[UPDATE: It looks like George Osborna has a habit of sitting in first class while paying only for standard class.]
Over in the UK, the conservative government has been pushing ‘austerity measures’, by which it means of course not austerity for their oligarchs but for ordinary people. The contempt that the global ruling classes feel for the public is usually discreetly hidden but, just as in the US, on occasion the mask drops, revealing the real face.
Take for example, the recent case in which Andrew Mitchell, a cabinet minister, when told by a policeman that he could not use a particular gate to exit and had to use another one, lambasted them and called them ‘plebs’, reminiscent of of George Orwell’s ‘proles’ in 1984. According to the police log of the incident,
A colleague of the female officer who wrote the incident report continues: “After several refusals Mr Mitchell got off his bike and walked to the pedestrian gate with me after I again offered to open that for him.
“There were several members of public present as is the norm opposite the pedestrian gate and as we neared it, Mr Mitchell said: ‘Best you learn your f—— place . . . you don’t run this f—— government . . . you’re f—— plebs.’ ”
The officer noted that members of the public looked “visibly shocked” by Mr Mitchell’s language and the Chief Whip was warned that he if he continued to swear he would be arrested under the Public Order Act.
The police record notes: “Mr Mitchell was then silent and left saying ‘you haven’t heard the last of this’ as he cycled off.”
First off, I have to congratulate the police officer for threatening to arrest a cabinet minister. We need more like her. After first denying the accusations and using the word ‘plebs’, Mitchell then admitted them and has just resigned.
Then in another bizarre incident, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, the equivalent of the US Treasury Secretary and the architect of the austerity measures, was observed to be sitting in the First Class compartment of a train although he had paid just the standard fare, and telling the ticket collector that he ‘could not possibly sit in the standard class’. The ticket collector, to his credit and like the police officer, refused to bend the rules for the big shot.
Of course one can sympathize with Osborne’s plight. Imagine the horror if one of his friends from his exclusive clubs observed him sitting with the plebs. How could he possibly explain away the ignominy? Unfortunately for him, however, a reporter observed the event and sent out a steady stream to Tweets in real time as it developed so that the minister was met with a barrage of reporters when he exited the train. He refused to comment and the incident is now being referred to as ‘The Great Train Snobbery”.
As one other passenger who observed the incident said, “It’s one rule for them and one rule for us.”
That’s about right. Get with the program, you plebs, and stop whining about your betters.