The Class Contradictions of Polly

Polly is whining again about the verbal kicking she gets after almost every column:

…my most constant hate-swipes on Comment is Free and in rightwing political blogs is for being middle class.

Guido frequently questions her judgment, but he has never accused her of being middle-class, for the simple reason she is not. Mary Louisa Toynbee is in fact part of the rarefied metropolitan media elite, she has a comfortable six-figure income and a villa in Italy to go with the London townhouse and house in the country. She is not middle-class by any stretch of the imagination.

Her income is not middle-class, it puts her in the top 1% of earners.

The great grand-daughter of the Earl of Carlisle was privately educated (Badminton), went to Oxford (St Annes) and on to the BBC. A classic metropolitan elite career path. Toynbee is the daughter of the literary critic Philip Toynbee and grand-daughter of the famous historian Arnold J. Toynbee, his uncle was the philanthropist and economic historian Arnold Toynbee after whom Toynbee Hall is named. She was born into three generations of metropolitan elitists.

She is perfectly entitled to point to the toffs on the Tory front-bench, but Guido is not going to let her pretend to be middle-class. She is the enemy of the aspirational middle-classes, the high priestess advocate of taxing them to pay for her social democratic utopia.

N.B. See also this for an example of Polly’s consistency, prescience and judgement over Gordon Brown. This “rightwing blog” must have got under her skin…


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