Insights from the UK and beyond
Does class matter in politics?
Three big speeches have been delivered at the Conservative Party conference so far — by party leader David Cameron, the mayor of London and national bumbler, Boris Johnson, and the party’s spokesman on the economy, George Osborne.
What do all three men have in common apart from their membership of the Conservative Party? They were all educated at elite public schools (Johnson and Cameron at Eton and Osborne at St Paul’s) and all went to Oxford, where they were members of the same dining and social set, the secretive and selective Bullingdon Club.
They have all tried to play down their wealth and upbringing — Johnson has even made an appearance on Britain’s favourite soap opera EastEnders — but there is no erasing the fact that Osborne is an Irish baronet, Cameron is a direct descendant of King William IV and Johnson also has a sprinkling of royal ancestry, even if he has described himself as a “one-man melting pot”.
Opponents have pointed to the wealth and clique of the Conservative leadership to suggest the party is out of touch with ordinary, working-class Britain and unfit to govern. What do you think? Does class really matter when it comes to running the country?