Caitlin Moran in The Times is one of my favourite columnists – she makes me laugh a lot. This week is no exception: she has been writing on media attitudes to squeezed household budgets, and I think she’s bang on:
Within the middle classes is a faction that is responding to the impending Cashpocalypse with what seems suspiciously like eagerness. Joy, even. They’ve practically got recession advent calendars, counting down to the day where the first Pret A Manger goes bust. Over the past year a series of Guardian and Observer supplements and “specials” have sketched out a vision of just how fulfilling a global depression could be for their readers. According to their features departments, a decade of economic stagnation, energy crises and social turmoil is going to pass in an enjoyable homely whirl of home-made fruitcakes, Victorian parlour games and a covetable back-garden turnip patch. The Guardian has shown us how to make corsages out of ribbon-scraps and a front-door mat out of wooden pegs;just last weekend The Observer ran a feature on collecting free, wild foods that made reference to a recipe for “acacia-flower beignets.
The most amusing part of all this is the secret belief that underpins the whole thing: that, since the Sixties, the working classes have been kind of failing at being poor – notable lack of bubble-and-squeak, doorstep scrubbing, making-do-and-mending, considering a bottle of brown ale a treat, etc – and that it’s down to the middle classes to teach them, all over again, how to do poverty properly. As if this country could use the recession to reintroduce a Heritage Range of ruddy-cheeked mums – knitting cardigans and boiling up sheets in a copper – if we publish enough Guardian “how to” guides.
It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one rolling my eyes at the hoity-toity drivel being printed in some of our newspapers. You can read more of Caitlin Moran’s columns (usually non-finance related) here.