Thursday, 8 July 2010

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: "We don't have that class fixation"

Love this quote:
Hirsi Ali has lived in America since 2006 when, following a furore in Holland after she had to admit to obtaining political asylum under false pretences, she joined the American Enterprise Institute, a deeply conservative think tank in Washington. She got her green card in double quick time with a special visa. "For being exceptionally extraordinary," she says, laughing. But isn't she? A few weeks ago DC's "conservative intellectual elite" threw a sparkling soirée for her. I wonder if she can still relate to ordinary immigrants. Only British journalists feel the need to ask such a question, apparently. "I kind of think everyone in America thinks they're quite ordinary," she says. I obviously look a little dumbstruck, so she elaborates. "We don't have that class fixation you guys have." Note the "we".

It is very difficult to explain how pervasive the class system is here - it touches everything from who your friends are, where you grocery shop, what gym you go to, where your kids go to school, what newspaper you read. It may very well be one of the biggest obstacles to forming any kind of united opposition to the current dangers the UK is facing.