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I think, therefore I drink – Chapter 16

I think, therefore I drink – Chapter 16
Sub Category
Mitch’s Musings

In 1845 Benjamin Disraeli wrote Sybil, where he described two nations. The rich and the poor and the divide in Victorian Britain. Today, One Nation Conservatives are the powerful force in the party, but not as Benjamin would have liked in my view. Terrible book, great man.

The multiple Conservative factions and their impending fate are for another column, but the Wets are in charge, and their economic policy is criticised by commentators like Warner, Bootle, Evans-Pritchard, and yours truly. It appears Labour and the current dominant Tory faction are two cheeks of the same bottom, mirrored with the BBC and Civil Service, reminiscent of this column

From Warner to another admired writer, and a legend in the wine world, Mr Anderson. He recently reflected the Cold War was won by two brilliant free marketers, Thatcher and Reagan, and defeated Marxist butchery with economics, freedom of purchase, speech and mind. They focused on the market yet neglected the Marxian super-structure and culture. In the 1980’s the left amused themselves in theatres and TV, but with little purchase on society. Sadly, now it is at the forefront, bolstered and sent to battle with social media. It undermines economic policy, education, and everyday life, and worryingly clouds the minds of the unelected who have so much influence from Threadneedle Street to the National Trust.

Like my regular beautiful driving assistant the current Mrs Mitchell, who tells me when to turn right, that the light has gone green or the car ahead is turning, we are under constant instruction from the state. At least the state does not lose their phone and blame me. But big state governments think they know best. That raises generations without resolve, initiative and resilience. Nanny will sort, from the magic money tree…

This leads me to two nations today and how everyday life differs. The country and the city are in many ways two nations, accepting this is a generalisation, like all Shiraz being cheap and sweet, but there are many differences. I am blessed to have raised and still raising the clan in an environment where is it normal, expected and desired by young teenagers to leave the house at 0600 and work. They do this in rain, sleet and sun. Never complain, need or desire a safe space. They do not spend all day on a phone, but they can always find it, and steal my charger.

Local communities, bolstered by rugby clubs, a local pub and generations raising generations, foster manners and values. Respect is earned and few are entitled. They expect nothing from the state and have little regard for civil servants telling them how to live their lives – even though they often do. I can see how the government puts out health warnings to people when a little snow falls, fearing “Arctic Britain”. They have obviously never milked a cow at 0500, irrespective of the weather. Probably never seen a cow, and think milk just comes from Tesco who, by the way, sell terrible wine.

This part of the two nations is the working class, where people work and few class divides are even evident. On a rugby field and pub, farm owner, farm worker, doctor or teacher are all united with values and respect for each other. No Marxian superstructure is evident. The key is identity, they have one as a community. Their area, and their traditions, like Albion Oak, have roots which give stability in multiple ways.

The alternative in the city is where identity politics thrive, as few people have one. They fill a void with a particular group. Communities are more fractious, fragmented and lack a single purpose and identity to rise above gender, race, religion or even eating habits, so that is to what they cling. Values are not the premium, but phone chargers are easier to come by, wine less so.

The supposedly liberal are more divided. The default mindset position of the young is not to work. A fully stocked fridge by Mummy and a university place to delay the inevitability of work and responsibility are more standard. Working, gaining experience, and earning respect as well as money are not so standard. Many have a degree, lots of debt, no work ethic, no experience, and no job.

How do my frustrations with left-wing governments, big state and fragmented societies link to wine? Well, I recently enjoyed a night at the Savoy with business friends. The birthplace of Churchill’s 1911 Other Club, invented to cross the divide between political parties and business leaders to converse. We need such an ethos now between our divided worlds more than ever, and readers, wine is the answer to make that happen. I just need a government to tell me to drink responsibly, how much I should have, tax what I drink and tell me when I can drink it, for without them I cannot function.

The Savoy cellars, as one would imagine, are the envy of the world. The smoke is busy and trendy. I am only ever one of those traits, but the evening was excellent.

We began with Chateau Feytit-Clinet 2017. A heavy merlot Claret with outstanding staying power, and it got better after the second glass. We then moved on to a Margaux 2017. It went with the signature Ramsay Beef Wellington and, with only two bottles in the domestic cellars, this was a treat.

Our conversation was on the Two Nations, hence my venting now. Their frustrations and dilemmas were evident and continued into the 1977 Grahams Port to finish. How can they find work ethic, initiative, and self-reliance from their employees? Why are values not at a premium? All valid questions and points. I had few answers, but the claret teased and eased my mind on how to bridge the gap between the two nations. The answer lies in governments governing, not creating, societies. Like a good sommelier – create a framework and a cellar, but let the wine meet the customer and their freedom of choice and personal view are key.

After a late finish, in the morning I called the current Mrs Mitchell from London digs at 0700. The phone was available, as I was not there to steal and hide it in the handbag, obviously. The teenagers had left for work and even the 11-year-old was up, out and on the hill moving sheep with his mate and neighbour; Easter holidays are great.

Two nations indeed Benjamin, and I know which I prefer. Britain ignores this at her peril, and I fear not even my trusted Chablis stocks will give me cheer.

More stories to come readers with some more great wines and company with whom they have been consumed in coming days but for now, I am off to find more constant instruction and pay more tax. Nanny knows best.

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