Sunday, 23 March 2008

The Loathsome Peasant

My first candidate for reintroduction is the character of ‘The Loathsome Peasant.’ I noticed the return of this character, dragged back from the mid Eighteenth Century, when I lived in Yorkshire, in a village impoverished almost beyond retrieve. Surrounding this character was a motley crowd of influential others. Step forward: The Countryside Alliance, The (pro) Hunting Lobby, The (anti) Hunting Lobby, The Old Aristocracy, or what remains of them, and The New Aristocracy (‘media types,’ newspaper owners, their editors, some of their journalists, and most of the BBC).

‘The Loathsome Peasant,’ as constructed by the NAs, in particular, and their various stooges, is working class, or possibly lower middle class, lives in the country and isn’t very cultured. They might also live in a small town. They’re always racist, even if they’re black, which of course they never are because only white people live in the country. They’re probably not that well educated because the schools aren’t much good. The area is poor and these areas are concentrated in – well everywhere that isn’t a large thriving metropolitan centre and isn’t London or The South, or rather the ‘Home Counties’ with some other bits added on. In other words this character is probably the very same white working class who’s ‘disappeared.’ While the NAs would cheerfully execute the lot of them, which could be why they’ve disappeared, what really confuses the issue is that all those influential others, above named, also despise them. You see, they’re not Proper Peasants. They’re just a bit common.

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