Janan Ganesh & Silver-Fork Punditry, episode VII:On David Cameron. A comment by Political Observer

My favorite Reactionary Dandy is Mr. Ganesh. Is that a tautology? In America, Tom Wolf, who dresses like the Hollywood idea of a Dandy, is the one and only Dandy I know of, Literary or Political. For some valuable insights on the history of the Dandy read my favorite Literary Dandy Cyril Connolly’s The Evening Colonnade where he reviews in three brief but very informative chapters,the Dandy I,II &III. Mr. Connolly is largely forgotten, as a literary taste maker of another age, who wrote for a long disappeared readership of literary aficionados.  Like Mr. Ganesh, his readers are too engaged in the questions of the day to read actual books, much less bother with breakfast or lunch.


Connolly and Ganesh both exercise a literary style that is winning if not  beguiling, to engage in hyperbole.

But on to Mr. Ganesh, a practitioner of silver-fork punditry, which in sum can be characterized as Tory Apologetics. The centrality of the literary : George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman books prove to be a central rhetorical framing device that enjoys a currency in British political discourse. Given that literary opening, I draw my inspiration from ‘The Silver Fork Novel: Fashionable Fiction in the Age of Reform’ by Edward Copeland

‘In the early nineteenth century there was a sudden vogue for novels centring on the glamour of aristocratic social and political life. Such novels, attractive as they were to middle-class readers, were condemned by contemporary critics as dangerously seductive, crassly commercial, designed for the ‘masses’ and utterly unworthy of regard. Until recently, silver-fork novels have eluded serious consideration and been overshadowed by authors such as Jane Austen. They were influenced by Austen at their very deepest levels, but were paradoxically drummed out of history by the very canon-makers who were using Austen’s name to establish their own legitimacy. This first modern full-length study of the silver-fork novel argues that these novels were in fact tools of persuasion, novels deliberately aimed at bringing the British middle classes into an alliance with an aristocratic program of political reform.’


You might even call Mr. Ganesh  a  political reincarnation of Disraeli’s Vivian Grey as political commentator/polemicist.Disraeli is one of the authors covered in Mr. Copeland’s evaluation and survey of that genre. Also consider Hazlitt’s review of Vivian Grey and Dandyism:


On the pressing question of Mr. Cameron as ruthless, shaming political bully and opportunist, leaving the question of scoundrel aside, as a political too much,view this video from YouTube for an example of Mr. Cameron’s methodology :


And more of the same of Cameron’s Tory snobbery/bulling that serves as political obfuscation, in its wider political context. Not to speak of the very clear demonstration and confirmation that the opposition, meaning  Mr. Corbyn, is neither a patriot nor a gentleman.Executed in true Oxbridger form and style:

On David Cameron, the political thinker, we have this from Professor Bogdanor via Wikipedia:

‘When commenting in 2006 on his former pupil’s ideas about a “Bill of Rights” to replace the Human Rights Act, however, Professor Bogdanor, himself a Liberal Democrat, said, “I think he is very confused. I’ve read his speech and it’s filled with contradictions. There are one or two good things in it but one glimpses them, as it were, through a mist of misunderstanding”.[33]


Mr. Ganesh exhausts the Flashman comparison until it runs out of rhetorical momentum, because it has served its purpose as foil for Tory Apologetics. Which instances a defense/advocacy of a Social Dawinism, the product of the political opportunism preached by Lynton Crosby via Karl Rove. Which then appears as Mr. Ganesh’s worship of Cameron, as a strong man, detected by a ‘primal instinct’ for a powerful leader who exercises the ‘swagger of command’, and the political inevitability of Tory rule as a matter of faith. This is a philosophy or its simulacrum freighted with some of the central beliefs of Political Romanticism.

Political Observer



About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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