From the tone of coverage and discourse on social media about the Downing Street flat’s controversially-financed redecoration, you would imagine that there was a snobby reaction to the “John Lewis furniture nightmare” on the part of Carrie and Boris bordering on allergic when they moved in. This morning’s coordinated tweets from Labour MPs give a flavour of that view:
Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds consider John Lewis furniture a “nightmare”.— Nadia Whittome MP (@NadiaWhittomeMP) April 27, 2021
Maybe they should ask the 14 million people living in poverty, or the 280,000 people who are homeless, what they have nightmares about.
I bet John Lewis sofas wouldn't feature.
Many of the customers of John Lewis don’t agree they live in a “John Lewis nightmare” what unctuous snobbery oozing from No10!— Barry Sheerman MP (@BarrySheerman) April 27, 2021
Most revealing about Johnson & his Downing St refurb - he wanted rid of Theresa May’s “John Lewis nightmare”. Most people consider John Lewis reliable, good value & upmarket. One of Britain’s favourite brands. #TorySleaze— Ben Bradshaw (@BenPBradshaw) April 25, 2021
The commentariat hasn’t been shy of misattributing the phrase either:
Can't quite get my head around Carrie Symonds reportedly looking down on 'John Lewis furniture'. I think we had our wedding list there. For all but the tiniest section of the population, John Lewis is posh.— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) April 27, 2021
One of the most offensive details of the PM/Carrie Symonds reno scandal is that they had the flat redone because it was a “John Lewis nightmare”. That nightmare is aspirational and out of reach for very many people in this country. And nobody is paying for their gaffs— Hannah Fearn (@hannahfearn) April 27, 2021
Somewhat lost in this saga is that the phrase “John Lewis furniture nightmare of the May years” actually originated months ago from the elegant hand of Anne McElvoy in a Tatler article, not the mouth of Carrie Symonds. The actual evidence is that far from despising the middle-classes’ go-to shop, Carrie is in fact one of their most avid customers. On the very day she moved into Downing Street the Daily Mail had photographs (above) of a large delivery of boxes arriving from John Lewis. That’s a lot of boxes from a store she is supposed to detest…