2 August 2016

I have never felt that Britain was my country. When I was a child, growing up in the Cotswold countryside, everything was owned or run by Earl Bathurst, Colonel Bowley, whose family built the Bowley almshouses in Watermoor, where my primary school was located, or some other aristocratic family. Earl Bathurst, also called Lord Apsley, owned 15,500 acres of countryside surrounding Cirencester and the home park of the family seat, Cirencester House, cut a 90 degree slice from the town centre making it impossible to cross the west side of the town as the house was only one street from the central market place and its attached park was ten miles long. The Bathursts appeared to control everything; no-one I knew, my parents, my friends’ parents, had any say over how Cirencester was run. All my aunts and uncles, on both sides of my family, had spent the early part of their lives in service, working as servants in the mansions and large country houses of the West of England. They knew whose country it was; and it wasn’t theirs. I felt no connection to it at all. It was nothing to do with me.

Things were not much different in London: back then, when old-Etonian Harold Macmillan was elected prime minister he famously filled 35 government posts with members of his own family, seven of them sitting in Cabinet (six of them Old Etonians). It was not until I first went to New York, in 1967, that I realised what was wrong. I felt that an enormous weight had been taken from my shoulders. My accent counted for nothing, I felt equal to everyone I met; no-one asked which school I had gone to. No-one commented “Ah, Gloucestershire. Jolly good hunting country,” which happened to me on more than one occasion in London. It was wonderful to feel free; free of the Daily Mail-reading middle-class who think they have the divine right to dictate how everyone should live; free of the brain-washed yobs who swallow the Sun’s lies whole; free of the Hooray Henrys, free of the toffs, free of Britain.

Nothing has changed in Britain. The class system will survive as long as Britain has a monarchy; by definition. The “Nasty Party” as Theresa May accurately called it back in 2002 still treats government as its own plaything, and the recent squabble between a bunch of privileged, right-wing, public school twerps has now accidentally, almost casually, destroyed the future for young people in Britain. I am not going to make the best if it, or try to deal with the situation. They fucked it up. It is their country, not mine. Let them fix it. Let them sail around the world in their nuclear submarines waving their stupid little flag which – I hope for the Scots’ sake – will no longer feature the cross of St. Andrew. I would like to see every talented young person abandon Britain, leaving it to sink into the mediocrity and obscurity it so richly deserves.

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