ideas were making the country worse.

Blunt told Chris Bryant, the shadow culture minister, he was teaching the “politics of jealousy”, after the MP spoke out to condemn a lack of diversity in the arts.

Mr Bryant told the Guardian one of his priorities if he became a minister would be to encourage fairer funding, encouraging organisations to hire from a wider variety of backgrounds rather than just “arts graduates from Cambridge”.

“I am delighted that Eddie Redmayne won [a Golden Globe for best actor], but we can’t just have a culture dominated by Eddie Redmayne and James Blunt and their ilk,” he said.

Yes we can! Because they’re the best. Everybody knows that the way this works is 100% fair because it’s 100% based on merit and talent and quality and gooditude. If you mess with it in the name of “a wider variety of backgrounds” you’ll just end up with a bucket of shit, because talent invariably rises to the top on its own, no matter what.

I kid.

Excerpts from James Blunt’s elegant letter to Chris Bryant:

Dear Chris Bryant MP,

You classist gimp. I happened to go to a boarding school. No one helped me at boarding school to get into the music business.

Every step of the way, my background has been AGAINST me succeeding in the music business. And when I have managed to break through, I was STILL scoffed at for being too posh for the industry.

And then you come along, looking for votes, telling working class people that posh people like me don’t deserve it, and that we must redress the balance. But it is your populist, envy-based, vote-hunting ideas which make our country crap, far more than me and my shit songs, and my plummy accent.

I got signed in America, where they don’t give a stuff about, or even understand what you mean by me and “my ilk”, you prejudiced wazzock, and I worked my arse off. What you teach is the politics of jealousy. Rather than celebrating success and figuring out how we can all exploit it further as the Americans do, you instead talk about how we can hobble that success and “level the playing field”. Perhaps what you’ve failed to realise is that the only head-start my school gave me in the music business, where the VAST majority of people are NOT from boarding school, is to tell me that I should aim high. Perhaps it protected me from your kind of narrow-minded, self-defeating, lead-us-to-a-dead-end, remove-the-‘G’-from-‘GB’ thinking, which is to look at others’ success and say, “it’s not fair.”

Up yours,

James Cucking Funt

So really what should be happening is that the music industry should be energetically recruiting talent from the posher public schools.


  1. Maureen Brian says

    As someone said immediately this came out, “Where are today’s Albert Finney and Glenda Jackson?”

    Says it all, really.

  2. karmacat says

    It is interesting that certain people when they hear there should be more diversity they take it personally. I think they believe everything is a zero sum game. There is room in the world for a lot of different musicians. But there is less opportunity in the U.S. to break into the music scene

  3. says

    having noticed and been concerned by this recent-ish trend for posh chaps and chapesses in the popular arts, I have to admit to being more concerned that our culture minister’s most recent choice as an example is James Blunt.

    Not that the ’90s weren’t fun or anything.

  4. resident_alien says

    Yes,the privileged folk in Britain can get very “Princess on a Pea” about anyone criticizing them.
    I was very disappointed in Tom Hiddleston , whom I had thought to be pretty much a perfect human being, when he complained to the papers about “negative stereotypes” regarding posh folk , when he himself has indulged in kink-shaming and ablism/sanism in interviews. I can see that he doesn’t enjoy being stereotyped , but at least the negative stereotypes levelled against people like him (straight white cis educated male with money) aren’t going to cost him his freedom, his health, custody of his (future?) children or indeed his life. For a person in the UK who is kinky or mentally ill or both, those are real concerns.

    Also, I think a lot of the anger James Blunt et al display has to do with fantasies about self-sufficiency, not needing anybody’s help, yada, yada, bootstrap-bullshit.
    They hate to think that they aren’t real-life version of Ayn Rand characters.Apparently, even Ayn Rand thought she was like the caricatures she wrote about…

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