The Great British Doucheaucracy

Have you heard Melvyn Bragg presenting ‘In Our Time’ on Radio 4? He gathers some knowledgeable historians together (or a producer does – specialising in finding people with serious speech impediments, high-squeaky voices or the lugubrious delivery of the near-dead) and then, whatever the subject matter (and this is very broad – ie. something from history), Melvyn tells us everything he knows about it and barely lets the guests get a word in, something for which we’re often thankful, though it’s a tough call between the speech-impeded historian and Melvyn’s strange, drunken shout-whisper.


It occurred to me, or, rather, my husband pointed out to me, that Melvyn is Lord Melvyn. Of course he is. He would be. Because Britain is a doucheaucracy. The most douchesome rise to the top. I mean, since when did going on the radio and arsing on about whatever on earth you like (much though I would love the job, thank you very much, yes please) make you worthy of the country’s highest honour? Why do the presenters and guests of The Today Show all sound like old school friends at the end of term debate? Even when they are slagging each other off it sounds as though they are slapping each other on the back and winking in understanding that they’re only doing their job and see you in The Ivy later. Look at the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and Nick Clegg for the Lord’s sake. Why are these fools in charge?


Something is going on and it is this – the British doucheaucracy. Doucheism is highly rewarded in this country – douches are showered with money (Simon Cowell), awarded endless television appearances (Simon Cowell/Jeremy Clarkeson) and bestowed with knighthoods and lordhoods or whatever they are called (Cliff Richard, Melvyn Bragg et al ad theendoftimeiam).


Every time I switch on the television I see a panel of douches who think they’re funny/clever arsing on about one thing or another (very occasionally, but not often enough, including myself). Whether they are ‘mocking the week’ or being talked down to by David Dimbleby it’s all the same very British thing – slightly patronising self-important blokes all egging each other on to say something EVEN douchier in as dead-pan a way as possible but with a little bit of a raised eyebrow. It’s a who-is-cleverest-and- funniest contest which only the palliest, clubbiest, guffawiest most joshing-type of chappy can win. And they do win. They shall inherit (what’s left of) the earth.



About Anna Blundy

Honorary psychotherapist with a Masters in Psychoanalytic Theory and another in Psychodynamic Clinical Psychotherapy. Novelist - Author of the Faith Zanetti quintet - The Bad News Bible, Faith Without Doubt, Neat Vodka (US - Vodka Neat), Breaking Faith, My Favourite Poison. Also a memoir of my father, Every Time We Say Goodbye and my most recent thriller - The Oligarch's Wife
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