Is this the end of the Sloane Ranger?

Rising London house prices have driven Sloane Rangers from their natural habitat.


Stagnant wages and rising house prices are making it harder than ever to get on the property ladder in London. Yet the real victims aren't the essential workers priced out of the capital, reckons Peter York in Prospect it's that 1980s icon, the Sloane Ranger.

York, the author of The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook, thinks that the influx of foreign money has driven "all but the richest, most adaptable Sloanes further south and north and some out of London altogether". Overall, they've been demoted "to the status of a residual, rather exotic, middle-class sub-group".

Yes, "self-made millionaires and oligarchs have priced out youngSloanes from their favourite London haunt", agrees Metro's Amy Willis.But the demise of the Sloanes "has left plenty of space for hipsters to flourish". The evidence of this is all around us: "when people boast about their new wheels they are talking about their bicycles". Similarly, "knitting is in.Pony riding at daddy's is out."

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Nonsense, says Andrew Neather in the Evening Standard. Reports of the death of the Sloane are greatly exaggerated. "The Sloanes or their descendants are still in power and still doing very nicely, thank you."

Not only do "we have a plummy-voiced Old Etonian and former member of Oxford's Bullingdon Club as prime minister", but we have another as mayor of London. And, as Alan Milburn recently pointed out, one in seven judges "went to Eton, Westminster, Radley, Charterhouse or St Paul's". The Sloanes haven't gone away, "they just married bankers, adopted mockney accents, and got elected".

Of course, those still concerned about the demise of this group may want to consider ways to preserve them. Rupert Myers (himself a barrister) has a few pointers in an article for The Guardian. "Willing participants could set up some sort of Sloane zoo, charging tourists for the privilege of seeing people in wax jackets."

After all, "Madame Tussauds seems to have made a business out of figures entirely built from wax, so there is no reason as to why this couldn't work". It's a nice idea, but direct action, such as Occupying Harrods, might be more effective. We are the 0.99%, anyone?

Consolation for Oscar losers

With the Oscars finally out of the way, Hollywood can stop debating who should win and focus on what really matters the money. For actors, actresses and directors, the financial value of a gong can be high, with The Daily Telegraph reporting that an Oscar win boosts pay by around 20%.

Still, at least the losers didn't go home empty handed. The runners up in certain categories get "a swag bag valued at $168,000", says The Washington Post, including no less than three luxury holidays, a year's free use of a high-end Audi and a specially designed bicycle. The only catch is that they have to pay income tax (at up to 39.6%) on any gifts that they keep.

Tabloid money: the eurozone is "the golf club from hell"

Leaving the euro "is probably the only long-term route back to economic competitiveness" for Greece, writes Boris Johnson in The Sun. The trouble is, the option is "consistently rejected by Greek politicians and the majority of the Greek electorate". For them, "membership of the euro is a question of identity" and the need to be thought of as "members of a sophisticated European club".

This is why "there was another fudgerama deal' the other night, another attempt to buy time". In short, "a currency experiment that began with hope and idealism is being sustained by pride and fear" the eurozone is "the golf club from hell".

I can't understand "the fashion for showing up at a restaurant, birthday cake in bag, demanding that waiters parade through the hostelry with your confection aloft", says Vanessa Feltz in the Daily Express. Restaurants are getting so annoyed about this trend that they are charging "as much as £9 a head" for "cakeage".

Of course, "punters are livid to be made to pay to chomp through a cake that they already own". But the controversy merely shows that "Mary Berry has done too efficient a job" and that "our infatuation with cake is turning into a fetish... there is something to be said to keeping cake cutting, wish-making and caterwauling within your own four walls".

The scandal surrounding Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw shows that "no one has the faintest clue" what MPs "actually do for the ordinary voter," says The Sun's Jane Moore. "There are an eye-watering 650 of them in a country so small that it pretty much fits three times into the US state of Texas alone."

And yet, when ordinary people need help with a local issue, their MP is usually "harder to find than hen's teeth". Why? Because they are too busy either "climbing the greasy pole of Westminster power", or "supplementing their salary as a public official with payments from commercial companies who want access to the heart of power".