Class conscious

If you want to flush out the latent snobbery of the English middle classes (which is, admittedly, not that hard to do), then buy a modern house. Since we moved into our 1969-built property, the derogative comments have come on an almost daily basis.

Essentially, people who think a cornice is something you put ice-cream in have bemoaned the lack of period features, and people you wouldn't trust to light the candles on a birthday-cake have criticised the lack of fireplaces.

They're all bogged down in that middle-class notion that the trappings of oldness equate with comfort and social respectability and so, unfortunately, am I. For three weeks after moving in I was the bold modernist, denouncing my quintessentially bourgeois peers for the off-the-peg Edwardiana with which they furnished their century-old houses; meanwhile, however, I was discreetly inquiring as to the whereabouts of a good chimney installer. I found one eventually, and our living-room now has a fireplace and a mantle on which I can display my smart invitations (should I ever get any).

Meanwhile, I'm getting to like living in our new house, which is logically arranged and full of light. I'm also finding that our street is a snob-free zone . . . Actually, nobody in our street could be a snob even if they wanted, because we all live in a close.

I myself grew up in a close in a housing-estate outside York. I appreciated the lack of traffic; I also naively thought a close was a smart thing to live in, for, underneath the name of our street were the words "cul-de-sac", which is French, and therefore posh. (I didn't know, you see, that it means "arse of the bag".)

I now realise that a close - being a phenomenon of the past 30 years - is not posh at all. Brookside is set in a close, and you'll never read an address such as "The Old Rectory, Acacia Close". But as the generation that bought new houses in the sixties sells up, a new generation is buying their properties. As a result, modern houses, even in closes, are starting to become fashionable, so it can be only a matter of time before they'll carry social status too. (And I'm going to damn well keep writing that until it happens.)

Show Hide image

We're hiring! Join the New Statesman as an editorial assistant

The NS is looking for a new recruit.

The New Statesman is hiring an editorial assistant, who will work across the website and magazine to help the office run smoothly. The ideal candidate will have excellent language skills, a passion for journalism, and the ability to work quickly and confidently under pressure.

The job is a broad one – you will need to understand the requirements of both halves of the magazine (politics and culture) as well as having an interest in the technical requirements of magazine and website production. Experience with podcasts and social media would be helpful.

The right person will have omnivorous reading habits and the ability to assimilate new topics at speed. You will be expected to help out with administration tasks around the office, so you must be willing to take direction and get involved with unglamorous tasks. There will be opportunities to write, but this will not form the main part of the job. (Our current editorial assistant is now moving on to a writing post.)

This is a full-time paid job, which would suit a recent graduate or someone who is looking for an entry into journalism. On the job training and help with career development will be offered.

Please apply with an email to Stephen Bush (Stephen. Bush @ with the subject line ‘Editorial Assistant application’.  

In your covering letter, please include a 300-word analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the New Statesman. Please also include 500 words on what you consider to be the most interesting trend in British politics, and your CV as a Word document. 

The deadline for applications is noon on Monday 12th October.