Julie Birchill – As Ignorant As Polly Toynbee…

..at least, on the subject of chavs*:

Chavs really are the gifts that keep on giving – in their case, giving utterly worthless people the chance to lash out at an underprivileged group without feeling the hot hand of the law on their cold shoulder.

‘Underprivileged’..? Julie, you’re conflating chavdom with poverty, aren’t you?

… I have noticed many times over the past decade that chav-baiters are often joyless, sex-starved skinflints who envy chavs more than they despise them. I’ve also noticed that a large number of those who use the word are people who would be considered at the bottom end of the social scale themselves.

WTF?

So yes, any stuck-up halfwit out there who still uses this vile word, don’t feel proud of yourselves. You condemn yourself, not others, every time you say it. But that’s a good thing, as when it comes to identifying the social racists among us, every little helps.

‘Social racism’..!?

Has Johann Hari crawled into the skin of Julie Birchill like that giant bug in ‘Men In Black’?

* Not that Polly is the only guilty party there, as David Thompson points out.

19 comments for “Julie Birchill – As Ignorant As Polly Toynbee…

  1. Robert Edwards
    July 31, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Good spot, Julia. Ms. Birchill is, to say the least, a bit odd. I’ve been trying (for ages) to discover the derivation of the word ‘Chav’. We know them, I suppose, when we see them. The last definition I heard was a compression of ‘Cheltenham Average’ but perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch.

    But the Chav is surely a creation of the left? By which I mean the creation – deliberately – of a largely urban designer-underclass, hopelessly uneducated, functionally illiterate and, far worse, blissfully unaware. Factory fodder, in other words.

    • July 31, 2011 at 9:32 am

      It’s been said to derive from a Romany word. And I’ve also heard it is ‘Council Housed And Violent’… 😉

      • PT Barnum
        July 31, 2011 at 10:28 am

        ‘Chav’ is a Romanichal (the English Roma dialect) word, which means ‘male child’ and has been in use since anyone in the Roma community can remember. Quite when it came to be used for drunk, swearing thug, I don’t know.

  2. Russ Williams
    July 31, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Social Racism? Is that, like, Socialism? Oh, wait, I think someone used that word already…

  3. July 31, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Utterly worthless people lashing out at the underprivileged? For a moment I thought la Burchill was talking about chavs making the lives of ordinary working and middle class people a misery 😯 before normal service was resumed.

  4. July 31, 2011 at 9:37 am

    It’s strange how readily our elevated hand-wringers assume ‘chav’ must invariably be a synonym for ‘working class.’ When I hear the term used, it’s often by people of fairly modest means who wish to differentiate themselves from their dysfunctional neighbours. Generally, people they’d rather their kids didn’t mix with. The socio-economic aspect is secondary, if that. It’s the dysfunction that earns the label.

    Maybe Polly, Julie, Jemima and co would rather working class people had no word to differentiate themselves from predators, vandals and anti-social thugs.

    • Paul
      July 31, 2011 at 1:19 pm

      David Thompson: Maybe Polly, Julie, Jemima and co would rather working class people had no word to differentiate themselves from predators, vandals and anti-social thugs.

      One gets the impression that Birchill and her ilk either:

      a) Don’t spend much time with these scum people on their estates, living next door to them…

      or

      b) She gets aroused at the thought of a thuggish scumbag who’s just had ten pints of lager.

      Either isn’t positive but yes, as you say, it’s meant as a dividing line between basically decent folk who just want to be left alone and antisocial thugs – decent people also warn their kids not to mix with those people as they’ll either get themselves arrested, get into drugs or violence and so on. Call it ‘social racism’ if you like; I think it’s just a way of normal people protecting themselves.

  5. Wolfie
    July 31, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Every race and nation has its underclass, and they have words for them too. Simply that the chattering classes dare not speak their name.

  6. July 31, 2011 at 10:45 am

    As I see it, the ‘chav’ issue is really about the distinctions that working class people have always made between their respectable neighbours and those who aren’t. Again, when I hear the term being used, it’s generally by working class people to denote the kind of riffraff they wouldn’t want next door, or want to see moving in next to their elderly parents. I.e., people who are feckless, criminal, lazy, antisocial, etc.

    In short, the undeserving.

    Of course, this implies a certain bourgeois aspiration among those who use the term, which may jar with Guardianista sensibilities. Specifically, with a belief that antisocial behaviour must always be caused by misfortune and unfairness, rather than the fact malevolent scumwads live among us. (And God forbid the “oppressed” proletariat should actually quite like bourgeois middle-class values. What of the great Class War then?)

    • August 1, 2011 at 5:50 am

      “And God forbid the “oppressed” proletariat should actually quite like bourgeois middle-class values.”

      Heaven forfend! What would ‘Guardian’ and ‘Indy’ columnists do then? 😀

  7. Sackerson
    July 31, 2011 at 11:35 am

    And yet the underclass creates so much employment for teachers, social workers, journalists, police, solicitors, barristers and judges (Rumpole often expresses his gratitude to the Timson clan). Without the poor, much of the middle class would become poor.

    • LJH
      August 23, 2011 at 8:42 pm

      Spot on Sackerson, the rationale of the welfare state is to employ as many people as possible, jobs advertised in the Grauniad, to “do something” for the infantilised underclass, state employees then feel superior, with cheerleading from journalists, academics and politicos, to the mere diminishing number of producers supporting the whole bloody edifice with their taxes. Socialists genuinely need the undeserving poor and cannot afford to diminish their numbers.

  8. john in cheshire
    July 31, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    All the behavioural traits assigned to Chavs could just as easily apply to the likes of Ms Burchill and Ms Toynbee. And their ilk. Could this perhaps be adopted as a prefix whenever one has the misfortune to have to refer to them? Socialists like to mess with the English language to their own advantage, perhaps normal people should emulate them.

  9. Robert Edwards
    July 31, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    It is not permitted to disagree with Julia, but I have to take issue. It is not possible to be thicker than Polly T. One day, she’ll forget to breathe and that will be that. At least Birchill used to be funny (vaguely), a thing which Toynbee has never attempted to be.

    But sod them both, frankly…

    • July 31, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      It is not permitted to disagree with Julia,

      Oh, what happens if you do? 😮

      • Robert Edwards
        July 31, 2011 at 5:25 pm

        Oh,something terrible, I’m sure.

        • July 31, 2011 at 5:42 pm

          The mind boggles.

  10. Bart
    July 31, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    “I’ve also noticed that a large number of those who use the word are people who would be considered at the bottom end of the social scale themselves.”

    You’ve noticed that people who are most likely to dislike chavs are the people most likely to have them as neighbours? And you think that’s some sort of gotcha obvservation rather than a fatal undermining of your entire defence of chavdom?

    Not too bright, are you Julie?

    • July 31, 2011 at 9:18 pm

      “You’ve noticed that people who are most likely to dislike chavs are the people most likely to have them as neighbours? And you think that’s some sort of gotcha observation rather than a fatal undermining of your entire defence of chavdom? Not too bright, are you Julie?”

      Which may explain why authors of similar articles tend to avoid that particular (and obvious) detail. If working class people use the same word for the antisocial, irresponsible and parasitic – witnessed first-hand – then their observations are harder to wave aside as some kind of bourgeois “social racism.”

      But why bother asking the people who use the term most often when you can simply presume to speak on their behalf…?

      It’s the hand-wringers way.

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