The peasant-class revolt

It's not just the cattle class that is revolting. First-class is getting uppity too.


Economy class is something to endure; first class, to enjoy

"I'll have to marry a rich man," the socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson once confessed. "I'd rather not turn right when boarding an aeroplane." Most people feel the same. So it's unsurprising that incidents of air rage are more common if a plane has "premium" seating rather than just a single economy-class cabin.

Now academics, who study everything these days, have confirmed this. Katherine DeCelles, associate professor of organisational behaviour at Toronto University, and Michael Norton of the Harvard Business School, conclude, after a detailed look at onboard incidents, that there is a "strong correlation between class divide and passenger misbehaviour" and that air rage is more common when passengers have to board through the same door.

You can see why, said Janice Turner in The Times. "It's a walk of shame, that slow tramp through the upper-class cabin, clutching your boarding pass for 43B. Eight hours of arm-rest wars lie ahead, but with your earplugs and neck-pillow you're mentally brace-brace-braced. Then you see them, reclining on cream leather thrones; flute of fizz, laptop out, just a magic button away from bedtime. You will endure; they will enjoy." So why, wonders Turner, are they always scowling, these executives "handing jackets to the stewardess" and why do they glare "at us peasants over their copies of Forbes"?

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One can understand the peasant-class revolt as in life we're all heading for the same destination, but along the way some of us have "more space" and "nicer food". The answer, Turner suggests, is that extreme inequality works all right if the two sides don't meet. It's when they're in close proximity that you get trouble.

Sir Philip Green, for example, might feel less comfortable defending his actions if he constantly had to meet the pensioners "left impoverished". Instead, he can retreat to his private plane or his "third super-yacht". The fact that half the world's riches are owned by just 62 billionaires (down from 80 last year) just underlines the extent to which the super-rich live in a bubble.

It's not always a happy bubble though, as the airline study also confirms. For myself, I don't care which class I fly if the destination is Europe. But if I'm going to cross the Atlantic I'd rather do it club, or first, even if that means doing it less often and even if my fellow passengers often seem a grumpy lot.

What would Audrey do?

Shades of To The Manor Born in the story of retired teacher Diana Kitzing and Jason Fuller, the millionaire food magnate who owns Winsley Hurst Hall and its surrounding estate near Harrogate.Mrs Kitzing, however, whose family have lived in the nearby village for decades, still owns the shooting rights on the land. And she accuses Mr Fuller of "denuding woodland" and of frightening her birds away with a couple of petrol-driven leaf blowers.

The dispute is as yet unresolved. Perhaps Mrs Kitzing needs to study the way Audrey Fforbes-Hamilton handles the food magnate Richard DeVere who buys her house in the classic BBC sitcom. She might pick up a few tips.

Tabloid money... "the most unpleasant person I met in 27 years in casinos"

"Posh has spent years insisting that, despite her millions, she makes sure her kids live a normal life," says Carole Malone in the Sunday Mirror. "Cue Brooklyn Beckham (pictured) who at 17 is driving albeit as a learner a £33,000 Merc with a top speed of 140mph.

Aside from the obvious worry that it could be dangerous and that, even if he passes his test, it might be years before he's capable of handling such a powerful motor, why didn't Mum and Dad start him off with something a little less ostentatious? Something that doesn't scream I'm the spoiled brat of two famous sqillionaires'."

Nonsense, says Jeremy Clarkson in The Sun. The suggestion is that the young man is just a bag of testosterone and that he will crash. Better, then, to put him in a large modern car with plenty of safety features. "I think therefore Brooklyn is setting a good example. Even though he's not yet old enough or wise enough to know he's driving around with his hat on back to front."

"Brussels stands accused of blackmailing' countries into accepting migrants, threatening to fine nations £200,000 for every refugee they decline to house," says Tony Parsons in The Sun. "But why should they? Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, took the unilateral decision to let in more than one million Muslim migrants last year. Let the silly Frau clear up the mess she alone created."

"Samuel Johnson once said: The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.' So my interest was piqued," writes Jane Moore in The Sun, "when Chancellor George Osborne's casino-owning uncle James gave a lively interview at the weekend in which he described one of his customers as: the most unpleasant person I met in 27 years in casinos rude to absolutely everyone'. So who was this boorish fellow? Step forward Sir Philip Green, the man accused of facilitating the demise of BHS."