It's lucky we have The Guardian to get to the nub of things for us with its unique blend of snobbery, bitterness, jealousy and thwarted ambition, cobbled together with the tawdry and risible clichés its readers have thrilled to for years.
Dave and Polly begin with a trip to the 20th floor of Canary Wharf, only to find it “marbled”. Is it really, Dave? Is it, Polly? Or do you just need to write “marbled” to ram home your clunky, 1970s them-and-us dichotomy? Because two sentences later the same exact spot is suddenly “a gilded new town in the sky”. Ooh, gilded and marbled. How rich these people must be.
Polly and Dave chat for a while to some bankers and lawyers (hawk, spit) and discover that the fiends “utterly misjudged the magnitude of their privilege” and “put themselves inside a golden enclave”. Marbled, gilded, and golden. Dave and Polly are good. They should do bathrooms.
“They could scarcely deny they had money,” write Dave and Polly, as if any decent human being would. And then they tell us that they, Dave and Polly, are not so much angry as disappointed: “What we had hoped for was more awareness, some recognition that their position needed explaining and even justification.” You really hoped for that, Polly? Really, Dave? Then you're even stupider than you come across on paper.
And they get stupider. And more bitter. And more teacherly and smug. “As a group [the rich people] were less intelligent,” they crow, “less intellectually inquisitive, less knowledgeable and, despite their good schools, less broadly educated than high-flyers in other professions.” But we knew that. City lawyers and bankers have always been thick. They work inhuman hours at pointless jobs for their capitalist slave-masters and die young without really knowing their wives, their children or themselves. It's a horrible life. And they are given a lot of money to make up for it. What are you telling us, Polly? That they'd be happier living naked on a heath and eating dormice? We know that. They know that. Nobody cares. Shut up.
Do go and read the rest, because it's quite, quite delightful. As the poor little Greek boy exhorts...
Arise, Giles Coren; honorary swearblogger and Polly-Basher First Class.
Quite so. In fact, so beautiful is it that, despite the lack of actual swearing, I feel that the piece is so good—and Polly is such an odious and thus deserving target—that it deserves an award.
A few years ago, I inaugurated such an award, and the last one was awarded over a year ago...
The Bloody Devil Award is for people who fisk objects of public derision but who also pepper the post with gratuitous but intensely satisfying insults.
So yes: arise Giles Coren, honorary swearblogger, Polly-Basher First Class and winner of Bloody Devil #17...
UPDATE: Iain Dale picks up on this, and maintains that, personally, Polly isn't too bad.
I've enjoyed a few jousts with Polly in my time, and most of you will be relived to hear that I can think of nothing I have ever agreed with her about. Personally I like her.
So, I left this comment over there (initially answering this comment).
"Also: her analysis of the state sees it as a camel train moving forward where the object is to stop people falling behind, not necessarily have everyone overtaking the leader.
Even the most swivel-eyed, small state, Freidman loons among you can see some merit in that view?"
Actually, to clarify (and I've heard her outline this in person), the object is to stop those who are behind falling so far back that the train splits into two: at this point, Polly maintains, you have a broken society.
The trouble is that Polly's solution is to slow down those at the front, not to speed up those at the back. And were one to take Polly's solution on board, of course, the train would take far longer to reach its objective (whatever that objective may be).
I too have met Polly, on a number of occasions (she didn't know who I was, of course), and I find her entirely charmless. Further, since I know the ideas that she holds, I can no more personally like her than I could like Stalin; she is a terrible and, yes, evil woman, for she advocates nothing less than the enslavement of all people by the state (apart from those, like her, who are both rich enough to buy their way out and influential enough to be allowed to do so).
I have said it before and I'll say it again: beware those who advocate a large state because they are always those who expect to be in charge of it.
I think that's clear enough...