The Victorian private solider was a despised figure. Yet in the first sixteen months of the Great War two and a half million men from the UK and many more from the empire, flocked to the colours without any form of legal compulsion. This book is the result of reflection on one of the most extraordinary mass movements in history: the surge of volunteers into the British army during the first sixteen months of the Great War. The notion that compulsory service in arms was repugnant to British tradition was mistaken. The nation's general state of mind, system of values and set of attitudes derived largely from the upper middle class, which had emerged and become dominant during the nineteenth century. The book examines the phenomenon of 1914 and the views held by people of that class, since it was under their leadership that the country went to war. It discusses the general theoretical notions of the nature of war of two nineteenth-century thinkers: Karl von Clausewitz and Charles Darwin. By 1914 patriotism and imperialism were interdependent. The early Victorians directed their abundant political energies chiefly towards free trade and parliamentary reform. It was the Germans' own policy which jolted the British into unity, for the Cabinet and the nation were far from unanimously in favour of war until the Germans attacked Belgium. Upper-class intellectual culture was founded on the tradition of 'liberal education' at the greater public schools and at Oxford and Cambridge.
on 5 November, ‘a rag is a matter of
� A lark for the sake of their country �
careful organization, and not mere hooliganism. This university is a university
for gentlemen’ (Hawarth, 1978: 64).
Unlike undergraduates, professional men, mostly of the upper-middleclass
and at work in the City, finance, law, or business, were required to display a
greater degree of social responsibility before and after the war. Such young
men, the younger sons of the aristocracy or members of the wealthy uppermiddle class, were frequently involved as Boy Scout leaders; sponsors
women’s loyalty to the women’s movement need to be
contextualised in female Liberals’ positioning of themselves as ‘practical
politicians’ engaged in the gamut of Liberal concerns, and female Liberals
agitated among men and women in support of the Liberal party, and
demanded temperance and electoral reform in order to generate a more
female-friendly society. Finally, as women’s organisations, the SWLF and
GWSAWS were key sites of upper-middle-class women’s participation in
public life: these organisations aimed to encourage women’s involvement
in formal politics
‘It’s not a question of ignorance, Laurence, it’s a question of taste’
couple—Beverly, a beautician, and her workaholic estate agent
husband, Laurence. Their guests are working-class Angela and Tony, a
nurse and a former professional footballer now working with computers,
and Sue, an older, upper-middle-class divorcee, mother of the eponymous
but never seen Abigail, an adolescent punk. As in all of Leigh’s
work, the characters were developed through a lengthy period of
This chapter shows that the New Jerusalem would never be built under trade union rules, because unions are about making the best bargain within the existing system, not building a better one. They would be more inclined to pop in after the job had started to check that the wages and hours were all right. A true revolution would require creativity, gusto and commitment, not regulated hours and wages, and, for this, wider support than the working class and its organisations would be needed. It was from lower middle class, despite their obsession with respectability, and from the cultured minority of the upper middle class, that the most progressive ideas came. The left especially needed the support of ‘highly-trained technicians’ who had a vision of a better society, and the enthusiasm and skill to build it.
The debate about the Empire dealt in idealism and morality, and both sides employed the language of feeling, and frequently argued their case in dramatic terms. This book opposes two sides of the Empire, first, as it was presented to the public in Britain, and second, as it was experienced or imagined by its subjects abroad. British imperialism was nurtured by such upper middle-class institutions as the public schools, the wardrooms and officers' messes, and the conservative press. The attitudes of 1916 can best be recovered through a reconstruction of a poetics of popular imperialism. The case-study of Rhodesia demonstrates the almost instant application of myth and sign to a contemporary imperial crisis. Rudyard Kipling was acknowledged throughout the English-speaking world not only as a wonderful teller of stories but as the 'singer of Greater Britain', or, as 'the Laureate of Empire'. In the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the Empire gained a beachhead in the classroom, particularly in the coupling of geography and history. The Island Story underlined that stories of heroic soldiers and 'fights for the flag' were easier for teachers to present to children than lessons in morality, or abstractions about liberty and responsible government. The Education Act of 1870 had created a need for standard readers in schools; readers designed to teach boys and girls to be useful citizens. The Indian Mutiny was the supreme test of the imperial conscience, a measure of the morality of the 'master-nation'.
This chapter examines the first important drama to appear in the wake of Anthony Blunt’s unmasking, Blade on the Feather, a Dennis Potter teleplay about a reclusive, upper-middle-class, Etonian writer named Cavendish who had been involved in Communist groups at Cambridge in the 1930s, where he knew Burgess, Maclean and Philby. Although by the time in which the action of the play is set, Cavendish’s political sympathies have shifted to the right, one learns that during the early years of the Cold War he had spied for the Russians and been involved in the assassination of a British ambassador, an act that closely resembles Kim Philby’s role in the death of Konstantin Volkov. Cavendish’s reclusive life on the Isle of Wight is interrupted by a visitor who claims to be working on a postgraduate thesis on Cavendish’s fiction, but he is actually a Soviet spy sent to prevent Cavendish from completing and publishing a memoir that may expose KGB operatives. In this timely script Potter offers a poignant critique of class privilege, noting how traitors have always come from the upper classes, and that the privileges of their class and wealth allow them to escape the consequences of their betrayal. This chapter also argues for the value of Potter’s teleplay, particularly for its poignant anxiety about capitalistic expansion and commodification in post-war Britain, which Potter feared would accelerate under the Thatcher government.
This chapter focuses on Meghan Markle’s introduction into the Firm in 2016, through to her and Prince Harry’s ‘resignation’ in 2020. Media and public commentary of Harry and Meghan’s wedding in 2018 seemed to position it as a feminist, post-racial, meritocratic utopia, as Meghan’s identity as a biracial, divorced, self-identified feminist American actor with a working-class background was seen to diversify the monarchy and illustrate its progressive values. If, as this book argues, royal figures serve particular purposes to reproduce the institution, this chapter reads representations of Meghan as a form of ‘diversity capital’, extending and diversifying the Firm’s markets. It discusses Meghan in terms of the ‘post-racial’, and how Meghan’s racialised identity is absorbed into ideologies about both localised progress within the Firm and inter/national multiculturalism. I expose these narratives as false, due to the Firm’s own histories of inequality and oppression, the current global context, and because Meghan’s initial absorption into the Firm was dependent upon her fitting white, upper-/middle-class norms of respectability. Using the colloquial reference to Harry and Meghan’s resignation as ‘Megxit’, a play on ‘Brexit’, I argue that public and media responses to Meghan are entangled in wider socio-political debates about race, nation, imperialism and nostalgia. Representations of Meghan confront the Firm with longer, complex, intersectional histories of racism, (post-)colonialism, voice(lessness), servitude, media and celebrity, genealogy, gender, feminism, capital accumulation, social injustice and inequalities. Rather than resolving royal histories through ‘progressive values’, representations of Meghan seem to have merely pulled these inequalities into view.
make-up of an elite neighbourhood. In particular, it shows that the W8 district in Kensington is not just an enclave of elites and upper-middle-class people but, since its heyday, has included residents of intersecting social, economic and cultural backgrounds.
From this point of view, the chapter finds comparisons with Mazzilli ( chapter 8 ). Both studies look at urban spaces with steady reputations: as inclusive and welcoming spaces (in the case of Bologna and Brighton in chapter 8 ), and as a quintessential elite
Kate Middleton, ‘middle-classness’ and family values
, heteronormative and (upper-)middle-class family. The historian Patricia Holland suggests that these portraits are often idealised, ensuring that the middle-class family is coded as aspirational and desirable.
But considering that traditional family photograph albums have been displaced by digital cultures, their evocation on Instagram by the Cambridges is bound up with nostalgia for traditional family values. It appeals to the nuclear, middle-class family when families and class identifications in Britain are becoming more