OK … so we erstwhile colonists are sitting here enjoying our lattes and watching the strangest bit of class(ical) name-calling going on in the motherland. It seems that one Andrew Mitchell MP took umbrage at a policeman and referred to him as a ‘pleb’! Here’s a timeline of how what is being branded a ‘scandal’ unfolded:
More interesting from our point of view is that all the newspapers feel a need to explain what a plebeian is and there is much handwringing over whether it’s a bad word or not. Mary Beard has written a couple of items:
- Who is a pleb? And what price pissing off those in authority?
- Who were the Roman plebs? (Would Mr Mitchell have been one of them?)
Edith Hall also pondered the question:
Possibly connected is a column by…
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