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BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?

Blissfully Ignorant 09 Apr 05 - 01:49 PM
Ebbie 09 Apr 05 - 01:57 PM
John MacKenzie 09 Apr 05 - 02:39 PM
GUEST 09 Apr 05 - 02:41 PM
John MacKenzie 09 Apr 05 - 02:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Apr 05 - 03:13 PM
HuwG 09 Apr 05 - 03:37 PM
heric 09 Apr 05 - 03:47 PM
jimmyt 09 Apr 05 - 04:01 PM
GUEST 09 Apr 05 - 05:32 PM
heric 09 Apr 05 - 05:48 PM
PoppaGator 09 Apr 05 - 06:00 PM
jimmyt 09 Apr 05 - 06:06 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Apr 05 - 06:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Apr 05 - 06:16 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Apr 05 - 06:24 PM
dianavan 09 Apr 05 - 06:51 PM
Ebbie 09 Apr 05 - 09:53 PM
jimmyt 09 Apr 05 - 10:42 PM
Ebbie 10 Apr 05 - 03:35 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Apr 05 - 05:33 AM
John MacKenzie 10 Apr 05 - 06:09 AM
GUEST 10 Apr 05 - 06:11 AM
John MacKenzie 10 Apr 05 - 06:54 AM
jacqui.c 10 Apr 05 - 07:27 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Apr 05 - 08:11 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Apr 05 - 08:12 AM
Murray MacLeod 10 Apr 05 - 10:04 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Apr 05 - 10:34 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Apr 05 - 10:40 AM
heric 10 Apr 05 - 11:20 AM
Long Firm Freddie 10 Apr 05 - 12:04 PM
John MacKenzie 10 Apr 05 - 12:59 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Apr 05 - 02:20 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Apr 05 - 02:23 PM
jacqui.c 10 Apr 05 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,Sidewinder 10 Apr 05 - 10:31 PM
Terry K 11 Apr 05 - 02:48 AM
Piers 11 Apr 05 - 03:44 AM
s&r 11 Apr 05 - 04:11 AM
Piers 11 Apr 05 - 05:37 AM
s&r 11 Apr 05 - 05:39 AM
HuwG 11 Apr 05 - 09:08 AM
Leadfingers 11 Apr 05 - 12:36 PM
JohnInKansas 11 Apr 05 - 01:08 PM
Ebbie 11 Apr 05 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,Sidewinder. 11 Apr 05 - 10:40 PM
Bonecruncher 12 Apr 05 - 12:28 AM
GUEST,Love You All 12 Apr 05 - 01:43 AM
GUEST,Bill the Collie 12 Apr 05 - 01:44 AM

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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the CLass system in UK?
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 01:49 PM

I find it upsetting to read a newspaper...

A lot of people here consider themselves, or are considered by others, to belong to a particular 'class'....whether this has any practical consequences is debatable. The upper classes, certainly, seem to be increasingly inneffective, having lost a lot of their hereditary powers. Any remaining influence they have seems to be confined to within their own social circles. The middle classes (a relatively recent invention) are busy tring to project an image of libertarianism whilst secretly shitting themselves when a black man walks towards them in the street, and worrying that sending their kids to private school might not give them an advantage over the working class, who are becoming more affluent. This, of course, leaves room at the bottom for a new working class for everyone to shit upon... the terminally unemployed, the homeless, the asylum seekers.....hell, anyone who the rest of society feels like using as a scapegoat, really...


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the CLass system in UK?
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 01:57 PM

Now that, McGrath, I hope is tongue in cheek! I once read how the differing fashions regarding fork tines came about- at one time it was fashionable for the Brits to use the fork tines down, and then the upper class changed it to tines up and then they changed it to tines down, where it has remained, and the hoi polloi faithfully (slavishly?) followed. Sounds to me a bit like copying the proverbial lisp of a former monarch.

I'm going to look it up again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the CLass system in UK?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 02:39 PM

Sign of the tines Ebbie.
G


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the CLass system in UK?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 02:41 PM

In France do they have 'frog on the tines'? (s'all mine s'all mine.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the CLass system in UK?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 02:55 PM

Grenouille a la Fourchette, sounds tasty.
Nice pun Guest ;~)
G


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the CLass system in UK?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 03:13 PM

The tines they are a-changing.

What is strange is that it isn't a matter of "tines up bad, tines down good", or the other way round. It's "tines up in the left hand, bad, tines up in the right hand, good". (Or the other way round if you are left-handed.) Now that is peculiar.

And it's got nothing to do with class as such.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the CLass system in UK?
From: HuwG
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 03:37 PM

In World War II Britain, a GI gets on a crowded train. There are no vacant seats, but a woman has her poodle on one next to her.

"Pardon me, ma'am, but may I use that seat ?" says the yank.

"Certainly not !", she says. "Can't you see that it's taken by my darling Fifi ? How rude and uncouth you Americans are !"

The unfortunate GI goes from end to end of the train, checking every compartment, but every other seat is occupied. He goes back to the woman. "I beg your pardon ma'am, but I have several hours' journey to make to join my unit, there are no other seats free, and I am sure the dog hasn't paid for its ticket. May I use that seat ?"

"I have told you once, my Fifi is occupying it. I am surprised at your sheer effrontery."

The GI opens the window, throws the pampered dog through it and sits down. The woman turns to the rest of the compartment and demands that somebody shows the GI exactly what they think of him. A retired officer stands up, clears his throat and says, "Sir, I have noticed that you Americans do much that we find foreign to our ways. You drive, for example, on the wrong side of the road. You eat with the fork held in the wrong hand. And now Sir, you have just thrown the wrong bitch through the window."


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the CLass system in UK?
From: heric
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 03:47 PM

It's "tines up in the left hand, bad, tines up in the right hand, good"

It's been that way in NA all my life. Peculiar perhaps, but absolutely mandatory in all places and at all times, with the possible exception of truck stops, but I doubt even that. I'll be interested if Ebbie's research shows that any reversals occurred here as well, or when it started.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the CLass system in UK?
From: jimmyt
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 04:01 PM

I hate to belabor this cutlery business but ths folks I am referring to in UK have tines down, and not only that, but hold the knife with an almost pencil grasp while the fork is helf tines down in a palm grasp. It is really quite interesting to observe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the CLass system in UK?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 05:32 PM

The movement of the soup spoon is away from one.
Cutlery is generally used from the outside in.
The napkin is used across the lap and folded after use.
Wine is not tasted before being poured for the guests (it, and the cork may be inspected).
Salt is used with a salt spoon.
Food is served from the left, and the dishes removed from the right.
Side orders, french fries, large beef steaks, salad with everything, are frowned upon at the British table.

Lower classes don't follow this, but they do aspire to it. Middle classes adhere to it. Upper classes adhere to it but don't realise that the rulse exist - it's just what is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the CLass system in UK?
From: heric
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 05:48 PM

I've always wanted to watch Elizabeth II eat roasted chicken. A peculiar aspiration, I know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the CLass system in UK?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 06:00 PM

I have never given a thought to fork tines up or down, but plenty to the left-hand/right-hand issue.

The American table manners I was taught as a child dictated that you hold fork in left and knife in right ~ just as they are placed in the table setting ~ to cut your food, and then to put down the knife and transfer the fork over to the right hand to pick up the pieces and shovel them into your cakehole. Oh, and you're only supposed to cut one piece (of meat, or pancake, or whatever) at a time, so you are supposed to be constantly passing your fork back and forth from one hand to another.

I was successfully conditioned to use the prescribed hands for cutting and eating, but was never cured of my propensity to cut off multiple little bites to minimize the hand-switching. I am sometimes even so defiantly ill-mannered as to slice up an entire stack of flapjacks at once!

It was many years before I learned that Europeans endorsed the much more sensible system of keeping the fork in the left hand full-time, both for cutting and for eating. Makes much better sense; I use this method sometimes when no one's looking, and during the two weeks out of my entire lifetime that I spent in England and Ireland, I forked with my left hand exclusively the entire time.

I think I keep tines-down, unconsciously, most or all of the time. That's how you hold the fork to pin down whatever morsel you're cutting with the knife, right? I don't believe I ever turn the fork over for any reason when I'm not switching hands.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the CLass system in UK?
From: jimmyt
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 06:06 PM

I took you for a southpaw forker Poppagator! grin


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the CLass system in UK?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 06:07 PM

yeh I had this thing I wanted to shave Jane Glover (the conductor's) legs - preferably while she was conducting Mozart....

chicken, Mozart,...... I think its called expecting too much of life


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 06:16 PM

Spooning the soup away from you is different,because it's got a reason - to reduce the risk of slopping it on to your lap.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 06:24 PM

Penholder grip for knife is anathema - it is the working class trying to be genteel, and even the middle classes don't do it.

Oh, and "the hoi polloi" is also unacceptable. In the first place it isn't really "hoi" but a rough breathing before "oi". In the second place, and more importantly, "hoi" means "the", so saying "the hoi polloi" shows you did not learn classical greek at school.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: dianavan
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 06:51 PM

This thread is creating ANGST!

I know a family of thirteen who have what I would call terrible table manners (and I'm from a lower, working-class family).

They, however, had absolutely the best education in the arts and languages. Their terrible manners came from the fact that there were so many kids that dinner was survival of the fittest. The parents were middle class but they were from 'old money' and in every other way were genteel and smoothly polished. Seems to me that nowadays you can be a little of every class, depending on which social skill you're looking at.

Regarding class distinction: There are many theories - One theory holds that class is a a social ladder. It seems that the lower classes can see the lives of those on the higher rungs but that those higher on the ladder cannot see the people below them.

Seems a bit simplistic but there might be some general truth there.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 09:53 PM

"In the first place it isn't really "hoi" but a rough breathing before "oi". In the second place, and more importantly, "hoi" means "the", so saying "the hoi polloi" shows you did not learn classical greek at school. " Richard Bridge

In future I will spell it 'Oi polloi", so that that readers will understand that I am indicating "rough breathing. *G*

And you are right. I definitely did not learn classical greek (Shouldn't that be a capital?) in school. I barely learnt English. (or english, as the case may be.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: jimmyt
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 10:42 PM

Ebbie, I understand you very well!


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: Ebbie
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 03:35 AM

I hope that's not bad?


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 05:33 AM

Yes. You need to get the curl in the apostrophe the right way round to indicate the rough breathing. My Greek (sic, no mis-type this time) was always awful - my worst subject, but I remember that much.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 06:09 AM

If you drop the aspirate it will work.

Cockney goes into the doctor's surgery and says, "'Ere Doc I got an 'orrible 'eadache" The doctor said "Have you tried taking a couple of aspirates"

Giok ¦¬]


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 06:11 AM

Well, the class system keeps these people in a job...


All about posh people

LFF


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 06:54 AM

Well among those listed with birthdays this week there are 2 actors a circus proprietor, an MP a PR practitioner, and a person of Pakistani descent who was educated at a secondary modern, and a Polytechnic. Not what I'd define as 'posh people' really. Just done well for themselves, as any of us could do. We live in a meritocracy and not an aristocracy, and everybody can rise above their fellows by dint of a little application or talent. How they hold their fork doesn't hold them back at all.
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 07:27 AM

And real aristocracy will accept them for what they are. It's basically the parvenues who aren't accepted. And those who rely on the class system to the nth degree have usually just climbed the greasy pole and aren't all that secure in their own minds about staying there.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 08:11 AM

That is the real point: the real upper class will accept them FOR WHAT THEY ARE!


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 08:12 AM

PS. although tolerably spoken, I am not "upper class".


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 10:04 AM

The whole British class system can be summed up in one simple aphorism:

A gentleman is defined as a man who never gives offence unintentionally.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 10:34 AM

I'd say that is how we should all try to behave. Balanced with the position that we should never take offence where the offence is unintentional.

And that's nothing to do with social class as such.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 10:40 AM

The suggestion that social class dictates whether people are likely to courteous or not is just not in accordance with reality. Social conventions can vary, but that just means that people have different ways of expressing such things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: heric
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 11:20 AM

I'd hesitated to bring my personal experiences into this conversation, as they represent the limited exposure of one yankee in the UK over a little less than two years, a quarter century ago. However, in my college days, I had some schooling there. I also met many of my father's business associates, and I spent a great deal of time hitchhiking and hanging around with people of very little means. My overall impressions, however, seem to be largely verified above.

The people of little means might sometimes joke about issues of class standing, but, as a rule, had no worries whatsoever about such subjects. The "merchant class," middle class business types were often full of angst about appearances, and could be insulting in their retenses. The educated ones I interacted with, Eton and Oxford types, were invariably charming and inoffensive. Some had obviously strong parental connections; some were there purely on merit. Both types, however, had the obvious self-confdence and self-esteem that would prevent them from displaying pretentiousness or condescension (or at least condescension that would be detectable by me.)

Last, I met a few of faded family glory, with ancestral estates but no educational triumphs of their own. Some of this type were insufferable, cartoonish caricatures.

My impression from this thread is that this breakdown has faded and continues to fade.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: Long Firm Freddie
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 12:04 PM

Guest was me, sans cookie.

I was referring more to Debrett's Peerage, Etiquette, and Season books, but you're right, Giok, things are changing - Debrett's have published People of Today since 1982, and achievement is as important as genealogy to gain an entry in the book, they say.

I had a jolly time looking round the Debrett's site, and I was almost tempted to buy a copy of Etiquette and Modern Manners (it's still a dreadful faux pas to pass the port to the right, I'm glad to hear, and on a more mdern note, one should always remember to wipe down gym equipment for the next user if one's made it terribly sweaty). Then I got to the checkout - you have a choice. You can either ask them to send you a proforma invoice, or if you indicate that you want to pay by one of these new-fangled credit card thingies, they'll telephone you to arrange it! How quaint, bless 'em.

LFF


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 12:59 PM

This is what most knuckleheads think you mean when you say posh these days, it's a bit like calling a 6'6" 200 lbs guy Tiny.
The so called new royalty ???
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 02:20 PM

I've said it before, and so have others. She is, categorically, not posh (save in the Romany meaning). She is a noov.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 02:23 PM

port


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 02:53 PM

But so many people can't get enough of the latest exploits of the Beckhams, can they? Otherwise they would cease to be newsworthy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: GUEST,Sidewinder
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 10:31 PM

I was one to initially agree with the first postings in this thread   ( i.e.there is no class system ) until I read Trollopes' " The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist " and I realised the stereotypes of the class system, as depicted in the book, are still around today nearly a hundred years later. The ideological grounding is still inherent within todays scale of development despite the augmentations.

Regards.

Sidewinder.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: Terry K
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 02:48 AM

I believe it was Robert Tressell (not his real name) who wrote that book. I read it ages ago and found it simplistic to the point of naivety, dreadfully bigoted, full of cartoonesque stereotypes and totally devoid of any literary merit. Complete bollocks in fact.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: Piers
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 03:44 AM

I agree that Tressel's (Noonan's) book isn't the best bit of literature ever written. However, he wasn't a writer, he was a painter and decorator, and that considered the book is an amazing acheivement.

As for 'I read it ages ago and found it simplistic to the point of naivety, dreadfully bigoted, full of cartoonesque stereotypes , you'll have to enlighten me.

Piers


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: s&r
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 04:11 AM

"The ideological grounding is still inherent within todays scale of development despite the augmentations."

Thanks Sidewinder for the best sentence I've seen for ages. Not too sure what it means, but watch me drop it into conversation

Stu


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: Piers
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 05:37 AM

"The ideological grounding is still inherent within todays scale of development despite the augmentations."

What I hope this means is that the grounding (material cause - i.e. capitalistic organisation) of the differences in behaviour between classes (e.g. how you hold your knife and fork or whether you say 'wicked innit' or 'fabulous darling') is still the same today despite increased productivity (through technological advance) meaning the material standard of living is greater for everyone but for some more than others (i.e. relative poverty is increasing (as Marx said it would)).

Piers


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: s&r
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 05:39 AM

Wow.

Stu


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: HuwG
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 09:08 AM

An oddity with the "passing the port" routine. In British Army messes, the water glasses are removed from the table before the port is served.

This dates from the eighteenth century, when there were Stuart pretenders to the throne (James, son of the deposed James II, "the Old Pretender", and his son Prince Charles Edward, "the Young Pretender".)

The practice was adopted so that officers, when drinking the loyal toast, could not wave their port glasses over the water glasses, and thereby drink to "the King over the water" i.e. the pretender.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 12:36 PM

'God Bless the Squire and his relations
And keep us in our proper stations'


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 01:08 PM

Most of the definitions and explanations here appear to me to be "external" ones - i.e. how to talk about others.

It always seemed to me that the definition of a "class" had to be an "internal" one. You don't know, and aren't supposed to know, who is a member of "the class" unless you are a member. And those who really are may be polite enough to let you think you are - but they all know better.

Economic standing, education, and all the other obvious "criteria" are accurate enough for categorizing and (dis)cussing people as groups, but aren't really very helpful in understanding a "class system" as originally posited for discussion.

But of course I have no class so I may be mistaken ...

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: Ebbie
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 02:36 PM

But do you have money, JohninKansas?


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: GUEST,Sidewinder.
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 10:40 PM

Thanks Stu for the kind words and you are quite welcome to use the sentence in all your conversations where a soundbite would suffice. Terry K you need to offload all of your negativity in a more productive manner - I suggest you take up the position of Critic for the Sunday Times or rejoin the Conservative Party they need people like you. As for Piers; please do not give definitions of my meanings as I found, as I am sure you will appreciate, you missed the fundamental ideological subtext of the statement completely.Marx would be ashamed of you- even Harpo would have picked up on this.I stand corrected on the author (it is Robert Tressell and not Anthony Trollope as I stated - but when you get to my age the memory ain't what it used to be) but I still maintain it is a valid book for anyone interested in societal structure and development over the last hundred or so years.I could not care less what Tressell's (or Noonan's) profession was I just applaud his efforts to highlight the human condition(ing).

Regards.

Sidewinder.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: Bonecruncher
Date: 12 Apr 05 - 12:28 AM

In my profession as an osteopath I see people from all walks of life.
It really does not matter to which "class" they belong.
Titled persons as well as the most down-on-their-luck can still have holes in their knickers!
Regarding the use of knife and fork:-
I eat my peas with honey
I've done so all my life.
It makes my peas taste funny
But it keeps them on my knife.
Colyn.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: GUEST,Love You All
Date: 12 Apr 05 - 01:43 AM

corblimeyandnomistake
getyerplatesomeatupthemapplesandpears
atendotdaytobehonest


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Subject: RE: BS: Can we discuss the Class system in UK?
From: GUEST,Bill the Collie
Date: 12 Apr 05 - 01:44 AM

100


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