Howard Davies, man of the people

By Felix Salmon
January 27, 2010
Howard Davies has taken an early lead in the Great Davos Narcissism Stakes, with this classic parenthetical:

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Howard Davies has taken an early lead in the Great Davos Narcissism Stakes, with this classic parenthetical:

As you climb the mountain to Davos (the train via Landquart is my demotic route of choice – eschewing the expensive corporate Audis) you tend to think you know what the Forum’s financial talking points will be.

This ranks up there with the Hollywood stars who congratulate themselves on helping to save the planet by flying commercial: taking the efficient and comfortable Swiss railway to Davos is not much of a hardship. What’s more, if you think that Davies is going to admit that he was thinking wrong about what the Forum’s financial talking points would be, think again.

It’s also the language which gives Davies away here: not just the use of the second person, but also the word “demotic”, which doesn’t mean what Davies thinks it means. If Davies had tried asking directions to Landquart in schoolboy German, and got an earful of incomprehensible Alpine Schweizerdeutsch in response, that would have been demotic. But I suspect he’s not enough of a man of the people to actually attempt talking to them: being in the same train as them is probably as far as he can bring himself to go.

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