Friday, January 29, 2010

"Harriet Harman: I dropped my cut-glass accent for Labour"

This was the shocker of a headline in the Evening Standard yesterday. Inside was an interview with HH, public-school educated, niece of Lord Longford, who agreed that she had lost her accent along the way because "I sounded like Lady Diana". (Of course, everyone thinks this is fine. Imagine the furore if George Osborne was revealed to have had diction like an extra on Eastenders as a teenager.)

Posh family links, a public school education etc should not preclude you from voting Labour, being left-wing or even becoming a Labour MP. But what I object to is the continuing belief that poshness equals snobbery, rather than it simply being a tribal description. The accent I have in no way prescribes my ethics, political beliefs or moral values. Those things are shaped by my social environment, my own intellectual curiosity, the people I talk to, the work I do.....there's a myriad of influences.

And yet, those who could be effective in striving for a meritocratic society - ie Labour MPs in power - do nothing to help the cause.

1 comment:

  1. Tired of posh accent bashing. I also cringe when public figures apologize or account for attending Public School with ' It was convenient as my parents lived abroad/it was the only school with a riding club, cadet force nearby, I received a scholarship'

    A well known actress who does voice-over work states on the agency website that her accent is authoritative without sounding posh...God forbid!