These comments by Anthony Jay make me want to weep with a mixture of frustration and relief:
I think I am beginning to see the answer to a question that has puzzled me for the past 40 years. The question is simple - much simpler than the answer: what is behind the opinions and attitudes of what are called the chattering classes? ...Let's call it "media liberalism".
Frustration because this sort of thing goes on (and on and on and on) and relief that someone on the side of the (in modern UK terms) big battalions has actually owned up to this peculiar closed-minded attitude/world-view/social milieu.
We met over coffee, lunch, drinks and dinner to reinforce our views on the evils of apartheid, nuclear deterrence, capital punishment, the British Empire, big business, advertising, public relations, the Royal Family, the defense budget - it's a wonder we ever got home. We so rarely encountered any coherent opposing arguments that we took our group-think as the views of all right-thinking people.
Part of what frustrates me so deeply about this is that it's like some Fantasy novel. All you have to do to step outside this closed and airless setting is to take an unexpected quarter turn, a half-pace out of step, a dive when the others duck and you're somewhere (very) else. Somewhere where you can talk to a plumber, a policeman, a farmer , a dustman, a labourer, a factory worker, and see them as a human being with opinions and desires and standards and moral positions just like, or (how much more revealing and liberating, much more liberating than organic yoghurt or free-range meat or sun-dried tomatoes) not like yours.
I have a younger colleague who thinks like this. He's extremely intelligent, one of the deepest mathematicians I've ever met, but he can lay down the law from a left-leaning position like some philosopher king without ever, ever having met anybody (apart, perhaps, from me) who challenges his assumptions. In a fit of irritation at some particularly naive political pronouncement, I once asked him- `Jim, surely you must have talked to people like this? Didn't you have any vacation jobs as a student?' His answer simultaneously appalled and enlightened me. He explained that he'd only ever had one vacation job, and it was helping a statistician.
Now that's not his fault, really. However, he lives in the cocoon. Father an academic, mother a pillar of the (old) Labour party. No historical knowledge, no ability to see the enormous, ghastly, evil, vicious, vileness perpetrated by the Left-in-power in so many places for so much of the 20th century for what it was - a giant failed experiment. No context provided by those around him, no one asking him whether, as an avowed empiricist, he might do well to think twice about socialism as a practical means for achieving Man's happiness.
To conclude, I am delighted that Anthony Jay has seen a little bit of the light, but perhaps he could go back and shine some more on the staff of the BBC and The Independent, for a start, as they're some of his spiritual descendants who continue to perpetuate evil by suppressing knowledge of its history.